Biography of Eber Cowen

Eber Cowen. One of the oldest residents of Osage County is Eber Cowen, who came to this part of the state when it was raw and new, nearly half a century ago. The business by which he had gained his prosperity had been farming, and at the same time he had enjoyed the respect and esteem of his fellowmen by his sturdy citizenship and his ability as a home maker and valuable factor in community affairs.

He was born in Jersey County, Illinois, February 22, 1846, a son of John and Maria Cowen, his father a native of Vermont and his mother of New Hampshire, and both of old New England stock. John Cowen was a carpenter after the fashion the sturdy builders of a by-gone generation. He helped put up some of those substantial structures which still stand, an object of admiration to those who might be content with comparatively flimsy processes of modern construction. He was very skillful with all the tools used by the carpenter of that early day, and many times he hewed out by hand, then fashioned with ax and drawing knife the timbers which went into houses he was building. Thus he carried on every process in the manufacture of lumber from the timber in the woods until it finally found a place in construction. The old home which he built in Jersey County, Illinois, during the ’40s is still standing and is a monument to his ability as a workman.

John Cowen came out to Kansas about 1863 or 1864, and acquired a tax title to 960 acres of land in Osage County. By purchase Mr. Cowen acquired 160 acres of land, and that was the nucleus of his property as a farmer, and on it he began his career when he came to Kansas in 1868. He made the trip by railroad as far as Lawrence, and then took a stage to Scranton. His old farm lies about 1½ miles south of Carbondale.

In 1870 Eber Cowen married Sarah Little, a daughter of John and Agnes Little, who came from England. Mrs. Sarah Cowen died in 1911, the mother of three sons and two daughters. The oldest, Fred A., is living in Detroit, Michigan, and married Grace Culver. Effie A. married Joseph Andrews and lives at Overbrook, Kansas. Frank M. is unmarried and is living at Houston, Texas. Charles E. and Arvilla E. are both unmarried and living with their father at Carbondale.

As to matters of politics Mr. Cowen is a republican. He had taken much interest in his party and in local affairs. He is a member of the Methodist Church. Mr. Cowen took great pains to give his children good educations in the schools of Carbondale and Topeka, and it is a matter of satisfaction to him that they have grown up to be worthy men and women.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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