Mrs. Hannah Cowan was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania on March 4, 1803. She moved to Bellefontaine, Ohio in 1839. By 1844, her husband had died, leaving her to care for two young children on her own.
According to the November 28, 1882 issue of the Sandusky Register, Mrs. Cowan "was a woman of superior education and strong mind,and taking on her own shoulders the burden of life, she became a school teacher, a profession she followed for twelve years. Among her pupils were boys who have since become famous soldiers and public men, and often in the past twenty years she has been the recipient of personal attention from men who regarded her as their wise instructor in their boyhood."
Mrs. Hannah Cowan passed away on November 24, 1882. She was the mother of Mrs. Clark Center. For many years Mrs. Cowan had made her home with Mr. and Mrs. Clark. Hannah Cowan was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Shortly after her death, General Robert P. Kennedy wrote a letter to Rev. D. J. Meese, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Sandusky, which was reprinted in the Sandusky Register. General Kennedy stated about Mrs. Cowan, "...her patience, her piety and Christian character are still imprinted upon my memory..." He continued, pointing out that Mrs. Cown had laid the foundation for the superstructure of an education.