Samuel Houston Johnston (1826-1904) & Margaret C. Hickman (1836->1910)

Samuel Houston Johnston & Margaret C. Hickman are my 3x great grandparents, the parents of my 2x great grandmother Martha Josephine Johnston.

Samuel Houston Johnston was born January 17, 1826 in Monroe County, Tennessee. Sometimes he went by Samuel, and sometimes he went by Houston, but I will call him Samuel. It’s possible that his parents are Richard Johnston and Polly, as there is a Samuel born in 1826 in Tennessee  living them on the 1850 US Census in Ripley, Missouri. I can’t find record of Richard and Polly before or after this census.

Margaret C. Hickman was born in 1836 in Tennessee. Her parents are unknown. We only know her last name because Samuel’s obituary listed it.

Samuel & Margaret married February 9, 1856.

On the 1860 US Census, Samuel was 34 and Margaret was 24. They farmed in Colville, Benton County, Arkansas. They had 2 children: Martha, age 2 and James, age 8 months.

On the 1870 US Census, Samuel was 44 and Margaret was 34. They lived in Osage, Benton County, Arkansas. They had 4 children: Martha, age 12; James, age 10; Mary, age 4; Esther, age 2.

On the 1880 US Census, the family was back farming in Colville, Benton County, Arkansas. Samuel was 54 and Margaret was 44. They had 4 children: James, age 20; Mary, age 14; Esther, age 12; Annie, age 7.

The only family members I can find on the 1900 US Census are Martha in Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas with husband Thomas Cowan and their children, and James in Goshen, Washington County, Arkansas with wife Nancy and their children.

Samuel died February 11, 1904, at age 78, at Martha’s house in Springdale. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

His obituary as transcribed on his Find A Grave memorial:

JOHNSTON, Samuel H. – Samuel H. Johnston was born in Monroe County, Tennessee January 17, 1826 and died at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Cowan, in Springdale, February 11, 1904. He was converted at the age of twenty-one years and joined the Methodist Episcopal church, South, continuing a member of that church until his death, with the exception of a period when he did not have access to it, during which time he was a member of the Protestant Methodist church. On February 9, 1856 he was married to Margaret Hickman. This union was blessed with eight children, four of whom are dead, and the other four are left to mourn the loss of their father. His last affliction was long and trying indeed. For eight months he was confined to his room, shut up in total darkness, having lost his sight about the time he became ill. He bore his sad affliction with christian fortitude and cheerfulness and died in great peace. The remains were interred in Bluff Cemetery Friday, services being conducted by Rev. J.W. House, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. The bereaved family take this means of expressing their heartfelt gratitude to all who, n any way, gave assistance during the illness and death of Mr. Johnston. [The Springdale News – Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas – January 29, 1904]

On the 1910 US Census, Margaret lived in Grady County, Oklahoma. She lived with daughter Mary, age 42, Mary’s husband John H. Sidwell, age 45, and their children. Mary was 75 and said that she’d had 11 children, 6 of which were living.

I don’t know when or where Margaret died.

The children of Samuel Houston Johnston & Margaret C. Hickman:

Samuel’s obituary said they had 8 children. Margaret reported on the 1900 US Census having had 11 children. I find only 5 of them:

Martha Josephine Johnston – My 2X great grandmother Martha was born about 1858 in Arkansas. She married Thomas B. Cowan on December 25, 1876 in Benton County, Arkansas. They had 4 children. They divorced. Martha married George Skeith in Washington County, Arkansas on April 20, 1907. After he died Martha married Isaac P. Brown on February 17, 1916 in Pittsburg, Oklahoma. Martha died in 1920 at age 62, and her Find A Grave memorial is here. Read more about Martha here.

James H. Johnston – James was born January 22, 1860. He married Nancy Boyd and they had 6 children. He died May 27, 1907 when he was 47 and is buried in Goshen, Washington County, Arkansas. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Mary C. Johnston – Mary was born about 1866 in Arkansas. She married John H. Sidwell in about 1883 and they had 8 children. The last record I have for her is the 1910 US Census when the family lived in Chickasaw Ward 1, Grady County, Oklahoma.

