Joshua Cowell, a well known and representative citizen and pioneer of San Joaquin county, residing at Manteca station, settled upon his present ranch in 1863. He is now interested in general farming and dairying, and is one of the leading advocates of irrigation, having proved in his own farm operations the value of this method in enhancing the productiveness of the land. So widely and favorably is Mr. Cowell known that his record cannot fail to prove of interest to many of our readers.

A native of Tioga county, New York, he was born on the 2d of January, 1842, and is a son of Henry and Elida (McMaster) Cowell, also natives the Empire state. The paternal grandfather, Joshua Cowell, was a soldier of the war of 1812. About 1845 Henry Cowell removed with his family from New York to Grant county, Wisconsin, and there he lost his wife nine years later. Joshua Cowell was reared in Grant county, where he made his home until 1861, when at the age of nineteen years he came to the west, making the journey across the plains with a train of emigrants. He drove an ox team all the way, reaching his destination after four months of travel. He left the train, however, at the Carson river in Nevada and remained for a time in that state. Subsequently he continued his journey to California, where he arrived in January, 1863, crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains on foot and coming direct to San Joaquin county. He then took up his abode at the place where he now resides and it has been his home continuously since. He had two brothers, Henry W. and Williston Cowell, who also located with him on the ranch. They were partners in its ownership and for some time they conducted farming operations there.

On the 25th of November, 1868, Joshua Cowell was united in marriage to Miss Vientte Graves, a native of Grant county, Wisconsin, and to them were born five children, of whom three are now living: Mary E., the wife of Charles L. Salmon, a resident of San Joaquin county; Clara C., the wife of Clifford Wiggins, also of the same county; and Otis M., at home. In September, 1884, Mr. Cowell was again married, his second union being with Emily F. Sanders, a native of New York, and to them was born one daughter, Hattie, now at home.

After his first marriage Mr. Cowell took his bride to his farm, whereon he has resided continuously since and is now well known as one of the leding agriculturists of the county. For several years he has been interested in the subject of irrigation and is a strong advocate of that method of rendering the soil of San Joaquin county more productive. Irrigation ditches have been built throughout his entire farm, and the waters being turned upon the fields render the soil very rich and enables him to harvest abundant crops. For a number of years Mr. Cowell has been engaged as a contractor in the building of irrigation ditches and levees mainly in San Joaquin county. He devotes his farm to general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising, and both branches of his business have proved profitable. He is also extensively engaged in the dairy industry, and for five years served as president of the Cowell Station Cremery, being the first incumbent in that position. Whatever he undertakes he carries forward to successful completion, and while his labors have brought him prosperity they have also been of a character that has promoted the general good.

In his political allegiance Mr. Cowell is a Republican, but while he renders unfaltering support to the party he has never sought or desired public office for himself, preferring to give his attention to his business interests. He was, however, a candidate for the office of supervisor in the '80s. He belongs to the Brethren church and never withholds his support and co-operation from any movements that he feels will contribute to the general good. His business career exemplifies the force of industry and energy in the utilization of opportunity. he certainly deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, and though he started out in life empty-handed he is to-day numbered among the most progressive agriculturists of San Joaquin county.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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