A. S. COWDEN is one of the best known young lawyers of Springfield, Mo., or Greene County, and his success is largely due to the fact that when he first engaged in the practice of his profession, never to go into a case without thorough preparation. As a rule he maintains that litigation avoided is better than law suits courted, and is a strong adherent of Daniel Webster's idea that cases can best be adjusted in the secret councils of the office than by the long, tedious and expensive trials that follow cases contested in the courts. Mr. Cowden goes into the trials of his cases knowing all the details and always anticipates the opposition by being prepared for any possible point which may be raised. His sympathies seem to be with the weak, against the strong, and he has won many verdicts by his, persuasive power of speech. Mr. Cowden was born in Polk County, October 6, 1862, being the youngest of four children reared by R B. and Martha J. (Headlee) Cowden, the former of whom was born in Tennessee, a son of Robert Cowden, who was one of the early settlers of Tennessee from North Carolina, afterwards moving to Missouri in the early history of that State, made their home in Polk County and there reared their children. Their settlement was made about 1842 and he afterwards became a successful farmer and stockman of that region and the owner of a large tract of land in Polk County. He was a man of great public spirit and on all necessary occasions supported the Democrat party. He died there at the age of sixty-six years and his widow survived him only a short time. To them a good old-fashioned family of thirteen children were born: James, Hannah, Mary, William, John, Robert B., Rebecca, Jane, Louisa, Samuel, Newton, Marshall and Melissa. John, Samuel, Newton, Marshall, Mary, Jane and Melissa live in Polk County, and Rebecca, who married a Mr. Crocker, resides in Webster County. James, who was a resident of Springfield, where he has two sons living, is dead. The paternal great grandfather was an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. R. B. Cowden, the father of the subject of this sketch, was seventeen years of age when he came to Missouri and up to that day received such education as the schools of Tennessee afforded. When still quite young he began doing for himself and in 1850 was united in marriage to Miss Headlee, after which be lived on the same farm for forty-two years, his death occurring on the 19th of July, 1892, on the homestead in Polk County, having been a life-long member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Like all the members of the Cowden family he was very public spirited and throughout life was very much interested in the cause of education. He was very domestic in his tastes, was devoted to his family and friends, and although interested in the welfare of his country and his own immediate vicinity, was never an aspirant for public favor. His wife was born in Middle Tennessee about 1829, being two years younger than her husband, a daughter of Elisha and Rachel (Sweet) Headlee, who were among the first residents of Missouri from Tennessee. After their removal to Missouri they settled ten miles northwest of Springfield Where they took up some land, on which Mr. Headlee remained until his death in 1876. He was a man well known in Greene County and held a number of official positions, such as county judge, and for many years was connected with the affairs of the Methodist Church, in which he was always deeply interested. He and his wife reared a family of nine children and lost one: Dr. Samuel H., who is practicing medicine at St. James, Mo.; Martha J. (Mrs. Cowden); Caroline, who died when a child; C. C., who resided on the old home place in Greene County until 1891, went to Louisiana where he died in 1892; Hannall J., wife of J. W. Kerr of this county, is a widow, her husband having been killed by a runaway horse; David has been dead since 1874; Ann is living in Polk County, Mo., the wife of Mr. Armor, a farmer; Eveline; Melissa; Elizabeth and Harriet the last four being single and living on the old home place. Mrs. Cowden, the mother of the subject of this sketch, is living in Polk County, an earnest and energetic worker in the Presbyterian Church. She bore her husband three sons and. one daughter: William H. is a practicing physician of Fair Grove, Greene County, having graduated from the Missouri Medical College of St. Louis in 1880. His literary education was obtained in McGee and Drury College. He was married near Fair Grove to Miss M. Butts, a native of Greene County and daughter of J. M. Butts. C. W. lives on the old homestead in Polk County with his mother and is married to Miss Jrelda Cavin, a native of Greene County and daughter of A. S. Cavin. They have two children, Everett and Effie. Mary C. died in 1868 at the age of fifteen years. Albert S., the subject of this sketch, was educated in the district schools of Polk County and Morrisville College for a year or so, after which he entered the State University at Columbia, Mo., and graduated from the law department of that institution in 1888 but prior to this had been in the drug business at Fair Grove for a year or so and continued to follow this occupation until February, 1889, when he came to Springfield and here has since made his home. He has been a successful legal practitioner and has made a specialty of Corporation law. He is a member of the Masonic order, and at the present time is one of the best known young men in the State among that fraternity. He was married in October, 1892, to Miss Julia A. Patterson, of Polk County, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Reed) Patterson, who were early pioneers of that county. Mr. Patterson is now deceased. He was the father of nine children: Alexander (deceased), William B., George T., Robert B., James L., N. B., W. C., Marion V. and Julia A. Mr. Cowden has a pleasant residence at 308 Mt. Vernon street, and his office is located at 104 East side of the public square. Since 1889 he formed a partnership with Judge J. T. Neville and after the election of his partner to the position of judge of the circuit court he is alone. He has always been a Democrat in politics and has always been deeply interested in its success.
Springfield-Greene County Library