Dr. Richard Davidson Cowan was born in North Dumphries Twp., near Galt, Ontario on the 25th of June, 1887. His parents William Davidson Cowan and the former Annie Chisholm, were farmers. He had an older brother named William James Cowan (William’s twin sister died at birth), a younger brother named Thomas Chisholm Cowan and a little sister named Margaret Chisholm Cowan. Dr. Cowan was educated locally and graduated from Galt Collegiate Institute before attending The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He graduated M.B. in 1915.
Dr. Cowan had been in the Army Medical Corp Militia prior to enlisting in the Army as a Captain on the 21st of September, 1916, during World War I. He was 5’6″, 130 lbs and grey eyes. Dr. Cowan served his country in England and France with the 78th Canadian Infantry Battalion. On the 7th of January 1918, Dr. Cowan was admitted to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Bearwood, Wokingham, England with varicella (chicken pox). He was transferred on the 14th of January, 1918 to the Bridge Street Isolation Hospital in Reading. After 3 weeks, he returned to duty. He arrived in France on the 17th of August, 1918. He was discharged in 1919.
According to the Ontario Medical Register of 1928, Dr. Cowan registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 18th of November, 1920. Dr. Cowan continued his education in England graduating M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P in 1921. The 1921 census records that Dr. Cowan was living on the family farm and his occupation is listed as a doctor.
After he returned from the war, Dr. Cowan opened a medical practice in Wallaceburg.
He married Anna Kennedy Cowan (same last name) on the 25th of September, 1926, in Waterloo, Ontario. On the marriage record, he listed his residence on the marriage record as Wallaceburg, Ontario. Mrs. Cowan was born in Galt, Ontario on the 23rd of April, 1893. She was the eldest of 3 children born to Peter Cowan and the former Mary Arnot Pollock. Her father was an engineer in the Public Works Department and her siblings were; William Menzies Cowan (who died on the 6th of July, 1902 at the age of 4) and Jessie Elizabeth Cowan. Mrs. Cowan was a school teacher.
In 1930 Dr. Cowan did post graduate studies in England for one year. Upon his return, he and Mrs. Cowan settled in Guelph. He was a member of the Waverly Masonic Lodge in Guelph.
Dr. Cowan died at St Joseph’s Hospital in Guelph on the 16th of September, 1957. Mrs. Cowan died on the 22nd of April, 1988. (Dr. and Mrs. Cowan did not have any children). Dr. and Mrs. Cowan were buried at Mountview Cemetery in Cambridge, the same cemetery that Dr. Cowan’s parents and siblings are buried at.