Moses Cowdrey and family

I have already written about the Buttles line of the family that made the move from Connecticut to Pennsylvania but as I mentioned there, Jarvis Buttles returned to Connecticut for his bride Alma Cowdrey. I’ve been working on this line lately and thought I would put it out into the genealogical stratosphere in the hopes that someone knows more than I do. The Cowdrey line is complicated due to the wild spelling changes that occurred during the 19th century as various branches of the family chose “their” spelling: Cowdrey, Cowdery, Cowdry.


Alma Cowdrey was the fifth child of Moses Cowdrey (1773-1858) and Zeruiah Phelps Cowdrey (1776-1861). The Cowdrey’s were settled in the north west corner of Hartland Township in Hartford County, Connecticut. Many of Alma’s siblings scattered across the midwest but a few stayed in Hartford and surrounding counties. Here is a breakdown of what I know of each:

  • Lester Cowdrey (1798-1813): lived just long enough to merit a death notice in the Hartford Courier.
  • Lucy Cowdrey (1800-1862): twin to Lydia, she married Samuel Gates and had four children: Infant (1819), Orson Cowles Gates (1820-1885), Unwin Cooper Gates (1824-1859) and Jemuel Clinton Gates (1829-1915). They appear to have stayed in Hartford. Samuel is involved in the settlement of Phelps Cowdrey’s estate.
  • Lydia Cowdrey (1800-): twin to Lucy, she married Lemuel Foster (born in Barkhamsted, Connecticut in 1799, graduated Yale Seminary in 1831). In 1832 Foster was commissioned by the American Home Missionary Society to Illinois, arriving in Jacksonville, Illinois on October 10, 1832.  A journal (kept first by him, then by her) describes their home missionary experiences in Illinois during the mid 19th century.
  • Phelps Cowdrey (1803-1811): died young.
  • Alma Cowdrey (1805-1843): married Jarvis Buttles and moved to Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Interesting that the 1850 Census for Moses and Zeruiah includes Julina Buttles, daughter of Alma and Jarvis. She died young and I am not sure if she had been sent east for medical treatment.
  • Jerusha Cowdrey (1809-1838): married Samuel Jones Hayes in McLean County, Illinois. They both died very young with no issue.
  • Phelps Cowdrey (1811-1853): married Emily Holcomb and had four daughters: Zeruiah Miriam, Lydia Foster, Emily Jerusha and Alma E.Cowdrey. He died insolvent and without a will, a fact gleaned from his estate record and the notices appearing in the Connecticut Courant August 1853.
  • Lester Cowdrey (1814-1899): married Emeline Emmons, remained in Hartland his entire life. They had one daughter Sarah Jane Cowdrey Bushnell (1844-1918).
  • Julina Cowdrey (1816-1899): married Milo Hart (1811-1895) and settle on a farm in Watertown, Connecticut. They have six children:  Melissa Hart, Lucius Hart, Rachel Janet Hart, Adaline Hart, Owen Hart, and Foster Hart.
  • Melissa Cowdrey (1817-1885): born when her mother was 43! Married Lucius L. Loomis and moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they had three children: Gertrude Loomis, Lysander Loomis and Luella Loomis.

This family scattered all over the place and I would imagine that they kept in touch by mail. However, I don’t have much beyond the record of marriages and deaths that Alma C. Buttles passed on to her children. If anyone has insights, please share.

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