Back Up Next

[p 178 in original]

COWDEN, JAMES, son of Matthew Cowden, was born Jun 16, 1737, in Paxtang township, Lancaster, now Dauphin, county, Pa.; died October 10, 1810, in Paxtang. He was brought up on his father's farm, enjoying, however, the advantages of that early education of those poineer times, which, among the Scotch-Irish settlers, was remarkably comprehensive and ample. Apart from this, he was well-grounded in the tenets of the Westminster Confession, which amoung our pious ancestry formed a part of the instruction given to all. Until the thunders of the Revolution rolled toward the Susquehanna, Mr. Cowden remained on the paternal acres, busily engaged in farming. At the outset, he was a strong advocate for active defensive measures, and in favor of independence. He was one of the leading spirits in the meeting at Middletown, June 9, 1774, of which Col. James Burd was chairman, and whose action, in conjunction with those of Hanover, nerved the people of Lancaster in their patriotic resolves. Suiting the action to the word, Mr. Cowden and the young men of his neighborhood took measures toward raising a battalion of associators, of which Col. James Burd was in command, and a company of which was intrusted to Captain Cowden. His company, although not belonging to the Pennsylvania Line, was, nevertheless, in several campaigns, and did faithful service at Fort Washington, in the Jerseys, at Brandywine, and Germantown, and in the war on the northern and western frontiers, defending them from the attack of the savage Indian and treacherous Tory. At the close of the war Captain Cowden returned to his farm. Under the Constitution of 1790, he was appointed the justice of the peace for the district of Lower Paxtang, April 10, 1793, which he held up to the time he was commissioned by Governor Thomas Mifflin one of the associate judges of the county of Dauphin, October 2, 1795, an office he filled acceptably and creditably. In 1809 he was chosen presidential elector, and was an ardent supporter of Madison. Judge Cowden married, March 20, 1777, by Rev. John Elder, Mary Crouch, b 1757, in Virginia; died October 14, 1848, in Paxtang township, Dauphin county, Pa., and buried in Paxtang church graveyard; daughter of James and Hannah Crouch.