Montreal Gazette, 6 March 1858, page 2

Andrew Cowan, Notman Collection no 1-4688.1, McCord Museum of Canadian History
Andrew Cowan, Notman Collection no 1-4688.1, McCord Museum of Canadian History

Obituary—It is not most that those who pass from this scene of conflict and trial, after earning for themselves during a long life-time the character of universal goodness, should be permitted to go hence into the silence of the grave without some further notice than the usual obituary announcement. For this reason we claim the attention of the reader, while we briefly speak of the late Mr. Andrew Cowan, whose sudden death, on the 16th instant, has thrown a large circle of relatives and friends into the deepest affliction and sorrow. Mr. Cowan emigrated to this country from Ayr, Scotland in 1819, and for four years was in the employ of Mr John Torrance of this city. In 1823 he entered into business for his own account, which he prosecuted with success until 1846, when he discontinued it. Nor did he forget, in his prosperity, the “roottree” in his native land. While engaged in commerce, he encouraged his two younger brothers to try their fortunes in Canada, one of whom he joined with himself in business, and the other, now deceased, ultimately became, and was until his death, a partner in the late firm of Carter & Cowan. Subsequently, on the death of his last surviving parent, his sisters came to this country, where they have resided since, chiefly under his care and protection. In his business relations he was known, far and near, as an upright man, as one whose integrity was without spot or blemish, on whose word was at all times his bond. Of a kind and humane disposition, he was sensitively alive to the distresses of those who had been less fortunate in worldly success than himself. He disliked ostentation. And therefore when he conferred substantial kindness, the knowledge of these so far as he was a party to them, remained with these on whom they were conferred. Truly, it might with justice be said of him, that his right hand knew not what his left hand did. Possessed of amiability of character in a high degree, which attracted all towards him who came within the scope of his influence, it was to uncommon occurrence to find him selected as the sole referee, sometimes in cases of delicacy, which often required, nice management, and oftentimes when angry spirits could not reconcile their differences together. As an impartial umpire, his decisions were governed by answering candor and good sense, and seldom failed, if ever they did fail, to be accepted as finality, by those who submitted their cases to him. This, certainly was the highest homage that could be paid to his moral worth. Successful in business, he amassed a competency but was no “muck-worm”. Like the unfaithful servant, he did not bury his talent in the ground, nor pile guinea upon guinea, for the sordid gratification of gloating over the golden heap. He estimated the value of riches, and his connection in relation to them, aright. He knew well that the fruit of his prosperity was but a trust confided to his keeping, for which, sooner or later, he would be required to render a faithful account, as is the duty of every prudent man, he made simple provision for those dependent upon him; and with the surplus of his well-gotten wealth he did all the good in his power to his fellowmen. In 1852, he retired to Cowansville. It was while on a visit to the city last week that his unexpected death took place, at the age of 60. The Reverend preacher, who performed the funeral services over his body, said truly, “that although the call had been sudden, it did not find him prepared.” Indeed, his walk through life was an unostentatious preparation for eternity. In his life, he has left behind him an example, which we, who are still permitted to remain in the land of the living (we know not for how long), will do well to strive to imitate. In his death, society has lost one of its most valued members; his bereaved widow, a kind and affectionate husband; his relations and connections, one of whose antecedents they may justly feel proud, — while his numerous friends, who sorrow over his sudden departure, will continue to cherish his memory with sincere respect. Of the lamented deceased, it would have been eulogium enough to have said, that he quitted the world, after a long and busy life, without leaving one enemy behind him.

(relative? William: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/cowan_william_13E.html)

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