James Cowan 1856-1936

James Cowan 1856-1936 stays in Ireland with the Anderson family while the rest of the Cowan family return to Northumberland


Death of John Anderson
Ephraim Anderson at Hollybrook House had three sons while John Anderson at Brize House had five daughters and no sons. The census records show that James and Jane Cowans returned to Northumberland by the 1871 census without their eldest son James. We cannot be sure but it is likely that John Anderson took fifteen year old James as a surrogate son. In 1874 John Anderson died at Mayo Cottage, now probably Ivy Cottage close to Knockroe when 18 year old James could have taken over the farm. By the late 1880s James Cowan was the established farmer at Knockoe House, an auctioneer and on at least one occasion temporary Master of the South Mayo Hounds.  The property at Knockroe was leased from the De Clifford Estate.

Death of Margaret Anderson, sister of John
Marriage of cousins James Cowan 1856-1936 and Mary Anderson 1858-1943
After the death of John Anderson James Cowan was living with John Anderson’s sister Margaret, John’s widow, also called Margaret and their unmarried daughters. The three eldest daughters were married between 1877 and 1884 leaving Mary, Margaret and Anne at Knockroe. James Cowan married his cousin Mary Anderson in Hollymount Presbyterian Church on 4 January 1898. Family sources suggest that John Anderson’s sister Margaret 1817-1897 was not liked, the only person who spoilt the happy atmosphere at Knockroe. It is interesting that within three weeks of Margaret’s death James Cowan married his cousin and house mate Mary Anderson. It is not known if a long attachment had been formalised or if it was a (childless) marriage of convenience.

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