Charles Cowley (1800 - 1875) MP

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Birthplace: St. Peter's, Kirk German, Glenfaba, Isle of Man
Death: Died in Logan, Cache, Utah Territory
Occupation: Shoemaker; farmer; tanner
Managed by: Jennifer Lynn Young
Last Updated:

About Charles Cowley

[Note: Charles Cowley never used the middle name 'Caesar'. This was a mistake published by the Sons of Pioneers. Family historian Marilyn Thomsen researched Charles Cowley’s Isle of Man birth records, marriage, church, naturalization, and cemetery records, his journal and his children’s histories, none of which ever showed him using the middle name 'Caesar'. She believes the mistake was made because his oldest son, Charles Caesar Cowley, added 'Jr.' to his name to prevent being mistaken for his father. ']

CHARLES COWLEY (21 December 1800 - 26 December 1875), Utah pioneer, was the second son of that name born to Nicholas Cowley and Eleanor Kelley in the Parish of Kirk German, on the Isle of Man. He had an older brother also named Charles Cowley, whose christening record in the IGI extraction is shown as 21 Jul 1799, and who probably died sometime in the eighteen months between his birth and that of this Chalres. It was common for Isle of Mann families to re-use the name of a child who had died. Due to a gap in Parish records available on Film at the Family History Library, we have only the records for the birth and christening of the first Charles, and have not identified the record of his death, because Charles Cowley is a common name in Kirk German.

From the journal of the second Charles, in his exact words and spelling: A Short history of Charles, Son of Nicholas Cowley son of William Cowley. Born in the Parish of Kirk German, Isle of Man, England, was born December 21, 1810. Christened according to the order of the Church of England, January 20 following. Joined the Methedist, or the followers of John Wesley, at 16 years of age. Remained a member 20 years. Was desfellowshiped, not for any unchristian like conduct, but because I was seeking for a correct Information of the will of the God that the christian world pretend to worship.

On 26 December 1833, he married Ann Maud Killip [sometimes written as Maud Ann Killip], daughter of Thomas Killip (b. 1780) and Ellen Kelley [variously known as 'Eleanor', 'Elinor, 'Ellinore', 'Killey'] (b. 1793). Ann Killip was born at Kirk German, Isle of Man, in July of 1814, second in a family of twelve children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood. Kirk German had been the home of the Killip and the Killey families, as well as the Cowleys, for four or five generations. All three families were relatively wealthy and prominent.

Ann and Charles lived on the Close farm in Kirk German. Their first child, Charles Caesar, was born 17 November 1834, and named after his father. They had four more children in Kirk German: William Michael (born 29 September 1836); Eleanor Caroline (born 12 December, 1838, who only lived 2 ½ months); Ann Elizabeth (born 20 May 1840); and Thomas Nephi (born 5 July 1842).

Charles was known as a kind, generous man. Mr. and Mrs. Tarbet, who knew him while living on the Isle of Man, and later emigrated with the Cowley family, said that one Sunday morning while they were at church thieves broke into their house and stole all of their money and valuables. This was a disaster, as the Tarbet family had been preparing to emigrate to the United States, and now their journey would be delayed, so Charles Cowley paid their way.

During this time on the Close farm, Charles was disfellowshipped from the Methodist church, met a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and joined the LDS church: “I continued seeking for knowledge of the salvation of the soul in a distressing maner for four years, but by hearing a lecture by an apostle of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, setting forth the great differance between the faith, blessings and ordinances and gifts of the former Day Saints and the several Christian Denominations now in the world, I did rejoice in the truth of these sayings and desired to be baptized for the remission of Sins, which was Emediately preformed by Elder John Taylor, one of the apposels, and laid his hands upon my head for the reception of the Holy Ghost, which was preformed on the day —–1840.”

