Cowles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The current generations of the Cowles family have inherited a surname that was first used hundreds of years ago by descendants of the ancient Scottish tribe called the Picts. The Cowles family lived in Coull, in Aberdeenshire. There is also another place so named, in the Highland Region, which may have independently given rise to this surname.

Early Origins of the Cowles family

The surname Cowles was first found in Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), a historic county, and present day Council Area of Aberdeen, located in the Grampian region of northeastern Scotland in the parish of Coull.

"This place is supposed to have taken its name, which signifies a 'corner,' from its situation in the south-eastern extremity of the district of Cromar. " [1]

Coull Castle was an 13th-century castle to the south of Coull. Only traces of the castle can be found today.

Some of the first records of the family include: William de Cull who was one of the witnesses to a charter by John, Earl of Huntington to Norman filius Malcolm of the lands of Lesslyn etc., between 1219 and 1237; and John Cowl possessed a tenement in Glasgow in 1458. [2]

Further south in northern England, the Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1332 listed John de Couhill, of Rishton, Lancashire; and John de Coule, of Blackburn, Lancashire, 1332. [3]

Early History of the Cowles family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowles research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1219, 1567, 1479, 1481, 1567, 1554, 1611, 1554 and 1570 are included under the topic Early Cowles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowles Spelling Variations

Scribes in the Middle Ages did not have access to a set of spelling rules. They spelled according to sound, the result was a great number of spelling variations. In various documents, Cowles has been spelled Coull, Coul, Cowill, Cowell, Cull, Cowles, Cowl, Cowle and many more.

Early Notables of the Cowles family (pre 1700)

Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cowles Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cowles migration to the United States +

The cruelties suffered under the new government forced many to leave their ancient homeland for the freedom of the North American colonies. Those who arrived safely found land, freedom, and opportunity for the taking. These hardy settlers gave their strength and perseverance to the young nations that would become the United States and Canada. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name Cowles:

Cowles Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Cowles, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 [4]
  • Sarah Cowles, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Sarah Cowles, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [4]
Cowles Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ira Cowles, who arrived in New York in 1820 with his apprentice
  • Mr. Cowles, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [4]
  • Joseph R Cowles, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [4]

Australia Cowles migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cowles Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Maria Cowles, (b. 1850), aged 26, Cornish nurse travelling aboard the ship "Samuel Plimsoll" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 19th August 1876 [5]

New Zealand Cowles migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Cowles Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Cowles, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred The Great" in 1859
  • Edward Cowles, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred The Great" in 1859
  • Miss E. Cowles, (b. 1836), aged 31, British dressmaker travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd January 1868 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cowles (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Miles Andrew Cowles (1894-1974), American Military Attaché Switzerland (1949) [7]
  • Clinton W. Cowles, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 1884 [8]
  • Clarence A. Cowles, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Southington, 1918 [8]
  • Charles Holden Cowles (1875-1957), American Republican politician, Private secretary to U.S. Rep. E. Spencer Blackburn, 1901-03; Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Wilkes County, 1905-08, 1921-30 [8]
  • Charles H. Cowles (1818-1888), American politician, Member of Nebraska territorial House of Representatives, 1860 [8]
  • Calvin Josiah Cowles (1821-1907), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 1868; Candidate for U.S. Representative from North Carolina, 1868 [8]
  • C. William Cowles, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Brisbane, 1945-46 [8]
  • C. M. Cowles, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Virginia, 1928 [8]
  • Benjamin J. Cowles, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Onondaga County 2nd District, 1850 [8]
  • Benjamin Cowles, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Saratoga County, 1814-15 [8]
  • ... (Another 34 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Cowles Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Cole Deum
Motto Translation: Worship God.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 19). Emigrants to Australia NSW 1860 -88 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/nsw_passenger_lists_1860_88.pdf
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) Miles Cowles. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Cowles/Miles_Andrew/USA.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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