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The surname COWSERT may come from the French word COUSER, which means shoe-er of horses (Ron Wilson). I have also heard that it may have been derived from the French word cosse, which means pod, such as found in beans and peas. Cossard or cossaert, would be used to describe one who was a trader or vendor of these foods (Hershel Cowsert).


(NOTE: Results of recent DNA testing seems to indicate that the Cozzarts and the Cousars are NOT genetically related to the Cowsert line. At least not within the past 100 generations or so.)

Some genealogists insist that the Cowserts have a French origin, claiming they were protestants who were forced to flee their homeland when the Catholics came into power. That they went to Belgium and Holland and then to the United States.

Others feel that the Cowserts came to Ireland in the 1600s from Scotland.

It does seem that no one has provided any proof or documentation to sustain either of these theories.

Three different Cowsert lines are found in America during the late 1700's ... Virginia, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Some Cowserts went to Illinois, some to Mississippi, and one branch went to Missouri and then on to Texas. (Ron Wilson and Robert P. Cowsert)

In the 1790 census of Chester County, in the Camden District, there is a Thomas Cowser residing, apparently, right next to John Cowser (5 males under age 16, 4 free white females, no males over age 16 except Head of Household). This John Cowser is undoubtedly related to Thomas, but the relationship is not clear. Brother or uncle, probably. Thomas is listed as the head of the household and there are no other males over the age of 16 residing there. There are three males under the age of 16 and four free, white females. These figures coincide nicely with the family of Thomas & Agnes and their eight children, assuming two were born after 1790, which it is believed is true. There is also another person in the household listed under "All Other Free."

Another entry lists "Widow Cowser" as Head of Household with 5 free white females and one slave.

There are eight entries for the surname "Cousart," including Jno, Nath, two for Jas, David, Thos, Benjn, and Arch. These Cousarts lived in the same county, but were not apparently close neighbors of the "Cowsers."


It is believed that Thomas emigrated from Ireland (possibly Armagh County, south of Belfast), about 1790, when George Washington was President of the United States. Thomas arrived with his wife Agnes and at least two sons: James and Thomas. Some believe that all of Thomas and Agnes' children were born before their arrival in the United States. Other children born to Thomas and Agnes are listed in the Chester County, South Carolina probate records as: Mary, John, Eleanor, Nancy, Robert, and Grissy (sometimes Grissie, Gussie, or even Gracie).

Thomas Cowsert bought 100 acres lying on Turkey Creek in a deed dated 12 January 1791 from William Worthy. The land was part of a grant to David Hopkins by the King's representative.

In Thomas Sr.'s will (probated 6 Sep 1797), he left to Agnes, "... during her natural life or widowhood, all my whole estate, Real & Personal. If she should marry, estate goes to Children." If the estate went to the children, it was to be divided as follows: "Mary, John, Eleanor: these three to share 1/4 except land; James, Nancy, Thomas, Robert, and Grissey, to share 3/4 except land. The whole track of land whereon I now live goes to Son Robert Cowsert to Possess on Death or Marriage of his Mother; provisions for schooling of above five children (James through Gussey) to Learn Reading, Writing and common Arithmetic."

The 100 or so acres lying on Turkey Creek that Thomas bought in 1791 was sold by Agnes after Thomas' death (6 Sep 1797) to Thomas Ingram in 1807. She then bought another 100 acres on Sandy River from Joseph Boyd, but later sold this land to Andrew Crawford in 1811. At that time, Agnes and her family were living in Livingston County, KY.

While living in KY, Thomas and Agnes' daughter Grissey married Richard Fulkerson, Jr. (See Consent signed by Agnes Cowsert.) They had sons, James, Thomas, and Richard, and daughters, Eleanor, Nancy, and Susannah. For a incredibly detailed Fulkerson genealogy site, click here (then come right back!). After Richard's death, Grissey married William Brown, born in Pittsburg, PA. It is said that William ran a keelboat on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Grissey and William had four daughters and three sons, Mary, Margaret, William, Sarah, Lucinda, Henry, and Charles.

Thomas and Agnes' daughter Nancy married George Hamilton and their daughter, Eleanor, married John Hamilton, apparently George's brother; their son, James, married Elizabeth Hamilton. Daughter, Mary, was married to John Madden.

