Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


JOHN COWELL. The name of John Cowell is well known to the people of Springfield, whither he came forty-five years ago, during which period he has been an interested and most active spectator to the city's development along general lines, always having the interests of the Queen City at heart and abiding faith in her future. Through close attention to business and unswerving industry, he has met with a larger degree of material success than falls to the lot of some of our foreign-born citizens. He comes of a sturdy English ancestry, his family on both sides going far back into the annals of that "merrie isle." So he has in him many of the elements that always win in the battle of life, no matter where fought out, and while Mr. Cowell was fortunate in coming to a country of unlimited opportunities, where the soil is new and competition not so fierce, and where, as the poet Mackay, his noted countryman, wrote nearly a century ago, "The humblest may gather the fruits of the soil, and a man is a man if he is willing to toil." Yet Mr. Cowell, no doubt, would have succeeded in establishing a good home in any country where he might have settled.

John Cowell, who is at this writing, one of the three judges of the Greene county court, was born in Peet, England, June 23, 1844. He is a son of John and Isabelle (Skinner) Cowell, natives of that locality, where they spent their lives engaged in farming, being honest, hard-working gentle folk, highly respected by their neighbors. Their family consisted of six children, of whom John of this review was second in order of birth; one child is deceased; two sons and one daughter reside in England, and two of the sons make their home in America.

John Cowell was reared on the home farm in his native land and there he assisted with the general work and received his education in the home schools. He immigrated to the United States shortly after the close of the Civil war, and came on west to Springfield, Missouri, where he located his permanent home in 1869. Here he followed the business of stone contractor for more than forty years, and was eminently successful in this line, being known as a man who did his work thoroughly, promptly and in an up-to-date manner. He has handled many big jobs in this city and vicinity. Having accumulated a competency sufficient for his old age, he abandoned active work a few years ago.

Mr. Cowell was married in 1872 to Sarah Daniels, a native of Springfield, Missouri, where she grew to womanhood and was educated. She was a representative of an old family here. Her death occurred in 1898 at the age of fifty-one years. She was known to her friends as a woman of many fine personal characteristics.

Six children, five sons and one daughter, were born to Mr. and Mrs. Cowell, named as follows: Edwin, a graduate of the local high school, is a bookkeeper by profession, is married and has two children; Minnie married H. W. Thompson, and they are living in Detroit, Michigan, and have one son, eight years old; John W., who is in the tailoring and notion goods business in Joplin, Missouri, is married; Harry B. is a traveling salesman, lives in Springfield and is married; Frank, who is clerking in a clothing store in Oklahoma, is married and has one child; Charles L., who is engaged in the tailoring and clothes pressing business in Springfield, is married and has one child.

Politically, Mr. Cowell has always been a stanch Democrat and active in local political affairs. He has long been a member of the city council from the Sixth ward and has made his influence felt not only for the good of that section of the city but for the general community, and his work as a public-spirited citizen has been greatly appreciated by all classes. In the fall of 1912, he was elected judge of the Greene county court, and is now incumbent of that office, the duties of which he is discharging in a manner that reflects much credit upon his ability and integrity, and to the satisfaction of his constituents. He at the present time, is serving his second term. Fraternally, he belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is a member of the Christian church. He has always enjoyed the utmost confidence of his fellow men owing to his straightforward and honorable course.

[1337-1339]


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