Horton G. Cowan, son of Samuel and Margaret Halsey Cowan, was born on April 13, 1863 in Wythe County, Virginia.

Horton was only three years old at the time his father Samuel Thomas Cowan died. No records have been found to show Horton's whereabouts from the time of his birth until the 1880 census was recorded. In 1880 Horton is living in the home of his older brother Guy T. Cowan.

According to his obituary Horton Cowan was educated in Virginia schools. By the recollections of the descendants of Horton's siblings it is thought that Horton passed his childhood in Virginia.

On April 20, 1896 Horton Cowan married Cora Fowler. According to their marriage record he was age 33, single, born in Wythe County, Virginia, son of Saml. W and Maggie. His wife Cora was age 19, single, born in Tazewell County, Virginia daughter of S. M. and S. E. Fowler. Horton's occupation is listed as loc. Engineer.[1] Cora was born on September 14, 1876 according to the social security death index.

On April 30, 1896 the following wedding announcement was published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, page number unknown.
See image of the wedding announcement.

"At the bymeial altar, at the residence of the bride's father, Mr. S. M. Fowler, of the west end, yesterday evening at 8:30, Mr. Horton Cowan and Miss Cora A. Fowler were happily united in marriage by he Rev. E. S. Bettis. The attendants were Mr. Will Osborne and Miss Rebecca Keeling; Mr. Kelly Osborne and Miss Molly F. Fowler. Mr. Cowan is an engineer on the Gray run. May success attend this happy young couple."

Going backwards in the census records to find full names for the parents of Cora Fowler Cowan the census show Cora and her sister Mollie, their parents names' listed as Thomas G. and Rebecca Fowler. This does not match with the initials on the transcription of the original records in the above reference.

On June 8, 1900 the census for District 79, Bluefield City, Beaver Pond, Mercer County, West Virginia lists Horton Cowan and family living at 117 Bluefield Ave. Head of Household Horton age 37, born in April of 1863, married for four years, occupation railroad engineer; wife Cora, age 22, born in September of 1877, married four years. She is listed as mother of two with only one living at the time the census was recorded. Their daughter Mary M., age 1, born in June of 1878. Also living with the Cowan family is Mollie Fowler, sister-in-law, age 21, born in December of 1878.

On March 6, 1901 the Bluefield Telegraph published the following information in their Personals and Briefs section, page number unknown.
"Miss Mollie Fowler and Mrs. H. Cowan have returned from a visit to friends at Huntington and in Fayette County."

On December 4, 1901 the Bluefield Telegraph published the following information.
"The Ladies Prayer Meeting - Last Tuesday a week ago, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, there were 60 ladies present at these meetings. We hope that there will be full attendance this afternoon at 3 o'clock. Will not the Christian ladies of Bluefield make an effort to spend at least one hour a week in earnest prayer? We believe they will. Take your hymn books and Bibles or New Testaments with you. The meetings this afternoon are as follows; District No1. At the residence of Mrs. Nora Shumate, Rodgers Street, Mrs. G.L. Owens leader No2. At the residence of Mrs. Cora Cowan corner of Allen Street." The list then continues for all of the remaining prayer groups.

The "Record of Train Accidents" entry for July 22, 1907 Pocahontas division, lists L.H. Cowan engineer of locomotive engine #70 accident at Delta Outlet Track[2].

The same record of accidents dated May 31, 1908 lists H. Cowan as the engineer for engine #397 accident caused by insufficient brakes in the Turkey Gap Outlet Station, also in the Pocahontas division.

On May 2, 1910 the census for Mercer County, West Virginia listed the Cowan family living on Highland Avenue. Head of household Horton Cowan, age 47, married once for fourteen years, occupation illegible; wife Alice, age 33, married once for fourteen years, mother of four with one living at the time the census was recorded; daughter, Madeline, age 11.

The 1910-1911 Bluefield Bluebook lists "Cowan Horton, engr (engineer) N & W Ry, res 502 Highland av. The 1912-1913 Bluefield Bluebook lists Cowan Horten engr N& W Ry h 502 Highland av." The 1919-1920 Bluefield Bluebook lists "Cowan Horton (Cora A), engr N & W Ry, h 502 Highland av."

In January of 1920 the census for Bluefield Ward 1, Mercer County shows the family of Horton Cowan living at 502 Highland Avenue. Head of household Horton Cowan, age 55, working as an engineer for the railroad; wife Cora A., age 43, and daughter Helena M. Cowan age 8. Also living with the family is Attie Fowler, niece, age 26, occupation is listed as saleslady at a department store. Both Horton and Cora are listed as born in Virginia. Helena is listed as born in West Virginia.

The Bluefield Bluebook for 1923-1924 lists "Cowan Horton (Cora), eng N & W, h 502 Highland Av." The final listing checked was the 1925-1926 Bluefield Bluebook which reads "Cowan Cora A (wd Horton G) h 702 Highland av." It is not known if Cora moved to 702 Highland Avenue or if this was a typographical error in the Bluebook.

The children of Horton and Cora are:
Arthur Clinton Cowan
Mary Madeline Cowan
Helena M. Cowan

Horton Cowan died on November 10, 1924 in Beaver Pond, Mercer County, West Virginia. His death certificate lists his age as 61 years, 5 months and 27 days old. His date and location of birth is listed as April 13, 1863, Virginia. His occupation was given as a railroader working as an engineer. The cause of death is listed as a brain hemorrhage. His parents are listed as Sam Cowan and Margaret Patterson. His address was given as 502 Highland Ave. He was buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery on November 12, 1924. The informant was Mrs. H. Cowan.[3]
On Tuesday, November 11, 1924 the following obituary was published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, page number unknown.
See image of the newpaper announcment of his death.


