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Manuscript Collections


Collection 33

Cowart Family

Papers, 1780-1795, 1803-ca. 1942, 1998

Processed by

Lois R. Densky

Edited by

Gregory J. Plunges

Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court Street
Freehold, New Jersey 07728

May 1981


Enoch Lloyd Cowart (1807 Feb 6 - 1889 April 17), merchant, politician, poet, soldier, and farmer, was the son of Enoch Coward (1768 - 1851) and Eleanor Lloyd, widow of Ruliff Vandervere. He was born at Prospect Hill farm near Freehold, New Jersey. After the death of his father, Cowart's mother removed to the Leonard farm in Cream Ridge, where Enoch spent part of his childhood and attended the district school.

From ca. 1825 to 1828, Enoch L. Cowart served a clerkship in the store of Thomas J. and Samuel J. Stryker, merchants in Trenton, then worked for John bowne in Freehold (1828 - 1834). Desiring additional education, he attended Lenox Academy in Massachusetts (ca. 1834 - 1835). After leaving Lenox Academy, Enoch studied law under Daniel B. Ryall (ca. 1835 - 1836), and clerked for John T. Woodhull in Freehold (1837).

About 1838, Cowart returned to the mercantile business. During his successful career, he formed partnershipe with a) Charles Hasbrook (ca. 1838 - 1840), b) David Clark Perrine (1840 - 1852), and c) Henry Clay Patterson (1852 - 1861). They maintained general stores in Freehold. After 1861, Enoch retired from his mercantile career.

From that time on. Cowart devoted himself to farming. He utilized property owned in Manalapan Twp, on the Monmouth battleground, but maintained his Freehold residence which he had built in 1852. In 1862, Cowart volunteered for Civil War service and was appointed Quartermaster of the 14th Regiment, NJ Volunteers, from which he was mustered out in 1865. He served in the same capacity in the 3rd Regiment, 8th Army Corp under General HS Briggs in 1863. Returning to Freehold, Cowart continued farming, sold his Freehold home in 1877, and removed to his West farm on the battleground. He returned to Freehold in 1888, where he died.

Enoch L. Cowart married Anna Maria Bowne (1817 - 1898), daughter of Peter Bowne and Amelia Craig (1777 - 1855), on 1836 June 14. Their children were: Ellen Amelia, Edward Henry (ca. 1849 - 1852), Anna Maria (1851 - 1851), Enoch Lloyd (1852 - 1926), William Tennent, Samuel Craig (1854 - 1943), and Frederick (1856 - 1858).

A Democrat turned Republican, Enoch Cowart was active in local politics during his early life. While never seeking a political office, he gave speeches and sang campaign songs. As a poet, his literary subjects were civil and political in nature. In 1854, he was a member of the Committee of Arrangements for an anniversary celebration of the Battle of Monmouth. Cowart was elected as Freehold Twp School District superintendent (1854 - 1859), and was one of the incorporators of the Freehold Gas Light Company. A Presbyterian, he was a member of Old Tennent Church, and served as the clerk of its Board of Trustees. Enoch L. Cowart is buried in the Old Tennent graveyard.

Samuel Craig Cowart (1854 Dec. 16 - 1943 April 23), lawyer, poet, and politician, was the son of Enoch L. Cowart and Anna Maria Bowne. He was born in Freehold and attended the Freehold Institute from 1867 to 1873. A graduate of Princeton University (1873 - 1876), he studied law under Judge William H. Vredenburgh (ca. 1876 - 1879) and was admitted to the NJ Bar in 1879. As an attorney practicing in Freehold, Cowart was a counsellor and also a special master in Chancery. He married Florence Shepard (b. 1869) in 1881. They apparently had no children. Cowart inherited the Craig House (West farm?) located on the Monmouth battleground.

Samuel C. Cowart was well versed in Monmouth County history, and his poetry reflected this knowledge. He was active in the Monmouth Battle Monument Commission, serving as chairman of the Committee of Arrangements for both the 125th and 150th anniversary celebrations in 1903 and 1928. In 1916, Cowart was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress on the Republican ticket. He served as dean of the NJ Bar, and was a member of the Monmouth Bar Association.