During the time these early Cowserts lived in South Carolina, the Bill of Rights was adopted, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, Louisiana was purchased, and Napoleon was crowned Emperor.

In about 1813, Thomas, Jr., James and Robert moved across the Ohio River into southern Illinois to Pope County, which later became the new County of Hardin. If you have never been to this part of the country (as I have not), treat yourself right now to a description and remembrance of Hardin County as related by Roger Barnes.

John Cowsert stayed in Livingston County. He is on the tax rolls there for 1817, 1818, 1819 and 1820. He is also on the 1810 and 1820 census. As a boy back in South Carolina, John, through his brother-in-law John Madden, filed suit against two young men who had battered him by biting him on the ear. (Louise Crowder Collection, University of SC, The South Caroliniana Library.)

The "Historical sketch of Hardin County, Illinois," published in 1876 states: "The settlement [of Illinois] was considerably augmented in the years between 1810 and 1820, by emigrants from South Carolina, New York and the New England States; prominent among the newcomers were James Steele, Thomas COWSERT ..." This Thomas Cowsert, son of Thomas Sr. and Agnes Jones, was the first Justice of the Peace in what would later become Hardin County and was the official in charge at several marriage ceremonies of his Cowsert kinfolk, including those of his nephews Matthew Cowsert to Jane Parkerson and Samuel Cowsert to Hannah Shelby. In History of Hardin County, Illinois by Ruby Franklin Hall, it is noted: "The Bill passed by the State Legislature in 1839, taking the eastern part of Pope County and forming Hardin County, also stated that an election would be called by the oldest Justice of the Peace in the New County for the purpose of electing three County Commissioners. The first election was held April 11, 1840, under the supervision of Justice of the Peace Thomas Cowsert. The three County Commissioners elected were James Steel, Thomas Cowsert, and a James Whitesides." (Click here to view monument erected in their honor.) Thomas was married first to Christine Caldwell (5 children), then Polly McMurphy (6 children) [Robert P. Cowsert].

There is a tale told of a Cowsert who was shot while deer hunting. This Cowsert may be the father of John Hamilton Cowsert. The story continues that John Hamilton was taken by his mother back to "where they came from," but that when John Hamilton was an adult, he returned to the same area in Illinois where he had lived before the death of his father. It may be that John Hamilton's father was the younger brother Robert and that is why there is no more mention of him in any records found to date. On the other hand, it is the belief of researcher Robert P. Cowsert that John Hamilton could be the son of James and Elizabeth, whose maiden name was Hamilton. Although the descendents of John Hamilton Cowsert have been pretty clearly defined, it is not really known who his parents were.


James married Elizabeth Hamilton who was born about 1780 in Ireland, according to the 1870 census. Two of James' sisters have also married Hamilton family members. Elizabeth Hamilton Cowsert was still alive in 1870 when the Federal Census showed her living with her daughter's family in Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Illinois.)

According to James' naturalization papers (1806), he immigrated to the U.S. in about 1790. (View transcript of James' Petition for Naturalization.) In a deposition given by James on September 6, 1820 (regarding a contested election), when asked if he is a native of Ireland, he answers: "I expect that I am, tho I don't recollect very much of it."

James' brother Thomas was also deposed in this same investigation and was asked: "Were you born in America or Ireland?" He answered: "I have heard that I was born in Ireland. I don't know." When asked "How old were you when you came into the United States and how old are you now?", Thomas answers: "I was not over 12 months old and I am now raising thirty years of age and I volunteered six months in the service of the United States in the last war under General Hopkins and also I was drafted to go with General Jackson but got a substitute and paid him $100 to go in my place." (Naturalization records and depositions researched and collected by Robert P. Cowsert)

James and Elizabeth married some time prior to 1809, that being the date their first son, Thomas, was born. Thomas married Jane PARKINSON (April 5, 1829). I have found a man I believe to be this Thomas in the 1830 Federal Census. These early Census documents provide only the name of the head of household and age ranges within the household. This Thomas is listed as being between 20 and 29 years of age, which he would be in 1830. Also residing in the household is a female in the same age range, which could be his wife, Jane.

Another child born to James and Elizabeth was son George Washington. (George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were very popular names in this time period.) George was born in 1813. Since George is the sibling whose line I will detail, let me come back to George after introducing the rest of his siblings.

