Source: North Manchester Journal, September 16, 1909
PASSES AWAY AT RIPE OLD AGE
John Cowgill Dies Tuesday Morning at Home of Lewis Signs.
John L. Cowgill, the veteran shoemaker and well known resident of this city, passed away at the home of Lewis Signs at 12:30 o'clock Tuesday morning. He died from a general physical breakdown following an attack of paralysis sustained about two years ago. He had failed rapidly in health during the past few months but was able to get around, although with considerable difficulty until a few days before his death. He took to his bed a week ago and from that time sank rapidly. Death came peacefully. Funeral services were conducted at the home of Mr. Signs Wednesday afternoon by Rev. Albert Wright, assisted by Rev. N.W. Beauchamp. Interment was made in Oak Lawn cemetery. There was a large attendance of relatives and old time friends at the services.
John L. Cowgill was born in Clark county, Ohio, January 18, 1826 and was in his 84th year at the time of his death. He was married in 1843 to Miss Catharine Crill and they located in Wabash county near this city in 1845. They were the parents of six children, four of whom survive him. Mrs. Sarah Humiston, of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Benjamin W. Cowgill, of this city, Joseph Cowgill, of Wabash, and Mrs. G.B. Place, of Fort Wayne. In 1852 Mr. Cowgill leaving his family here went to California and spent eight years in the gold fields of that country, being among the early seekers after the precious metal in that country. He returned to Wabash county in 1860.
On May 7, 1862 his wife died and in 1863 he married Miss Elizabeth Simpson. Seven children were born to them, four of whom are living, Mrs. John Jones, of Auburn, Horace Cowgill, of Canton, Ohio, Gordon Cowgill of Denver, Colorado, and Miss Vinnie Cowgill, of this city. His wife died July 4, 1889 and in 1901 Mr. Cowgill returned to California where he remained five years, working at his trade as a shoemaker. Returning to North Manchester in 1906 he opened a shoe shop and for a short time worked at his trade until compelled to give it up on account of failing health. Since that time he has made his home with the family of Lewis Signs, making occasional visits with his children.
Mr. Cowgill was well and favorably known to all the people of this vicinity. He started a shoe shop soon after coming to this place and was quite successful in business. Soon after the war he built the business room now occupied by the Dreamland theatre and engaged in the manufacture and retail of shoes on an extensive scale for several years, having his sons, Benjamin and Joseph, associated in the business with him. The business failed in 1884, after which for several years he conducted a small repair shop. Mr. Cowgill was a man of very kindly character and pleasant disposition, hard working and energetic all his life. He had the highest respect of the entire community as a good citizen, a helpful neighbor and an upright man. Although not a member of any church he was a professing Christian and his life was lived in accordance with the Christian spirit and good citizenship. His acts of kindness were many and his death will b e mourned by a large number of people aside from his immediate family. His death came peacefully at the close of a ripe old age. His age was eighty-three years, seven months and twenty -six days. All his living children were present at the funeral except his son, Gordon, who was unable to reach here from Colorado.