The Freehold Institute, established in 1844, became the NJ Military Academy in 1900, and Cowart served on its Board of Trustees. He was also a member of the Society of Colonial Wars, the Sons of the American Revolution, the NJ Historical Society, and the Monmouth County Historical Association. An Elder in the Freehold First Presbyterian Church, he also served in that capacity when he returned to membership in Old Tennent Church. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Monmouth Presbytery. Samuel C. Cowart is buried in the Old Tennent Church graveyard.


The Cowart papers consist of the personal, business, military, and civic records of Enoch L. and Samuel C. Cowart. The collection is genearlly arranged as two separate record groups. A small group of miscellaneous manuscripts is placed at the end. The Enoch L. Cowart papers contain correspondence, financial records, mercantile business records, legal records, Civil War records, Committee of Arrangements records, diaries, and printed material. The Samuel C. Cowart papers consist of Monmouth Battle Monument Commission records, financial and legal records, literary productions, Monmouth Bar Association material, and printed material. The miscellaneous manuscripts include legal records, financial records, and bound account books. The bulk dates of the collection are from 1825 to 1930.

The Enoch L. and Samuel C. Cowart papers document two important 19th and 20th century Freehold, NJ men who were active in the economic, legal, civic, and social affairs of Monmouth County. The material will be particularly useful to researchers of the Civil War, mercantile history, the Monmouth Battle Monument Commission, as well as local agricultural and educational history.

Collections housed at the Monmouth County Historical Association that relate to these papers include: the Peter Vredenburgh papers, the Allaire family papers and records, the William Burroughs Ross papers, the James Wall Schureman letters, the Yard papers, the Perrine papers, the Monmouth Battle Monument Commission (MBMC) records, and the Samuel T. Sleeper papers. Most of these collections deal with the Civil War and/or the MBMC. The Perrine papers contain complementary Cowart & Perrine mercantile records. There are also many Battle of Monmouth celebration and Civil War photographs in the library photographic file. Check the manuscript card catalog for additional miscellaneous material. The museum collections contain material donated by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel C. Cowart, some of which are Cowart family memorabilia. There also are MBMC memorabilia including framed architectural renderings of the Battle Monument.

For information on items removed from the collection, or which cannot be located, please see the hard copy of the finding aid at the MCHA Library and Archives.


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel C. Cowart, Freehold, NJ, part in memory of his father and brother (Enoch L. Cowart and Enoch L. Cowart Jr.), between 1932 and 1943, and in 1951.

Gift of Mrs. J. Amory Haskell, Red Bank, NJ, who purchased material from Samuel C. Cowart, between 1938 and 1942

Purchase by the library from the estate of Edna Netter, Marlboro, NJ in 1981 (material originally from the estate of Samuel C. Cowart)




ENOCH L. COWART PAPERS, 1823 - 1890, n.d.

1. Correspondence, 1825 - 1877, n.d.
Arranged chronologically. See hard copy finding aid in the MCHA Library and Archives for a list of correspondents and recipients.

Series includes incoming and outgoing personal letters to and from friends and family. Most 1863 - 1864 letters are from EL Cowart during the Civil War, to his wife. They include descriptions of the Battle of Monocacy and other military actions.

2. Financial Records, 1835 - 1890; n.d.
Arranged first into personal, marl, and East farm (Craig house?) categories, then chronologically.

Series includes a receipt book, account books, inventory books, daybooks, bank books, ledgers, accounts, bills, receipts, and promissory notes. The personal receipt book includes some Cowart & Perrine mercantile entries. The 1862 - 1865 account book was kept by Cowart during the Civil War. The 1864 - 1878 account book was kept by Mrs. Cowart. Personal Ledger C also includes Freehold Twp. School District accounts (Cowart successor to Joseph Combs), East farm, marl, and Cowart and John S. Snyder apple accounts at West farm. The marl ledgers were kept by Cowart for Amelia H (Craig) Bowne. East farm (Manalapan Twp) was managed by Cowart for Mrs. Bowne, who originally owned the property. The account book of the grape vineyard may have been located in Bridgeport, CT. Many financial volumes contain enclosures and indicies.

