JOHN R. COWAN, a diligent and successful dairy farmer of Brookfield, was born in Madison, Madison County, N.Y., January 30, 1848. His grandfather, John Cowan, a schoolmaster, came to New York from the Eastern States, and settled for life in Brookfield.
The father of our subject knew very little of the pleasures of boyhood; for he was barely seven years old when he was bound out to a Mr. Fuller, of Unadilla Forks, N.Y., where he worked until he was fourteen, at that age returning to Brookfield, and here remaining for some time. Thrown early in life on his own resources, he soon understood that he had to put his own hand to the plough and not look backward, if he wished to make his way in the world. When he was twenty-two years of age, he married Miss Nancy Johnson, and began housekeeping in Madison, staying there for eleven years, but later bought a farm in the town of Brookfield, and resided there permanently. They became the parents of five children--Anna Marie, George, John, Clara, and Irving. The mother is still living, active and healthful, at the age of seventy-six.
John R. Cowan remained at home during boyhood and youth, and in the intervals of attending the district school was trained to agricultural pursuits. When he was
twenty-three years old, he married Miss Abilla Green, by whom he had one child, Arabella, now the wife of Mr. Lee Birch. His first wife dying, July 15, 1872, Mr. Cowan married for his second wife Miss Emma Winchester, daughter of Horatio and Jeannette Winchester, who has become the mother of one son, George E. Cowan. Mr. Cowan has been very successful in his toilsome, painstaking, and thriftful undertakings, having an excellent farm and various appliances essential to convenience and comfort according to modern ideas of agriculture. In addition to the raising of small grain and the usual products of farming, he makes a specialty of dairying, keeping a remarkably fine herd of cows, thirty-one in number.
He sincerely and zealously advocates the principles of the Democratic party, and takes a hearty interest in his town and county affairs. Mr. and Mrs. Cowan are members of the Methodist Episcopal church in good standing. Wide-awake, honest of purpose, persistent in labor, the sturdy husbandmen of Madison County, of whom we have here a representative, stand high in the esteem of their fellow-citizens as it is natural that they should; for
"Honor waits, o'er all the earth,
Through endless generations,
The art that calls her harvest forth,
And feeds the expectant nations."
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