Mining for Gold, Part II

by Nanci Presley-Holley

Well, what I thought was going to be an article has turned into a manuscript.  I apologize for that.  I do, however, believe part of what I am about to share is  historically significant information. The documents in this article have never been published before.  In order to fully make my case who my Joseph Erwin was and how he was related to Joseph Erwin, Jr. I am going to have to divide my article into 3 parts.

I want to start Part II by correcting a mistake I made in Part I of “Mining for Gold”. I wrote that I would provide proof that I did not descend from Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Catherine Cowan’s line. Part of the proof I would offer would be a letter from Michael Lincoln Erwin.  I relied on my memory rather than looking up the document. The letter is, in fact, from Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Catherine Cowan’s son, Hezekiah Franklin Erwin.   The letter was written to his Uncle Abel Cowan, son of Captain Thomas Cowan’s and, of course, Catherine Cowan’s brother.  He also was one of the executor’s of their father’s estate.

Once again, I want to remind you that in order to separate the Joseph’s in James N. Erwin, Sr.’s line, I have named them follows: Joseph, Sr. b 1729 (son of James N. Erwin, Sr.); Joseph, Jr. b 1769 (son of Joseph Erwin, Sr.); and Joseph, III b 1794 (son of Joseph Erwin, Jr.).  My Joseph, I believe, is the son of James N. Erwin, Jr., son of James N. Erwin, Sr. and brother to Joseph Erwin, Sr.

In Mining for Gold, Part I, I wrote that I hit “brick wall” with regard to my 3rd great grandparents.  I could not find proof that Joseph Erwin and Elizabeth Rogers were connected to anyone but Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Catherine Cowan.  I made a decision to accept my lineage as documented in the DAR records as well as The Compendium of American Genealogy, Vol. IV.   Having made that decision, I focused almost entirely on Joseph and Catherine Cowan Erwin’s family as well as Captain Thomas Cowan’s family.

In the summer of 2000, I met Ruth Cook, a descendant of Captain Thomas Cowan.  Ruth had been given my name as a person who believed they were descended from the Joseph Erwin and Catherine Cowan.  Ruth contacted me by email, introduced herself and told me about some documents and letters she had.

Ruth had in her possession several very old letters and documents which mentioned and gave information about Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Catherine Cowan and their children.   As I remember the story, Ruth was at a cousin’s home having dinner.  He mentioned he had found some very old letters and documents in his attic.  He was wondering if she’d like to see them.  Yes, Ruth, would like to see them.  Well, no more was said about it that evening.  Some time passed and Ruth’s mother found the letters and documents on her back porch with a note “Give them to Ruth”.

Ruth asked me if I would like to have copies of the letters and documents.  Well, I guess you  know what my answer was!

When Ruth’s package arrived, I could not believe what she had sent me.  It was like holding history in my hands. Most of the letters and documents were dated in the mid-1830s and early 1840s.  There were 4 or 5 that were dated as early as 1819 to 1825. All but one of the legal documents pertained to Catherine Cowan Erwin’s portion of Captain Thomas Cowan’s estate.

Most of the letters written between James and Abel Cowan were filled with family news. They also wrote about how they were going to deal with “Caty’s” (Catherine Cowan Erwin) portion of her father’s estate.  James Cowan also revealed in these letters that he did not hold Joseph in very high esteem, nor any of his children, with the one exception of Squire Cowan Erwin.

Some the new information uncovered in these letters and documents about Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Catherine Cowan’s children are as follows: 1. We learn the exact date of Catherine L. Erwin Wilson’s death as well as the name of her husband and year of marriage.  2. We find out that  Agnes W. Erwin or Nancy, as she was most often called, was married 3 times rather than twice.  3. We also find that Mary B. Erwin married a McCorkle before she married Michael Biles.  4.  Some of the death dates especially now come into question with the information in these letters and documents.  5. In one of the letters, James Cowan writes of his children who remain at home in about 1834.  The names of these children have never been reported before.  6.  The dates of the documents provide us information regarding where and when Joseph Erwin and Catherine Cowan’s children were for certain.

For me, the most important piece of information was that Catherine Cowan Erwin did receive her share of the estate as did her children.  When I first started researching the Erwins, it was rumored that her brothers did everything they could to keep her from receiving her share.  It appears even though Catherine received her share of the estate, Joseph still felt as if he had been “swindled”.  From what James and Abel write to one another, it is clear that THERE WAS NO love lost between Catherine and her brothers.

Below, please see the section of Captain Thomas Cowan’s will that concerns Catherine:

“Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Catherine two hundred dollars to be paid to her one year and three months after my decease, by my Executors, and in case she should be a widow and may come to be in want, I leave in the hands of my son Abel three hundred for her support, and in case she should die before her husband Joseph Erwin then in that case, I allow the money to be paid to her children share and share alike as they severally come to the age of twenty years.”

In “Mining for Gold Part III”, I will use the documents and letters below, as well as other documentation to show that Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Catherine Cowan, while related to my Joseph, were his parents.

In transcribing the documents, I have tried to remain true to all spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. Some of these documents are in very bad condition and are barely readable. I have done my best to give a true copy of the documents. 

Most importantly, while Ruth Cook has given me permission to use the letters and documents in this article, they may not be published in any other form without her permission.

Here are the documents – I hope they help you in your search for our Erwin family.

 

Receipt for Abel & Hezekiah Cowan

Dated: 15 January 1818

 

Recd. of Abel & Hezekiah Cowan Executors of the

Estate of Thomas Cowan Senr. decd. Six dollars &

my change for crying the sale two days.

15.th Januay 1818                                his

                                                Daniel  X  Lewis

Witness                                                           mark

Thos B. Erwin

 

 

Receipt from Thomas Cowan to Alexander McCorkle for

Joseph Erwin dated 7-14-1819:

July 14th 1819.  Received of  the Executors of Thomas Cowan

Sen. Decd. Four? Dollars; it being the Interest of Two

hundred dollars; the specific Legacy left to Catherine

Erwin in the will of the said decd. From fifteen

months after the ____ of the said Thomas Cowan Senr

decd. Until the present time. 

Alexr. McCorkle, Senr.?

Attorney for Joseph Erwin

 

This money was paid by Hezekiah Cowan.

 

 

Receipt from Hezekiah Cowan to Alexander McCorkle acting on behalf of Joseph Erwin

Dated: 7-14-1819

 

July the 14.th 1819.  Received of Abel &

Hezekiah Cowan Exrs. Of the Estate of Thomas

Cowan Senr. Decd the sum of two hundred

dollars it being the amount of a specific legacy

under the will of the said decd.

                                      Alexr. McCorkle, Senr.?

                             Attorney for Joseph Ervin

Test.

Julius? J. Reeves

 

Receipt from Abel Cowan to John J. Erwin (his special share of the estate)

Dated: 3-18-1825

 

Recd. Of Abel Cowan Surviving Executor of the Estate of

Thos Cowan Senr decd the Sum of Sixty dollars & eighty one cents

being a specific legacy left me by the sd. Thomas Cowan Senr. Decd

this 18th day of March 1825

                                       Jno. J. Erwin

From Thomas Cowan’s will:  “I give and bequeath to my two grandsons John Johnson and Squire Cowan fifty dollars each, to be paid to them when they arrive at the age of twenty-one, unless it should be needed to pay for schooling.”

 

Receipt from Abel Cowan to Squire C. Erwin Receipt of Legacy

Dated: 12-1-1825

 

First page

 

Squire C. Erwin

          to

Abel Cowan Exr

of the Estate of

Thos. Cowan decd

    Recpt

Specific Legacy

 

Second page

 

Rec’d. of Abel Cowan surviving Executor of the

Estate of Thos Cowan Senr. decd. the sum of Sixty four

Dollars and Thirty cents it being a specific legacy

left to me by the said Thos Cowan Senr. decd. this

the twenty first day of December 1825. 

                                                Squire C. Erwin*

Test. John Andrews

        Amos Andrews

 

 

Accounting of Catherine Cowan Erwin’s Legacy

Dated: 11-2-1827

 

First side

 

Abel Cowan &

Joseph Erwins

Settlement by

James Cowan

 

 

Accounting of Catherine Cowan Erwin’s Legacy

Dated: 11-2-1827 (contined):

 

Nov 2 1827

 

Reverse Side

 

Abel Cowan Executor of the Estate of Thos Cowan Decd.

                   to Joseph Erwin & Catherine his wife

To Amt due you, of said Estate, at being the}                    $167.99

_____ Legasee of said Estate--                   }

          Contra On (Contract ?)

By cash as for receipt dated 29 Augt 1820 $100

To Int on do 6 years & 9 months and 22 days is– 40.40         140.40

                                                                                       27:59

To your note in payt for my proportion of the   }

land that belonged to Hez. Cowan Decd –       }                    105.00

due 9 April 1826 for-- $105--                         }

 

To Int on do from 9 April 1826 to 1 Nov 1827}                          9.80

is 1 year 6 mo & 21 days to 1 Nov 1827--      }

 

To your note due do on 9 April 1827 for                $104.56

To 6 mo & 21 days Int on do to 1 Nov 1827               3.48      108.04

                                                                                     $250.43

Nov 2 1827 Recd the above Two hundred & fifty

dollars & 43 cents in full as agent for Joseph

Erwin & his wife Catherine

 

                                      James Cowan

                                      Agent

 

 

Refunding Bond for Joseph Erwin and Catherine Cowan

Dated:  2 Nov 1827

 

Front of  document

 

James Cowan

Refunding bond

for Jos. Ervin

 

Back of document

 

Know all men by these presents that I James

Cowan attorney for Joseph Erwin & Catherine

his wife of the State of Tennessee are held and

firmly bound unto Jno McCleland? Chairman of

the County Court of pleas and quarter sessions

for the County of Rowan & State of No Carolina

or to his Suceessors in office in the sum of

Two Thousand dollars for which payment

well & truly to be made and done I as attorney

for as aforesaid, do bind myself my heirs

Executors & assigns as aforesaid by these

presents, Sealed with my seal & dated this 2d day

of Nov. 1827

 

The Condition of the above obligation is

such that whereas Abel Cowan surviving Excr.

of the last will & Testament of Thos Cowan

Decd. hath this day paid over to me as attorney for

Joseph & Catherine Erwin, hiers & Legatees of

said Estate, the sum of one hundred & sixty

seven dollars & 99 cents, it being their part

distributive Share of sd Estate after paying

the Specific Legacies under the will.  Now

if it should hereafter appear that any debt or debts come

against said Estate, or should any judgts Be

recovered against Abel Cowan surviving Exr of

said Estate, then & in that case the said

James Cowan as attorney aforesaid shall refund

& pay back to the said Abel Cowan Exr. as

aforesaid, his full & equal part of said

debt or debts, or judgts as they may be – then the

above obligation to be void otherwise remain in

full force & virtue.  Witness my hand & seal this

2d day Nov 1827.

                             James Cowan Attorney for

                             Joseph Erwin & Catherine his wife

 

The words affirm that & said was intert__d before signed

and delivered.

 

Letter from James Cowan to his brother Abel Cowan

Dated:  10-6-1830

 

Paris Tenn. October 6, 1830

 

Dear Abel,

This letter leaves us all well except

Harriet, Adeline, who has had a high fever for a few days.

I hope she is not dangerous. The connections

are generally well except Harvey McCorkle's

family. Harvey, himself, is very dangerous and it's doubtful

of his recovery. We have had no rain for better

than 7 weeks, and of course very dry.

The cotton state corn very much injured. Jo got a letter from

home late, and get the fidgets for home all at once.

He left me at a time I could but illy spare him.

He, for the last 4 months, has improved very much

and is now quite useful. He was very awkward at

the beginning and of little account, but he can be

well recommended as a young man of good moral

habits. (Thank God.) Your deed is in my care, and all

complete, except the certificate of the clerk of Summer

and can be done any time when the deed is

sent. I would have sent it, but still expected to

either be there or some of the connections. It's now

out of danger or risk.

The note I left with you on James Cowan is collected

and you said something about _____owing the

estate of father or Hez.* I am very willing to take

anything on him if you can make it out and

have it adjusted. I expect there will be something

coming to him, Caty, and myself from He.* Estate. All

of which I want placed on my _____ note, and

me pay them here. I wish how soon this could be done

as I am anxious to discharge that debt in some

way. This late recover off _____ on for George McCullok's**

debt, will enable Thomas to settle Hez. Estate and while

we are all living it had better be done.

Jo*** can give you the news of the country and all about

my business. We have made good sales since

 

Page 2 October 6, 1830 Letter from James Corwan to Abel Cowan

 

I got my new goods home, here and at the plantation.

We have sold better than 10 thousand dollars worth

 ____ It's more money than I will collect

soon. I have a very large family to support.

It requires great industry to keep my business

in order. I have but little time to spare, between

the two stores and the plantation. Last week our

boys run a cotton _____ for three days and the 2 _____

and old Caesar**** was out of the _____ and Saturday they all

quit a little before night and they all picked in

the 3 days 5,192 lbs. The highest any day for our _____

was 170 lbs. I expect I will only make between 60 and 70

thousand of ____ cotton, and at one time it was

good for 100 thousand. I will make plenty of

corn and almost every thing else. I am still

searching to get an overseer that will do his duty.

I can't get one to take care of things after ____ ____

rained, or to feed the stock (Thank God.) I don't know what

I will do for one next year. You must take

this letter and read it to mother and tell her I would

write to her, but this will answer as well. I am

glad to hear that she has got better again. 

Tell her she can get the news fully from

James, who will go and see her. Porter and family

paid us a visit some time ago, and I believe they

were well pleased with this section.

Give our respects to Maria, and all the brothers

and sisters, also the news if they want it.

Yours respectfully, James Cowan

 

Tell mother I can't now say when I will be in

N.C., but wish to be there as soon as I can

spare the time from home.

 

Nanci’s notes:

*He. or Hez. is Hezekiah Cowan, brother to James and Abel Cowan who died in 1824.

**I do not have a copy of the original of the letter and suspect this may be “McCorkle” rather than “McCullock”.

***The transcriber from the original of the letter did not know who “Jo” was.

****Caesar is probably a slave.

 

 

Letter from James Cowan to Abel Cowan

Dated:  May 1st, (no year given, but because of the contents I would put it at about 1834)

 

In the middle of the last page of the letter:

Mount Holyoke T (Nanci’s note: Henry Co, TN),                   From

May 1st                                                                  Jas Cowan

 

 

                                      Mr. Abel Cowan

                                                Woodgrove

                                                   Rowan County

Mail                                             North Carolina

 

May 1st

Was it not for the pleasure I now enjoy with

my family, I don’t know what I should do.

It’s my only comfort here.  We have such a low life?

set -- Mary is now nearly grown, not very hand-

some in the face, but truly an amiable and affec-

tionate girl.  She has been well managed so far,

and her mother’s companion.  She plays and sings well

_____ was known to give me a frown.

She is now finishing her education in Nash-

ville.  Seth ____ is truly beautiful.  Is quite

a large boy possessing in a very high degree.

An amiable and affectionate dispostion remarka-

ble chaste in his manners and general

deportment, is very mechanical, he has been

home all year, at work, to lay a good founda-

tion for his Constitution, he is now at a respecta-

bel academy.  Ann Eliza is just Sister Jenny

in disposition, that is enough, a little cross eyed

and perhaps the plumpest (and A. Kerr says).  The handsom-

est girl he ever saw.  Angelene, a little

dwarf, grows but little, except in intellect –

very smart --.  Jas Temple, very much like your

Tommy, a real Butt, hail hearty boy, very

smart, and mischevous, Frances Irwin, the babe,

now near two years old a firm child, every-

one with coal black eyes - -all this is for

the edefication of my Sisters who might

like to hear of my children – for my

own part, I am growing old in feeling.

 

2nd page (of May 1st)

 

In appearance, not much altered, except my

locks are growing white, and I have lossed my upper

front teeth, which prevents me from articulating

as well as formerly. My weight is generally 206 lbs.

Haniet, I think, looks as well as ever,

rather more fleshy, 170 lbs. She seldom goes from home and

takes great pleasure, as usual, in her garden

and poultry, together with the ___ House ___

She has a splendid wooden house, but well

finished and well furnished. No family need

wish to live better than we do. As to comforts

and sound intercouse, she is a mother to all

the young men. I refer you to J___ ___ on that subject

 

So much for family news. ____ ____ all of which

you can use with your own discretion.

You know that the land old Jo lives on is paid?

for by me. This amt (amount) now is upwards of ____

$1000. I never have recd the first cent yet. Can't

you manage her estate in such a way as to

throw it into Thos' (Thomas) hands who I owe, thereby

let me have at least the int (interest) of the money

paid for the land, if you can do so, if you

wish to protect an innocent man, who did

not foresee who he was dealing with the ___

on the purchase money is justly due, and you

know, that old Jo still keeps insolvent, and if he gives

up the land with the improvements it will

not pay me by $300. That family lives better than

you or me, and how they do it, god only knows.

All they get is common stock and now Caty has

 

3rd page (May 1st)

 

Bill and his wife. Bill as lazy as his Uncle Bill) and you know

Caty is lately married. Her and her man (Widsom) is

also there. My land to live on, and my servant

to wait on them. Now, is not this truly pro-

voking. I had them broken up, but they have got

to the old notch. To be plain, these two fami-

lies ___ H is our grand cause of my wishing

____ from here. I don't know when

I have seen Nancy. They are doing well as to

the worldy affairs. Old Jo never asked us to the

wedding when old Caty was married.

 

I feel sorry that Charlotte is about to de-

ceive her parents. So far, it's really what I ___

for she was practicing all the influence in ____tion

with her mother upon his liberat__

and kind indulgence when here. I was sorry

to see it, and I hope Betsey's good sense united with

Charlotte's intelligence may yet learn to know

how highly they are favored with such a husband

and father. I say, let a woman, mind her own

business and let the prudent man attend to

his. There is a certain dominion that is

due to every good wife and there is certainly

one due to a good husband. I hope their

ideas will not be misconstrued, as I know I

have no other feelings, save those of the purest

kind. My love to all, and as much of

this letter as you can communicate to my

old mother, do so, and write me soon and come

to see us, or send Tommy or James.

Harriet joins me in all that is written you.

Affectionate brother, Jas Cowan

 

4th page (May 1st)

 

If you will save me a copy of _____ _____ letter

I will be glad, and be assured that I will

not use it in any other way than you may

____ me. I never expect to have any-

thing to do with him. I'll be confidential.

 

 

 

Home

 

 

Letter from James Cowan to Abel Cowan

Dated: 4-29-1835

 

Mount Holyoke, Henry County, Tenn

Dear Abel,              April 29th, 1835

Your long & welcome letter of the

10th instant is just at hand, & as I intended

writing to Thos, I will write you in his place

as he is not at home. Our family has all

had the Bowel Complaint, but gotten well, both

blk & white. I wrote Thos about my journey

down in Mississippi. I need say nothing on

that subject, save, that I bot 442 acres of land.

What I am to pay $ tell for next March.

