Andrew Gowan

As a pioneer in northern Minnesota, contributing materially to the growth of several industries, chiefly logging and the wholesale grocery business, and at the time of his death one of the most prominent of Duluth’s business men, his many friends and old time business associates will appreciate the appropriateness of a brief record of the career of the late Andrew Gowan.

He was born in New Brunswick April 15, 1851, son of George and Mary Gowan. During his early boyhood his parents moved to Minnesota and settled in Stillwater. He received a very brief common school education and while very young began working in the lumber camps.

In this industry he rose from laborer to executive of one of the largest corporations.

In October, 1878, at Stillwater, Mr. Gowan married Miss Mary Bergin, daughter of Matthey Bergin. Soon after his marriage he moved to Cloquet, which was rapidly becoming the center of northern Minnesota’s logging operations. The C. N. Nelson Lumber Company, later a part of the Weyerhaeuser interests, maintained headquarters there.

After working in many capacities for the C. N. Nelson Company Mr. Gowan was made general superintendent of the logging operations and a member of the company. Severing his connections with Cloquet interests in 1899 and moving to Duluth, Mr. Gowan started several logging camps of his own and became a potent factor in logging circles at the Head of the Lakes. About the same time he organized the Gowan, Peyton, Tuohy Company, wholesale grocers, later reorganizing it, and was instrumental in making this business one of the largest in the northwest.

His death in 1907 closed a long and influential period of years, in which he was president of the Gowan-Peyton-Congdon Company and a director of the American Exchange National Bank of Duluth.

At the time of his death he was a member of the various Duluth clubs, a Knight of Columbus and a Democrat. Early in his career he served as mayor of Cloquet and later was vitally interested in Duluth civic and philanthropic organizations.

In 1904 he suffered the loss of his wife. He was survived by Mary Gowan Dacey, wife of Francis J. Dacey of Duluth; Lillian, wife of John Carver Richards, of Virginia; Henry Patrick, who later as an American soldier was killed in action in France, September 26, 1918; Claudia, of Virginia; Andrew Dennis, of Duluth; and George Joseph, of Minneapolis.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
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