Chemung County NY
History of Tompkins, Schuyler, Chemung, Tioga 1879
Page 270 - Thaddeus C. Cowen Biography
Home Page
1879 Four County History - Table of Contents
Typed for Tri-Counties by Janice Walker
Formatted by Joyce M. Tice
Thaddeus C. Cowen was born in Schoharie Co., N.Y.., Dec 17, 1814. His father, Isaac Cowen, was a native of Putnam Co., N.Y., and whose grandfather (the family name was then called McCowen) was of Scottish birth, and emigrated to America prior to the Revolutionary war. Mr. Thaddeus C. Cowen’s grandfather, John Cowen, was a soldier in the war of 1812-14, was in the engagement at Lewiston Heights, and was among those who were crowded off the rocks and perished in the Niagara River. His father died at the age of sixty-seven, at the residence of his son in Elmira, in the year 1855.

His mother, Anna (Secor) Cowen was a daughter of Major John D. Secor, a Frenchman by birth, who came to this country with General Lafayette, and upon General Lafayette’s return joined the staff of General Washington, was in service during a large part of the Revolutionary war, was twice wounded, and after the war was a pensioner, and died at the age of ninety-six, in the city of Rochester.

Mr. Cowen had three brothers and nine sisters, of whom only one brother, David, and two sisters, Mrs. Percis Chambers and Mrs. Betsey Ann Galpin, are living.

Mr. Cowen began life without pecuniary assistance, and under extreme privations. With only five dollars of borrowed money, he started out as a peddler of notions when only eleven years of age. This experience while so young became a school of value to him, and learned him from necessity that self-denial, economy, and the value of time which have in all his subsequent career been his characteristics, as well as to impress upon his mind the valuable lesson of kindness to the needy and sympathy for the suffering.

In the year 1838 he established a store in Candor, Tioga Co., N. Y., and after two years removed to Elmira, and clerked one year for Joseph Van Vleck; when he bought out his goods and opened a general store for himself, through the assistance of Solomon L. Gillett, which he continued until about the year 1855, when he sold out his goods; and after one year’s travel through the Western States, during which time he took the stump for John C. Fremont, he returned to Elmira, and opened an auction, commission (wholesale and retail) store, which he has continued until the time of writing this sketch as a successful business man.

Mr. Cowen had been an active member of the Whig party in its day, and is an ardent supporter of the Republican party. Upon the organization of the city of Elmira, Mr. Cowen was captain of the night watch and chief of the police, and previous to the organization was elected trustee of the village from the Fourth Ward, which was largely Democratic. In all public trusts and responsibilities he has fulfilled his duties with scrupulous integrity to all concerned. In the year 1836, January 7, he married, while a clerk in New York City, Eliza Robertson, of Norwalk, Conn.

Their children by this union were Georginna, Thaddeus, Newton, Seaver, and Frank. His wife died June, 1856. For his second wife he married Mary Eleanor Miller, of Wilkesbarre, Pa., by whom he had five children, -Edwin M., Nellie, Jennie, Grace, and John. Of these children, Thaddeus and Newton enlisted in the first call for soldiers in the war of the Rebellion. The former after serving twenty-one months came home an invalid, and died one year after; the latter entered the service at the age of seventeen, did duty for two years, and coming home was so broken down in constitution that he only survived about one year. There are also deceased - Frank, Nellie, and Jennie.

Joyce Tip Box -- December 2007 -
If you are not navigating this Tri-Counties Site via the left and right sidebars of the Current What's New page you are doing yourself a disservice. You can get to any place on the site easily by making yourself familiar with these subject and place topics. Try them all to be as familiar with the site's 16,000 plus pages as you can. Stop groping in the dark and take the lighted path. That's also the only way you'll find the search engines for the site or have access to the necessary messages I may leave for you. Make it easy on yourself.