Main content

Peter M. McGowan papers


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Peter M. McGowan was a Methodist circuit preacher and missionary in Arkansas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Born in Lisburn, County Antrim, Ireland on May 5, 1804, McGowan and his family immigrated to the United States in 1811, settling in Ligonier Valley in Pennsylvania. Early in his career, he served in the Monroe Circuit; Harrison, Virginia; Somerset, St. Clairsville, and Pittsburgh; and as agent for Allegheny College.

In the fall of 1835, he was transferred from the Pittsburgh Conference and appointed superintendent of the South Indian Missionary District which included the Cherokee and Creek Nations. According to a Dr. Hunter, McGowen "did everything in his power to forward the good works in the two Nations," but spent "only one year with the Indians," [before] he had a severe attack of sickness in the latter part of the summer; and believing that he was completely broken down in health, he returned to his old Conference, where for a number of years he did effective work," (Jewell, page 103). He served the communities of western Pennsylvania for the remainder of his life.

McGowan was married to Maria Dana, from November 19, 1829 until her death; and to Jane Beazell, on September 20, 1837. McGowan died in California, Pennsylvania on June 7, 1889.

Works Consulted:

Jewell, Horace. History of Methodists in Arkansas, 1892.

Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1889, pp. 372-3, obituary.

This collection contains correspondence concerning McGowan's work for the Methodist Church in Arkansas, particularly among the Muscogee and Cherokee Nations. It includes a letter from Methodist leader and missionary Charles Elliott; a small number of manuscripts concerning the Muscogee and Cherokee languages, including translations and transcriptions of prayers and hymns; and one issue of the Cherokee Phoenix & Indians' Advocate, dated March 31,1832 which was published in New Echota, Georgia.

In addition to documenting McGowan's work with Native Americans, there are a few more miscellaneous documents that may relate to McGowan's more general ministerial service. The collection includes a manuscript explication of Philemon 3:24, seven marriage licenses from Belmont County, Ohio, and a single claim for money for a Revolutionary War veteran.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2015 May 15
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
Chiefs of the Creek Nation, draft of letter from Peter M. McGowan, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Elliot, Charles, letter to Peter McGowan, 1835 November 10.
Box 1 Folder 2
[McGowan], William, draft of letter from Peter M. McGowan, 1835 September 22.
Box 1 Folder 3
Ministers and preachers of the Tennessee Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, draft of letter from Peter M. McGowan, circa 1836.
Box 1 Folder 4
Muskoki Nation Temperance Society for the Suppression of Intemperance, draft constitution, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
Ohio, Belmont County, Court of Common Pleas, seven marriage contracts, 1844-1845.
Box 1 Folder 6
United States War Department, claim for Mathias Fisher (Revolutionary War veteran), 1832 June 7.
Box 1 Folder 7
Young Wolf, alphabet of capitals, 1836 June 1.
Box 1 Folder 8
Hymnal, in Cherokee, undated.
Box 1 Folder 9
The Lord's Prayer, transcripts, in Cherokee, undated.
Box 1 Folder 10
Makoke alphabet, vocabulary, and Lord's Prayer, presented by Muscogee (Creek) assistant to Peter M. McGowan, 1835 November 5.
Box 1 Folder 11
Notes on Philemon 3.24, undated.
Box 1 Folder 12
Cherokee Phoenix & Indians' Advocate, Volume 4, Number 3, 1832 March 31.
Drawer 36

Print, Suggest