Another son, Samuel, was born in 1815. Samuel married Hannah SHELBY on December 24, 1834 in Pope County, Illinois. It appears Samuel died young because just six years later, in the 1840 Federal Census, Hannah Cowsert is a widow, living with her young son whose age is between 1 and 4 years in Pope County, Illinois.

Another child of James and Elizabeth was Matthew, born in 1817. Matthew married Margaret PARKINSON, daughter of Alexander and Mary) on September 8, 1833 in Pope County, Illinois. Margaret was born about 1817 in South Carolina. Matthew and Margaret had a daughter, Lucretia, who married William B. ASHFORD. (Christine J. Coddington) In the 1850 Federal Census, Margaret Cowsert, age 34, is listed as the head of household, with her children Lucretia, age 14, James, 13, Thomas, 11, and Mary E., age 8. Information received through the Pope County Clerk's office indicates that Margaret died at the age of 63 years on August 15, 1880 and was buried in Rosiclare precinct. Coincidentally, on this exact same day, her grandnephew, and my grandfather, Richard Andrew Cowsert, was born!

Son James was born in 1819. He married Mahalia ASHFORD about 1841. James and Mahalia had five children: Julia Ann, Elizabeth Jane, Thomas Taylor, Josephine and Emmy. (Laurie Carlson) James served in the Civil War (Co. B, 131st infantry) and died in 1862 while in service. Prior to his death, Mahalia had divorced James. She later claimed survivor's benefits for the children. I have the pension application file for James Cowsert if anyone is interested in this line of the Cowserts.

A daughter, Jane, was born to James and Elizabeth on October 12, 1824. Jane married John Carroll ASHFORD (brother of William B. Ashford) and had children: Thomas Newton, Elizabeth, Anne E., Juliett, William Franklin, James M., Joseph Lee, and Minerva. Per the 1860 Federal Census, Jane's mother and James' widow, Elizabeth, age 78, was living with Jane and her husband. The census lists her as "infirm." Jane Cowsert Ashford died September 25, 1903 in Hardin County, Illinois. (Laurie Carlson)

Another daughter, Mary, was born to James and Elizabeth. The Pope County marriage book lists Mary Cowsert, daughter of James, married Joseph Skiles on 8 Mar 1841. They had children: Elizabeth, Sara, Martha (who married George Aplin), Mary, William, Amanda, James, and Franklin. I have read that Mary Cowsert Skiles died in childbirth at the birth of her third daughter, but it appears she had five more children after that particular birth.

Our forefather, James Cowsert, appears to have been a bit of a rascal. In 1826, he showed up in court records as having been charged with assault and battery and another time when being sued for slander. (Pope County Court Records, researched and collected by Robert P. Cowsert)

James died October 28, 1832, in Pope County, Illinois, according to Probate Book B, pg. 34-35, 82-85. His estate was probated in 1833. According to a sale bill of the property of James Cowsert, his wife, Elizabeth, bought back much of the furniture and household items and his sons, Thomas and Matthew bought much of his livestock.

While James and Elizabeth were raising their family in southern Illinois, the United States purchased Florida from Spain, the Erie Canal opened, the Monroe Doctrine was adopted, Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon died, and a U.S. Patent was given to William B. Burt for the first typewriter.


James and Elizabeth's second child, George Washington (apparently known as "Wash"), and Malinda ASHFORD were married on March 12, 1833 in Pope Co., Illinois, by Charles H. Clay, M.G. They had a son, Hiram Daniel, born in 1834. On 4 Feb. 1855, Hiram married America Wallace, born in 1836. Hiram and America had three children: Newton A., b. 1857, Mary J., b. 1862, and William, b. 1866.

Malinda and Wash had a second son, named for his father, George Washington Cowsert, in about 1840. This son married Mary E. Williams and they had a son, Jessie B. Cowsert, born June 26, 1872. Mary died in 1891 and in 1892, George married for a second time ... this time to a "cousin," Alice Elizabeth Cowsert, daughter of John Burton Cowsert and Lydia Twitchell. They had children Roy, James, Della Mae who married Clyde Stone, Lydia and Arnold.

