McCowan, Sir David Sir David McCowan 1860-1937, insurance broker and philanthropist
Ayr Advertiser May 20th 1937
The Late Sir David McCowan
Native of Ayr
The death took place on Saturday of Sir David McCowan, Bt., D. L., who for many years was widely known in commercial, civic and social circles in the West of Scotland.
Sir David was senior partner of Messrs William EUING and Co., marine insurance brokers, a firm with a history of over a century, and his other commercial activities included directorships of George OUTRAM and Co., Ltd., the Burmah Oil Company, Ltd., the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, Ltd., several Scottish investment trusts, and the Royal Exchange, Glasgow, of which he was chairman. He was also until his retirement two years ago a director of the Clydesdale Bank.
In 1889 he married Gertrude Margaret, daughter of David S. CARGILL, Glasgow, and sister of Sir John T. Cargill, Bt. Along with Lady McCowan, who in 1923 had conferred upon her the C.B.E for her manifold public and benevolent works, Sir David took a conspicuous part in the innumerable aspects of social service and philanthropic effort.
Sir David received the honour of knighthood in 1928, and he became a Baronet in 1934, taking the title of Sir David McCowan, Bt., of Dalwhat, county of Dumfries, which had belonged to his mother and passed to him. These honours were conferred on him in recognition of his many public services
Sir David was born in Ayr in 1860. He was the son of Mr Hew McCowan, agent of the Royal Bank of Scotland in Ayr, and of Mrs Joan MCCALL or McCowan, of Dalwhat, Glencairn, Dumfriesshire. He succeeded to the major portion of the estate of his uncle, Mr David McCowan, who was born at Caponacre, Old Cumnock, and died about 34 years ago. The uncle used to ride from Cumnock to Ayr to attend the Academy, and his association with the school was marked by the endowment of the David McCowan prizes for English and art, which are still amongst the most valuable and coveted prizes of the school. Sir David’s uncle was treasurer of the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow. It was Sir David’s greatest desire to follow worthily in his uncle’s footsteps, to take “take up the song where he left off the strain”, and the Royal Infirmary had no more generous supporter.
For some years Sir David and Lady McCowan resided at Kirkmichael House, which he rented on lease. He was anxious to reside in his native county, and at one time was prepared to purchase Kirkmichael estate. He loved Kirkmichael and was beloved in the district, being a most generous supporter of all local appeals. On the termination of his lease of Kirkmichael he rented Monzie Castle, Crieff, Perthshire, where Lady McCowan and he entertained largely.
Sir David was predeceased by Lady McCowan in 1935, and is survived by his younger son, Mr David J. C. McCowan and his daughter, Mrs Alexander Osborne BONNAR, Edinburgh. The elder son, Mr Hew McCowan, was killed in action at Gallipoli in June 1915, while he served with the Scottish Rifles. As a memorial of her elder son Lady McCowan established a club for working girls in Maryhill, the name of the institution being the Hew McCowan Club.
Family information – David was born on 8th December 1860 in Ayr – the son of Hew McCowan (banker) and Joanna MCCALL. He married Gertrude Margaret CARGILL in 1889. David’s father Hew was born c.1815 in Cumnock to William McCowan and Jane HART.