I expect there, to have 100 acres in cotton, & 50 in

corn, which is all the crop this year, having to

open 100 acres this Spring. I have 14 good hands

there, which leaves me pretty bare here &

I think I will go near 100 bales. It is the greatest

country to make money in I ever saw, yet it

equally is to spent it. Everything is high, &

land rents for $5 per acre, corn $1 per Bushel &

Bacon from 15 to 20 S H?. I think when I_____

is tolerably healthy. I have been sinking money

ever since Thos was here, owing to failures in

cotton crops, & people breaking that owed me, &

you know I always advised you to stay when you were

in preference? to coming to the District, & I yet stay

so, as I never was pleased here, altho, the soil is

as productive as you could wish it & the more

splendid farms are not in the County than mine,

especially this one. I have $970 acres here, 400 open

470 on the other 160 open besides these wood land

tracts of 640 each & a number of scattering small

plans. My town property cost near $10,000. I yet

have, say 50 slaves here, a good many small.

 

2nd Page (April 29th, 1835)

James Cowan to Abel Cowan

 

I find this a very hard country to get along with.

Money is so hard to realize, & my debts have to be paid.

I owe a good deal, & my debts will be hard to pay all

at once. I think my property here at fair valu-

ation, or cost would be say $_____ _____ out of that

my debts must come. I am out of business now

except farming a little, say 100 acres in corn, 60 of

wheat, 10 rye, 10 oats & 10 of Millett.  The balance

of my land is rented at $2 per acre, or 2 barrels

of corn. I have a serious notion of leaving this

state, & selling all off. I hoped this year 6 mares

and colts, & have now 7 with Colt, 3 of which has

five Colts, two of them to a $40 horse. Old Yanke

is yet alive, & has a fine Colt. The letter you

alluded too, written by Logan, I had heard of before

yours was at hand. He is just up to all he has

written. He certainly has been my greatest enemy

in this State, & a polished Hypocrite. I gave

him the use of a choice girl 4 or 5 years, & when

I wanted her, he refused to send her & besides, he

even refused to let her clothes come. Thos can

tell you all about this. Unfortunately Thos got me

into another scrape with Caty, by saying, if yes, if,

I could see a girl for $300 that I thought would suit Caty, &

one that would suit him to purchase her & send

her to Caty. Well, that was hard to do, to please both

and myself too. It could not be done. All hands was

on the look out, & Solomon-Boils, found one, & be-

fore I got to see her she died. Well I thot I would

for peace sake send one of mine, & She has been

there ever since Thos left. And when I was sending

below, I wanted her to go with the family, I sent for

her, which was refused (expecting to send one in her place).

Well, her father got her out, & bot her off two 

cases with two sisters precisely in point, & it so

happened that neither of the two girls fathers,

had any instructions from me to _____ do.

 

3rd Page (April 29th, 1835)

James Cowan to Abel Cowan

 

Well, I kept that girl, & did not send any back

till I let them sweat. I then sent one, better, & she

is now there. Now you can judge of both

cases. As for them blaming Aunt Harriet, they all

know if they would tell the truth, that her influ-

ence over me, is only confined to her wants

in the house. Out of doors, she never meddles

with my affairs. If you don't believe this, I refer

you to Thos, & as for them or any one else

speaking hard of her, she cares but little about,

and they all know better than to do so to her

face. Here character & standing whereever she

is known, is such, that no one will for

amount believe she would decend to anything

but what is honorable. It affords me pleasure

to tell you that she knows no distinction in pers__

when their actions & character is good.

She always was, & is yet the advocate of

Maria, time after time, when you & her knew no-

thing of it, she has reasoned? her love to me,

for my part, Harriet was better acquainted with

Maria, than I was.  And admitting she was

in some degree guilty of charges alleged

to her, She now has the pleasing reflection

to know, that too much _____ cannot be

heaped upon her, for the kind, motherly

and impartial stand she has taken & still conti-

nues to pursue towards your motherless chil-

dren. A trait in her character, that even you

yourself can place no estimate upon, _____ _____

the good & tender feelings, which all your

connections ought to have for her. These faults

are all admitted, but I fear not properly

appreciated my many. It is my duty to

let you both know, that we believe what I

Say

 

4th Page (April 29th, 1835)

James Cowan to Abel Cowan

 

If you or any one of the connections have

a little pleasure with your kindred? as I have

done for Caty & family, look what I am now

doing & then compare her vilifying language

with. Look at the pretended station that

Logan holds & reflect for a moment that

he has good sense, that for purposes to answer

the diabolical disposition of his heart he

would so far decend, as to be the instru-

ment of persuing that what he knows &

did know was well calculated, to stain

not only my reputation, but that of an

innocent woman, whose ideas of courtesy?,

is as far above his, as the heavens is from

earth. She has her faults, who has not,

I have mine, I regret they are so nu-

merous. We are all from the same family

and of course, naturally prone to do that

which is evil. I must confess, that the Heprocracy 

of profession, & especially that of the (m____

ists) perhaps done me more harm than

I now can state, I have long since found out

from sad experience, the true principles &

necessary qualification to complete a good

and profound Methodist.  And it would be

a happy day for me had I never saw

one. They are well calculated to destroy

all good feelings for the Cause of Christianity.

 

If you have? will you ____ favored in having

the pleasure of _____ happening in the very church

that gave you birth.  You would I am sure feel grateful

It's a blessing you cannot too highly appreciate.

 

 

Letter from James Cowan to Abel Cowan

Dated: 7-4-1835

 

Mount Holyoke July 4, 1835

 

Dear Abel,

 

I answered your letter some time

ago, & have not heard from you or

Thomas since-- our folks are all from

home to day except our children & Harriet

& myself and I thot I would write you

a letter informing you of our health--

My children are all at home at present

but I do not expect it to be the case long

Mary is going to the Female Academy at

Nashville, (if the cholera leaves) & I don't

expect to see her for 6 months, she is quite

a large girl, and much esteemed by all

who know her-- Seth is going to Jackson

Academy this next session-- Ann Eliza

& Adeline in Paris I suppose-- They

begin to be a considerable tax to us

now. I have had Seth at the plow

during the vacation-- I had a very

large crop of wheat, say 60 acres but it 

got ruined by the wet weather-- our corn

crops are but sorry compared to other

years-- oats is fine but blown down, our

millet is very good, also potatoes-- Cotton

is more promising than usual-- I heard

lately from my lower country place, they

only got 75 acres in cotton & about 50 in

corn-- it is said to be very fine & well

attended to.

 

Page 2 (July 4, 1835)

 

Jacob was down there lately, in the middle

of June there were plenty of blooms, they say

then the prospect was good for 400 lbs clean cotton

to the acre, if this be so, & the forecast price

holds on, it will be cheap land at $8 50 ($8.50?) per

acre.  I have the offer of ginning about

400 thousand for the neighbors, no gin

being near mine-- if I succeed in this

I hope my crop may go 100 Bales-- You

can't conceive the difference in that climate

for cotton & this, or where you live, they

plant a different seed, calld the Polly Gulf 300 lbs

of which makes our, common hands get

200 lbs per day & I have 300 lbs-- I saw in a paper

where 3 hands_____ down gathered 1500 lbs in

one day-- it is very healthy so far, where

my place is, but the water is not good-- I am

in hopes I am out of the seeky? county, but

not certain, I have it in _____ to go down

there the last of this month-- I would like

to see about 30 such hands as I could select

out of Thomas gang settled upon 300 acres

good open land there, in a fair season,

every hand would be good for 7 Bales

of 400 lbs each, at the present price that would

be fine, but say half this price I look at that

present from $16800. half that $8,400 per annum

 

If I was out of debt, with my present force, I

could nearly go the Big sum-- and if I

had your force or Thomas in there, and could

find a man I could trust, I would try it--

You don't know how many less you can

 

Page 3 (July 4th, 1835)

 

do with out till you try it-- I have but few hands

at home this year, & I get along almost as

well as when I had all together-- The children

do almost a hands work in the crops--

 

Our country is quite healthy, altho the

cholera has been on the Cumberland River in

30 miles of us, we apprehend it will be

with us this summer-- My old overseer, Mr.

Monfort (Morford?) died here the 9th June, he had been

low down in Miss last year, took sick, & I

got him here, where he lay near 3 months be

fore he died, the dropsy finally carried him

off, he suffered a great deal, & was much trouble

to us all-- he was an honest, clever man—

 

I heard from J. G. Spears in the nation he wrote

me he would call but did not-- I have seen

Logan several times lately, he says nothing about

his & Catys letter, neither do I-- altho I mentioned it to

John-- I don't think I have saw Nancy 4 times since

Thomas was here-- I want you to tell Thomas

to appoint some one else to procure a girl for

Caty, as I never could get one to please him & her

both at the price, except the one I was about to

purchase, which died a few days before I was

to get her & they never let me rest till I sent

one of mine there to fill the place of Thomas,

_____ and because I took that one away

& sent another in her place, is the cause of all

this fuss, I don't think Thomas will like to pay

her for one every year for $40 to $60 per

year, to work for Catys children & allow them

to go idle, the one she has now is worth $60

a year, & if it was not for the respect I have

for Thomas, I would take her away, and if he

does not do something soon, I will take her

away, as I can't afford to make a slave of

my wife for no mans children

 

Page 4 (July 4th, 1835)

 

not only that, but I won't be slandered & abused

by both old & young of my whole connections

in this country, and especially the old

ones, old Caty Jane is married, & I believe

made a tolerable good bargain, much better than

I expected her mother would have made for

Her, and they now have Caesars' oldest daughter

there, as big as she ever will be, and young

Caty is in the habit of whipping her re-

gularly, a thing I never done-- I have born?

with it, till I would hear from Thomas—

 

Can't you fix it no way to give Thomas

that old legacy, so that I can get some com

pensation for my land, if that can't

be done, I shall be under the necessity of

selling the land & they will then find

out who supports them, it's high time

I would support my creditors, in place of

those who care not for me or my family--

 

These are all facts & you can easily per

ceive the situation I am placed in—I don’t

care but little about Catys or Lewis above

& slanderous tales wrote to N.C. if they

would let their tongues be still at home

and it is all done by sly insinuations

of the most poisonous character-- Logan

is just as afraid of me as I want him

to be, he has been a Methodist so long

that he has Methodiscal Heprocracy to some

degree of perfection, he has a great advan

tage over new beginners-- Write me on receipt

of this and give me all the news--

 

Yours affectionately,

James Cowan

 

Harriet & Mary send their love to all & when Mary gets her

education, I will let Seth & her visit your country--

                                                J Cowan

 

 

James Cowan to Abel Cowan Reporting Catherine Erwin Wilson’s Death

Dated: 9-14-1835

 

Front of envelope

 

Mt. Holyoke Tn}               From James Cowan Sen

          14 Sept }

 

Mr Abel Cowan

          Woodgrove P.O.

