Descendant of Manxman—Mormon


Mr. Matthias F. Cowley, a descendant of a Manxman, who went to America with the Mormons, has just been visiting the land of his fathers, and is seeking information about his family and their connections.

Mr. Cowley’s grandfather, James Cowley, was a miller at Kewaigue, Braddan, a member of a family which has long been associated with the same mill. He was converted to the faith of the Latter Day saints in a mission conducted in the Isle of Man in the early forties, which resulted in an historic emigration. The community settled for some time in Navoo County, Illinois, but they were forcibly expelled, and their founder, Joseph Smith, was murdered. James Cowley left with the rest for Utah and was among those who founded Salt Lake City. There the present Mr. Cowley, was born, exactly 80 years ago. He is an ardent member of the church, as are many other people of Manx descent. Two years ago the Island was visited by Ralph S. Kelly, who with his father, D. Philemon Kelly, has been doing mission work in Germany and Switzerland.

He bears the same "given name" as his father, and his grandfather, Matthias Cain, who belonged to Malew. Before her marriage, his grandmother was Isabella Cain. A cousin, Mr. Robert Cowley, lives at 28 Church Street, Douglas.

One of the ablest of the Mormon leaders was George Quayle Cannan, a cousin of the late Mr. J.W. Cannan M.H.K. of Michael. Members of the same family were the vicar of Michael, Commander G.W. Cannan, O.B.E., J.P., and Mr. Louis W. Cannan, bank manager, Douglas. George Q. Cannan was a member of the United States Congress until a law was passed preventing polygamist from sitting in the Federal legislature. Mr. Cowley knew him well, and also knew another Manx Mormon member of Congress, John T. Caine, who also came from the parish of Michael. John T. Caine’s son who bears the same name, is a teacher in the agricultural college at Logan, Utah, and there is a grandson, a third John T. Caine, in business in Chicago.

Mr. Cowley has not visited the Island previously, but he is a member of the North American Manx Association. Manx gatherings are held occasionally in Salt Lake City, the last secretary being Mr. Elmer M. Qualtrough, funeral director.

Mr. and Mrs. Cowley left the United States ten months ago and have visited the Scandinavia countries, France, Holland and Belgium, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Italy. They have left the island to visit Mrs. Cowley’s relatives, members of a family named Parkinson, in Barraford, Lancashire.

Mr. Cowley’s son, Mr. Matthew Cowley, is president of the Latter Day Saint's organisation in New Zealand, and has translated some of the church’s literature into the Maori language. His son-in-law, Dr. Edgar B. Brossard of the department of agricultural science in Cornell University, is a member of the United Stated Tariff Commission, and is at present visiting Scotland and Ireland.

Source:Newspaper Ramsey Courier and Northern Advertiser dated August 26, 1938




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