3. Mercantile Business Records, 1838 - 1863; n.d.
Arranged first by business partnership then chronologically

Series contains the records of Cowart & Hasbrook (1838-1860), Cowart & Perrine (1840 - 1862, n.d.), and Cowart & Patterson (1853 - 1863, n.d.). All are mercantile accounts for their stores in Freehold. They include a daybook, ledgers, accounts, bills, receipts, and a few legal documents. The 1838 - 1860 Cowart & Hasbrook ledger also includes accounts of suits before Justices Thomas C. Throckmorton, C. Bruen, and W W Hart; Cowart & Perrine private accounts; accounts of Cowart & Perrine after dissolution; and money received by Cowart & Perrine on interest. Cowart & Perrine mercantile records include business ledgers and private ledgers. Cowart & Patterson ledgers also include private accounts. Their legal records include an agreement, a lease, and the mason specifications for their Freehold store. Many ledgers contain enclosures and some include indicies.

4. Legal Records, 1837 - 1873
Arranged chronologically

Series consists of agreements, a title abstract, a lease, insurance policies, and records of a suit between Cowart and David C. Perrine. These suit records contain evidence, depositions, the final judgement, bills of cost, a bill of pleas, and a summons. Some agreements and the title abstract pertain to the Freehold Village Church (First Presbyterian).

5. Civil War Records, 1862 - 1867; n.d.
Arranged chronologically

Series consists of records created by or directed to Cowart as Quartermaster of supplies for the 14th Regiment, NJ Volunteers and for the 3rd Regiment, 8th Army Corps in 1863. These records include orders, bills, receipts, accounts, statements, lists, requisitions, invoices, circulars, letters, memoranda books, and account ledgers. The 1862 - 1864 memoranda book was kept while Cowart was under the command of Gen. Briggs. All other ledgers were kept while under the command of the 14th Reg, NJ Vol. The ledger marked Officer's Accounts, 14th Reg., NJ Vol. has an index.

6. Committee of Arrangements - Battle of Monmouth,
1854 June - Nov
Arranged chronologically

Series contains the records of committee members for the 1854 June 28 celebration of the Battle of Monmouth in Freehold and at the battleground. Records consist of accounts, bills, and receipts for expenses incurred and paid, a list of committee members, a letter, a printed piece, and an account book. Committee members include: Joseph A. Yard, William Ward, Enoch Cowart, James S. Yard, AR Throckmorton, John Woodhull, Henry Bennett, Samuel Conover, John B. Throckmorton, David M. Rue, AT Mannings, William D. Oliphant, and D. Christopher.

7. Diaries, 1844 - 1890. 2 vol.
Arranged chronologically

Series consists of Cowart's diary entitled, "Record of Important Events, A Diurnal System" (1844 - 1890). his volume describes local and national political events; local events; weather, deaths, marriages, and births; and Cowart and Craig genealogical data. The diary entitled, "We Came to Live with E.L. Cowart..." (1868 - 1879), is by an unknown author. This volume records information on Freehold, local events, people, and on Cowart family life.

8. Printed Material, 1823 - 1889; n.d.
Arranged chronologically

Series contains printed manuscripts and newspaper clippings. Manuscripts include Cowart's grammer school book, circulars, 1854 and (1866) Freehold Twp Democratic tickets, Clemence Cowart and William Combs' marriage certificate, a broadside, invitations to the funerals of William Combs, Clemence Combs, and EL Cowart and calling cards. The clippings include articles on Lincoln's assassination, US Grant's presidential inauguration (Cowart and son William attended), Lincoln's monument, Battle of Monmouth Centennial (1878), 14th Reg, NJ Vol reunions (1880 and 1882), Gov. Joel Parker, obituary notices for Clemence C. Combs and EL Cowart, and poems.

SAMUEL C. COWART PAPERS, 1874 - ca. 1942

1. Monmouth Battle Monument Commission Records,
1877 - ca. 1942

Arranged first by document type or subject, then chronologically. See the hard copy of the finding aid at MCHA for a list of correspondents and recipients.

Originally incorporated as the Monmouth Battle Monument Association on 1878 May 2 by an act of the NJ Legislature, the purpose of the organization was to erect a monument in Freehold to commemorate the Battle of Monmouth (1778 June 28). On 1881 March 14, the State of New Jersey appropriated $10,000 toward the construction of the monument, and placed the work under a commission. Thus, on 1881 April 9, the Monmouth Battle Monument Commission (MBMC) was organized. The Commission records consist of correspondence, financial records, legal records, line drawings, material on the 125th and 150th anniversary celebrations, literary productions, and printed material.