Esther Caldona Johnston – Esther was born March 9, 1868. She married William Alfred Pearce and they had 9 children. Their children were born in Arkansas except for 1 born in Texas. By 1920 they were in Idaho. Esther died November 23, 1960 at age 92 and she is buried in Bannock County, Idaho. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Annie Johnston – Annie was born about 1873 in Arkansas. The only record of her is the 1880 US Census.

Robert Hubbard (1800-1866) & Elizabeth Whitlock (1798-1853)

Robert Hubbard & Elizabeth Whitlock are my 4x great grandparents, the parents of my 3x great grandmother Elvira Hubbard.

Robert Hubbard was born about 1800 in Warren County, Tennessee. He was the son of James Hubbert and Elizabeth Anderson. (Some of the children retained the spelling of Hubbert, and some changed to Hubbard.)

Elizabeth Whitlock was born about 1798 in North Carolina. Her parents are unknown.

Robert & Elizabeth were probably married by 1817, because they had 3 children in 1820.

On the 1820 US Census, Robert was head of a household of 5 in Warren County, Tennessee: 1 male aged 16-25 (Robert was about 20); 3 females under age 10 (all unknown); and 1 female aged 16-25 (Elizabeth was about 22.)

On the 1830 US Census, Robert was head of a household of 7 in Warren County, Tennessee: 1 male under age 5 (unknown); 1 male aged 30-39 (Robert was about 30); 1 female under age 5 (Elvira was about 1); 3 females aged 5-9 (all unknown); 1 female aged 30-39 (Elizabeth was about 32).

Between 1833 & 1836, Hubbards, Cowans and Cavenesses formed a wagon train and moved to Arkansas.

Robert is listed on the 1837 Tax List for Benton County, Arkansas.

On the 1840 US Census, Robert was head of a household of 10 in Bailey, Benton County, Arkansas: 1 male aged 5-9 (unknown); 1 male aged 10-14 (unknown); 1 male aged 30-39 (Robert was about 40); 2 females under age 5 (Manerva was about 4, the other unknown); 1 female aged 5-9 (Martha was about 8); 1 female aged 10-14 (Elvira was about 11); 1 female ages 20-29 (unknown); 1 female aged 30-39 (Elizabeth was about 42).

On March 20, 1843, Robert purchased 80 acres of land in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

On the 1850 US Census, Robert, a farmer, was 50 and Elizabeth was 52. They lived in Osage, Benton County, Arkansas with their children Elvira, age 21; Martha, age 18; Manerva, age 14; and Susan, age 9. They were in a home with George Creager, his wife Jane Lusk Cowan, and their young children. George’s family was listed first on the census, despite being listed as having no real estate, while Robert is listed with $1600 worth of real estate. George was 35 and had no occupation. The Cowan and Hubbard families were well connected, having moved from Tennessee to Arkansas together, but I don’t know why these families were living together. The next year Elvira would marry Jane’s brother.

Elizabeth is thought to have died in 1853. She would have been about 55 years old.

On the 1860 US Census, Robert was 60 and still farming. He lived in Colville, Benton County, Arkansas with his daughter Elvira, age 30, her husband John Cowan, age 32 and a farmer, and their 4 children.

Robert is thought to have died in 1866. He would have been about 66 years old.

The children of Robert Hubbard & Elizabeth Whitlock:

There are at least 9 unknown children:
3 females under age 10 in 1820
3 females were were 5-9 in 1830, and 20 in 1840
1 male under age 5 in 1830 and aged 10-14 in 1840
1 male aged 5-9 in 1840
1 female under age 5 in 1840

Elvira Hubbard – My 3x great grandmother Eliza was born July 21, 1829 in Tennessee. She married John Gillespie Cowan in 1851 and they had 7 children. Elvira died July 11, 1918. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. Read about Elvira and John here.