This son George served in the civil war as a Sergeant in Company G of the 6th Regiment, Cavalry. The 6th and 7th Cavalry Regiments participated in a most interesting campaign of the Civil War as certain of their group were known as the "Butternut Guerillas" and took part in a Union Cavalry raid that traversed the length of the Mississippi River and aided in the capture of Vicksburg, that raid being known as "Grierson's Raid." [The Butternut Guerillas, by Larry D. Underwood, published by Dageforde Publishing, 1994.] George died 11 Aug 1911 and is buried in the Stone Church Cemetery in Hardin County. (Photo of church) (Photo of son George's gravestone)

Malinda Ashford Cowsert died sometime after giving birth to George in about 1840 and prior to 1845, when Wash's next child is born. After the death of his first wife, Wash married Sarah SOWARD, born in 1819, probably in Ohio. On July 24, 1857, Wash deeded 80 acres of land in Pope County to Hiram "for the sum of one dollar" and "in consideration of the natural love and affection which I bear to my son." Hiram and his family were apparently already living on this property and now it became officially his. Sarah Soward Cowsert, Hiram's stepmother, also signed, attesting that she relinquished her dower and claim to this land.

Wash and Sarah's first child was Atwell. Atwell's birthdate is unknown. In the 1800 Federal Census, it was listed as October 1850. In another source it is 1851. His war records gives his birthdate as October 16, 1845. His death certificate gives birth date as October 16, 1846. However, in his Pension Records, Atwell himself admits that his "birth records were destroyed" and that he has no way of knowing his date of birth. The date he enlisted in the army is August 11, 1864. If Atwell was 18 at that time, his year of birth would be 1845. However, in the 1870 census, his age is give as 19, indicating he aged just one year from 1864 to 1870. If the birthdate of 1850, which Atwell basically used for the rest of his life, is correct, he was a mere boy of 14 when he became a Union soldier.

Since Atwell is the ancestor in my direct line, I'll enumerate the rest of the family before going forward with him.

Wash and Sarah next have a son, Greene, b. 1853 d. 1908. According to the 1880 Federal Census, Greene married Sarah Catherine Rose, b. 1857 d. 1891. Their children are: Charles Henry, Jerry Ellsworth, Oscar Otto, Alice, James Oliver, Katherine, and Harry Herbert.

Third born was a daughter, Priscilla/Percilla, born in 1855. It appears that she married Reese Shelby.

Next child of Wash and Sarah was Evaline, born in 1857. Evaline married John Wesley BLISS in 1875. Their children were: Helen Gertrude, Adelia Josephine, and Richard Patrick. (Laurie Carlson)

Fifth child was another daughter, Orpha, born in 1861.

George Washington Cowsert was a veteran of the Black Hawk Wars of 1831-32. He was mustered into service on May 15, 1832 and served until August 13, 1832. He was a Private in the Second Regiment, First Brigade of the Third Army of the Mounted Volunteers of Illinois. He served in the Company of Captain Charles Dunn. George's brother, Samuel, also served in the Black Hawk war. You can view the list of men who served in war. Use your browser's "find" function to search for Cowsert. Note that Wash's brother Samuel has a misspelled last name. You can see a statue of Black Hawk by clicking here. Wash is buried in the Soward Cemetery in Illinois. (gravestone) (Robert P. Cowsert and Collections of the Illinois State Historical Society)

George Washington Cowsert died some time between 1860 and 1870 when he was between 47 and 57 years of age. In the 1870 Federal Census, Wash's wife, Sarah, was living in Hardin County with her children: Atwell, 19, Greene, 17, Percilla, 15, Evaline, 13, and Orpha 9. In this census, Sarah is listed as being born in Ohio.

While Wash and Sarah were raising their family in southern Illinois, Mark Twain was born, the Battle of the Alamo took place in Texas, Victoria was Queen of England, Morse patented both the telegraph and his code, and classics by Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Dickens (Tale of Two Cities, and Darwin (Origin of the Species) were published; the Civil War, of course, took place during this time and shortly thereafter, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.


Wash and Sarah's first child, Atwell, and Margaret Elizabeth RODGERS were married on November 22, 1874 in Pope County, Illinois, by the Rev. John Blanchard.

Lizzie, as she was called in the 1880 Federal Census, was born in 1856 in Illinois, per the same Census. The census notes that Atwell is by occupation a farm laborer. Also noted on this same census was a one-year-old son, William P., born in 1879. Pension records of Atwell indicate William's middle name to be "Paukney." Ten years before, in the 1870 census, I found 20-year old William Paukney in neighboring Cave-in-Rock with his wife and their 1-year old child. It may be that Atwell named his first son after this young man. It is also possible that Atwell's friend had died since he does not show up in the 1880 census. Of course, he may have merely moved to another state.

