Cowan - John Maxwell - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Cowan - John Maxwell

Source: Crawfordsville weekly Journal 18 Oct 1901

The Indianapolis News gives the following interesting sketch of a former Crawfordsville citizen: John M. Cowan, of Springfield, Mo. one of the pioneers of Indianapolis is spending a few days with S.M. Houston of Irvington. Mr. Cowan thinks he was the first white child born at Indianapolis. The date of his birth was December 6, 1821. His father, John Cowan came to what is now the site of the city when there were only two or three families here. In 1822 he moved to what is now Crawfordsville. The son attended Wabash College where he was graduated in 1842. He is now the oldest surviving graduate of the school. His classmates were Charles Canby, James Wilson, at one time congressman and Thomas Lowry. Mr. Cowan was graduated from the law school in Bloomington in 1845 and in 1858 was elected judge of the Eighth judicial circuit then composed of seven counties - Clinton, Boone, Parke, Vermillion, Fountain, Warren and Montgomery. He was reelected in 1863 and served altogether 12 years on the bench. In 1881 he went to Springfield to live on account of Mrs. Cowan's health. - Kim H

Source: Indianapolis News, Marion County, Indiana 3 June 1920 p 1

Springfield, MO June 3 – John Maxwell Cowan, age ninety-eight, a former circuit court judge in Indiana and said to have been the third white child born in Indianapolis, died here today after a short illness. He was the second oldest resident of Springfield. Mr. Cowan was the only child of John and Anna Maxwell Cowan, pioneers in Indiana and was born December 6, 1821, in Indianapolis, the family removing soon afterward to Crawfordsville, Ind. He attended the Crawfordsville schools and was graduated from Wabash College in 1842. For a number of years he has been the oldest living Wabash graduate. In 1845, he was graduated from the law department of Indiana University, and began the practice of law in Frankfort, later being elected judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Indiana, and serving from 1858 to 1870. Eleven years later, he retired and came with his wife to Springfield, where he has since lived. He married Harriet D. Janney at Stockwell, Ind in 1845. Mrs. Cowan died fifteen years ago. For several years Mr. Cowan conducted the Springfield Republican here, and was active in business. He is survived by four children, five granddaughters and three great grandsons. One son, R.E. Cowan and a granddaughter, Miss Elizabeth Cowan live in Crawfordsville. The body will be taken to Crawfordsville for burial. - kbz

Source: Salt Lake Tribune Fri 4 June 1920

Springfield, Mo June 2- Judge John M. Cowan, aged 99, died at his home here today.  He was the first white child born in Indianapolis, Ind and was the oldest living graduate of Wabash College. - kbz

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