Martha Hubbard – Martha was born December 28, 1831 in Tennessee. She married William Andrewville Cowan in about 1851, and they had at least 5 children. She died May 6, 1866 in Lowell, Benton County, Arkansas. She was 88. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Manerva Hubbard – Manerva was born in 1836 in Arkansas. On the 1870 US Census, she lived with sister Elvira’s family. She somehow ended up in Texas, and married William Guest on November 10, 1875 in Hill, Texas. They had a daughter, Elizabeth. (William was from Arkansas, and had been married and had quite a few children with his first wife Opal Phillips. He served in the Civil War and was considered to have died in the war. Opal received a widow’s pension. But he ended up in alive and well in Texas.) Manerva died prior to 1900, when William was found on the US Census with daughter Elizabeth in Washington State.

Susan Hubbard – Susan was born February 11, 1842 in Arkansas. She married Benjamin Wiley Cavness on December 30, 1866 in Benton County, Arkansas. He had served in the Civil War. They had at least 3 children. She died April 7, 1889 in Bentonville, Benton County, Arkansas. She was 47. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Robert Cowan (1784-1870) and Elizabeth Colville (1793-1865)

Robert Cowan and Elizabeth Colville are my 4X Great Grandparents.

Robert Cowan was born June 22, 1784 in Washington County, Virginia. He was the son of William Cowan, who served in the American Revolution, and Jane Walker.

Elizabeth Colville was born April 15, 1793 in Tennessee. She is the daughter of Joseph Colville and Sarah Lusk.

It is said that Robert and his brother James went to Tennessee with Joseph Colville. Both Cowan brothers married daughters of Joseph Colville. Robert married Elizabeth Colville in about 1808.

The book “A History of Tennessee and Tennesseeans: The Leaders and Representative Men in Commerce, Industry, and Modern Activities” mentions that in 1809 the town of McMinnville, Tennessee chose land of Joseph Colville (my 5X Great Grandfather, father of Elizabeth Colville), John A. Wilson, and Robert Cowan for the building of a permanent courthouse.

On the 1820 US Census, Robert Cowan was head of a household in Franklin, Tennessee. There were 12 in the household: 3 males under age 10 (Larkin was 4, and the other two are unknown); 1 male aged 26-44 (Robert was 36); 2 females under age 10 (Louisa was 7 and the other two are unknown); 2 females aged 10-15 (unknown); 1 female aged 26-44 (Elizabeth was 27); 1 male slave under age 14; 2 female slaves under age 14.

On the 1830 US Census, Robert Cowan was head of a household in McMinn, Tennessee. There were 10 in the household: 2 males under age 5 (Marvel was 1 and John was 3); 1 male aged 10-14 (Larken was 14); 1 male aged 20-29 (unknown); 1 male aged 40-49 (Robert was 46); 2 females aged 5-9 (Martha was 5 and Nancy was 7); 1 female aged 10-14 (Jane was 10); 1 female aged 15-19 (Louisa was 17); 1 female aged 40-49 (Elizabeth was 37).

Members of the Cowan, Hubbard and Colville families, including three Cowan brothers – Robert, Samuel and James – came by wagon train from McMinn County, Tennessee to Benton County, Arkansas.

Robert Cowan appears on the 1836 tax list for Washington County, Arkansas.

On December 31, 1836 Robert Cowan was made Postmaster of Hubbards, Benton County, Arkansas. His brother James Cowan took over the position in May of 1844.

On the 1840 US Census, Robert Cowan was head of a household in Bailey, Benton County, Arkansas. There were 11 in the household: 1 male aged 5-9 (Walker was 7); 2 males aged 10-14 (Marvel was 11 and John was 13); 1 male aged 20-29 (Larkin was 24); 1 male aged 40-49 (Robert was 56); 1 female under age 5 (perhaps the Mary I’ve seen listed as their daughter, born in 1835); 2 females aged 15-19 (Martha was 15 and Nancy was 17); 1 female aged 20-29 (Jane was 20); 1 female aged 30-39 (Louisa was 27); 1 female aged 40-49 (Elizabeth was 47).