Correspondence is mostly typewritten incoming letters, and letters between Commission members. They primarily refer to the removal of the original "Columbia Triumphant" statue, the execution and placement of a new replica by the Badger Brothers Company (1896 - 1898), and the 1903 celebration of the 125th anniversary of the battle. These last group of letters are mostly acceptance and refusal of invitations extended by the Committee of Arrangements.

The financial records of treasurers, John B. Conover (1877 - 1895) and James T. Burtis (1895 - 1905?) include accounts, receipts, bills, statements of receipts and disbursements, expense vouchers, account books, a receipt book, and treasurer books. Some volumes contain enclosures. The records reflect Commission activities relative to fundraising and construction of the original monument, and replacement of the old statue.

Legal records and line drawings include specifications of the original monument, contracts between the Commission and Badger Brothers, and Hal Allaire's line drawings for the proposed deposition of the old statue.

The material for the 125th and 150th anniversary celebrations include a guest list, committee lists, a grandstand blueprint, and a guest register.

Literary productions contain a journal kept by James T. Burtis (1883 - 1896) recording construction of the original monument, lightning striking original statue (1894), and the subsequent construction of the replica. There also is a 1903 original manuscript poem entitled, "The Longest Battle" by Will Carlton which was recited by him at the 125th anniversary celebration.

Printed material consists of clippings, circulars, and programs of poems, addresses, and background histories of battle celebrations.

2. Financial and Legal Records, 1909; 1918; n.d.

Arranged chronologically

Series contains a statement of the Freehold Gas Co., a resolution by the Freehold Chamber of Commerce, and a S.C. Cowart title search of the Old Yellow Meeting House near Imlaystown in Upper Freehold Township.

3. Literary Productions, 1908 - 1933; n.d.

Arranged chronologically

Series consists of poems and biographical sketches by Cowart. Subjects include Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, the 45th anniversary of the Princeton Class of 1876, the Battle of Princeton, Herbert Hoover, the Battle of Trenton, the Monmouth Court House Bell, and Dr. Thomas Henderson.

4. Monmouth Bar Association, 1926 - 1937
Arranged chronologically

Series contains a guest list, Cowart's Peter Vredenburgh memoral address, resolution, and letters. The material highlights a dinner honoring Judges Lawrence and Steinbach, including the presentation of a portrait of the late Judge Peter Vredenburgh; and resolutions and letters honoring Halstead H. Wainwright and Benjamin Pearce Morris.

5. Printed Material, 1874 - 1936
Arranged chronologically

Series contains pamphlets, catalogs, circulars, and clippings. Subjects include the Philadelphia Society of Nassau Hall, the Freehold Lyceum, the Freehold Institute, the NJ Military Academy, the Freehold Military School, the NJ Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and Cowart's 1916 Republican campaign poster.

MISCELLANEOUS MANUSCRIPTS, 1780 - 1795; 1803 - 1884

1. Legal and Financial Records, 1780 - 1884
Arranged chronologically

Series consists primarily of deeds. It also includes a letter, title searches, and a bond. The documents apparently were collected by Enoch L. or Samuel C. Cowart. Some deeds refer to transactions by the Craig and Lloyd families.

2. Red Bank Post Office Account Books, 1848 - 1859. 5 vol.
Arranged chronologically

Series contains accounts of mail received (1848 - 1859) and accounts of mail sent (1852 - 1857) to the Post Officde at Red Bank, NJ. Postmasters at the time were John R. Conover (1841 - 1852) and George E. Finch (1852 - 1859).



Enoch L. Cowart Papers

1 / 1 / Correspondence. 1825 - 1877; n.d.

1 / 2 / Financial Records - Personal. Bills and Receipts. 1835 - 1869; n.d.

1 / 3 / Financial Records - Enclosures, Ledger B From pp. 26 - 318

1 / 3 / Finanical Records - Ledger C. Freehold Twp. School Dist., Personal, Marl, East & West Farm Accts. 1854 - 1859

2 / 1 / Financial Records - Personal. 1854 - 1865

2 / 2 / Financial Records - Mrs. ELC's Personal Account Book. 1864 - 1878

2 / 3 / Financial Records - Personal. 1869 - 1880

2 / 4 / Financial Records - Marl Ledger #1. 1844 - 1881

2 / 5 / Financial Records - Enclosures, Marl Ledger #1. From pp. 26-71

2 / 6 / Financial Records - Marl Ledger #2. 1875 - 1890

2 / 7 / Financial Records - East Farm. 1847 - 1878

3 / 1 / Financial Records - East Farm & Grape Vineyard. 1860 - 1888

3 / 2 / Mercantile Business Records - Cowart & Perrine. 1840 - 1846; n.d.

