Friday, July 29, 2016

Myers Family B - The Cowans of Missouri

Last time, we began with the second of our Myers-Ferguson families: the descendants of Welby and Eliza (Ferguson) Myers. This week, we will look at their eldest child; their daughter Mollie.

This is one family where the Callin Family History does not give us much to go on, and the records don't necessarily have all of the facts I usually count on in one document so I can be sure that the child of one family is the bride in another. I found Indiana marriage index records for a Mary A Myers which led me to a possible husband, which led me to a Find-A-Grave memorial which gave her maiden name and her husband's name. Because I don't have original records, I could still be wrong, and have the wrong family -- though I don't think I am.

The CFH (which was published in 1911) says this of the oldest child of Eliza and Welby: "Mary, born 1864; married, 4 children, three living." It goes on to give this Mary her own page, naming two of these four children as "Geo. Myers" and "William Myers" - which, since her married name would not have been "Myers," makes me doubt that great uncle George had the most up to date story on his cousins when he compiled this part of the family tree. You won't see a George or William in the family below. But if I identified her husband correctly, then the Census records and all that follows should tell the story of the right folks, and allow me to correct Uncle George.

    I. Mary Augusta "Mollie" Myers (1864–1927) married Richard Jefferson Davis Cowan (1863–1948) on 14 February 1884 in Knox county, Indiana, and moved with him to Wayne county, Missouri. Jeff was born in Cowan township, which is located almost exactly half way between St. Louis to the north, and Memphis to the south.

Jeff's grandfather, Richard Dickey Cowan, was born in Lincoln county, North Carolina, in 1782. He served as a Major in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812, settled in Missouri some time after the war (probably establishing Cowan township on a land grant) and was elected to the Missouri state house of representatives in 1828, 1834, 1838. Major Cowan died in 1868, and his son, Jeff's father, Richard Dickey Cowan, Jr. died two years later. Jeff's grandmother, Susan, took in Jeff and his two older sisters briefly in 1870, and then the three went to live in the home of Washington and Emily Ellis, where their mother, Eleanor, was the domestic servant. In 1871, Eleanor married Wallis Kirkpatrick (1840-1908). Jeff likely grew up in that household, until he was old enough to be on his own.

At first, Jeff Cowan settled with his new wife in Wayne county, and began a family. The couple had a baby every other year until 1890. In the 1890s, there are a few records of a Jefferson Davis Cowan in California, which could be someone else, or could mean that our Jeff Cowan was exploring business opportunities on the west coast. In 1900, his occupation was listed as "Hotel keeper," and in 1910, he was listed as a traveling salesman.

Hornersville Cemetery, Dunklin county, Missouri
Altogether, Jeff and Mollie had eleven children - all but one of whom survived to adulthood. By 1920, they had moved 100 miles south to Hornersville, in Dunklin county, which is in the panhandle at the bottom of Missouri. After Mollie died in 1927, Jeff lived with his son, Leonard, for a while, but at some point, he moved out to Los Angeles, where he died in 1948. Jeff and Mollie are both buried in the Hornersville cemetery.

     A. Uriel Cleveland Cowan (1884–1958) grew up in Wayne county, and in 1910 was living with his parents and working as a salesman in a dry goods store. He married Minnie Bell Kibby (1878–1963) some time before 1917, and they lived in Clay, Dunklin county, in 1920. Some time in the 1920s, Cleveland and Minnie moved to Michigan, where they lived in the Detroit area for about twenty years.

As far as I can tell, Cleveland and Minnie did not have any children. (But remember Minnie -- we're going to talk about her family more near the end of this post!)

     B. Cona Billie Cowan (1886–1967) married Edwin A Costner in Greenville on 26 October 1905. That much, I can prove with a Missouri Marriage record. Other researchers claim that the couple had a daughter, known only as "Little Tot," who died in 1909. I have not been able to find any records to confirm any of that, and Cona appears in the 1910 Census with her parents and siblings, and she is listed as "Single."

Cona married again, this time to  Robert Bryan Taylor (1894–1958). There are two Arkansas Marriage records for this wedding in 1935, but the couple was listed on the 1930 Census living in Hornersville with Robert's mother, Fannie. They remained in Dunklin county until the 1940s, when they moved out to California. They may have gone there with Cona's father, Jeff; Robert died there in 1958. After the deaths of her husband and father, Cona returned to Missouri, where she died in 1967.

     C. Nettie Beatrice Cowan (1888–1967) George William Stivers (1887–1939) on 3 January 1909. George was elected to the legislature in 1922 and 1923 from Wayne county, and served as postmaster at Piedmont. He suffered a heart attack in April 1939, and died.

     1. Phyllis Edith Stivers (1909–2003) married Homer E Beall Jr (1908–1965) and they have three daughters still living, and in their late 70s.

     2. Joseph Wiley Stivers (1911–1981) graduated from the University of Missouri in 1930, entered the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, and received his commission in 1934. He served his commitment to the Navy, and returned to Piedmont, where he was appointed as a postmaster in 1940. He served in the Navy as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, from 1942 to 1946; after the war, he returned to Piedmont and was again appointed postmaster.

He married Magdalene Stovall (1917–1996), but I have not found any mention of their children in any records.

     3. Carolyn B Stivers (1914–1992) married Arthur B. Meyer, Jr. (1916-1989) on 9 February 1940. Her name appeared on the marriage certificate as "Carolyn Stivers Larkin," so I assume she was married once before; however, I haven't been able to document that further. Arthur had also been married before, and brought a young son into the marriage.

Arthur's father was a bank president in neighboring Moniteau county, Missouri. Arthur was an editor in Piedmont, Wayne county, when he married Carolyn. When the war broke out, he obtained a commission and served from 1942 to 1945 as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. After the war, Arthur took a job in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he and Carolyn were living in the late 1950s; they were there through at least 1980. After retiring, they moved to Littleton, Arapahoe county, Colorado, where they died just a few years apart. They were buried together in the Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

     4. George William Stivers Jr (1920–1945) graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1942, and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was cited for gallantry in the South Pacific, Guadalcanal in 1942 and Tarawa in 1943. He was General J.C. Smith's Aide de Camp and in 1944 he became an air cadet. That same year he received his wings from the Corpus Christi NAS. He was piloting Grumman Avenger, FT-117, that was part of the infamous Flight 19 squadron that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle while on a training mission out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

     D. James Wiley Cowan (1890–1973) Beryl Viola Ferguson (1897–1965) around 1923, and they had two children, a son and a daughter, who are still living. Wiley moved the family to Detroit in the 1930s, where he worked in the auto industry, like his brother, Cleveland. Around 1944, Wiley and Beryl moved to Alhambra, Los Angeles county, California. Sometime after 1956, they moved out to Riverside in San Bernardino, where are buried.

     E. Everett Austin Cowan (1894–1972) grew up in Wayne county, Missouri, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in World War I, serving from May to December or 1918. After the war, he married Minnie Bell Bolding (1898–1990) on 12 May 1919, when he was 24 years old. They had three sons and a daughter; their youngest son is still living.

The family moved to Los Angeles after the birth of their first child, but returned to Missouri by 1935, and Everett went to work as a tool checker for WPA roads projects.

     1. Everett Doyle Cowan Sr (1925–2011) was born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and after his family moved back to Missouri from Los Angeles, he remained in Strafford for most of the rest of his life. Doyle served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, and was a lifetime member of the VFW Post at Strafford.

Doyle married Mildred Esther Fetterhoff (1928–2004) in May 1945, and they raised three sons and two daughters together. All but one of them survives. He retired from Springfield City Utilities where he was supervisor at the power plant.

     a. Everett Doyle Cowan Jr (1946–2010) was born in Chicago, Illinois, and spent much of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm near Strafford. Junior graduated from Strafford High School, obtained an undergraduate degree from Southern Baptist University and a master’s of education from Drury University. He served for a short period of time in the U.S. Marine Corps, spent nearly 15 years as a teacher and a principal, and also owned a construction business and a lumber yard. He served as Mayor of Strafford, Missouri.