US General Land Office records show that Robert Cowan purchased 40 acres in Benton County, Arkansas on August 1, 1844.

On the 1850 US Census, Robert, a farmer, was 66 and Elizabeth was 57. They lived in Osage, Benton County, Arkansas. Four children were at home: John, age 22, a carpenter; Louisa, age 37; Marvel, age 20; Walker, age 17.

On the 1860 US Census, Robert was 76 and still farming. Elizabeth was 67. Living with them was 17-year-old Larkin Creager, their grandson. They lived in Colville Township, Benton County, Arkansas.

US General Land Office records show that Robert Cowan purchased an0ther 40 acres in Benton County, Arkansas on October 1, 1860.

Elizabeth died December 26, 1865 in Arkansas. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Robert died in September of 1870 (according to the Federal Census Mortality Schedule) in Lowell, Benton County, Arkansas. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

The known children of Robert Cowan and Elizabeth Colville:

Louisa Cowan – Louisa was born September 17, 1813 in Tennessee.  She is found at age 37 living with her parents on the 1850 US Census.

Larkin Farrell Cowan – Larkin was born January 31, 1816 in Tennessee.  He married Martha Evelyn Stroud in about 1823 in Warren County, Tennessee. On the 1850 US Census, Larkin was 34,  and Martha was 27. They had 2 sons and Larkin was a farmer. He died in 1856 in Benton County, Arkansas. On the 1860 US Census, widowed Martha lived with 4 children and farmed next to her in-laws.

Jane Lusk Cowan – Jane was born May 4, 1820. She married George Lewis Creager on November 21, 1815 in Arkansas, and they had 4 children. He died in about 1855. She married Elisha Johnson, a widower with 6 kids, in 1858. They had a son. Jane died in 1893 in Benton County, Arkansas. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Nancy Laura Catherine Cowan – Nancy was born July 14, 1823 in Tennessee. She married George McGarrah in about 1824. They had 6 children. It’s not known when she died, but her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Martha Ann Cowan – Martha was born 24 April 24, 1825 in Warren County, Tennessee.
She married Christopher Columbus Nail in about 1849. They had 5 children. She died January 2, 1900 in Benton County, Arkansas. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

John Gillespie Cowan – John was my 3X Great Grandfather. Read about him here.

Marvel Valero Cowan – Marvel was born November 30, 1829 in Tennessee. He married Margaret Peaks. They had 3 children. He was a blacksmith. He served as a Private in Company H of Gordon’s Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry. He married Mary McCall, and they had 5 children.

Walker S. Cowan – Walker was born March 16, 1833 in Benton County, Arkansas.  He married Nancy Jane Wilmoth and they had at least 2 children. He served in Confederate Army, Company A, 15th Northwest Arkansas Infantry.

Mary Elizabeth Cowan – Mary was born March 31, 1835 in Benton County, Arkansas. I have no record of her, but many genealogists list her and there’s a space for her on the 1840 census as a female under age 5.


Am I related to Lana Turner on the Cowan side?

My mom died 6 years ago today, and she was a big fan of all things Hollywood. She’d get a kick out of the possibility that she was related to Lana Turner.

I received the following comment on one of my blog posts:

“Hello, I saw your post, and would like to ask you, are you related to “Henry Arthur Cowan”, whom was married to “Julia Ann (Cullum) Cowan, as Julia was my Great Grandmother, she was born march 24, 1885, and died in July 1904, at her age of (19) yrs. old, her death was due to complications with her “RH factor blood type, and her Pregnancy, her baby girl “Mildred Frances Cowan” was born on Feb. 12, 1904, she was 4 months old when her Mother died, they lived in Arkansas. I know we were also related to some people named “Reece”, “Minnie Reece”, (her married name), and she had a son, named Oran Reece, we were also related to some people named Hinson,”

First, I checked my tree. I knew there was a Mildred Cowan, because she was my grandfather’s cousin and I have an amazing (sad, and yet also hilarious) letter she wrote to him. But, unfortunately the commenter wasn’t referring to that Mildred Cowan. My Cowans were definitely in Arkansas (and as it turns out, in the same county) and my great grandmother Cowan’s maiden name was Hinson, so I thought it was possible that we intersected somehow.

