William & Bertha Cowan

 William Cowan, Revelstoke, c.1914.

William Cowan, Revelstoke, c.1914.

Dates:

William Cowan: b. Ontario, 1855 d. 13 April 1926

Bertha Cowan: b. 1855 d. 7 September 1906

Cemetery Location:

William Cowan: Block F, Row 10, Plot 37

Bertha Cowan: Block H, Row 18, Plot 33

Profiles:

William Cowan was born in Ontario in 1855. He came to Revelstoke in June 1885 and built the Victoria Hotel on the riverside of Front Street, on the north corner of Wright Street. He was one of the original partners in the Columbia Kootenay Navigation Company that built the steamers ‘Despatch’ and ‘Lytton’. 

In 1890 he established telephone service between his hotel and the CPR Station, and in 1896, formed the Big Bend, Trout Lake and Revelstoke Telephone company. In 1897 William built the Cowan Block at Third and Charles for the telephone office. He also founded the Revelstoke Water, Light and Power Company in the 1890s, which provided the first water system to the city in 1896, and the Illecillewaet Dam in 1898. The Power Company was bought by the city in 1902. 

In 1903 Cowan married Bertha Beatrice King, who was 20 years his junior and they had a son, William Patrick, born in 1904. Bertha died during childbirth on 7 September 1906. The child did not survive. Bertha was Roman Catholic, and was one of the first burials in the Catholic section of the cemetery, which opened in 1906.

William Cowan is buried across the road in the Protestant section, directly behind the maintenance shed.  At that time, the Catholic Church did not allow non-Catholics to be buried in consecrated ground, and William did not convert to Catholicism. 

 Cowan Block, Third and Charles Street,  Revelstoke, c.1900. The property was built in 1897 to house the Revelstoke Telephone Company.

Cowan Block, Third and Charles Street,  Revelstoke, c.1900. The property was built in 1897 to house the Revelstoke Telephone Company.