After retiring, Junior moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he died in June 2010. He was survived by his wife, three children, and three grandchildren (as of 2010).

     2. Mary Ann Cowan (b. 1928) was born in Los Angeles, California, and returned to Missouri with her family when she was about 7 years old. Aside from a California birth index and two Census records, I have not found any other information about her, though her brother's 2011 obituary did say that she predeceased him.

     3. Kenneth Wesley Cowan (1933–1997) was born in Hollywood, but grew up in Strafford, Missouri. He graduated Strafford High School in 1951, and attended the teacher's college in Springfield. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam. I don't know when, but I know that he married, and that he and his wife had at least two sons.

     a. Troy Bryant Cowan (1960-1969) only lived two weeks past his ninth birthday. I do not know what caused his death.

     b. Kenneth Troy Cowan (1970-1993) named partly in honor of his recently decease brother, Kenneth enlisted in the U.S. military when he was 19, serving for three months in 1989.

     F. Richard Cowan (1897–1907) was the older twin, born about a week before his sister, Bessie. I could not find any record or newspaper account to explain why he died at age nine.

     G. Elizabeth Rae "Bessie" Cowan (1897–1955) was born on 7 September 1897, at least a week after her twin brother. She married John Stanley Krapf (1897–1960), a World War I veteran who served as a sergeant in the 43rd Infantry. He worked as a government clerk, and they had a daughter. It isn't clear when or why, but it appears the family moved to Los Angeles in the 1940s. Their daughter married, then died in 1948, the same year that Bessie's father died there. Bessie died in Los Angeles in 1955, and John moved back to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where he died in 1960. He is buried in the Hornersville Cemetery.

     1. Phyllis Evelyn (Krapf ) Hicks (1925–1948) died in Los Angeles, just a few weeks before her 23rd birthday.

     H. Leonard Jefferson Cowan (1899–1976) grew up on the farm, and began working in the timber mills around Hornersville in Dunklin county. He married Ruby Riley (b. 1904) in Poplar Bluff on 26 July 1919. Leonard's father was living with them in 1930, before moving out to California. They were together throughout the 1930s and 1940s, but never had children as far as I could tell.

When World War II broke out, Leonard signed up, and served at the Jefferson Barracks as an auto mechanic. After that, I'm not sure what happened to Ruby, but Leonard ended up married to Myrtle M "Maggie" Smith (1908–1987), and I believe he lived with her during his later years in Chester, Illinois, just across the Mississippi river from Missouri. After Leonard died, Maggie moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where she died; they were buried in Ellis Grove City Cemetery, Randolph county, Illinois.

     I. Curtis R Cowan (1901–1993) married 17-year old Bertha "Bertie" Lee Banks (1903–1924) on 5 June 1920. She died in 1924, and Curtis quickly re-married on 19 October 1925. This time, his bride was Essie Mae Chitwood (1909–1964).

Essie Mae was the half-sister of Minnie Bell Kibby, Curtis's sister-in-law (remember, I told you we'd talk about her again). Their mother was Esther Ellen "Nellie" Duncan (1854–1937), who married George Chitwood some time after John Kibby died.

Curtis and Essie May had eight children; five sons and three daughters, most of whom are still living. Like his older brother, Curtis worked in timber, and he lived in Hornersville until 1935, when he moved the family to Alton, Madison county, Illinois. (I couldn't say whether he moved there before or after his brother did.) The couple had moved to Chester by the time Essie May died in 1964; that is where Curtis died, as well.

     a. Kathryn Joyce (Cowan) Lloyd (1927–2006) was a realtor for over 30 years and attended Abundant Life Christian Center, through which she helped establish a prison ministry working with delinquent girls. She was survived by 4 daughters, 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.

     c. Stanley Glenn Cowan (1930–1980) enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served in Korea from 1950 through 1952. He appears to have been a career non-commissioned officer, retiring at the rank of Master Sergeant. He never married, that I know of, and he was only 50 when he died.

     d. Janett Cowan (1932–1934) died before she reached two years of age.

     f. Lindell Davis "Tex" Cowan (1936–2010) was just a couple of years too young to serve in Korea, but he enlisted in the United States Air Force. I assume he was probably stationed in Texas, as he moved to El Paso, Texas, and joined the Police department in 1958.

