John Cowin was another attorney who was instrumental in the development of Omaha. I'd always admired his marker, but his story is also a cautionary tale for me. You never know what the person under the marker did in life unless you find private information on them; public bios only tell the whitewashed story. The Internet is making it possible for people like me to find private information on the families of the people buried at Forest Lawn, and this real information undercuts their saintly public bios.

Cowin was a signatory on the 1914 Nebraska Men's Association Opposed to Women's Suffrage manifesto, according to the Huntington Digital Library site, which has some of his family papers. This lowers him a great deal in my thoughts; in fact, if it weren't for his monument I'd take him off my site. He may have been in many of the decisive battles of the Civil War, through which he rose to the rank of Captain, but he was not a forward-thinking, or a tolerant, man, if he formally opposed the vote for women.

It's definitely true that the Internet is bringing us all closer together. Author Allen Ellenberger has a website devoted to founders of Los Angeles, and on one of his recent new pages he's posted the story of a "jinxed" house in LA, which figures in the life of John Cowin's oldest daughter Edna Cowin, who married into the Cudahy family when she married John P. Cudahy on December 28, 1899. The link to the story is here.

If Edna was indeed an Omaha "society girl," as I read on another website, it could be that John had no idea of what real women were doing in those days and his impression of them may have been as empty-headed flirts. Edna had more travails during her married life and died in 1949. I feel for their four children, who were shipped off to boarding school when the couple divorced in 1910. The pair reconciled and remarried two years later, and hopefully brought the kids home. Cudahy committed suicide in the "jinxed" house in 1921, as you can read at Allen's link above.

John C. Cowin was born in Warrensville, Ohio, on the 11th day of January, 1846. At an early age his father, a farmer of very limited means, died, and he was brought to face the world for himself in the encounter for daily existence. His first employment was upon a farm, the meagre income from which was set aside for the procurement of a better education than was afforded in the neighboring district school. He entered Hiram Electic Institute, of which James A. Garfield, afterwards the Chief Magistrate of the nation, was president, and was the recipient of many kindnesses at his hands in the struggle for an education on limited means. On the breaking out of the war Mr. Cowin enlisted as a private in the Twenty-third Ohio Infantry, and participated in numerous engagements, among the more notable being those of Carnifax Ferry, the second battle of Bull Run, South Mountain and Antietam. When the war had terminated he had risen to a captaincy. He returned to Ohio, taking a law course in the Ohio State and Union Law College, at Cleveland, Ohio, at the same time entering the law office of Backus & Estep. On graduating and receiving his diploma, in the spring of 1867, he moved West, reaching Omaha in April of that year, and here he has since remained. He was elected to the office of District Attorney in the fall of 1868. Two years later he was re-elected. It said of his official service that he was the most effective Prosecuting Attorney the district ever had, being a terror to criminals and offenders against the law. On retiring from the Prosecutor's office Mr. Cowin's friends brought him forward in 1876 as a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress, Nebraska at that time having but one member in the national House of Representatives. After a vigorous canvass, in which the then dominant railroad power was pitted against him, Mr. Cowin was barely defeated in his party convention. He had incurred the hostility of the railroads because of his vigorous and successful conduct of a suit against the Union Pacific Railroad, to which the Treasurer of Douglas and other counties were parties, the point at issue being the taxability by the State and municipalities of the lands granted by the Government, and which involved many hundreds of thousands of dollars. The case was taken to the Supreme Court at Washington, and decided in Mr. Cowin's favor, a triumph of which he is still justly proud. In the campaign of 1882 Mr. Cowin was again brought forward by his hosts of admiring friends as a Republican candidate for United States Senator. When the Legislature was convened and balloting for Senator began, an intense strife developed. Mr. Cowin led all other candidates in the party caucus, and during two weeks of balloting was within one or two votes of the requisite number, but as is usual in such intense strife, a combination was made against the strongest candidate, which resulted in a compromise, and General Manderson was chosen. Mr. Cowin has been remarkably successful in his profession, ranking among the very foremost members of the bar of Nebraska. He is of a genial, kindly nature, a man of fine intellectual attainments, great oratorical powers and distinguished presence. He commands the respect and confidence of the people in a marked degree, and should ambition move him to it, may yet enjoy high political distinction. Mr. Cowin was married in 1870 to Ella L. Benton, of Cleveland, and enjoys the domestic bliss of a charming family.