Pioneer Bluefield Railroad Man Victim of Brights Disease and Had Been Sufferer for Several Years.

Horton Cowan, aged sixty-one, a pioneer Bluefield railroad man, died late yesterday afternoon at his home, 502 Highland avenue, a victim of Bright's disease. Mr. Cowan has been suffering from the ailment for several years, and his death was not unexpected.
Horton Cowan, after serving the Norfolk and Western Railroad for nearly thirty years, was retired last May, after a stroke of paralysis. He had been a well known resident of Bluefield since 1894, and was an active member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.
The deceased was born at Wytheville, Va., in 1863, educated in Virginia schools, and went into the railroad service early in life. Three years after coming to Bluefield he was married to Miss Cora Fowler, of Tazewell, Va., in the spring of 1896. In 1900 he became a member of the Christian church in this city, and had been very active in its service during the years he had lived in the city.
He is survived by his widow, two daughters; Mrs. J. A. Wallace of Bristol, Tenn., and Miss Billie Cowan, three sisters, Mrs. R. F. Patterson of Huntington; Mrs. T. M. Proffitt of Virginia, and Mrs. JPohn Faulkner, of Five Oaks, Va.
The funeral services will be in charge of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and will be held on Wednesday in the First Christian church, the hour to be announced later. The Rev. P. Hasselvander, pastor of the First Christian church, will conduct the service, assisted by the Rev. Frank Y. Jackson, pastor of Grace Methodist church. Interment will be made in Walnut Grove cemetery.

A listing for Walnut Grove Cemetery shows Horton and wife Cora resting there. Cora's death date is listed as 1970. She was 94 years old. According to the social security death index Cora died in February of 1970. Her birth date is listed as September 14, 1857.

Photographs of Horton and Cora's markers in the Walnut Grove Cemetery are courtesy of Sharon Workman. The family grouping is near a large Cowan marker. Horton's marker is of a design that would indicate that it was made after the time of his death. It is possible that the smaller marker that that no longer bears writing was Horton's original stone.
IMAGES: Cowan Marker, Horton's marker, Cora's marker, & A.C. stone

There is an emblem in the center of Horton's maker that shows that Horton was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Number 448 the organization in Bluefield, West Virginia. The family graves are located near the middle of the cemetery. Coming from the front entrance the graves are located on the right side of the cemetery almost in line with the parking space under a large tree. The Cowan family monument is in the center. Their son, Arthur Clinton Cowan, is marked with a tiny stone bearing only his initials.

The last will and testament of Horton Cowan was entered in the Mercer County, Court. It is located in Will Book 5, page 246.
See image of the will.


I, Horten Cowan, of Bluefield, West Virginia, being of sound and disposing
mind, do hereby make this my last will and testament:

I desire that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid as promptly as
may be following my demise. 

I will bequeath to my daughter, Madeline Cowan Wallace, the sum of Ten

All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personnel
including my residence property on Highland Avenue and my real estate on
Bluefield Avenue, in the City of Bluefield, and all such other property of
whatsoever kind or character and wherever situate, of which I may be seized
or to which I may be entitled at the time of my death, I do hereby devise
and bequeath to my wife, Cora Cowan, to be held, used and enjoyed by her so
long as she shall remain my widow, and to my daughter, Helena Cowan, in fee
simple absolute, upon the death or remarriage of my said wife, Cora Cowan. 

I hereby make, constitute and appoint my wife, Cora Cowan, executrix of
this, my last will and testament, and desire that she may be appointed and
qualified as such without being required to give bond. 

In WITNESS OF ALL WHICH I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal at
Bluefield, West Virginia, on this 6th day of January, 1922. 

Horten Cowan                                    (Seal)


Signed, sealed, published and declared by Horten Cowan as and for his last
will and testament in the presence of us, who, at his request and in his
presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our
names as attesting witnesses on this 6th day of January, 1923.


Luther G. Scott, Bluefield, W.Va.,                

George Richardson, Jr., Bluefield W.Va.



On April 9, 1930 the census for Bluefield, Beaver Pond, Mercer County shows Horton's widow and family living at 702 Highland Ave. Head of household Cora Cowan, age 52, widow, occupation seamstress; daughter, Madeline Wallace, age 31, divorced, occupation stenograph for public works; daughter Billie Cowan, age 19, occupation stenograph for contractor; Jessie Wallace, grandson, age 10, born in Virginia; Bill Wallace grandson, age 7, born in West Virginia. The children are listed with a mother born in West Virginia and father born in Tennessee.

Arthur Clinton Cowan, son of Horton and Cora Fowler Cowan, was born on March 29, 1897 in Mercer County, West Virginia. It is unknown when Arthur Cowan died. He does not appear with his family in the 1900 census record. His mother is recorded as the mother of two with only one living so it can be deduced that he died prior to the census being recorded. He is buried in the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Bluefield, West Virginia with both of his parents. His grave has a simple marker labeled, A. C. as shown.

[1] Hays, Sallie; Mercer County, West Virginia Marriage Book 1 1854 - 1901 published 1995, page 103.
[2] Record of Train Accidents is located in the Eastern Regional Coal Archives at the Craft Memorial Library in Bluefield, West Virginia.
[3] West Virginia Death Certificate - HORTON COWAN