He married Genoveva J Juarez (1931–1995) and raised three daughters in El Paso. After Genoveva died, Lindell moved back to Illinois. He retired from Granite City Steel after many years of dedicated service as a welder.

     J. Thelma D Cowan (1905–1990) moved out to Los Angeles to stay with her younger brother and his wife, and was living with them in 1930. Not long after that, she married and electrical engineer named Stanley E Lindahl (1905–1987) and they had a daughter, whom they raised in the Los Angeles area. Both of them are buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

     K. Brewster Wilson Cowan (1908–1980) married a girl named Gladys W. (1908–1963) around 1930. I can't find a marriage record, but they were in the Census and U.S. city directories in Los Angeles, and they seemed to be happy living in California. At the end of World War II, Bruce enlisted in the U.S. Army for a few months, and served at Fort Macarthur in San Pedro, California.

I don't know whether they ever had children, but after Gladys died, Bruce did enjoy a whirlwind romance with a woman named Lorene. They married and divorced between February and September of 1966.

 - -- --- -- - 

And that brings us to the end of what I can tell you about the Cowan family and their descendants. There's certainly a lot to take in, and considering the leap of faith I started with, I hope this is mostly correct.

As always, if you are related to anyone mentioned in this post, please say hello - you can drop a comment below, join our Callin Family History Facebook group, or email my Gmail address: callintad at gmail dot com.

Corrections and editorial comments are not only welcome, but encouraged. I want to get this right!


  1. Hi Thank you for doing this and writing it all down. Everett Doyle Cowan Jr. had four childern Klint Austin Cowan, Kyle John Cowan, Kurtis Lynn Cowan, and Kristine Michelle Cowan. Appreciate all the work you do and did thanks. Kyle Cowan

  2. Glad you found it, Kyle! And even more glad you liked it!

    If you send me an email, or click through to the Facebook group (link should be on the right hand side of the page) I'll make sure to keep you up to date on the progress of the book.

  3. I Patricia Cowan am the daughter of Lindell Davis Cowan and Genoveva Juarez.We were 2 daughters. My sister Linda K. Cowan died 2 days after being born. I have myself have 6 children. Michele Cowan, Joseph Cowan, Diana Cowan, Susana Cowan,Elisabeth Cowan and Mark Cowan. I also have 9 grandchildren. Janelle,Angelica,Jackelyn, Abraham, Isaac,Andrew,Sadie,Anthony. We reside in El Paso Texas.

    1. It was great to hear from you, Patricia! If you drop me a note at, I'll make sure to keep you all updated on how the book is coming along!

  4. My name is Heather Cowan Britt, Stanley Glenn Cowan's granddaughter. He married Bernice Clendenin in 1959 in Rockwood, Randolph Co, IL. They had two kids, Nancy Cowan Bindel, born in 1964(married Alan Bindel in 1988 with two children, Bradley Bindel and Sarah Bindel), and Steven Cowan, born in 1966 (married Paula Williams in 1989 with two children Wesley Cowan, Heather Cowan Britt, and 5 grandchildren)

    1. Hello, Heather!

      I apologize if I didn't get back to you already; it looks like I did update my tree with this info in October. According to my handy Ancestry calculator, we are 5th cousins, Once removed!

  5. My name is Joseph Franklyn Stivers and I am the son of Joseph Wiley Stivers. He did attend a year of college at the University of Missouri and subsequently was accepted into the Naval Academy from which he graduated. During WWII he served as a Lt Commander.

  6. My name is Joseph Franklyn Stivers and I am the son of Joseph Wiley Stivers and Magdalen Stovall Stivers. JW Stivers did attend the University of Missouri for a year and was subsequently accepted by the Naval Academy from which he graduated. He served as a Lt Commander in WWII.

    1. It's great to hear from you, Joseph! It appears that you and I are 5th cousins.