Recently, I acquired William's Social Security application. In it, William says his middle name is "Pink." This could be merely a nickname. He also lists his date of birth as 12 Sep 1879, but current Social Security records list the year as 1878. It is likely that William erred when giving his year of birth as 1879 would make him a mere 11 months older than the next child. Will lists his father as "Atll Cousrt dead" and mother as "Margerett Rodgers dead." He spells his own last name as "Cousert," but again, Social Security records have it listed as "Cowsert." At the age of 59 when making his application for Social Security, it lists his place of residence as "Fairview Box 345, El Dorado, Ill." This would place him in Saline County in 1937. SS records give his date of death as 15 Sep 1966, making him 88 years of age.

Second born, on August 15, 1880, was Richard Andrew. Since Richard Andrew is my grandfather, I will continue with his siblings before returning to his history.

Third born, in January 1883, was Thomas Franklin. According to oral family history, either Will or Frank left home and emigrated to Texas. However, I have located Frank in the 1910 census still living in Saline County, Illinois and as William turns up there as well, I wonder whether it might have been yet another brother who moved to Texas as a young man.

In 1910, Frank was living in Eagle Creek Township, Gallatin County, with his wife, Nora, and sons Charles F. and William Taft, and daughter Anna M. In 1920, the census shows them living in Mountain Township, in Saline County, and they have had several more children, all sons: Calvin E., Cecil R., Oscar C., and Dawsey. Nora's parents are J.C. MITCHELL and Mary J. Irvin. Frank and Nora were married on February 23, 1902 in Saline County, Illinois. Altogether, they had eight children: Charles F., Anna Mae, William Taft, Calvin Ezekiel, Cecil Aubrey James, Oscar Carsel, Dawsey Temple Obidil, and Agnes.

I've recently had the good fortune to meet two of Frank and Nora's descendants: Thomas Franklin Cowsert, son of Cecil Aubrey James Cowsert, and Donald Wick, grandson of Dawsey Temple Obidil Cowsert. Tom relayed to me that after Nora died, Frank married a "mail-order bride." It was said this second wife was mean to the kids as well as Frank. She had been married several times before and was widowed each time. One day, it was necessary for her to travel to St. Louis to conduct some business related to a former husband. Tom says that Frank put his wife on the train and then immediately headed for the lawyer's office where he filed for divorce. I get the impression that Frank was perhaps a little frightened of this woman. I'm sure the children were relieved that their stepmother would not be coming back.

Fourth born, on January 3, 1885, was Mary Alice. According to Atwell's pension records, Mary Alice had a twin sibling who died at birth and Mary herself apparently died prior to the year 1915. In a pension application dated April 8, 1915, Mary Alice is listed as having died. Mary Alice was married on November 27, 1907 in Dorrisville, Saline County, to James A. CARR, son of James Carr and Bertha Casick. (Barbara Crain)

Fifth born was a son, Hiram Daniel, born about 1886. According to the Mortality Schedule of 1888, Hiram D. Cowsert, age 1 year, died from "Cholera Infantum." Atwell's older half brother was named Hiram Daniel, so this son was probably named for him.

Next was a daughter named Annie, who was born on February 7, 1888.

In 1890, another child was born dead. This was probably the last child Atwell and Lizzie had together. Lizzie died Feb 02, 1891.

During the time Atwell and Lizzie's children were being born, President Garfield was shot, and construction was begun on the Panama Canal; Pasteur invented his treatment for rabies, and the Statue of Liberty was unveiled.

After Lizzie's death in 1891, Atwell married again on September 10, 1891. Julia Ann STORY was only 23 years of age (Atwell was 44 according to the license but may actually have been 46). This is a first marriage for Julia. She was born in Hardin County, Illinois. Her father was Efram STORY from Illinois and her mother was Caroline WELLAFORD, born in Kentucky. They were married by Justice of the Peace James M. Griffith. (Hardin County Marriage Records.) I found Julia's family in the 1880 Pope County Census. Julia was the fourth of 9 children and only 11 years old at the time. Atwell, on the other hand, was about 35 years old, married and has a year-old child.