          Rowan County

                   No. Ca.

 

First Page

Mount Holyoke, 14th September 1835

 

Dear Abel,

Yesterday (Sunday) about

2 o'clock, our niece, Catherene Wilson

(formerly Erwin) closed her eyes in death; 

She was married last Febry., but has had

but little health since-- her complaint

is unknown to me, except the fever

She was in the family way, & I presume

the Drs could not give her such medi

cines as she needed-- Our county, & in

fact the whole District never was more

unhealthy-- for the first time, the chills

& fevers have made their appearance

on this place-- I have been quite unwell

for three weeks, not bed fast, but nearly

so, I am yet unwell, our youngest child

has been quite low, most of our negroes

have been down, but better. M. Boiles is

very low & nearly all his family-- I expect

the Sham Dr will lay him out, as he believes in

no others-- in short, the one half of every family

nearly in the whole County, is, or has been down,

but few deaths yet, except when those murderous

clan of Sham Drs has been calld in-- The only

object in writing you now is for to let our con

nections know of this death, & the health of the Country.

 

Second Page 14 Sept 1835

 

our crops of corn are only tolerable,

the cotton will be better than it has been

for 4 or 5 years-- indeed it proves to

be the best, since I have been here &

the fall has been very favorable, very

cool & dry-- Yellow Sam* was up from

my Mississippi place a week ago; he says

a better crop to its size is not in the State,

he says the 70 acres will make 70 bales this

will weigh from 4 to 500 lb & 45 acres in

corn very good. They have all been

well, I had 40 acres open land since

the crop has been laid bye-- I expect

to go down there in a few weeks, if

I am well enough. This is all the

news I have at present-- I will try

& go to the burial to day, and

the time of starting is at hand-- 

Give our respects to all, & tell

Mother the news.

Yours

Affectionately,

James Cowan

 

N. B. I enclose this in a Paris news paper

that has a list of Murals Gang in

it from the different states.

 

*Nanci’s note:  Possibly a freed slave or trusted slave


 

James Erwin’s Power of Attorney and Receipt from Abel Cowan

Dated: 11-13-1839

 

First Side

 

13 November 1839

 

Know all men by these presents that I James

Erwin of the County of Calloway and State of Kentucky

have and by these presents do nominate constitute

and appoint Squire C. Erwin of the county of Henry and

State of Tennessee my true and Lawful attorney in

fact for me and in my name and for my own ____ ben-

efit to ask demand sue for and recover of and from Abel

Cowan of the county of Rowan and State of North–

Carolina Executor of Thomas Cowan Late of Rowan–

County aforsaid deceased all my distribution share or–

Legacy or whatever may be due and owing to me

as heirs of Catharine Erwin formerly Catherin Cowan

willed to me by the said Thomas Cowan deceased and

for me and in my name to have, take and use all, Lawful

ways and means for the recovery there of and fully and in the

same manner that I could do were I personally

present and for me and in my name to execute receipts

and accquittances for the same and to do all other acts

necessary to be done in carrying into effect the forgoing

Powers and I do hereby notify and confirm whatsoever

my said attorney may Legally do or cause to be done in

the premises-- In testimony whereof I have here unto

set my hand and affixed my seal this 12th day of

                                                his

November A D 1839                   John        X      Erwin  (Seal)

Test                                          Mark

E N Curd

 

Reverse Side:

 

Commonwealth of Kentucky

          Calloway County ___

                  

                   I Edmund N Curd Clerk

of the County Court for said County do certify that

this power of Attorney from James Erwin to

Squire C. Erwin was this day produced to me in

my office by the said James Erwin and acknowl=

edged by him to be his act and deed hand and

seal for the purposed therein contained:

                   In Testimony of which I hereunto

                   affix my Seal of Office and sub=

                   scribe my name this 13th day of

                   November 1839. And in the 48th year

                   of the Commonweath –

                                      E N Curd Clk

 

 

Commonwealth of Kentucky

          Calloway County ___

                  

                   I William Cradduck

Presiding magistrate for said County do certify

that Edmund N Curd who has given the pre=

ceding certificate is now and was at the time

of signing the same acting Clerk of said court

and that his attestation is in due form of law

_____ under my hand this 13th day of

November 1839.

Wm Cradduck P.M.C.C.

 

                  

                             Wood Grove December the 21st 1839

 

Received of Abel Cowan surviving Exrs of Thomas Cowan Decd the

sum of fifty four dollars it being in full of my distribution share of a specific

legacy principal and interest, left by the will of sd. Decd. to my Mother

Catharine Ervin and which was retained in the hands of the sd. Exrs under

the will untile the death of Catharin Ervin, and then to be distributed

equally among her children then living

                                                Squire C Erwin

Test                                          Attorney for James Erwin

James L. Cowan

 

 

Power of attorney for John J. Erwin

Dated:  28 November 1839

 

First Page and it appears to have been used as an envelope

 

Squire C. Erwin

          Wood Grove P.O,

          Rowan County

                   N. C.

Mail

John. J. Erwin Power of Attorney to

Abel Cowan

 

Second page

 

          Know all men by these presents that I John J Erwin of the County of

Henry and State of Tennessee, have and by these presents do nominate constitute

and appoint Squire C. Erwin of the County & State aforesaid my true and

lawful attorney in fact for me and in my name to ask demand sue for

and recover any debts legacies dues or demands which I may have or be en

titled to or which may be due and owing to me in the State of North Caro

lina, either as one of the heirs, distribtees, or legatees of Thomas Cowan Senior

late of the County of Rowan & State of North Carolina deceased, or otherwise

and for me and in my name to have take and use all lawful ways and

means for the recovery thereof, and one or more attornies under him for the

purposes aforesaid to appoint & again at his pleasure _____ And for

me and in my name to give receipts & acquittances for the same, and

for me & in my name to do & perform all other acts necessary to be done

in the premises that I myself could do.  And I do hereby ratify & confirm

whatsoever my said attorney may do or cause to be done in the premises.

          In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand & affixed my seal the

28th day of November 1839.

 

                                                          Jno J Erwin (Seal)

 

Third page

 

State of Tennessee } Personally appeared before me William Porter

       Henry County  } Clerk of the County Court of Said County John J

Erwin the within named grantor, with whom I am personally ac=

quainted and who acknowledged that he had executed the within

power of attorney to Squire C Erwin for the purposes therein ment

ion

                   In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand

(Seal)           and affixed the Seal of Said Court at office in the

                   town of Paris November the 28th AD 1839 and

                   64th year of American Independence

                                                          William Porter Clk

 

State of Tennessee } I Samuel Kendall chairman and presiding

       Henry County  } magistrate of the county court of said county

do certify that William Porter whose signature appears the

foregoing certifficate is now and was at the time of

signing the same the acting clerk of said court duly elected

and qualified according to law and that all due faith

and credit is and ought to be given to his official

acts as such and that his attestation is in due form

of law given under my hand this 29th day of November

A D 1839

                                                Samuel Kendall

                                                Chairman ___

 

Fourth page

 

                   28th Nov ---39

 

Since you left your family has enjoyed

good health – nothing of interest has

taken place – wishing you good

weather home I Remain yours

                             Jno J Erwin

 


 

Power of Attorney for Joseph Erwin, Jr., Michael Biles and J. H. Wilson

Dated 12 December 1839

 

Unfortunately, the Power of Attorney for Joseph Erwin Jr., Michael Biles and J. H. Wilson (though Wilson’s name is scratched out in the body of the document as well as in the signatures of the Power of Attorney) dated 12 December 1839, is unreadable except for a very few words, but the date and signatures are clear enough to read.

 

It appoints Squire C. Erwin as Joseph Erwin, Jr.’s and Michael Bile’s (husband to Nancy Erwin) attorney to obtain monies owed to them by Abel Cowan as Executor of his father’s estate (Captain Thomas Cowan).  They are seeking the portion not paid to their mother and mother-in-law, Catherine Cowan Erwin, now deceased.  Joseph is asking in his own right for his share and Michael Biles is asking for his wife, Nancy Erwin Bile’s share.

 

My curiosity was peaked as to why Joseph H. B. Wilson decided not to claim his wife’s share.  I would guess that he chose not to continue the legal action because a) he had remarried by 1840; and b) according to the surviving executors, Abel and Thomas Cowan, none of the great-grandchildren were entitled to any of Catherine’s legacy.  However, Thomas Cowan never specifies in his will that should Catherine die before her husband, that her share should not be given to her grandchildren.  It only specifies that should she die before her husband, then her share is to be divided among her children, share and share alike, after they reached the age of 27.

 

 

Home

 

 

Power of Attorney for Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Michael Biles

Dated 11-13-1839

 

Reverse Side

 

There are 2 lines of writing that have been scratched out and are unreadable.