3 / 2 / Mercantile Business Records - Cowart & Perrine Ledger A. 1840 - 1847

3 / 3 / Mercantile Business Records - Cowart & Patterson. 1853 - 1863; n.d.

3 / 4 / Legal Records. 1837 - 1873

3 / 5 / Civil War Records. 1862 - 1863 June

3 / 6 / Civil War Records. 1863 July - 1864

3 / 7 / Civil War Records. 1865 - 1867; n.d.

4 / oversize / Mercantile Business Records - Cowart & Hasbrook Ledger. 1838 - 1860.

4 / oversize / Mercantile Business Records - Cowart & Perrine Ledger D. 1841 - 1862

5 / oversize / Mercantile Business Records - Cowart & Perrine Private Ledgers, Nos. 2, 3, 4. 1844 - 1858

5 / oversize / Mercantile Business Records - Cowart & Patterson. Private Ledger No 2, 1853 - 1859

5 / oversize / Mercantile Business Records - Daybook, 1859 - 1861

6 / 1 / Civil War Records - Memoranda Book & Ledgers. 1862 - 1865

6 / 2 / Committee of Arrangements Records. 1854 June - Nov

6 / 3 / Diaries. 1844 - 1890

6 / 4 / Printed Material. 1823 - 1889; n.d.

Samuel Craig Cowart Papers

[MBMC=Monmouth Battle Monument Commission]

6 / 5 / MBMC - Correspondence. 1878; 1895

6 / 6 / MBMC - Correspondence. 1896 - 1898

6 / 7 / MBMC - Correspondence. 1903 - 1905; 1916

7 / 1 / MBMC - Financial Records. Receipt, Acct, and Treasurer Books. 1877 - 1896

7 / 2 / MBMC - Financial Records. Treasurer and Acct Bookx. 1881 - 1905

7 / 3 / MBMC - Financial Records. 1878 - 1905

7 / 4 / MBMC - Legal Records & Line Drawings. 1883 - 1898

7 / 5 / MBMC - 125th and 150th Anniversary Celebrations. 1903 & 1928

7 / 6 / MBMC - Literary Productions (incl.. JT Burtis Journal). 1883 - 1903

7 / 7 / MBMC - Printed Material. 1878 - ca. 1942

7 / 8 / Financial and Legal Records. 1909; 1918; n.d.

7 / 8 / Literary Productions. 1908 - 1933; n.d.

7 / 8 / Monmouth Bar Association. 1926 - 1937

7 / 9 / Printed Material. 1874 - 1936

7 / 11 / Autobiography of SCC. 1937


Cowart Family Papers

7 / 10 / Misc. Mss - Legal and Financial Records. 1795 - 1884

With boxes / Misc. Mss - Red Bank PO Acct. Books. 1848 - 1859

OS / Drawings regarding property in Red Bank and in Middletown, 1905-1935


1. Ellis, Franklin. History of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Philadelphia: RT Peck, 1885

2. Memorial of the Committee of Arrangements for the Unveiling of the Monmouth Battle Monument, at Freehold, New Jersey. Thursday, November 13, 1884. Trenton, NJ : John L. Murphy, 1885 (Includes a history of the development of the monument)

3. "Obituary" Freehold Transcript 1889 April 19. for Enoch L. Cowart

4. "Obituary" Freehold Transcript 1943 April 30. For Samuel C. Cowart

5. "Obituary" Monmouth Democrat 1889 April 25. For Enoch L. Cowart


2002 March 6
James S. Coward, letter, to Samuel Craig Cowart, 1918 October 1

Enoch L. Cowart to Mr. Bryan, letter, regarding Mr. Wilson and his innocence, 1903 Aug 15

1998 April 8
Samuel Craig Cowart, Address, Battle of Monmouth and Poem Patriot Sires of Monmouth (Freehold : Longstreet House, 1998). Reprint of 1914 June 24 address given at Old Tennent Church. Includes forward and illustrations. (Box 8)

1998 January 28
Autobiography of Samuel Craig Cowart. 1937. (Box 7)


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This page last updated 4 August 2008.

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Monmouth County Historical Association received a general operating grant from the the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.
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