Atwell and Julia had two son: one named Atwell born in May 1897 and one named John Henry, born September 11, 1890.

According to one source (Descendants of Thomas SOWARD, Family Tree Maker, User Home Page), William's first wife was Elizabeth Cowsert, born about 1861 and died 23 April 1881. She seems to be the one related to young Atwell in some way, but I have not yet found the connection.

In January 1900, Atwell and his family were living in Harrisburg, Saline County, Illinois. In the January 5th, 1900 edition of the Saline County Register (Vol. 31, #23), for the town of Derby, is the following report: "Mrs. Cousert is on the sick list. Frank Cousert spend Xmas with his best girl. Ask Mary Cousert where she spent Christmas. Bill Cousert has returned from Miss Banks; but is going back right away. Bill is a good old boy." (Provided by Colette Steele from newspaper abstracts)

According to Atwell's pension records, Julia died about May 1900. However, Hardin County marriage records show that on November 16, 1899 Atwell married Wilda Alice SOWARD (nee Banks). Wilda was born April 7, 1873 to Elijah BANKS and Louise Rose GRAHAM, in Hardin County, Illinois. She had a brother, Earl, and a sister, Luella. Wilda's previous husband was William A. SOWARD (son of Andrew Soward and Jerusha Clary).

It's not clear how Atwell could have been married to both Julia and Wilda, but I've discovered there are a lot of things about Atwell that defy logic!

The 1900 census lists Wilda as Atwell's wife of less than one year. It says she has given birth to four children, three of whom are living in Atwell's household at the time of that census: Vergie Soward, born in June of 1892, Verba Soward, born December 1893, and Jerusia Soward, born in January of 1898. Wilda and Willie had two other children: Maria and Virgil. [Wilda's granddaughter said that Maria died before the age of 5 and Virgil died before one year of age. It is not known when they were born.]

Atwell says in his pension records that he and Wilda divorced in about 1902 but that they had one child together, Ida Ethel Cowsert, born about December 1900. Although it was not unusual for a husband (or wife) to quickly remarry after the death of a spouse, I believe that Atwell may have gotten some dates confused when he was relaying this information (questionnaire to Bureau of Pensions, dated April 8, 1915). Wilda died in 1911.

Atwell's pension records show that he applied for and received a disability pension (1887) for his service in the Civil War. He continued to receive partial disability for the rest of his life.

Please follow this link to view Atwell's Civil War Pension records.

And this one to view Atwell's Voluntary Enlistment document.

According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, Clyde L. Choate Mental Health and Development Center's medical records, Atwell Cowsert was admitted to that facility (then called Anna State Hospital) on November 10, 1902 at the age of 52 (but is probably 57) from Hardin County, Illinois. He is listed as divorced and his religion as Baptist. The record states that he had a head injury several years prior to this admission and states he was knocked down by a bomb shell in the war of 1861. He was discharged from this facility on January 1, 1905. He was admitted a second time on April 15, 1905 from Hardin County. He was paroled to his son, Frank Cowsert, Derby, Illinois on August 6, 1913 as "his mind improved" and he was given an absolute discharge on November 6, 1913. I wonder if Atwell might have suffered from shell shock or what is today called post-traumatic stress syndrome.

After almost three years of searching for Atwell's death record in Illinois, a tip from Don Wick's mother clued me in: Atwell died in Missouri, not Illinois. According to his recently-acquired death certificate, Atwell died on September 12, 1919 in Bernie, Missouri of "acute paralysis." Also living in Bernie at that time is Atwell's son, Thomas Franklin and it is he who gave the death certificate information. Other son, Richard, is living nearly in Ash Hill. According to the certificate, Atwell was buried at "Bethany." At this time, it appears that this cemetery is about 20 or so miles away, in Butler County (but only about 4 miles from son Richard in Ash Hill) and, according to one researcher, "is up on a hill, behind the Bethany Church." I owe a big "Thank You" to Mary Hudson, County Coordinator of Butler and Stoddard (among others) and her list members (especially Mary Collins) who helped track this cemetery and place it in Butler County.

The death certificate lists Atwell's birthday as 16 Oct 1846 and his age at death as 72 years, 10 months, 26 days.


Per the 1900 census, Atwell's son and my grandfather, Richard Andrew, is living with his father who is 49 years of age. Richard is 19. Also living in Atwell's household are Wilda (26)and her children, and Richard's siblings (Thomas) Frank(lin) (age 17), John (age 9), Mary (age 15), and Atwell (age 4). Atwell, Richard, and Frank are "Farm Laborers."