 

State of Tennessee} Personally appeared before me William Porter Clerk

Henry County        } of the County Court of said County A C Pritchett and

John A Nickels the Subscribing witnesses: who being first duly sworn

depose and say that they are personally acquainted with Joseph Erwin, Michael

Biles & Joseph H. B. Wilson the within named Larganors to the within Power of attorney

and that they Sa__ their

Sign Seal & excecute the Same

                   In testimony where of I have here unto set my hand & affixed the

                   Seal of said Court at office In the town of Paris November

                   13th. A.D. 1839 and 64th year of american Indepdenance.

                                                William Porter, Clk

 

(Large Seal)

 

                   State of Tennessee} I Samuel Kendall Chairman

                   Henry County        } and presiding magistrate of

The county court of said county do certify that William Porter

whose signature appears on the foregoing certificate is now

and was the time of signing the same the acting clerk

of said court duly elected and qualified according to Law

that all due faith and credit is and ought to be given

to his official acts as such and that his attestation is in

due form of Law – Given under my hand this 15th

day of November A. D. 1839.

                                                Samuel Kendall

                                                Chairman ____

 

Receipt from Thomas Cowan to Abel Cowan on behalf of Joseph Erwin, Jr and Michael Biles

Dated: 12-21-1839

 

 

                             Wood Grove N.C. Rowan County

                             21st December 1839.

 

Received of Abel Cowan, surviving Executor of Thomas Cowan Senr.

decd. the sum of One hundred and eight dollars; It being in full of

the principal and interest, of the distribution shares (coming to Joseph Erwin Junr.

and Michael Biles & Nancy his wife) of a Specific Legacy, left by the Will of

the said decd., to my mother Catharine Erwin, and which was

retained in the hands of the Executor by instructions in the Will, untill

her (Catharine’s) death, and then to be distributed equally among

her children then living.

                             Squire C. Erwin

                                      Attorney for the Above legatees

Test

James L. Cowan

 

 

 

Refunding Bond from James Erwin to Abel Cowan

Dated: 12- 21-1839

 

Front of document

 

James Ervin

Refunding Bond

To Abel Cowan

 

Reverse of document

 

State of North Carolina Rowan County

Know all men by these presents that I. James Ervin of the State of

Kentucky and County of Calloway are held and firmly bound

unto Abel Cowan of the State and County above written as Exrs of Thomas

Cowan Decd. in the sum of one hundred dollars.  I bind my self

my heirs and assigns firmly by these presents Sealed this 21.st day

of Dec 1839

 

The conditions of the above obligation is such that the said

Thomas Cowan by his will left in the hands of Abel Cowan Surviving

Exrs. of sd Thos. Cowan three hundred dollars for to be paid to Catharine

Ervin at her husbands death or to the said Catharine Ervins Children

Share & Share alike if she Catharine Ervin should die before her husband

Joseph Ervin, now it appears that the said Catharine Ervin is dead and

two of her children to wit Margaret Callahan & William Ervin heirs of her

body now it appears that it was not the intention of the sd Thos Cowan

that his great grand children should inherit any of the

above named legacy.  That is the heirs of Margaret Callahan and

William Ervin Decd. that they are not entitled to any share of sd

legacy, now if the above named heirs of Margaret Callahan or William

Ervin should hereafter bring suit against the sd Abel Cowan surviving

Exrs of Thos. Cowan then in that case I bind my self my heirs

and assigns to refund back to the said Abel Cowan my proportion

of said suit or loss or any expense that may be brought against

the said Abel Cowan by the above named hiers of Callahan

& W. Ervin.  Now if there never is no suit brought against the sd

Abel Cowan by the above named hiers or their Guardians then the

above obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force

and virtue.  Signed this 21.st day of December 1839

                                                                   Squire C. Erwin

Test.                                         Attorney for James Erwin

James L. Cowan

 

 

 

Refunding Bond from Joseph Ervin & Michael Biles

Dated: 12-21-1839

 

Front of document

 

Joseph Ervin

       &

Michael Biles

Bond to

Abel Cowan

 

Reverse of document

 

State of North Carolina Rowan County

Know all men by these presents that we Joseph Ervin, John J. Ervin

and Michael Boyles all of the State of Tennessee and County of Henry

are held and firmly bound to Abel Cowan of the county and State above

written Exrs of Thos Cowan Decd. in the sum of one hundred dollars

each we bind our selves our heirs and and assigns firmly by these presents

Sealed with our Seals this 21st day of December 1839

 

The conditions of the above obligation is such that the sd. Thomas Cowan

left in the hands of Abel Cowan three hundred dollars to be paid to said

Catharine Ervin at the death of her husband Joseph Ervin or if she Catharine Ervin

should die before her husband, Jos Ervin, then the above named legacy to be paid

to her living children – Share and Share alike with 4 per cent Interest.  Now it appears

that the said Catharine Ervin is dead and agreeable to the will of the sd. Thos.

Cowan – the above legacy is to be paid to her children but it appears that

Margaret Callahan and William Ervin is dead with bodily heirs of Catharine Ervin

Decd. and the said Margaret Callahan & William Ervin has left bodily heirs

and it is that from the will of the said Thos. Cowan Decd. that this legacy

does not go to the great Grand children.  Now if the hiers of Margaret Callahan

or the heirs of William Ervin decd. should ___ bring suit against Abel Cowan

Surviving Exrs of Thos. Cowan Decd. or his assigns for any part of the above

named legacy then and in that case we Joseph Ervin -- (Nancy Ervin is scratched out), Michael Boyles and John (sic) P. Ervin promise and bind our selves our hiers & assigns to pay to

the said Abel Cowan or his assigns our proportion of said legacy and all

costs that may accrue ____ ____, now if there never should be any Suit or Suits

brought against the said Abel Cowan or his assigns then the above obligation to

be null & void otherwise remain in full force and virtue.  Signed

and Sealed the above day and year written

Test                                          Squire C. Erwin (Seal)

James L. Cowan                                   Attorney for the above named

                                                Legatees

 

 

Receipt from John J. Erwin to Abel Cowan

Dated: 12-21-1839

 

Mr. Abel Cowan Executor or Admr of Thomas

Cowan Estate Deceased will please pay

to Squire C. Erwin the amount of my Patrimony

at close? of the distribution, to said Estate.  I oblige

Decr the 21.st 1839

                                      Jno J Erwin

 

Received of Abel Cowan Exr. of Thomas Cowan Ser.

Estate the sum of fifty four dollars                   paid

infull of my share coming to me as one of the ___

Legatees of Joseph & Catherine Erwin.

                                     

Decr the 21.st 1839          Jno J Erwin

Test

Squire C. Erwin

 

 

List of Legaties – No date but was attached to John J. Erwin’s receipt

 

Thomas Erwin

James Erwin

Joseph Erwin

Nancy Erwin

John J. Erwin

Squire C. Erwin

Mary Erwin

Hezekiah Franklin Erwin

Abel A. Erwin

Michael L. Erwin      10 living Legaties

 

First part missing _____ Deceased

Eli Erwin

Catharine Erwin (Wilson)

Margaret Erwin (Callahan)

William Erwin

                             4 dead

 

Receipt from Thomas Cowan to Squire C. Cowan

Dated: 12-26-1839

 

Wood Grove December the 26th 1839

Received of Abel Cowan surviving Exr of Thomas Cowan Senr. Decd the Sum

of fifty four dollars it being in ___ of my distribution share of a specific

legacy principal & interest left by the will of sd. Decd. To my mother Catherine Erwin

and which was retained in the hands of the sd. Exc. Under the will until the

death of Catherine Erwin; and then to be distributed equally among her children then

living.

                                                Squire C. Erwin

Test.

James S. Cowan

 

 

 

Refunding Bond for Squire C. Erwin

Dated 26th December 1839

 

First page

 

State of North Carolina Rowan County

Know all men by these presents that I Squire C. Ervin of the State

pf Tennessee and County of Henry are held & firmly bound unto

Abel Cowan Surviving Exrs. of Thos. Cowan Senr. Decd. in the sum

of one hundred dollars.  I bind my self my heirs and assigns

firmly by these presents Sealed with my Seal and dated this

_6th day of December 1839.

 

The conditions of the above obligation is such that the sd. Thos Cowan

left in the hands of Abel Cowan three hundred dollars for to be paid to

Catharine Ervin at her husbands death as to the sd. Catharine Ervin children

Share and Share alike if she sd Catharine Ervin should die before her husband

Joseph Ervin.  Now it appears that the sd Catharine Ervin is dead and two

of her children to wit, Margaret Callahan and William Ervin and the

____ left bodily hiers.  Now it is thought from the will of the sd

Thomas Cowan Decd. that the above Great grand children that is the hiers of Margaret Callahan & William Ervin is not entitled to any Share of sd. leg

gacy.  Now if the above named heirs should ever bring suit against the

Excr Abel Cowan or his assigns and recover any thing I Squire C. Ervin agree and

___ my Sixty four to refund to the sd. Abel Cowan or his assigns my proportion

of said Share and costs that may arise.

