1879 CowlingBW copy

Ninth Master, 1879-1880

Dr. James Cowling was a native of Scotland, where he was born in 1822. It is not known just when he came to America. He was already a member of Mississippi Lodge No. 56 at Lonnan, Mississippi, in 1866, when he is shown as Sentinel and Tyler. No returns of this Lodge were made between 1860 and 1866. According to statements made after his installation as Master of Gray Lodge in 1879, he had been a member of Edinburg St. Andrew No. 48 and wore an apron that he had worn 39 years before at the laying of a comer stone for a monument in memory of Sir Walter Scott.

If these dates are correct, it is clear that Dr. Cowling was a Lewis and received his Masonic Degrees probably when 18 years of age and certainly before he was 21. The son of a Mason is known in Scotland as a Lewis and is entitled to be initiated at the age of 18.

His obituary states he came to Houston in 1855 and resided here 39 years. This does not conform with his membership record in Mississippi Lodge No. 56. He affiliated with Gray Lodge on April 19, 1871, on a demit from that Lodge.

He was a successful physician and enjoyed a lucrative medical practice. He acquired a moderately large estate. He visited Scotland several times and had made plans to return again the summer of his death, as all of his relatives resided there. He died of Bright’s disease on June 23, 1894. His wife was his only survivor. He had long been a member of the First Presbyterian Church. Burial was in Glenwood with Masonic rites.

The Gray Lodge resolution on his death referred to his eleven years of service as Treasurer in addition to his year as Master and that “he established and maintained during all these years a reputation for integrity and uprightness which none of us may hope to surpass.”