Tarvin Allied Families: The Cowgill Family

by Gary Hoffman

Elisha Cowgill was a neighbor and friend of Rev. George Tarvin in the Cacapon River area of Virginia before the Tarvin migration to Kentucky about 1794. About the same age as George Tarvin, Elisha and his wife Martha Ewing had 12 children, two of whom married children of George Tarvin and Sarah Craycraft. The Cowgill family moved to Kentucky within a couple of years of the Tarvin migration. This sketch describes who the Cowgills were and how their history interrelates to the history of the Tarvins.

ELISHA COWGILL was born 1 Mar 1742 or 1743 in Pennsylvania, the second of seven children of Eleazer Cowgill and Martha Pain. Eleazer was the grandson of Ellen Stackhouse Cowgill (Koogill), a widow who immigrated from England with her five children to Pennsylvania, arriving on the Lamb of Liverpool in October 1682. Along with Ellen and her family were her brother, his family, and other relatives, all Quakers seeking refuge in Penn's Woods. (Apparently, the surname Cowgill was pronounced "coogle" or "coggle.")

Elisha was raised as a Quaker in the Society of Friends religion. He worked as a stone mason but, because he enlisted in the military and worked on the fortification of Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania, he was "read out of unity" with the church in 1761. He married 22 Jan 1767 Martha Ewing at Schuylkill, Pennsylvania. They had twelve children. Shortly after his marriage, he moved to Frederick County in western Virginia (now West Virginia).

Note: According to Cowgill History, nearly all of Elisha's siblings were "read out of unity" with the Quaker faith for infractions ranging from "mou," or marrying out of unity, that is, a non-Quaker, to absconding without paying debts, to fornication and bearing a child out of wedlock.

Land records of Hampshire County contain deeds with the name of Elisha Cowgill. He bought 110 acres from John Demoss, a Dunker. The transaction was witnessed by Levi Matthew, George Tarvin, Elisha Cowgill, and John S. Lerue. Elisha Cowgill was also a witness to a land transaction between Luke Hass to Abraham Hass. George Tarvin was also a witness on this deed. It is difficult to determine which Elisha Cowgill is which, as Elisha's son Elisha was 21 years old in 1794 and could have witnessed his father's transactions. Or perhaps it was the other way around.

According to Dr. Emmert F. Bittinger, several families of Cowgills were listed in the index to the Hopewell Friends Meeting during this period, so apparently many still fellowshipped with the Quakers. See Allegheny Passage, p. 56.

About 1797, Elisha moved his family to Kentucky. He later moved to Ohio. He died 23 Oct 1804 near Chillicothe, Ohio, where he is buried.

Information about Elisha Cowgill and his family from the book, Cowgill History Genealogical Research, compiled by Beatrice Eleanora Cowgill and edited by Parker John Cowgill, published by Gateway Press, Inc, Baltimore, Maryland, 1986.

MARTHA EWING was born 6 Aug 1745, the daughter of Alexander Ewing, apparently the famous English engineer who built Fort Pitt in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Schuylkill Mills along the Schuylkill River. She died 26 Jan 1834, probably in Ohio.

Children of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing:
EC1 RACHEL COWGILL (1767)
EC2 EWING COGILL (1769)
EC3 MARTHA COWGILL (1771)
EC4 ELISHA COWGILL (1773)
EC5 JOHN COWGILL (1775)
EC6 ELEAZER COWGILL (1776)
EC7 MARTHA COWGILL (1779)
EC8 HENRY COWGILL (1782)
EC9 ALEXANDER COWGILL (1784)
EC10 ANN COWGILL (1786)
EC11 ABNER COWGILL (1789)
EC12 HANNAH COWGILL (1793)

Note: this numbering follows the Tarvin system, but with the prefix EC for Elisha Cowgill.

EC1 RACHEL COWGILL was born 2 Nov 1767 in Frederick Co., Virginia, the first child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. She married Jacob Kerns, Jr., son of Jacob and Sarah Kerns. They had nine children which they raised in the Frederick Co. area of Virginia, now West Virginia.

