This research is a work in progress. Much information is incomplete.
William Cowley was born on September 8, 1864 to parents Dr. David and Margret Mowry Cowley. William was baptized on September 13, 1864 by Benade. On December 31, 1847 Will was married to Josephine Hutmacher by E.C. Bostock. (Will was named after his uncle, William, who died in the Civil War in Fredericksburg, Virginia.) In 1898 William's son Malcolm was born (while William was away caring for his younger brother, David, who had volunteered in Cuba and was thought to be dying of camp fever).
In 1907, William's medical practice was hurt by the Panic of 1907 when patients were unable to pay for care. Steel mills in the area were closing down, affecting the entire area. The bank refused to loan money to William.
An unpaid servant, Ora Newton, lived with the Cowleys while in Pittsburgh.
The family took frequent trips to their vacation home in Belsano, PA. They often invited various friends and family member to go along with them on their outings to Belsano. Bridget, an older servant, also accompanied everyone to the home there.
According to a letter written by Kenneth Burke to Malcolm Cowley on December 24, 1939: "Only yesterday the dreary news reached me about your father. And I would state my condolences, bunglingly but earnestly... To me your father means the aparment in East Liberty, Chopin waltzes and Beethoven Sonatas, and the annex: the room across the hall, where we talked in expectation of literature as enchantment." This appears to infer he died in 1939, though some records indicate 1940.
Josephine Hutmacher was born December 17, 1864 in Quincy, Illinois to parents Rudolph and Rosa Josephina Stuckenberg Hutmacher. (Her father fled from Westphalia in 1850 to avoid mandatory service in the Prussian army. Her mother belonged to a family of German Catholic settlers to Louisville.) Josephine left her families home to move herself to Pittsburgh, where she began work as a seamstress for a dressmaker. She married Dr. William Cowley on December 31, 1897. Because of her height, at four inches taller than William, she never let herself be photographed standing beside her husband. Josephine agreed to be baptized into the Swedenborg Church of the New Jerusalem, though she never really tried to understand the religion. She never really was accepted by the other Cowleys.
Some of her traits included: keeping one's word, paying one's debts, not being wasteful, and doing honest work even if it went unpaid. She had an instictive kindness to strangers, and was a bargain-shopper. She knew how to scrimp and save, and during the time of the Depression this proved useful.
Josephine enjoyed several hobbies during her adult life. One year she raised canaries; another special breeds of chickens; later she made quilts, or collected music boxes and student lamps. She often neglected Malcolm, and was overly concerned with impressing society ladies from East Liberty (polishing the family silver for hours, etc). But there was nonetheless, from time to time, a special bond between mother and son. But because of her loneliness, Josephine adopted Ruth from a young pregnant woman she met. Malcolm was 12 at the time. Ruth died of diptheria at age nine. In 1935, Josephine suffered a heart attack. She stayed at the farmhouse in Belsano with William's sister Margaret "Tannie" during her recovery. She died later in Pittsburgh on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1937. They had the following children: