The Cowie Family Origins
Richard Cowie's letter, c.1934

Earlier Cowie generations had only a vague idea about where their roots lay. This extract (taken from a letter written by Richard Cowie during a visit to his family in Newcastle and Hetton) is substantially correct, but far from precise. "Father" was Edward Cowie (husband of Mary Surtees); "Sally" was Mary's youngest sister. The reference to "Obadiah" was key to tracing the family line back to Scotland.

I had a talk with Sally about my mother[’]s family. Grandmother Surtees’ family lived in North Shields. Her father was an Anchor Smith. He removed to Bedlington (nr Morpeth). Afterwards her father and mother and a large family went to America except my Grandmother who was too nervous. Her maiden name was Todd. So all Grannie[’]s relations are in the States.

Father added just a little more about the Cowie branch of the family tree. They were fishermen at Leith, then they crossed to Solway Firth; from there to Fatfield in Durham leaving their fishing and became miners. One of the family, Obadiah Cowie, was a Colliery Manager, and was a Prim[itive] Meth[odist]. Family scattered in Durham County ever since. Father said our family originally came from the Highlands, evidently farmers having to do with Cows - hence the origin of our name.