 

Second page

 

if the said heirs should now bring suit against Abel Cowan

surviving Exrs of Thos. Cowan Senr. Decd. then the written obligation to be null

and void other wise to remain in full force and virtue.  Signed and

Sealed this day and year as within written

                                                                   Squire C. Erwin (seal)

Test

James L. Cowan

 

Part of second page (where folded would have been document title)

 

Squire C. Erwin

Bond to

A.    Cowan

 

 

Letter from James Cowan, Sr. to James L. Cowan

Dated: 2-19-1840

 

Mount Holyoke, February 19th 1840

 

Dear James

 

     This letter is intended for you, your

father and your Unkle Thomas-- Your part I will

give first-- I got home from Missi a week ago

and found my family all well-- I wrote your

Unkle Thos while there, that it was my

intention to remove all my hands up

here which I have done, they landed safe

before I got home and they are all busy

repairing, and improving my place, for a

large crop-- Our Roads are almost unpassable

and our winter has been very severe, all the

stock looks very bad-- I rented my place

below, it's a choice place, but the trouble

expense and ___tensly overide? the profits, besides

I am getting old, and a large family to pro

vide for, that are all as yet helpless--

Missi is in a wretched condition, broke, broke

& What money they have is perfect trash--, altho 

five crops of cotton raised this year, they

were spent by the time they were planted 

about 7 out of 10 of the whole community

broke, or run away to that Garden Spot

Texas, where honesty or morality has

no abiding place-- What this Country had

enough till I become acquainted with

Missi, yet Texas far surpasses Missi-- I could

count at least 12 or 15 murderers gone there

from the County my farm is in

independent of smaller offenses-- The extreme

pro_____ of the times, here, & 10 times worse

therve? is well calculated to test the honesty

of all who feels them-- and as you have

been brot up in the good old school, by those

 

Second Page (February 19th 1840)

 

who not only profess, but endeavor to practice

honesty-- and as you spoke of removing yourself

to the west or south, I would advise you to ponder

before you come to that conclusion-- Still I would

be pleased to see you, or any of my connections

here or even located near me, yet I do not

approve of advising them contrary to my own

judgt Rowan County is a good County of land

and possesses many advantages, you know nothing

about till you are deprived of them, _____

society, morality and honesty-- If you had the most

distant idea how I have been swindled from time

to time, you would be surprised-- Come and see us, or if

you can't come perhaps it would add to your brothers

health to do-- I wish to visit your Country if I

can between now and fall-- Your fathers letter, I found

here on my return, giving one the object of Cowan

Erwins visit and success-- he is the flower of the

flock in this Country-- I have not seen him

yet, nor does he want to see me, nor any one

of that family-- as for the old man paying

me one cent of what he owes me, he is the

last one that thinks of it-- Jno J. E. is about

to remove to Ky where they all will be I hope

shortly, he has been doing as bad and worse than

ever his father done before him-- His little devi

dend came in good time to feed his children

which will not last long-- He is poor indeed--

Big Joe, no better, Cowan & Jim with 8 or 9 children

each all in 16 feet square cabbin in Ky-- you can

guess how things are there-- Tell your Unkle Thomas

that old Joe, had represented, that he Thos had

of his money about $6700?, and that Cowan would

bring it out for him, when he came the money

was not there, he was asked why? his reply that

them damd Rascals had swindled him out

of it-- and to mend the matter, he said that

 

Third page (February 19th 1840)

 

the receipt he held of your Unkle Thos was

out of date and he would not pay it, so you

can all guess what I have suffered by that family

both in feeling and character, so far as their

influence extends-- Tell Thos, I read that part

of his letter to Jno J. E. and Jas McCorkle which re

lates to that receipt, and they both appear content-- I

have not seen any more of them yet, but I will

not spare them when I do-- I am sorry he ever

gave up the original papers-- if ever Cowan shows

them to me, I will yet save them, lest _____

not, I wish your Unkle Thos would send me

a full statement-- So much for what we all have

done for the old wutch-- I suppose you have

heard of the death of Michael Boils, he died about

10 days ago, he had been in bad health for

near 3 years and was tinkering with these abom

nable Sham Doctors, who no doubt in my

mind were instrumental in carrying him

off, all I could do & say to him he would _____

_____ in the Shaming business-- he left broke

_____ children-- The Shamans laid out his ___ at the

Eldest children some time ago, besides 2 or 3

negroes-- Mike's affairs here was easy, yet

he had not been accumulating? fast-- our

Country is, and has been, very healthy, but few escape

when a Shaman is called in yet the ignorant

will persist in their mode of practice–

 

     As respects those negroes of mine & Thos, I

am yet unprepared to say what I will do with

them, I rather think, (if I can help it), I will leave

them in N.C. and as I owe Thomas, should he

want them particularly, it would seem, he should

have them, yet I do not wish to take them out

of the family, or to have them separated-- neither

do I want any of them to marry till some

conclusion is determined on, if they do, they do it

                                      at their own risk.

 

Part 2 of Third page (February 19 1840)

This part is written on the side and over the words on the third page:

 

Write me often, and don't wait for my answers, and remember me, and all my family

affectionately to all, our connections there-- If you intend coming out do so soon, & I

can take your ____ there you _____ ______  or even that of, always contact

your father and you _____ before you make any move 

_____ recollect you and the oldest, and _____ will be _____ from you in

support of your brothers and sisters. Farewell, James Cowan

 

Fourth page (February 19th 1840)

 

I have had a great many losses within a few years

and I fear all is not yet over. That Yellow Sam

has cost me more than he ever earned me-- I

heard from Mr. Hayes, who has been on the way to

Texas, they were near the _____ going on well

I have a hope he may get $_____ for him yet--

a greater scoundrel, never walked this part of the

earth-- Hays will not return for 1 or 2 months yet-- 

my family are all well, and my children all at home

except Ann Eliza, who is at Nashville at school

 

In the middle of the fourth page is the address – the letter would have been folded into an envelope so that the address showed as follows:

 

Mt. Holyoke TN}                        From

19 Feby          }                                            James Cowan Sen

 

                   Mr James L. Cowan

                             Woodgrove P O

                             Rowan County

                             No Carolina

 

She was at a wedding at Jno Buntins lately, his 2d daugh

ter -- Jno is wealthy and lives in stile -- our youngest

Thomas, now 3 months old.  Weighs 24 lb The finest

child we ever have had-- our children would

be pleased to see you, or any of their connections

they are a happy set when altogether-- it's the

greatest pleasure I have, to be in the midst of them

 

 

 

Power of Attorney for Benjamin H. Diggs for Wife Mary B. Erwin McCorkle Diggs

Dated: 3-3-1840

 

Know all men by these presants that I Benjamn

H Diggs of the county of Henry and State of Tennessee

do hereby nominate constitute and appoint John

Wall of this county and State aforesaid my true and

lawful attorney in fact for me and in my name

to receive and receipt for any money that may

be due and oweing to me in right of my wife

Mary B. Diggs formerly Mary B. McCorkle– who

was formerly Mary B. Erwin. The daughter of Jose

ph & Catherine Erwin – from the estate of Thomas

L. Cowen the Grand Father of the said Mary B.–

Diggs which money is now in the hands of Abel

Cowen of the county of Rowan and State of

North Carolina. hereby notifying and confir

ming all the acts of my said attorney done in the

premises, in as full and ample a manner as

though done by me in proper person.

In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my

name and seal this 3rd day of March 1840.

 

                   Benj H Diggs (Seal)

 

54.84

Received of Abel Surviving Executor of Thomas Cowan Decd.

the sum of fifty four dollars & eighty four cents it being in full of my

distribution share of a specific legacy principal and Interest left by the

will of the deceased to my Mother Catharine Ervin and which

was retained in the hands of the said Executor under the will.

untile the death of Catharine Ervin and then to be distributed equally

among her children then living.

                                                John Wall

May the 13.th 1840           Attorney for Benjamin H. Diggs

Test.

James L. Cowan


 

Refunding Bond for Benjamin H. Diggs

Dated: 5-13-1840

 

State of North Carolina Rowan County

Know all men by these presents that I Benjamin

H. Diggs, of the State of Tennessee, and County of

Henry are held and firmly bound to Abel Cowan

of the County and State above written, Executor of

Thomas Cowan Decd. in the sum of One Hundred Dollars

I bind myself, my heirs, and assigns, firmly, by these

presents sealed with my seal this 13th day May 1840--

The condition of the above obligation is such that the

said Thomas Cowan left in the hands of Abel Cowan,

Three Hundred Dollars, to be paid to the said Catharine

Erwin, at the death of her husband Joseph Erwin

or if she Catharine Erwin, should die before her husband,

Joseph Erwin, then the above named Legacy to be paid to

her living Children; share and share, alike, with 4 pr ct

Interest.  Now it appears that the said Catharine Erwin

is dead, and agreeable to the Will of the said Thomas

Cowan; the above Legacy is to be paid to her Children;

but it appears that Margaret Callahan, and William Erwin

is dead, & left Bodily heirs, being of Catharine Erwin Decd.

and the said Margaret Callahan & William Erwin has left

bodily heirs, and it is that from the Will of the said Thomas

Cowan Decd. that this legacy does not go the great grand

Children.  Now if the heirs of the sd. Margaret Callahan, or

the heirs of sd William Erwin Decd. should ever bring suit

against Abel Cowan surviving Exr. of Thomas Cowan Decd. or

his assigns, for any part of the above named Legacy, than

and in that case I Benjamin H. Diggs, promise and bind

myself, my heirs, and assigns, to pay to the said Abel Cowan

or his assigns, my proportion, of said Legacy, and all costs

that may accrue thereon:  Now if there never should

be any suit or suits, brought against the said Abel

Cowan, or his assigns, then the above obligation

to be null, and void, otherwise to remain

 

Page 2

 

to remain in full force and virtue.

Signed and sealed the day and year above written

Test

James L. Cowan                                            John Wall (Seal)

                                      Attorney in fact for Benjamin H. Diggs

 

 

Power of Attorney for Thomas B. Erwin, Abel A. Erwin and Michael L. Erwin

Date: 7-14-1841

 

Note: The bottom of this document is crushed and probably would have cracked and broken off had it been straightened out to copy.  It is also water stained and is unreadable in parts.  The copy of the original which was given to me has words cut off because of the limitations of the copier.  I will do my best to transcribe what I believe it says in those areas.

