History of Crawford and Clark Counties, Illinois, Vol. II.
William Henry Perrin, ed.
(Chicago: O.L. Basking & Co. Historical Publishers)
Alfred G. Cowden. The subject of this sketch is the second son of James and
Elizabeth Cowden; was born in Knox County, Ohio, June 8, 1834; removed with his parents to
Clark County, Ill., in the year 1839, and lived on a farm the greater part of his life;
received a liberal common school education, and by close application to his studies was
able to pass a successful examination, and began teaching in the year 1856 in the
Martinsville district, where he first learned his letters in the year 1840, sixteen years
prior to the time he taught his first school. Since that time he has taught
twenty-four terms of school in the county, fifteen of which he taught in Melrose Township;
has passed successful examinations under the supervision of all the County
Superintendents of Schools since 1856, and has kept pace, and by dint of hard study has been able to hold an honorable place with the craft, and a first-grade certificate. In politics he is Republican, and early in life denounced human slavery in all its forms as a sin against God and man, and cast his first vote for the Pathfinder for President (1856), and since that time has espoused the cause of Republicanism. Was married, April 3, 1859 to Margaret Wells, the youngest daughter of Nathan Wells, of the town of Melrose, she then being in her eighteenth year, having been born in the year 1841, in Melrose, six children being the result of this union--Emma F., born February 2, 1860, and in her sixteenth year was a teacher in the common schools; was married July 14, 1878, to Charles Hodges, and resides in Melrose Township on a farm. Nora was born May 17, 1862, and is now a teacher in the common schools; Minnie A. was born November 15, 1866; Ola was born March 3, 1869; May was born March 20, 1871; Nettie C. was born August 31, 1874, there having been no deaths in the family of either parents or
children. He was held all the offices in the township, and was never defeated, was elected Justice of the Peace in the year 1876, and re-elected in the year 1881. He resides on a farm on Section 8, in Melrose Township, is a successful farmer and stockraiser, teaching in the winter months. Was representative to the Grand Lodge of I. O. O. F. for eight consecutive sessions.
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