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Varner D. Cowan was my great great grandfather; his family came originally from Cowan TN, a small TN town near Monteagle, named after an illustrious Cowan ancestor of Varner's who was granted a large parcel of land for his valorous service in the Revolutionary War. Varner was a justice in Rutherford County in the 1800's. Part of his property was taken by United States military personnel for use in the Civil War. The present Rutherford County courthouse was built in 1859. The present building was erected at a cost of about $50,000. The committee which was appointed to inquire into the propriety of building a new court house was appointed January 3, 1859, and was composed of Varner D. Cowan, F. Henry, W. R. Lytle, George Smith and E. A. Keeble. The committee reported that a new court house was necessary, and the court made the old committee a building committee with enlarged powers.
Also, the Acts of 1833, Chapter 82, Page 45, incorporated William Ledbetter, Jonathan Currin, Henry D. Jamison, Charles Niles, Charles Ready, Varner D. Cowan, and William F. Lytle, as the Trustees of the Murfreesborough Female Academy, conferring upon them all the authority and attributes incidental to corporate institutions of education. They were permitted to make such regulations and by-laws as necessary to operate the school in an orderly fashion which did not contravene the State Constitution.
He married Susan B. Johns, his second wife following the death of his first wife.