When John Taylor, one of the original twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church, visited the Isle of Man, in October of 1840, he was very successful in bringing many new members into the Latter Day Saints church. One night Ann dreamed of an American minister who was preaching the gospel and singing the hymn 'Come to the Supper'. The next day she found herself still humming the tune. Soon after, they read in the newspaper about a minister from America who was in Douglas preaching a strange gospel. Charles's cousin, John Quayle, and his wife, Catherine (Ann's sister), went to the Manx capital to hear this minister preach. They were so impressed with his teachings that they brought him back with them to the home of Charles and Ann Cowley. The minister was Elder Taylor, and the next night he held a cottage meeting with the Cowleys, the Quayles, and several others.

Elder Taylor began with the hymn 'Come to the Supper', the same song Ann had heard in her dream, and she sang along in her beautiful voice as though she'd known the song all her life. John Taylor answered their many questions and the Cowleys felt that this, finally, was the gospel they had been praying for. Charles and Ann were baptized the following day in the millrace on the Close farm, and in the evening were confirmed as members of the church.

“I published my house and land, with all my properity for sale and prepared for to join the Saints in Nauvoo, headquarters of the Saints at that time, and left the Isle of Man for Liverpool on the 1st of January 1843, at one o’clock in the night. Arrived in Liverpool Docks at 6 in the morning. Remained in Liverpool until the 7th of the month. Sailed on the ship Swanton for the New Orleins on the morning of the 17th and landed at New Orleins after a passage of 58 days. No storm on the voyage."

"The Saints on the ship was superintended by Laronso Snow, one of the twelve Apostles. The name of the ship was Swanton, Captain Diminport. I paid for the passage of every adult person £3, 17, 6 British money. Amos Fielding and Hyrum Clark was in charge of the imagration of the Saints from Liverpool to America. Came from Orleins to St. Louis on a Steem boat. Remained at St. louis near two weeks in consequence of the river being frozen, although as late as the 6th of April. Left the steem boat at a town called Warsaw in Illinois on the Mississippi river and hired a wagon and two horses and went 25 miles to a small village called Macedonia, 20 miles from the city of Nauvoo.” In Macedonia, a son, John Abner, was born on 5 July 1845.

“I bought some land in Hancock County, Illinois, near a village called Macedonia, a village inhabited by Latter-day Saints; heard the voice of the Prophet Joseph Smith at that place, teaching the people their duty toward God and their fellow man; also saw his brother Hyrum at the same place. After the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum at Carthage Jail, the Saints had to leave the state.“

Roda Cowley Breinholt, a granddaughter of Charles and Ann remembers: “Grandfather spoke of the time when a dark gloom settled upon the Saints. Everyone seemed to have a presentiment that something terrible had happened. He walked to Nauvoo and there learned of the great sorrow that had come to the Saints in the murder of the Prophet and Patriarch. He also found that the Apostle John Taylor, the elder who a few months before had brought the glad message to their souls in their native land, had been wounded by the mob.”

Driven out of Macedonia, the Cowleys, along with many other saints, made their way to Council Bluffs, Iowa. From Charles's diary: “Most of them got as far as Council Bluffs that summer and planted turnip patches and early beans. They also had to trade their clothing, watches, etc. for breadstuff, corn, pork and other things to save themselves and families from starvation. The cause of the Saints moving To Council Bluff and to Utah Territory is so well known, not only to the American people, but to almost all the civilized world. Remained at Council Bluff about four years.”

Two more children were born in Council Bluffs, Maria Elinor on 24 October 1847, and Joseph Enos on 8 November 1849. Joseph was just seven months old on 10 June 1850 when they left for Zion with the James Pace Company. The journey across the plains, with eight children and all their belongings in two wagons, took three months. Charles drove one ox team and his oldest son, Charles Caesar, just 15 years old, likely drove the other.

“Set of for Utah Territory in 1850, June 11. Entered Utah on the 22nd day of Sept. I arrived with my family in Salt Lake City on the 27th of September, 1850. I, with my wife and as many of our children as were old enough, were baptized by William Perkins, Bishop of the Seventh ward. In the spring of 1851, I bought a city lot and we built a house and planted a small orchard. We lived here until 1860.”

Two more sons were born in Salt Lake; James Alma, on 17 August 1852, and Hyrum Nicholas on 16 January 1855. These were hard times. The family suffered through two famines (1854 and 1856), as well as a plague of grasshoppers (1855). Though they were never without bread to eat, at times food was very scarce.

On 22 December 1857, Ann gave birth to their eleventh child, Benjamin Franklin. Six days later she passed away. On 10 February 1858, baby Benjamin died, just six weeks after the death of his mother. Ann's grave was laboriously re-opened so the baby’s casket could be placed upon that of his mother. Ann and her son were buried beside her sister, Catherine Killip Quayle, in the John Quayle lot at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

The family moved south with many others for a short time during the Mormon Rebellion (May 1857 - July 1858) and returned when the peace treaty was signed. On 7 May 1860, Charles moved them to Cache Valley by ox team. They first settled on what is now Center Street in Logan, and later moved to the 3rd Ward, where they built a home. He and his sons built a tannery, where they cured hides with pine bark and made leather into shoes for the early settlers of Cache Valley.

Roda Cowley Breinholt said that her grandfather often posted signs outside the tannery, such as:

“We are manufacturing shoes and boots for you. We will pay $15 per cord for pine bark. Will you bring us a few cords? We want about 50 cords or more by the end of June; we need a portion now. Your boots and shoes will come right convenient in a few months; and you will not feel the paying for them if you a take a day or two now when you can’t farm. Go out and get the bark in your wagon boxes. It will be as easy as getting wood; try it once, we all need boots and shoes.”

“Get us some bark, we make you some shoes.”

“We want a quantity of lime also; and don’t forget the oil. We want wheat, oats, flour, hay, butter, cheese, eggs, beef and pork, and other necessities for family use.”

“We wish to raise one hundred dollars to send east for articles we need to use in our tannery work. We hope that those who know themselves indebted will call in and pay us so that we may not be hindered in the work of making boots and shoes.”

On 8 November 1864, Charles Cowley married a widow, Mary Cook Herin, from Nottinghamshire, England. Mary's teenage son, John Cook Herin, chose to leave and his mother never heard from him again. Charles built Mary a house, and she lived alone. Sister Tarbet, who worked for Charles, said he would eat with his children, and pray with them night and morning, but only on Sunday would Mary cook for them.

Charles Cowley died 26 December 1875, after an illness of four months. During his illness he often said that he had finished his mission and wished to join his former and departed friends. He remained true to the church to his last day on earth. He was buried in Logan City Cemetery.

Notes

  • Charles Cowley never used the middle name 'Caesar'. This was a mistake published by the Sons of Pioneers. Family historian Marilyn Thomsen researched Charles Cowley’s Isle of Man birth records, marriage, church, naturalization, and cemetery records, his journal and his children’s histories, none of which ever showed him using the middle name 'Caesar'. She believes the mistake was made because his oldest son, Charles Caesar Cowley, added 'Jr.' to his name to prevent being mistaken for his father.
  • Maurine Cowley Breinholt notes that the Tarbets knew the Cowleys on the Isle of Man. They lived close to the Cowleys at Macedonia, Salt Lake, finally living in the same block in Logan for many years. Mrs. Tarbet said that she had stayed with the family for many years and found them to be very honorable and kind people.
  • Viella Cowley Swindle's family history, "Charles Cowley Family -1850" (see Sources, below, for complete citation) specifies the hymn from Ann's dream as “Come to Supper"; however other accounts vary, reporting “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning” and “Crossing Over”.
  • “Herin” is spelled “Herren” on Mary Cook Herin Cowley's Temple Index Card.
  • The Isle of Man – self-governing British Crown dependency is located in the Irish Sea near the geographic centre of the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Crown is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. The island is not part of the United Kingdom, but external relations, defence, and ultimate good-governance of the Isle of Man are the responsibility of the government of the United Kingdom.

