‘Some Old People’ was popular series in 1899

Published 7:47 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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In May 1899, The Troy Messenger began publishing a series entitled “Some Old People.”  This was a collection of short sketches of men and women who were considered pioneers of Pike County.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

Few people there are in our day and time who, having once set their faces westward, ever return; but in the subject of this sketch we have such an instance. Mr. Cowart is a man whose example in life has been one that all men might follow. One of God’s noblemen, he has ever lived so that no man might have cause of complaint against him. With an honest heart and an honest purpose, he has pursued his way through life in such a manner that all are ready to rise up and sound his praise. No one has aught to say against him, and in the evening of life he feels the full satisfaction of time will spent in this earthly pilgrimage and feareth nothing in the great beyond.

He was born in Barnwell District, South Carolina, September 25th, 1818. In 1820 his father removed to Perry County, Mississippi, and settled among the Choctaw Indians. Mr. Cowart does not remember much in this period of his life, but everything is sufficiently clear for him to recollect when they returned eastward. In 1826 the family turned their faces toward Georgia, and many weary days they were on the journey. Crossing the Alabama River at old Fort Claiborne, after many days they found themselves tended on Capitol Hill, just about –as his recollection serves him—where the state house now is, overlooking the little log town, now the happy city of Montgomery. He says he well remembers the immense number of goats there and thinks Goat Hill was no misnomer.

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Pursuing their way, they passed through the Creek nation, which comprised the country between Line Creek and the Chattahoochee River, and finally settled in Newton County, Georgia. In 1839 his brother, the late Jackson Cowart, came to Pike County, and the next year Mr. Cowart became a citizen of Pike and has been here ever since.

In December, 1843, he was married, by John D. Wyatt, Esq., to Miss L. E. Carter, who still journeys with him to cheer, comfort and smooth the rough places in the pathway.

Mrs. Cowart has a history that few of the noble women who braved the pioneer days can boast. She is a native Alabamian, and her father came to this section when roads and highways were unknown, and when every man, woman and child carried their lives in the hands. She was born in Conecuh County, near old Sparta, in 1820, and her father, the late Wm. Carter— “Uncle Billie,”—whom everybody knew—settled in Pike in 1824. Here she has lived during all the intervening years, loved, revered and respected by all.

In 1845 Mr. Jackson Cowart was married to Miss Nancy T. Carter, another daughter of Wm. Carter. Mr. H. D. Cowart has lived on the same lands for fifty years and has always been regarded as one of Pike’s leading farmers.

He is not now a member of any church, but all denominations look upon him as being fit material, and we believe that any of them would accept him without experience. He holds a dimit from Harrison Lodge, at Henderson, and in Masonry, as in every other relation of life, he has been true as steel.

Mr. Cowart was a Confederate soldier and served in Company A, 57th Alabama regiment. He says that the little trouble at Franklin, Tennessee, in November, 1864, was the hottest place he was ever in, and we are inclined to the opinion that many an old Confederate will agree with him.

Mr. Cowart is the father of ten children, six of whom are still living—three sons and three daughters. His eldest son lost his life in defense of his country at the battle of Peachtree Creek in July, 1864.

Taken altogether, Mr. Cowart has lived a life of which no man need feel ashamed.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.