The Heritage of Daniel Haston


Samuel Cowan Documents
Found in Knox County Archives & McClung Historical Collection

By Wayne & Sharon Haston – September, 2000


Samuel Cowan married Jean Montgomery on April 22, 1794 in Washington County, TN according to a note in the Allen Papers file (“Roddy” family file?).  A John Waddill was the Justice of the Peace (I think, or perhaps the bondsman).

There is a Cowan family tree page (or pages) that shows Samuel Cowan as “early Knoxville settler” as having married Jane Montgomery.  He was the son of another Samuel Cowan and Anne Walker.

This document was in the “Van Deventer file” but I think that it was found under “Cowan” in the vertical genealogy files in the McClung collection.

Land Deed (sale), volume GV1 and page numbers 96-97;  dated October 31, 1800

This transaction would have taken place during the time of the Samuel Cowan vs Joseph Haston “timothy lot” case.  Some of the proceedings of that trial occurred during the same month that Samuel Cowan bought the land in this current transaction.

  • The land was purchased from Moses McWhorter for $700.

  • It included 220 acres.

  • It was in Knox County on the Clinch River, near John McIntire’s Spring House.

  • It was witnessed by William C/Grilley and Luke Lea and registered on November 23, 1801.

  • This land was not south of the Holston, opposite of Knoxville…as was the “timothy lot” property. 

Note:  I discovered that Samuel Cowan owned quite a bit of land, especially several lots inside of Knoxville.

Real Estate Deed, Vol 1, C1;  page 351 (June 1, 1795)

  • Major Lea purchased 200 acres from Luke Lea for the price of 50 pounds.

  • The property was located on the “north side of the Holston River on the east fork of Third Creek.”

  • It adjoined David Walker’s land and Governor Blount’s land.

  • Samuel Cowan (in another document) is said to have owned land that adjoined Major Lea and William Lea.  Was this that property?  If so, it was north of the Holston and not near the “timothy lot” property.

SHFF – Sheriff Sale:  Sheriff Joseph Love to Nathaniel Cowan;  Volume NV1, pages 232-233 (January 11, 1809)

This document is part of the Samuel Cowan estate sale.  Nathaniel Cowan was the brother of Samuel, and was his business partner.

  • 100 acres of land on Third Creek

  • William Cowan and Polly Purnel Cowan were the heirs of Samuel

  • It looks like “Seth Craig” (?) sued the estate of Samuel for $319.93 that Samuel owed him for “debt damages and costs.”

  • It looks like the Sheriff sold half of a 200 acre tract of land that Samuel had owned to pay off this debt.

  • The land adjoined David Walker, Wm. Dunins (?) and Governor Blount and Seth Johnstone and Seth Job (?) (Major Lea and William Lea had made a line with Johnstone when they owned the property.)

  • It appears that Nathaniel Cowan and Samuel Cowan purchased this land in February of 1796 (says1896 but that couldn’t be true) from Major Lea.

  • It appears that Nathaniel Cowan (through his agent, Richard Beardon) purchased the other half of the land at the Sheriff’s auction for $285.25.

Note:  This transcription may not be totally accurate and should be re-transcribed before relying upon it.

Note:  This document just shows that Samuel Cowan had owned some land north of the Holston, in addition to the land he owned (or claimed to have owned) in the vicinity of the “timothy lot” that was “south of the Holston and opposite of Knoxville.”

From Laura Cowan Cooper:  (February 7, 2007)

With DNA testing some of the connections that you have on this page are no
longer correct.

James Cowan that was married to Margaret Russell is not son of Samuel Cowan  that married Jane Walker. The information at McClung was long before DNA and we know that this James has been sawed off that tree. Van Deventer never dreamed that this was not true. When we sawed this James off the tree we also took Samuel and Nathaniel Cowan with him - the relationship is well established in the court records of Knox County.

The DNA for descendants of James Cowan is connected to the R1a Haplogroup.  The Samuel Cowan that married Jane Walker or the 3 Cowan males that married 3 Walker females is much different.

You have a really wonderful web site that had developed well over the years and I think that some of this would be well addressed with your research.  You all have spent a lot more time probably looking at these Cowans than many of the Cowan researchers. This is not my Cowan line but one since I live in Sevier County, am Cowan list mom as well as running the Cowan DNA
Project have great interest in seeing sorted correctly. We have at least 4 if not more different Cowan lines in this area - maybe more if I could get some of the other lines tested.

Anyway - I just want to caution you on the Van Deventer file, the Allen as well as Parham papers since we have DNA to sort these lines a little better.

We know that James, Samuel and Nathaniel were brothers - Knox County records show this relationship. We have DNA from one of the descendants of James Cowan. The DNA from that line is R1a and there are a group of other men that also match this line. We have been unable to link the lines but we do know that one of the men that matches the Knox County Cowan line is from NC.

Joseph Cowan has a Revolutionary War Pension file - we think of him from being around Cowan's Ford, NC - Burke County and Mecklenburg County, NC.

Also on the Knox County GenWeb Page, we pick up Ramsey talking about James Cowan for Bertie Co, NC - think I have the correct county. I would say that he would know where James Cowan was from and I feel that he was talking about the James Cowan that died in 1801. We are told that Cowans came from NC with James White - think I read that today on your web page and we know that Jean Montgomery was from Salisbury, NC. I think there is a newspaper blurb that says that as it announces the marriage.

Of course all of the is from my memory.

The other R1a men from other interesting areas. One cluster is from SC. The researchers in the R1a Cowan Group have not been able to link any of them together. Now we were able to link the SC group together, but then we had more to work with and they the ones that we linked just didn't have their line back that far so it was easy. 

The DNA Project suggests that the Jefferson County, TN Jonathan Cowan and Joseph Cowan match in DNA and they match the large group of men in the project that we would stamp 7 brother or the 3 Cowan men that married 3 Walker women - anyway they would all go back to one common ancestor. Anyway on the web page listed about, this group has been broken down into clusters. I think that you will be able to pick out the groups that I am talking about.


Laura Cowan Cooper
Co-Administrator Cowan DNA Project
Laura Cowan Cooper of Kodak, TN