Sources

  • "Logan City Cemetery - Utah - Grave Map." Names In Stone - Cemetery Records. Web. 14 June 2011. <http://www.namesinstone.com/ViewMap.aspx?deceasedId=270852>.
  • "Cowley, Charles." Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Web. 19 June 2011. <http://lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneerdetails/1,15791,4018-1-6248,00.html>.
  • 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1870; Census Place: Logan Ward 3, Cache, Utah Territory; Roll: M593_1610; Page: 147A; Image: 298; Family History Library Film: 553109. Source Information: Ancestry.com.
  • "United States Census, 1860." FamilySearch.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Web. 19 June 2011. <https://www.familysearch.org/search/recordDetails/show?uri=https://api.familysearch.org/records/pal:/MM9.1.r/MWYK-MM1/p_210754729>. Page: 243, Family Number: 1788, Film Number: 805314, DGS Number: 4297342, Image Number: 00036, NARA Number: M653
  • 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Year: 1850; Census Place: Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory; Roll: M432_919; Page: 53B; Image: 110. Source Information: Ancestry.com.
  • Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2010. Place: Utah; Year: 1850; Page Number: 407. Source Information: Gale Research. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2010. Original data: Filby, P. William, ed.
  • "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975." FamilySearch.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Web. 19 June 2011. <https://www.familysearch.org/search/recordDetails/show?uri=https://api.familysearch.org/records/pal:/MM9.1.r/9H8K-ZSK/p1>. Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C03815-1, System Origin: England-ODM, Source Film Number: 106724
  • "England and Wales Census, 1841." FamilySearch.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Web. 19 June 2011. <https://www.familysearch.org/search/recordDetails/show?uri=https://api.familysearch.org/records/pal:/MM9.1.r/1JLD-WDS/p_126386263>. Civil Parish: German; County: Isle Of Man
  • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Source number: 8856.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: BFO. Source Information: Yates Publishing.
  • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Source number: 8855.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: BFO. Source Information: Yates Publishing.
  • Thomsen, Marilyn B., Beth Breinholt, and Jacob Breinholt. "Charles Cowley. History of the O. C. Breinholt Family. Jacob Breinholt and Family. Web. 21 June 2011. <http://www.breinholtfamilyhistory.com/written-histories/charles-cowley/>.
  • Swindle,Viella Cowley. "Charles Cowley Family-1850", Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 16, pages 510-517. Salt Lake City, Utah: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. Compiled by Kate B. Carter. Harold B. Lee Library call number F 826 .D375x vol.1
  • Breinholt, Roda Cowley. "Charles Caeser Cowley, Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother of Roda Cowley Breinholt", two-page unpublished family history. Copies in possession of Mrs. Clare Breinholt of Bountiful, Utah, Mrs. Harvey Breinholt of Salt Lake City Utah, and Marilyn Breinholt Thomsen of Orem, Utah.
  • Breinholt, Maurine Cowley. "Our Cowley Heritage". 9 pages. Unpublished history. Copies in possession of Mrs. Clare Breinholt of Bountiful, Utah, and Marilyn Breinholt Thomsen of Orem, Utah.
  • Coakley, Frances, and Viella C. Swindle. "Mormon Convert - Charles Cowley." Isleofman.com - The Nation's Website. A Manx Notebook by Frances Coakley. Web. 21 June 2011. <http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/mormon/ccowley.htm>.
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Charles Cowley's Timeline

1800
December 21, 1800
Kirk German, Glenfaba, Isle of Man
1801
January 20, 1801
Kirk German, Glenfaba, Isle of Man
1816
1816
- 1836
Age 15

Dis-fellowshipped because he was seeking for correct information concerning the will of God

1833
December 26, 1833
Age 33
German, Glenfaba, Isle of Man, United Kingdom
1834
November 17, 1834
Age 33
Kirk German, Isle of Man, UK
1836
September 29, 1836
Age 35
Lambsfield, Kirk German, Isle of Man, UK
1838
December 12, 1838
Age 37
Kirk German, Isle of Man, UK
1840
May 20, 1840
Age 39
Peel, Kirk German, Isle of Man, England
1842
July 5, 1842
Age 41
Kirk German, Isle of Man, United Kingdom
1843
January 1, 1843
- January 17, 1843
Age 42
Liverpool, England, UK