Some time between 1900 and 1910, Richard moved to Arkansas. I found Richard in the 1910 Census living in St. Francis, Clay County, Arkansas. According to information provided in this census, living in his household are his wife Wilda, and two of Wilda's daughters, Vergie and Verbie, ages 18 and 16. Jerusia, the baby, has possibly died as she is not listed as living with the household. Richard and Wilda have two daughters of their own: Ethel, age 9 (b. 1900) [Ethel is listed as Atwell's child with Wilda in his pension application records] and Margie, only 1 year old. Richard is farming rented land. (The 9-year-old Ethel in this census record grows up to marry John Doggett of Missouri and is the mother of three boys, Roy, Ray, and Arviel. In a tragic story related to me by my aunt Elzida, Ethel was pregnant with twins in 1926 when she was helping her father-in-law start his crank-operated Model T. In an unfortunate accident, the car lurched forward and Ethel, being pregnant, was unable to move out of the way and she was struck by the car. A short time later, she went into premature labor. Neither the twins nor Ethel survived. They are buried in Globe, Gila County, Arizona. Ethel's obituary )

Richard's wife, Wilda, died in 1911, apparently while living in Arkansas.

Some time after 1910, Richard moved to Missouri. There he met and wed Bertha NATION in 1913 (daughter of Henry Clay Nation and Frances Elizabeth MORROW). In the 1920 Federal census, Richard and Betha are living in Ash Hill, Butler County, Missouri. Forty-one year old Richard, his 26-year old wife, Bertha, are farming rented land. Living in the household with them are daughters Elenora, age 5, and Leora, age 3, and son Omer (Raymond), age 1.

Richard's daughters from his marriage with Wilda are not listed as living in the household. However, I find a listing in the 1920 index for an 11-year-old Margie Cowsert living with her brother-in-law Willis J. Scott. This is Verba Soward's husband. The other daughter of Wilda and Willie Soward, Vergie, died in the flu epidemic in 1919, according to her niece, Pauline Phillips. Although, sadly, many of Wilda's children died young, Wilda's daughter, Marjorie (Margie) lived to be 81 years of age.

By 1924, Richard and Bertha have had two more children, Elzida, b. 2 Feb 1921 and Dorothy, b. 27 Nov 1922. In about 1924, they moved from the mid west to California. In California, another daughter is born in June 1930, but it was a still birth.

Richard and his family first settled in Orange, California before moving to the Fresno area. They returned to Orange County some time later and living at various times in the town of Talbert (now called Fountain Valley)and Huntington Beach before settling permanently in Santa Ana Gardens. Richard continued his life-long occupation as a farmer, working for the Callens family and also for the Borchard's, according to daughter Elzida.

Richard Andrew Cowsert died on February 9, 1953 and his wife of forty years, Bertha, died on February 3, 1962. They are both buried at Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Cemetery, Costa Mesa, California.

With sincere and grateful thanks to all who shared their Cowsert data with me:

Elzida Cowsert Cardello, Raymond Cowsert, Pauline Phillips, Ron Wilson, Laurie Carlson, Robert P. Cowsert, Hershel Cowsert, Wanda Sanford, Sherri Williams Gobble, Wanda Reed Patton, Jeff Cowsert, Rexaline Parks McCarley, Christine Coddington, Maggie McCormick, Ginger Hayes, Judy Foreman Lee, Joseph F. Stegall, Mary Hudson, Clayton Frayser, Kimberly Cowsert Blunschi, Denise Gibbs Kneifel, Stephanie Stoich, Tim Cowsert, Thomas Cowsert, Jimmy Ashford, Wiley Fulkerson, Lisa Simpson, Mark Lewis, Mary McMahon, Sharon Brown, Thomas Franklin Cowsert, Donald E. Wick, Jennifer Fulkerson, Connie Kyger, Barbara Crain, Wilma Cowsar Brown, Thomas Dawsey Cowsert, Linda Roberts, Mary Brimm, Rebecca Schmook, Mary Tilford, Diane Johnson, Gary McDaniel, Agnes Cowsert, Jayne Cowsert, Sherry Frisk, Frank Lavern Cowsert, Jr..


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