Family of Charles Holliday Cowden (b. 1820 Ill. d. 1914 Ark.)

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Charles Holliday Cowden (1820-1914) was the father of 10 children, and had many descendants. This page is a space to gather photos and articles about his siblings, children and grandchildren.


Charles was born in 1820 in Greene County, Illinois, the son of George Alexander Cowden (1801-1855) and Jane McAllister (Holliday) Cowden (1801-1885). His known siblings were:

In 1848, Charles married Rosabelle Elliott, and they had the following children:

Sometime between 1860 and 1869, Rosabelle died, as Charles married Julia A E Preble in 1869. Charles and julia had the following children:

In 1878, Julia died, and Charles married Mary Eliza Jordan, the widow of Alexander Gilbert and mother to two children. Charles and Mary had the following children:

In 1887, Mary died within days after childbirth. Charles placed an ad in the newspaper seeking someone to adopt the newborn baby boy. However, the baby appears to have died. Morris and Sarah Robinson adopted 4 year old Georgia instead and gave her the name of Effie Robinson.

In 1892, Charles married a Mary Fuller in Oklahoma, but no further record can be found of her.

In the 1890's, Charles homesteaded 6 miles south of Seger and 7 miles east of Cloud Chief in Washita County, Oklahoma. The townsite became known as Cowden, Oklahoma. By 1900, Charles was living with his son Amzia in El Reno, Oklahoma. He also lived in Elk City, Oklahoma. The town of Cowden eventually became a ghost town, probably in the 1950's.

While visiting his son in Arkansas, Charles passed away in 1914.

Finding the ghost town of Cowden

There is a nice memorial area next to the one remaining building from the Cowden School. I assume this is in the general area of what was Cowden, Oklahoma, which would now be considered a ghost town. I went there searching for evidence of Charles Holliday Cowden's contribution to the naming of the town. None of the Cowden family names are listed anywhere on the monument. I did find a patent for his land in 1904, and based on the little I know about homestead laws, that means he would have acquired it in 1899. He appears to have only lived in that area for 5 years. By 1910, he was living with a son in El Reno, Oklahoma. I came across a book in the Cordell library written by Juanita (Simpson) Jones, "Heartbreak and Happiness" in 1971. She was born in that area in 1905. In her book, she lists many of the early settlers of the area - many who continued to live there when she wrote the book. The only mention of a Cowden name is on page 204, "Cowden, a little country village, is located in the eastern part of Washita County, seven miles east of Cloud Chief. It was named for the town site owner, Charles H. Cowden. January 23, 1901, a post office was established in the H. C. Bell, Low Price Store with Henry C. Bell appointed as postmaster." Considering that Charles Holliday Cowden was elderly by the time he arrived in Oklahoma, having acquired land, wives and children along the way, my personal opinion was that his stay in Cowden, Oklahoma was just one of his speculative ventures. None of his family members stayed in the area. However, after reading Juanita Simpson Jones' book, obviously many other pioneers stayed put and continue to ranch and farm in the area. While living in Cowden, my husband's grandmother Pearl Cowden (one of Charles Holliday Cowden's grand-daughters) married his grandfather Robert Davis. Many members of Robert Davis's family had come to Oklahoma about the same time as the Cowdens, from Mississippi. Robert died in 1910, and his widow went to El Reno, where other Cowden family members were living. Of Robert's family, only his brother, Lee Davis and his wife Tessie Stockton, stayed in the area. Lee and Tessie Davis are mentioned frequently in histories I found in the library about Washita County.

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