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History of Adair
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.

  
 

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Watson P. Cowden.

Watson P. Cowden, residing in Adair, is numbered among the veterans of the Civil war.  In former years he was identified with agricultural interests in this state, in Guthrie county, but in 1903 he retired from active business.  It is fitting that this period of rest should be vouchsafed him, for he is now eighty-one years of age.  He was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, March 30, 1834, and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Shields) Cowden, who were natives of Pennsylvania.  In early life they removed to Ohio and the father engaged in farming in that state until 1839, when he went to Mercer county, Illinois, where he purchased land and carried on general agricultural pursuits throughout his remaining days.  He died in 1858, while his wife survived for almost thirty years, passing away in 1887.

Watson P. Cowden spent his youthful days in Illinois and acquired his education in the public schools there.  He remained with his parents until he attained his majority, when he inherited eighty acres of land from his father.  He then began farming on his own account, improved his property and cultivated his fields until 1867, when he disposed of his interests in Illinois and came to Iowa, making his way first to Jasper county, where he purchased a farm which he further developed until 1876.  He then sold that property and went to Guthrie county, purchasing one hundred and sixty acres five miles north of Adair.  His energies were concentrated upon the further improvement of that tract, which he continued to operate until 1903, when he retired and removed to Greenfield, where he resided for nearly three years.  He then became a resident of Adair, where he purchased a nice home that he has since occupied, and he is now most comfortably situated in life.

On the 8th of April, 1857, Mr. Cowden was joined in wedlock to Miss Margaret A. Summerville, a daughter of John and Cynthia (Brown) Summerville, who were natives of Pennsylvania and Connecticut respectively.  The father, a wagon maker by trade, worked at that occupation in Pennsylvania throughout his active life, passing away in the Keystone state in October, 1840.  His wife, surviving him for more than six decades, was called to her final rest in April, 1901.  To Mr. and Mrs. Cowden have been born six children, as follows:  David J., a retired agriculturist who is the secretary of the creamery company in Adair, Iowa;  George W., living in Grinnell, this state;  Arthur M., who was accidentally drowned in Omaha in 1894;  Cynthia E., who died in 1866, at the age of fifteen months;  Ella C., who is the widow of A B. Chantry and teaches school in Des Moines;  and Lilly M., who is the widow of John H. McClellan and makes her home near Greenfield.

While living in Guthrie county Mr. Cowden served as justice of the peace and his decisions were always strictly fair and impartial.  There is an interesting military chapter in his life record, for at the time of the Civil war he joined the army as a member of Company F, One Hundred and Fortieth Illinois Infantry, enlisting in Mercer county.  He was sergeant of his company and served for six months.  He is now a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the little bronze button which he wears indicating his faithful service in defense of the Union.  His political indorsement has long been given to the republican party, while his life has been guided by his religious faith as indicated in his membership in the United Presbyterian church.  He is today one of the oldest residents of Adair, where he is highly esteemed and honored because his career has at all times measured up to most commendable standards.

 

 

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