 

Front of document

 

Abel Cowan Esqr.

                                      {Wood Grove

                                      {Rowan County

for Wm. Sparks                          {N Carolina

 

First page

 

The State of Alabama} To all people to whom

Chambers County      } these presents shall

know, We Thomas B Erwin & Abel A

Erwin and Michael L. Erwin three of the

Sons and Lagetees of Catherine Erwin

late of Henry County & State of Tennessee

decd. send greeting now know you that

We the said Thomas B. Erwin Abel A

Erwin and Michael L. Erwin have

made constituted and appointed as

and by these presents do notify _____

& appoint William Sparks of the County

of Troup & State of Georgia our true &

lawful attorney to ask demand sue

for recover____ & receive of and from Abel

Cowan of Rowan County and State of

North Carolina Executor of Thomas

Cowan decd of Whereas Catherine Erwin

was the hier or in whose hands said

the sum may be found, ___ legacy

or bequest mentioned, in the Will

of the said Thomas Cowan and ___

____ such other sum or sums of money

debts & dividends whatsoever inherited

___ shall be due owing & ________

(the rest of the page is crumpled and unreadable)

 

Second page

 

dividends of this Estate aforesaid giving

and granting unto our said attorney

by these presents our full & whole power

strength and authority to have use? &

take all lawful ways & means in our

names for the purposes and upon the

receipt of such legacy bequest debts

or sums of money acquittances or our

sufficient discharges for us & in our

names to make seal and deliver

hereby certifying allowing & holding

for form unto official full? and ____

____ same attorney shall lawfully do by

virtue hereof – In Witness whereof

we have hereunto set our hands and

Seals this 14th day of

July in the year of our lord A. D.

one thousand Eight hundred & forty one

                             Thomas B. Erwin (Seal)

                             Alex A. Erwin (Seal)

                             Michael L. Erwin (Seal)

 

There are witnesses and a seal, but it is unreadable.  It is obviously a justice of the peace since the initials “J.P.” appear after his name.  If we look at the next document we find his name is Green D. Brantly.

 

Third page

 

Michael L. Erwin whose name appears to the fore

going power of Attorney and acknowledged that they

signed seald. and deliverd. the same to William

Sparks the person therein named, on the day and

year therein mention and for the purposes therein

set forth.  Given under my hand and seal this the

fourteenth day of July A D. 1841

                             G. D. Brantly J. P. (Seal)

 

State of Alabama } I Edward Croft Clerk of

Chambers County} the County Court of said County

do hereby certify that Green D. Brantly whose

name appears to the above certificate signed

J. P. is an acting Justice of the Peace in and

for said county duly Commissioned and qual

=ifeid and that full faith and credit is ought

and should be given to all of his official acts

as such –

                   Given under my hand and

                   Seal of office this 14th day of

                   July A D 1841 and the 66 Year

                   of American Independence

                   Edward Croft Clerk

                   Of C. C. C. C. Ala

 

____ State of Alabama

More at bottom but unreadable of certification

 

Third page

 

Judge of the county court – of said

county, Do hereby certify Edward Croft

whose name appears to the foregoing

certficate, as clerk of the county

court, is clerk of said court –

That his attestation is in due form

of law and (crossed off words)

as such full faith and credit–

is due to all his official acts

Given under my hand

and Seal this 14th day of July

1841

                   Evan G. Richards (Seal)

                   G.? C. C. C. C. Ala

 

 

Home

 

 

Letter to Abel Cowan from James Cowan

Dated: 9-25-1841

 

Mt. Holyoke, September 25th, 1841

 

Brother Abel,

 

     Your letter was duly recd. but

a few days, after brother Thomas left for

Sister Pollys -- I wrote you the letter

upon the subject of the negroes, du

ring the stay of Thomas here, &

I did not inform him of the fact --

Altho, I intended it, but we had so

much to talk about, & so much was I

disposed to meet his views, & notions,

that I disliked to annoy his feelings

in any way -- I was truly surprised

at the valuation, & more so, when

similar overtures were made to him.

The hire was merely nominal in

my opinion, or it would have been so

here, yet under all the circumstances 

I did submit, not doubting at the

time, but he would, or could not, refuse

a reconsideration -- To show this fact, I

proposed, to hire of him 10 of the same

quality, as my best, or average, at the

same price, for two years & take them

from, & return them to his own

place, at my expense, to which he

turned a deaf ear, this was bringing

the matter up to his way & preferences?

of doing business -- that would have

settled the Hire -- again in the sale

I begged, to leave out the $300 girl, as

 

Page 2 (September 25th, 1841)

 

a remnant of the flock, which I

wished to inherit -- that was refused --

This was one I never saw -- again, there

was great afflictions in the whole family,

all doubtful, save John, yet a strong

desire to own the whole -- What I done

was done contrary to my views of justice

between man, & man, & very contrary

to the opinion of my family –

Yet I will stand it, if him & his

conscience will bear it -- It surely

is a concern. I do not possess, much

less, envey such a ____ again, When

he (Thos) was here before, when he unburdened?

himself & authorized me to purchase

a girl for our Decd Sister Caty, at the

price of $300 -- & give it to her dur

ing her life time, & then to revert

to him & his heirs, I could not do so

satisfactorily to myself, nor with any

degree of justice to his, or her views,

(negroes _____ daily)  In order to carry

out his kind, views, I placed in his

possession, a girl, worth double the $300

for near or quite six years, still, advising

him of the fact, & looking to him, & her,

alone, for hire, to which he never made

me any reply, my letters to him will

show this fact-- Me, not doubting, but

he would account, for the hire of said

girl, as I had done this, on the good

faith of good wishes for the comfort

of his eldest distressed? Sister –

 

Page 3 (September 25, 1841)

 

In confidence to you, & you alone, I am sorry

to say, his reply was, that I had no authority

from him to do so-- just as tho, I did

not know that-- Men may be misguided

by their own interest, if I am in this

I do not know it-- one thing I do know,

old as I am, I would remunerate a brother

of mine, who would have done a similar

act for me, if I had to have earned the

amt by labour at moon light-- but

there is different views of things of this

sort, even in the same families--

When I done this, I had no more doubts,

of my brother Thomas compensating me

to my entire satisfaction, & also receiving

his grateful thanks for so doing--

Than I would doubt you paying me

$10-- loaned money-- I have written

to Thos twice since he left here, up

to Gallitan, I have not heard from him

yet-- I said nothing to him on

this subject, as I wished to make him

as comfortable as I could, while so longy from

his family, & with his, difficulties at

home, & in Miss-- I will when I

have time explain other matters

as well as these, that falls very

far short, of my expectations, or calculations--

     I have sent to Giles for Col. Brandon's

Will, when recd I will not delay in

forwarding it on to you-- Adelene, & Temple

has both been quite sick since Thos left, but

both better, all the Bal in good health

 

Page 4 (September 25, 1841)

 

Lewis family has been sick, but getting well--

I hope Thomas may arrive safe home, to the bossom

of his beloved family, in the same health

he was in when he left Mt. Holyoke--

I have nothing more to say now, but will shortly

give you a more full detail of matter & things

our love to your family, & all connections--

Yours in hast, farewell,

Jas Cowan

 

In the middle of this last page is the address, so that the pages could be folded into an envelope

 

 

Mt. Holyoke                               From

25 Sept                                               Jas Cowan Jr

 

 

                   Mr Abel Cowan

                             Cowans mill

                             Rowan Couty

                             No Ca

 

 

answer this soon & don't wait for

another, I think Thos will get home

about the time this reaches vou

 

 

Power of Attorney for Hezekiah F. Erwin

Dated: 11-22-1841

 

This document is very hard to read and is torn.

 

Georgia} Know all men by these presents that I Hezekiah F.

Troup County   } Erwin of the County and State aforesaid for ___ good

causes and considerations now hereunto moving? have ___ do ordained and

appointed and by these presents do make ordain and appoint William

Sparks of the County and State aforesaid my true and lawful attorney

_____ in my name, and for my own proper use and benefit to ask

demand sue for recover and receive of and from Abel Cowan of Rowan

County and State of North Carolina Executor of Thomas Cowan deceased

of whom Catharine Erwin was the heir or in whose hands so ever the

same may be found, the Legacy or bequest mentioned and contained in

the last will and testament of the said Thomas Cowan deceased; and also

all such other sums or sums of money debts and demands whatsover

which are or shall be due and owing me payable to me by any means

whatsoever for or on account of my full share _____ or dividend

of the Estate aforesaid giving and granting to my said Attorney by

these presents full ample and complete authority and power to have use

and take all lawful ways and means in my name for the purposes aforesaid?

and upon the receipt of such Legacy bequest, debts sum of money acquit

tances or other sufficient discharges for me and in my name to make

_______________ to do all other lawful acts and things whatsover

concerning the premises as fully and in every respect as I myself might

or could do were I personally present at the doing thereof and one or

more attorneys under him for the purposes aforesaid to make and again

at his pleasure to revoke, ratifying and confirming and by these presents

____ owing whatsoever my said Attorney shall in my name lawfully

_____ cause to be done ____ about the promises by virtue of these

presents.

 

     In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed

my seal this twenty second day of November Eighteen hundred & forty one

Signed sealed and acknowledged before said

Wm B Stokes J. P.                                         Hezekiah F. Erwin (Seal)

 

Reverse of document

         

          Georgia} I Joseph Laws Clerk of the Inferior Court for said County

Troup County   } do hereby certify that William B. Stokes whose name appears

on the foregoing Letter of Attorney as a subscribing Witness is an acting Justice

of the Peace in and for said County and that full faith and credit ought to be

had and given to his attestation as such, and that the same is in due form

(torn document) Given under my hand and seal of my office this twenty second

(torn document) of November one thousand eight hundred and forty one

                                                          Jospeh Laws Clk. J. C.

