NATHAN FRAME COWAN was born on November 27, 1840 in Sudbury, Pennyslvania to William and Cedney Cowan. The 1850 Census shows William working as a hatter. The children then at home were Edwin, age 23; Nathan, age 10; Susan, age 19; Deborah, age 12; and Sarah, age 8. Edwin Cowan was also working as a hatter. Four other brothers, Isaac, William, Henry, and Franklin, were not at home when the Census was taken. William Cowan was 47 in 1850 and did not survive the decade. The family had established itself in Camden during the 1850s. When  North Baptist Church was organized on November 15, 1859 older sisters Susan and Deborah Cowan were among the 37 original members. Nathan Cowan, however, remained affiliated with St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

When the 1860 Census was taken, his widow and all the children save Henry and William were living in Camden's Middle Ward. Isaac Cowan was then a practicing physician. Dr. Cowan moved to Cranford, New Jersey by the middle of 1880. All the family went with him, except for Nathan Cowan, who had married.

Nathan Cowan became well-known in Camden as a baseball player, playing centerfield for the Camden club beginning around 1861 and not leaving the game for

twenty-seven years. He was a contemporary of Weston D. "Wes" Fisler, who, in 1865, crossed the river to play for the Philadelphia Athletics, a team that in 1870 joined the National Association, the professional baseball league that evolved into the National League. Fisler's claim to baseball immortality occurred during his final season, 1876. On opening day, April 22, the first game of the National League's first ever season, Wes Fisler of Camden NJ, scored the very first run in National League history. Nathan Cowan did not make the jump to the major leagues, his future lay in business. He began working as a clerk during these years, and eventually went into banking.

Nathan Cowan was a Mason, originally a member of Camden Lodge, No 15. On February 2, 1871 members of Camden Lodge constituted a new lodge, Trimble Lodge No. 117, named for Joseph Trimble, three-term as master of Camden Lodge and three years as grand master of the state. The organizers of the new lodge were George H. Fairfield, George F. Fort, Marmaduke E. Taylor, Dr. H. Genet Taylor, Dr. William S. Fort, Wilbur F. Rose, Nathan F. Cowan, Frederick A. Rex and J. Graham Milligan. The lodge was constituted in Morgan's Hall, Fourth and Market Streets, then known as Masonic Hall. Fairfield was the first worshipful master; George F. Fort, senior warden; Marmaduke Taylor, junior warden; Dr. Taylor, treasurer; Milligan,  secretary; Cowan, senior deacon; Rex, junior 

deacon; Rose, master of ceremonies, and Charles H. Gordon, tiler.

At the first meeting, Rev. Joseph F. Garrison, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, was presented for membership. He was the father of former Secretary of War Lindley M. Garrison and the late Supreme Court Justice Charles G. Garrison.

Nathan Cowan's work as a clerk led in 1872 to a position with the First National Bank of Camden. About the same time another young man, Richard Coates Wilkins, began working their as well. When, on June 1, 1874 Richard Coates Wilkins married Laura Stokes, Nathan F. Cowan, was a witness for the marriage license. The wedding was performed by Reverend Garrison of St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Richard Coates Wilkins' sister Sallie Ann Wilkins had married a young physician, Dr. Henry Ackley, at some point during the Civil War. There was a child, Henry Wilkins Ackley, who sadly was born and died the same day, January 17, 1865. Sallie Ackley would be a widow before the year was out, her husband passing away in Philadelphia on 17, 1865. On January 22, 1877, she married her brother's friend, Nathan F. Cowan, and bore a son, William Genet Cowan on March 31, 1878. Twins Edgar Nathan Cowan and Herbert Richard Cowan arrived on April 27, 1880. 

Sally Ackley Cowan Herbert, William, & Edgar Cowan

Nathan Cowan was active in the affairs of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and between his activities there, in business, sports, and Masonry numbered many of Camden's prominent citizens among his friends and acquaintances, as exhibited by St. Paul's church officers in 1886. The officers of the church then were the following; Rector, Rev. Thomas A. Tidball, D.D.; Wardens, Abraham Browning, Esq., Marmaduke B. Taylor; Vestrymen, Maurice Browning, William E. Lafferty, Samuel H. Grey, Edward R. Shubrick, Joseph Fearon, William Joyce Sewell, Dr. Henry Genet Taylor, James H. Carpenter, Henry C. Alexander, Robert F.S. Heath, Wilson H. Jenkins, Nathan F. Cowan, Harry Humphreys, Edward H. King; Treasurer, William E. Lafferty; Secretary, James H. Carpenter.

Co-workers at the National State Bank the 1880s and 1890s included Albert D Ambruster, John T. Frazeee, Wilbur F. Rose, William Wolcott, Howard M. Heulings and Howard B. Lippincott. 

Nathan Cowan was associated with the National State Bank  for 50 years, retiring in 1922 when it merged with the First National Bank. The Cowans lived at 228 Cooper Street in Camden before moving to a mansion at 105 North Cove Road in Pennsauken (Merchantville is/was on the other side of Cove Road). William Cowan would own the home next door at 113 North Cove Road. Sallie Wilkins Cowan died in 1912 and was buried at Colestown Cemetery in Delaware Township (present-day Cherry Hill), New Jersey. Nathan Cowan died suddenly, at home, in 1927, and was interred next to his wife. Their three sons are also buried in the family plot at Colestown Cemetery.

Richard Coates Wilkins at 18 with his sister, Sallie Ann Wilkins, age 22
Sallie Ann married Dr. Henry Ackley in 1861. She later married Nathan Cowan.

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Marriage License

Richard Coates Wilkins
Laura Stokes
June 1, 1874
at the home of
Mrs. Elizabeth Davis

Certified by Rev. Garrison
rector of
St. Paul's Episcopal Chuch

Witnessed by
Nathan F. Cowan
E.L. Wright

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Philadelphia Inquirer - April 16, 1884

Abraham Browning - Marmaduke B. Taylor - Maurice Browning
William Lafferty - Samuel H. Grey - Edward Shubrick
Jesse W. Starr - Joseph Fearon -
William Joyce Sewell
Dr. Henry Genet Taylor - James H. Carpenter
Henry C. Alexander - Robert F.S. Heath - Wilson H. Jenkins
Nathan Cowan - Harry Humphreys - E.H. King
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Cooper Street
Photo taken February 7, 2004

From 1877 through 1888
the home of
Nathan F. Cowan
& Family
Nathan & Sallie Ann Cowan
William Cowan
Edgar Cowan
Herbert Cowan

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228 & 224
Cooper Street
February 7, 2004

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Nathan F. Cowan & Family - Pennsauken, New Jersey
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Undated Newspaper Article
Philadelphia Newspaper

Wes Fisler - Tom Pratt - Dick McBride - Frank Burdsell
Lloyd Fisler - Tom Knight - Frank Knight - Harvey Knight
Brooklyn Atlantics - Albany Stars