Biography - John W. Cowle

JOHN W. COWLE, who is part proprietor of the Moweaqua Mill, Shelby County, is a capable and enterprising business man, and is contributing his meed toward sustaining and extending the material prosperity of this, his native State. He was born in Macoupin County, September 6, 1843, and is a son of Daniel Cowle, who was for many years before his death identified with the agricultural interests of Illinois, the latter part of his life carrying on his farming operations in this county.

Daniel Cowle was born on the Isle of Man, where his father, whose given name was Charles, had inherited a large farm, which was his home throughout his life. He reared three sons and one daughter, Daniel being the only member of the family that ever came to this country. He was reared and educated in the home of his birth, receiving a thorough drilling in all things that pertain to farming, and at the age of twenty-five he went out into the world to see what life held for him elsewhere. He made his way to the United Slates, and for awhile lived in the State of New York, and was also a resident of New Jersey for some years. We next hear of him in Connecticut, whence he went to Virginia, and from that State he came to Illinois in 1841, coming by the way of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. He located among the pioneers of Macoupin County, and for a time lived near Bunker Hill. He then went to Madison County and bought land ten miles north of Edwardsville, and devoted himself sedulously to farming in that locality for several years. In 1865 he came to Shelby County, and settled in that part of Pickaway now included in Penn Township, where he bought a tract of wild prairie, which in time he developed into a productive farm, and there death claimed him in 1878, and his township was deprived of a most worthy citizen. He was a sincere Christian, and led a life of unswerving integrity. He was reared in the Episcopal Church, but later in life he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and ever remained true to that faith.

Mr. Cowle was married in New Haven, Conn., in 1835, to Miss Rosanna Fanning, who survives him, and still occupies the old home in Penn Township. She is a good woman, and a faithful member of the Christian Church. She was born in Patterson County, N. J., to John and Catherine Fanning, who dying when she was young, left her an orphan, and she was cared for by her older sisters until her marriage. She has reared nine children, of whom these six have been spared to comfort her old age: Charles; Harriet, the wife of George Goodwin; John W.; George; Louisa J., the widow of Lewis Cooper, and Fanny, the wife of James Vangundy.

Our subject passed his boyhood in Madison County, and received his education in the public schools. He came to this county with his parents, continued to make his home with them, and after his father's death he superintended the farm until 1881. In that year he went to Nebraska and spent a few months in that State. Returning to this county, he resumed farming on the old homestead, and was thus employed until 1890, when he bought an interest in the Moweaqua Mill, and has since devoted himself to its management. This mill is well equipped with first-class machinery and under our subject's supervision a fine grade of flour is manufactured, that finds a ready market and commands a good price.

Mr. Cowle and Miss Mary E. Hanna united their lives and fortunes in 1879 in a marriage thai has been a union of mutual felicity, and their pleasant home circle is completed by the five children born to them, named as follows: Willie, George, Maud, Florence and Fred. Mrs. Cowle was born in County Derry, Ireland, and is a daughter of David and Isabella (Thompson) Hanna, also natives of that county. They were industrious, virtuous, upright people, and faithful members of the Presbyterian Church. In 1851 they left their old home, and crossing the water to this country, settled in Philadelphia, where they died a few years later, the mother in November, 1859, and the father in January, 1860, leaving two children. Mrs. Cowle and her brother William, the latter of whom is now dead.

Mr. and Mrs. Cowle are members in high standing of the Presbyterian Church. Their social position is among our best people, and Mr. Cowle is known in business circles as an honorable, straightforward, square-dealing man.

Extracted 17 Dec 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 568-569.

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