Through a quick Google search I learned that Mildred Frances Cowan, born February 12, 1904, the daughter of Julia Ann Cullum Cowan, was the mother of the famous Lana Turner. Her father’s name, however, appears to have been William Arthur Cowan or Willis Arthur Cowan, not Henry Arthur Cowan as the commenter said. Through further Googling I discovered that Mildred Frances Cowan was the only child of both parents, since her father didn’t remarry. Mildred had only one child, Julia Jean Turner, who became known as Lana Turner. It appears that Lana had only one child too, Cheryl Crane, who is still living and has no children.

I found a tree online and followed it back from William/Willis Arthur Cowan to my 5x Great Grandparents William Cowan (1750-1809) and Jane Walker (1755-1806). It seems possible that Lana Turner descends from William and Jane’s son Samuel, while I descend from their son Robert.

Soon, maybe this week even, I will work on pushing my Cowan line back two more generations, documenting back to William Cowan and Jane Walker, and see if it all connects.

Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988) & Ellen Cecelia Barber (1908-1990)

Wallace Paul Cowan & Ellen Cecelia Barber Cowan are my grandparents, the parents of my mother Carol Ann Cowan Hopper.


Wallace Paul Cowan was born on January 25, 1903 in Arkansas. He is the only child of the very brief marriage between Albert Gibson Cowan and Myrtle Bertie Hinson. You can read about Bertie & Albert here and about my attempts to make sure I was following the right Albert here.

Paul grew up living with his mother and grandparents in Springdale, Arkansas. I don’t believe he had much if any contact with his father throughout his life. In 1912, both of his parents remarried. His father remained married and had four more children, while his mother was only briefly married. Paul never met his siblings and may not have known about them. Paul started working at an early age, and is listed as doing grocery deliveries on the 1920 US Census when he was 16.

I’ve already posted a lot about my grandfather Paul. A poem, photos of filling stations he worked at, photos he took from the Springdale water tower, photos of Marshall Auto Parts where he worked, and information about Ma Terry’s Boarding House where he stayed.

Ellen Cecelia Barber was born on June 9, 1908 in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the daughter of James William Barber and Lula May Watrous. Ellen was the firstborn, and would later have a sister and brother. You can read about them here.


On the 1930 US Census, Ellen was enumerated living with her parents and Paul was enumerated living with his mother (though he was spending time in Kansas City at the time, living in a boarding house.)

Paul and Ellen were married June 23, 1930 in Platte City, Platte County, Missouri.

Their son was born in 1931 and their daughter Carol Ann Cowan was born in 1937.

On the 1940 US Census, the family lived with Ellen’s parents at 1832 Lister in Kansas City, Missouri. Their children were born in that house.

They later lived in an apartment over the Marshall Auto Store that Paul managed in Kansas City, Missouri, before buying a house in Kansas City North.

Ellen’s father died in 1951, and her mother died in 1960. Her sister died in 1966. Paul’s father died in 1963, and his mother informed him of this. Paul’s mother died in 1971.

After retiring from Marshall Auto Parts, Paul worked at Midland True Value Hardware at Antioch Shopping Center in Kansas City North. He was a hard working and very frugal man, and very quiet. He worked until shortly before he death.

Ellen worked as a bookkeeper for Paul when he was managing Marshall Auto Parts. She was primarily a homemaker, and was a great cook. I grew up living with Paul & Ellen, and my mom and brother, from age 5. I remember her making me bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. Every Sunday was a big dinner with a pot roast. She was a worrier, loved to take care of people, and had a bit of a temper.

Paul died on February 2, 1988. You can see his Find A Grave memorial here. Not long after, Ellen’s brother died, so despite being the oldest child in her family, she was the last living sibling. Ellen died exactly 2 years after her husband, on February 2, 1990. You can see her Find A Grave memorial here.

