COWAN-L Archives

Archiver > COWAN > 1998-05 > 0894126582


From: John Giacoletti <>
Subject: Another Early Ulster Cowan
Date: Sat, 2 May 1998 12:29:42 -0400


My research interest is the origins of the Cowan name in Ulster, Ireland.
My last post noted several Cowans who were named in the Muster Roll of the
Scottish Army in 1642, all of whom of course predated the previously
earliest known (published) Cowan reference, to John Cowan in County Down in
1653. The Cowans on the Muster Roll were concentrated in Raphoe Parish,
County Donegal, close to Londonderry, and I suggested that one of them
would be the ancestor of John Cowan of St. Johnstown, Gent. who was later a
Defender of Derry and the High Sheriff of Londonderry.

Additional Donegal research has uncovered an even earlier Cowen in Ireland
than those on the 1642 listing, and there is enough evidence to engage in
that tantalizing speculation of the Cowans immediate preceeding origins in
Scotland. I don't believe that this will or could ever be proved
conclusively but only a supported and reasonable case or argument made.

THE MUSTER ROLL OF THE COUNTY OF DONNAGALL 1630 A.D. shows that "Walter
mcCowene" AND "Robert Coweene" were armed men with swords in the service of
"The Lo: Chichester" in the "Barony de Eneshone," now "Inishowen, " which
is continuous to and immediately north of Raphoe Barony and Taughnboyne
Parish where the1642 Cowans were. Thus, we have pushed back the arrival
date to before 1630, 12 years earlier than the Scottish Army Muster Roll
and 23 years earlier than the reference to John Cowan in County Down.

What I find of speculative interest is that the "Lord Duke of Lynox" of
Stirling was one of the chief undertakers of the Ulster Plantation, and of
course John Cowan of Stirling was a respected Stirling merchant of the era,
the founder of the Stirling Guild Hospital. It is not unreasonalble to
assume that there was a business purpose involved in having members of the
Cowan merchant family of Stirling relocate to Ulster and establish
additional business connections there between Londonderry and Stirling,
just as the Colquhoun family of Dumbarton, also subordinated to the Duke of
Lennox, establised a plantation there of 1500 acres in Raphoe.

Another tantalizing bit of evidence is that the well-known Cowans of
Stirling provided two members to the Scottish Parliament, John Cowan,
sitting in 1625 and in 1651, whom I presume to be the son of Walter Cowan
of Stirling who sat in 1588, 1596, and 1597. Is it merely a fortuitous
coincidence that one of the Cowans in the 1630 Donegal list is a " Walter
Cowan? " I would think that there is a probable relationship (grandson)
between the Walter Cowan of Stirling and this "Walter mcCowene" in Donegal.

John Giacoletti


Cowan, County Down
McClay, County Tyrone
MacLea, Argyll

This thread: