USGS has the same coordinates for both Stewert (Prugh) and Cowles, but from other descriptions it is clear that Cowles is south and east of Stewert (Prugh). Which of the houses was Dr. Cowles residence? Click the logo to get a map showing the location described by Herb Price:


The following document was obtained at the Des Moines Public Library and apparently dates from about 1978. That was over 30 years ago and obviously the landscape, as well as ownership, has changed.

Cowles Farm Plot

Cowles Farm Plots are in the southeast corner of Sec. 20 (edge of bluff overlooking Mississippi River) in Concordia Township, Des Moines County, Iowa. To locate Cowles Farm Plot, you go south on Madison Road out of Burlington, Iowa, from the intersection of Koestner Street and Madison Road for 1.1 miles, turn left or east, at the Shady Acres Subdivision and go about two blocks, turn right or south and go about 1/4 mile until you come to Dr. Cowles Farm gate on your left, go through gate (be sure to close the gate) for about 1/4 mile keeping to the right. You will come to Dr. Cowles residence, it was built of limestone rock quarried near here, built about the time of the Civil War by Christ Andelhelm and enlarged later.

Cowles Farm Plot 5A located about 100 yards northeast from his residence in the center of a long knoll. It is presumed that a log cabin was built on this knoll as one could see in all directions. A spring that flows 365 days a year is about a block due south of this site part way down the bluff. A lonely stone was found.

FERRE, Isaac; d 1 Dec 1845 a 72y.

The stone is flat on the ground, covered with a board and Dr. Cowles had hauled in three huge stones from the hospital, two were lying on the ground with the third as a bridge over this grave stone, protecting it from farm implements, stock and such.

The first name on the deed and abstract was supposedly a land speculator, the next name was that of Isaac Ferrer homesteader.

Cowles Farm Plot 5B is located about 100 yards southwest of his residence on the edge of the bluff. The burial plot is guarded on three sides by three large red cedars, and on the down hill side there used to be a retaining wall. In one corner of the burial plot was a nine inch square stone, flat on top with a round hole, sitting square with the world, a surveyors marker.

There used to be several graves in this plot, and in the early 30's Mr. R. J. Cowles Jr., father of Dr. Jim Cowles, had these bodies and stones relocated to Aspen Grove Cemetery. Dr. Cowles thought that Burt Prugh and Harry Hunt did this, he wasn't sure. Dr. Cowles has no idea of who they were.

If one wishes to visit these sites, seek the permission of the land owner before doing so, and be sure to close the gates.

Copied by the Des Moines Genealogical Society, Burlington, Iowa, 11 Nov 1978.

Transcribed by Karen McAtlin, 12 Nov 2011

2013 Update:

Four people interested in the two burial sites on the Cowles Farm south of Burlington met at the site on October 2, 2013. The people were Christina Cowles, one of the five children involved in settling the Cowles Estate, Gary Putnam, attorney for the estate, Burton Prugh of Prughs Funeral Home and this writer, Herbert Price of the Des Moines County Pioneer Cemetery Commission.

Christina first led the others to the grave site of Isaac Ferre who died 1 Dec 1845 at the age of 72 years. The stone appeared to be in the same position as described by the Des Moines County Genealogical Society when they visited the site on November 11, 1978. The society described the stone as being 100 yards northeast of the residence. Chistina removed a piece of wood from on top of the stone and cleaned off the dirt enough for us to see the date on the stone. A GPS reading taken at the site gave these numbers : 40 45 18N and 91 06 33W.

The group next walked to the second burial site described by the society as 100 yards southeast of the residence. The GPS reading at this site was 40 45 14N and 91 06 40W. No evidence of a burial site was visable but no one could be sure exactly where the site was. Gary Putnam shared a photocopy of a page from an abstract book dated February 20, 1919 which read "The tract of ground herein conveyed was reserved as a family burying ground but has been abandoned as such and the bodies removed." The page gives the details of a warrenty deed given to Christian G Biklin by other members of the Biklin family. Gary reported the following individuals were moved to Aspen Grove Cemetery. All of these individuals are listed in the Aspen Grove records as having been interred on March 9, 1919 regardless of their dates of death.

Christian H Biklen 08/06/1825 02/22/1881 56years
Caroline Biklen 02/12/1835 04/07/1881 46years
Charles L Biklen 02/05 1857 09/15/1869 12 years
Infant Biklen 01/25/1894 01/25/1894
Lewis J Biklen 08/16/1896 31 years

On the day before this visit to the Cowles Farm I visited Aspen Grove Cemetery and photographed a single marker for Christian, Charles and Caroline Biklin. Aspen Grove records say both Infant Biklen and Lewis are buried at this same location.


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