Maj. Richard Cowling, deceased, was born in Cornwall, England, July 7, 1797. His parents were Richard and Mary (Parnell) Cowling, who accompanied our subject to this country in the year 1818. They landed at the city of Baltimore, but soon went to Chambersburg, Penn., where Richard. Sr., died shortly after their removal. Our subject and mother remained here several years, then removed to Pittsburgh, in the same State. and subsequently to Urbana, Ohio. At these places, Mr. Cowling was engaged in the butchering and mercantile pursuits. The mother died in London, Ohio, in the year 1850. Our subject settled in Madison County in 1833, residing on a farm some eight or nine miles distant from London. In 1840, he removed to London, and, on the 1st day of May 1849, was united in marriage with Mary, daughter of Lemuel and Amy (Holmes) Brush, and sister to Judge Henry Brush, of Chillicothe, who subsequently settled in Madison County. No children were born to this union. Mr. Cowling was engaged in active business in Madison County until just prior to the late war, when he retired, having dealt largely and principally, during this period in stock, and, by natural shrewdness and close application to business he amassed a large fortune. He grave liberally of his wealth to several public enterprises, such as building of the Presbyterian Church, to which he subsequently donated $5,000 by will. He also supplied the steeple with a town clock at his own expense. He donated the land for Oak Hill Cemetery, and built a beautiful soldiers' monument therein. He built the Madison, formerly Cowling House, and erected some twenty or more tenant houses in London. In his will, among the public bequests are the donation of the old homestead at the north end of Main street, together with about four and a half acres of land to the town of London as a public park. Between sixty and eighty acres adjoining Oak Hill Cemetery are set apart as an extension of the grounds for perpetual use. For years Mr. Cowling was a large shareholder and Director in the old Franklin Bank of Columbus; as one of the original starters of the first bank in London, which afterward became the First National Bank. Although peculiar and eccentric, be had many personal friends, and whom he never forsook. He did much good with his money. and was closely identified with the growth of London. The title of Major was simply one given him by his old acquaintances and friends. Maj. Cowling was not identified with any church. His death occurred October 3, 1878, and that of Mrs. Cowling March 11, 1873.


From HISTORY OF MADISON COUNTY - W. H. Beers [Chicago, 1883]