Their children were a son, and a daughter (my mother):

HOPPER Carol Ann Pink Shirt

Carol Ann Cowan – Carol was born on December 21, 1937 in Kansas City, Missouri. She married Harley Darrell Hopper on April 21, 1964 in Jackson County, Missouri. They had two children, and I’m one of them. They divorced in 1976. She had worked in banks prior to her marriage, and worked for Gladstone, Missouri from the time of her divorce until her retirement. She was City Collector for many of those years. Carol died on October 11, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

The Tomato Dream – Poem by Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988)

CHANDLER Gina Tomato

Gina Chandler, photographer

Here’s a poem written by my grandfather, Wallace Paul Cowan. Midland Hardware refers to the Midland True Value Hardware store located at Antioch Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  He worked there after “retirement” in the 1980s.

COWAN Wallace Paul Tomato Poem

The Tomato Dream
Daryl at Midland Hardware said
“They’ll grow tall & straight & Green
with the prettiest leaves you’ve ever seen.”
I took his word and bought a pack,
he took my coins & gave me a sack.
Spring ain’t here but I can wait.
There’s lots of ice & I don’t skate.
I’ve days to dream and plan & plot
which way I’ll plant them across the lot.
Come 2 days straight at 65
I’ll plant them Big Boys if I don’t die
I’ll dig that ground, swing my hoe,
shape it up Row by Row.
Make some hills, then I’ll sow,
cover gently then I’ll wait.
What luck I have will be rebate.

Ma Terry’s Boarding House – Selina Martin Terry (1873-1952)

My grandfather, Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988), moved from Springdale, Arkansas to Kansas City, Missouri in the late 1920s. The first picture is dated 1928, and Paul was standing outside of what he called Ma Terry’s Boarding House at 2512 Prospect in Kansas City.

I found this location on the 1930 US Census, and the proprietor was Selina Terry, age 56. She was born in Arkansas, and was widowed. She rented the house. There are 3 boarders listed, but my grandfather isn’t one of them. (The census was taken just around the time my grandfather married my grandmother, so he’d probably just moved out.)

The boarders were Frank Stradal (age 44, divorced, working as a foreman at a candy factory), Dallas Pickett (age 55, widowed, working as a baker), and Bertha Huff (age 44, widowed, assisting with the boardinghouse.)

I have a notebook where my grandfather Paul kept notes of his earnings, his payments to Ma Terry, and even the girls he was dating during this time period. When I find it I will update this story.

Since Paul kept these photos of Ma Terry, I knew she was important to him, so I wanted to learn more about her. I researched her further on She is found under many names: Salina, Selina, Selinia, Slenia.

Arkansas Marriage Index shows Selina Martin and James Terry married on June 3, 1892 in Scott County.

On the 1900 US Census, Selina was in Arkansas with husband James, age 26, a Teamster working for the railroad. Selina was 27, had been married 7 years, and had given birth to 5 children, 3 of which were living. Lou was 7, Sadie was 2, and Lancie was 4 months.

On the 1910 US Census, Selina was in Oklahoma with husband James, age 36, a carpenter. Selina was 37. They had been married 18 years and she had given birth to 8 children, 3 of which were living. Sadie was 12, Leone was 7, Ethel was 6. They had one boarder, a 21 year old carpenter named Thomas Josie.

On the 1920 US Census, Selina was widowed and was running a boarding house in Kansas City (a different address from her 1930 boarding house). Two daughters lived with her along with four boarders. Boarders were Felix Mueller (age 24, single, working as a clerk at a tractor company), Harold Mueller (age 28, single, working as a machine helper at a tractor company), Peter Boyle (age 48, married, working as a stonemason) and appearing again, Frank Stradal (age 34, single, and working as a candy maker.)

I’ve already covered the 1930 US Census. On the 1940 US Census, Selina was living alone in Kansas City. A Missouri Death Certificate shows that Selina died November 28, 1952 in Kansas City, Missouri. She is buried at Mt. Washington Cemetery in Independence, Missouri, but I can’t find a memorial on Find A Grave.