EC2 EWING COWGILL was born 22 Jul 1769 in Pennsylvania, the second child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. He married about 1789 Susanna Buzzard in Hampshire Co., Virginia. They had eleven children. He married second Rachel ________. He died about 1841 at Cold Stream, Hampshire Co., Virginia.

EC3 MARTHA COWGILL was born about 1771, the third child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing, and died in infancy.

EC4 ELISHA COWGILL was born 14 Feb 1773, the fourth child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. He married 18 Mar 1794 5 Ann Stanton Tarvin. They had sixteen children. They apparently moved first to Kentucky and then to Indiana. He died 10 Sep 1855 in Greencastle, Putnam Co., Indiana, and is buried in the old Greencastle Cemetery, Greencastle, Indiana.

5 ANN STANTON TARVIN, known as Nancy, was born 1777 in Frederick Co., Virginia, the fifth child of Reverend George Tarvin and Sarah Craycraft. She died 4 Jun 1839 and is buried in the old Greencastle Cemetery, Greencastle, Indiana.

Note: A book detailing the descendants of Elisha Cowgill and Ann Stanton Tarvin is planned to be published by the Tarvin Family Association, Book 5 in a series. The Tarvin Online Database is accumulating family information for this forthcoming book.

EC5 JOHN COWGILL was born 8 Mar 1775 in Virginia, the fifth child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. He married 5 Mar 1793 Hannah Buzzard. They had twelve children. He moved to Davidson Co., Tennesee. He served in the War of 1812.

EC6 ELEAZER COWGILL was born 7 Nov 1776 in Virginia, the sixth child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. He apparently moved with his parents to Kentucky. He married 10 Dec 1797 Jane MacFarland in Mason Co., Kentucky. They had ten children. He apparently moved soon after his marriage to Ohio as all his children were born in Ohio. He died 7 Jul 1863 in Ross Co., Ohio.

JANE MACFARLANE was born 1780 in New Hampshire, the daughter of Samuel MacFarlane. She died 13 Oct 1854 in Ross Co., Ohio.

EC7 MARTHA COWGILL was born 15 Jan 1779 in Virginia, the seventh child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. She moved about 1797 with her parents to Kentucky. She married 27 Jun 1799 3 Joseph C. Tarvin in Mason Co., Kentucky. The ceremony was solemnized by Reverend George Tarvin. They had twelve children. She died 3 May 1847 and is buried in plot 38 of the Tarvin-Moore Cemetery, Campbell Co., Kentucky.

3 JOSEPH C. TARVIN was born 16 Jan 1773 in Hampshire Co., Virginia, the third child of Reverend George Tarvin and Sarah Craycraft. He died 3 May 1847 in Campbell Co., Kentucky, and is buried in the Tarvin-Moore Cemetery, Campbell Co., Kentucky.

Note: A book detailing the descendants of Joseph C. Tarvin and Martha Cowgill was published by the Tarvin Family Association in 2003, the Line 3 Book.

EC8 HENRY COWGILL was born 5 Jan 1782 in Virginia, the eighth child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. He married first _________, who died before the 1820 census. He married second 29 Aug 1822 Sally Price. They had several children.

EC9 ALEXANDER COWGILL was born 9 Feb 1784 in Virginia, the ninth child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. He married 12 Jan 1804 Mary W. Crow. They had ten children. He served in the Ohio Rangers during the War of 1812. He died 21 Aug 1865 in Union Co., Ohio.

EC10 ANN COWGILL was born 3 Oct 1786 in Virginia, the tenth child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. She died 31 Jul 1828.

EC11 ABNER COWGILL was born 4 May 1789 in Virginia, the eleventh child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. He married 8 Mar 1808 Nancy Earhardt. They had several children. He served in the Tennessee Militia during the War of 1812. He died 3 Aug 1824 in Davidson Co., Tennessee.

EC12 HANNAH COWGILL was born 9 Aug 1793 in Virginia, the twelfth child of Elisha Cowgill and Martha Ewing. She married 2 Jul 1816 Benjamin Chestnut Swan, his second wife. They had six children and she raised three of her husband's children by his first wife. She died 17 Oct 1857 and is buried at Carthage, Illinois.



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Last Updated: 17 Nov 2012 21:37 PST