 

          Georgia} I James M. Beall one of the Justices of the Inferior Court

Troup County   } for the County and State aforesaid do certify that Joseph Laws

whose name appears to the above and foregoing certificates Clerk of the Inferior

Court for said County and that full faith and credit ought to be had and

given to his attestation as such, and that the same is in due form

Given under my hand and seal this twenty second day of

     November one thousand eight hundred and forty one.

                                                          J. M. Beall, J.J.C. (Seal)

 

 

 

Letter from Hezekiah Franklin Erwin to his uncle, Abel Cowan

Dated: 11-22-1841

 

Outside envelope

                  

Abel Cowan Esqr.

                   Wood Grove

                   Rowan County

Wm. Sparks  N. Carolina

 

First page:

 

                                      Pleasant Hill, Troup County, Ga.

                                      November 22nd, 1841

 

My uncle,

 

          Perhaps from the first sight of this

letter you may be at a loss to know what to make

of it but I presume after reflecting you will under=

stand the contents and know the writer from the

Family which give him birth.--  Having learned

from my Relations in Tennessee that there is a small

legacy due me and my Brothers in Chambers Co Ala

from my Grand Father or Mother as the case may be

and you as the legal admr. of said estate and the proper

person to call on for said effects, as you will see from

Power Attorneys by Mr. Sparks.

 

          You will discover the one made by my

three Brothers of Ala bear date of the 14th July but

at that time Mr. Sparks expected to go to S. Carolina

but concluded to defer it to this time, and consequently

I did not take out any letter until this time, you

will find him a very Honest correct young man

he has been acting as an overseer for me the last two

years.  His Parents Reside in Spartanburg Dst. S.C.

who he now visits and as the distance is short to

where you live and understood you was anxious to wind

up the concerns of the estate we have thought proper to

                                                (over)

 

2nd page

 

to call on you through our agent Wm. Sparks for

the effects coming to us, Mr Sparks is unfortunately

destitute of Education to a verry great extent, and

I must ask of you to direct him in any thing

connected with this business.

 

          I have just heard from my Relations

in Tennessee by Jacob Mayes (Mayer?) a Dutchman uncle

James raised who is out here for the purpose of

selling some land belonging to himself and uncle

James.  Our Friends are generally well save my

sister’s family.  Mr. Biles, Uncle James, was gone

to Mississpi, or I have considerable space I know

of nothing els to write, but presume it will be

of little interest to you but as you are the

Brother of that dear Mother who give me birth

I will take the liberty of conversing with you

through letter.  I was born in Rowan county and

was my mother’s sucking infant when she left that

State, I lived with my Father in Tennessee until I

was 14 and then came to this State and lived with my

Brother Thomas until I married.  I am now thirty

years old and have been married seven years and

have a very agreeable companion and two promising

children, a son and a Daughter.  My Bro. T. B. has

four children and doing well my two other younger

Brothers are both living in Chambers Co

some 15 miles from me unmarried and

doing very well.

 

3rd page

 

It would be a source of great pleasure to me to

see my Relations in N.C. as they are numerous and

Strangers to me I never have seen any my Relations

by mother’s side save uncle James & aunt McCorkle’s

Family.  Should I ever pass through your

State I will be certain to call on you and the balance

of my Relations, you will please accept my best

Respects and present the same to my unseen aunt

& cousins and should you or any of your children

ever pass through Ga I shall be more than

glad to see them.

 

          You will please send a statement of

the affects individually by Mr. Sparks.

Any attention rendered Mr. Sparks will be

thankfully Recd.  I will refer you to him for

particulars.  I am yours affectionately,

                             Hezekiah F. Erwin

Able Cowan

          Rowan Co.

          N Carolina

 

N.B.  Please have the Powers Recorded and let Mr.

Sparks bring the originals Back or some satisfactory

showing.

 

 

Receipt for Hezekiah Erwin from Abel Cowan

Dated: 4-25-1842

 

Wood Grove April the 25.th 1842

          Received of Abel Cowan surviving Executor of Thomas Cowan

Snr. Decd. the sum of Fifty four dollars. It being in full of the

principal & interest of the distribution Share coming to Hezekiah F.

Ervin of a specific legacy left by the will of the said decd to my

Mother Catharine Ervin, and which was retained in the hands of the

Executor by instructions in the will untile her Catharine Ervins death

and? then to be distributed equally among her children then living

                                                William Sparks Atorney for

                                                Hezekiah F Erwin

Test

John Cowan

 

 

Refunding Bond for Hezekiah Erwin

Dated: 4-25-1842

 

State of North Carolina }

Rowan County             } Know all men by these presents that I

Hezekiah F. Ervin of the county of Troup & State Georgia are held

and firmly bound unto Abel Cowan of the county & State above written

surviving Executor of Thos Cowan Senr. decd. in the sum of one hundred

eight dollars.  I bind my self my hiers & assigns firmly by these presents sealed

with my seal & dated this 25.th day of April 1842

 

The conditions of the above obligation is such that the said Thos. Cowan decd.

left in the hands of Abel Cowan three hundred dollars for to be paid to Catharine

Ervin at her husbands death or in case she should die before her husband

Joseph Ervin.  Now it appears that the said Catharine Ervin is dead and

agreeable to the will the money is to be paid to her children Share & Share

Alike with 4 per cent Interest allowing 2 per cent to Abel Cowan for his trouble.  Now it

appears that Margaret Callahan & William Ervin is dead hiers & children

of Catharine Ervin decd. & the sd Margaret Callahan & William Ervin

has left hiers.  Now it appears from the will of the said Thos Cowan

that the above named legacy was to be divided amongst Catharine Ervins

children & not her Grand children that is the heirs of Margaret Callahan

& Wm Ervin is not entitled to any share of the above named legacy.

___ if the above named hiers of Margaret Callahan or Wm Ervin should

___ bring suit aginst Abel Cowan or his admrs. or assigns & recover anything

the above named Hez. F. Ervin is to pay his proportion of such debt or judgement

or costs as the case may be should any be recovered against the said

Abel Cowan then the above obligation to be void? Otherwise to remain

____ form & virtue.  Signed & Sealed the day & year above written

 

                                                          William Sparks (Seal)

                                            atorney for Hesikeah F. Erwin

Test

Not readable (but probably James Cowan)

 

 

Receipt from William Sparks, Attorney for Thomas, Abel and Michael Erwin to Thomas Cowan

Dated: 4-25-1842

 

Wood Grove April the 25th 1842

Received of Abel Cowan surviving Executor of Thomas Cowan

Senr. decd the Sum of one hundred & sixty two dollars it being in full

of the principal and interest of the distribution share of  coming to Thomas

B. Ervin, Abel A. Ervin & Michael L Ervin of a Specific Legacy

by the will of said decd. to our mother Catherine Ervin and which was

retained in the hands of the Executor by instructions in the will untile

her Catherine Ervins death and then to be equally distributed equally among

her children then living.

                                      William Sparks Attorney

for Thomas B Erwin, Abel A Ervin

& Michael L. Erwin

Test.

John Cowan

 

 

Refunding Bond for Thos B. Erwin, Abel A. Erwin and Michael L Erwin

to Abel Cowan

Dated:  4-25-1842

 

Front of document

 

Thos B. Erwin and

Abel A. Erwin and

Michael L. Erwin

Refunding Bond

 

Reverse of document

 

State of North Carolina Rowan County

Know all men by these presents that we Thomas B. Ervin and

Abel A. Ervin & Michael L. Ervin of the County of Chambers -- &

State of Alabama all sons & heirs of Catharine Ervin, Decd. wife of

Joseph Ervin of Tennessee Henry County are held & firmly bound to

Abel Cowan of the State of North Carolina & County of Rowan Executor

of the last will & testament of Thomas Cowan Senr Decd in the

sum of three hundred & twentyfour dollars each we bind

our selves our heirs Exers. Admrs. & assigns firmly by these presents Sealed

with our Seals & dated this twentyfifth day of April 1842

 

The conditions of the above obligation is such that the said Thos. Cowan

decd. left in the hands of the sd Abel Cowan three hundred dollars

to be paid to the sd Catharine Ervin at the death of her husband or in

case she Catharine Ervin should die before her husband Joseph Ervin than

& in that case it was to be paid to her children Share & Share alike with 4 per

cent Interest allowing 2 per cent to the Exrs for his trouble.  Now it

appears that the sd Catharine Ervin is dead & agreeable to the will of

the said Thomas Cowan decd. the above named legacy is to be paid

to her children but it appears that Margaret Callahan is dead & also

William Ervin & that the both have left bodily hiers & it appears that from

the will of the sd Thos. Cowan that the above legacy is to go to his

Grand children & not to his great Grand children.  Now if the hiers of

Margaret Callahan or William Ervin decd. should ever bring suit against

the said Abel Cowan Exrs. of Thos. Cowan Decd or his assigns for any part

of the above named legacy then & in that case we Thos. B. Ervin

Abel A. Ervin & Michael L. Ervin agrees to pay our proportion of such

debts or judgements or costs.  Should any be sued for or recovered from

the said Abel Cowan or his assigns.  Now if there never should be any

Judgement or Suits or cost recovered aginst the said Abel Cowan Surviving Exrs.

of Thomas Cowan decd. then the above obligation to be void otherwise

to remain in full force and virtue. Signed & sealed the day & year

above written. April the 25.th 1842

                                                          William Sparks (Seal)

                                               atorney for Thomas B Erwin

                                              Abel A Erwin & Michael L Erwin

Test

John Cowan

 

 

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