WILLIAM E. COWLE, the present justice of the peace at Carlisle, Indiana, is a native of Vanderburg county, Indiana, where he was born on his parents' farm, November 30, 1837, a son of William and Julia A. (Ewing) Cowle. The father was born in England and came to America with his mother and a brother and sister when two years old. The grandmother was a sister of Squire John Ingle, whose son, John Ingle, Jr., built the Evansville & Terre Haute Railroad through Carlisle. William E. Cowle's father and mother located in Vanderburg county, Scott township, where the father died in 1838 and was buried in that township, in what is now an unknown cemetery. Mr. Cowle's paternal grandmother married Marcus Wheeler, who was also a native of England, and died in Vanderburg county, Indiana. William Cowle, the father of William E., of this notice, was a thoroughgoing farmer throughout his entire life. Politically, he was an old line Whig. After his death, his widow married Joseph Harrison, who was of English birth, and who came to this country about the same time that her first husband came, and Mr. Harrison was also buried in the township as was Mr. Cowle. By the first marriage two children were born: Sarah, now deceased, and William E. By the second marriage, Mr. Cowle's mother was the mother of the following children by Joseph Harrison; John; Thomas, deceased; Richard, deceased; Henry; James, deceased; and Martha.

William E. Cowle was reared on a farm until fifteen years of age, when his mother died, and he went out to make his own way in life. For two years he worked at Memphis and Batesville, Arkansas, where he also attended school for a short time. In July, 1855, he went to Evansville, Indiana, and learned both land and marine engineering. He was finally licensed by the government as a river engineer and ran boats between Evansville, Indiana, and Cairo, Illinois, and also to Paducah, Kentucky. At one time he was interested in towing boats with Captain Henry L. Mitchell, continuing in this line of work until the autumn of 1870, when he went to Freelandsville, Indiana. In March, 1873, he located in Carlisle, where he erected a mill for sawing lumber, on the Thomas Davis place, one mile east of the town. He continued to operate this sawmill until about 1893, when he engaged in the windmill, pump and engineers' supply business, which he still carries on. July 19, 1902, he was appointed justice of the peace. He also is largely interested in the collection of accounts, having been elected collector by the Merchants' Association of Carlisle. He is very successful in the collection of such accounts as are turned over to him by the business men who compose this association. In his politics, Mr. Cowle is a Republican. He has served as town clerk and treasurer two terms. He is one of the active and honored members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being a member of the Carlisle Encampment.

For a time he was engineer in the United States Navy and held the rank of master, by reason of which he now draws a pension from the government. During the three and one-half years' service with the Federal army, his duties lay with the United States Navy. He was aboard the steamer General Thomas, belonging to the Eighth District, Mississippi Squadron, on the Tennessee river. While General Sherman was on his famous march to the sea, Generals Beauregard and Hood returned to Alabama along the Tennessee river, and at Gunterville, Alabama, there was a severe action, and the steamer General Thomas, whose captain was Gilbert Morton, under Commodore Forrest, was in this affray. Mr. Cowle received his honorable discharge at Evansville, Indiana, August 24, 1865, and returned to his home, once more as a civilian.

Mr. Cowle has been thrice married, first to America L. Guilkey, who was born in Indiana, and died leaving three children: Charles, who died at the age of seventeen months; the second and the third children both died in infancy. For his second wife, Mr. Cowle married Angeline Hopkins, born in England. By this union six children were born: Sarah, who now resides with her father; Julia, wife of Frank Sproatt, residing in Carlisle; Luella, at home, the wife of W. F. Risinger, and they have five children; Anna, deceased; married Professor Gifford; William E. (twin brother of Anna), also deceased; an infant, deceased. For his third wife, Mr. Cowle married Susan Childs, born in Vanderburg county, Indiana, of English descent. There is no issue by this union. Mr. and Mrs. Cowle are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Among other business interests, Mr. Cowle is a stockholder in the telephone company and also in the First National Bank of Carlisle.