JOHN DICK COCHRAN has been a successful farmer of Boggs Township, Armstrong County, throughout his active years, but he has also had other interests, having been engaged for many years in the sale of agricultural implements, and he has filled various local offices.  As farmer, businessman and public servant, he is well and favorably known in his district.  Mr. Cochran was born June 3, 1853 in Boggs township, on the north fork of Pine creek, and is a son of James Sloan and Jane (Gibson) Cochran, belonging to old and respected families of this region on both paternal and maternal sides.

The Cochran family was originally from the North of Ireland and has been settled in Pennsylvania for about two centuries.  William Cochran, great-grandfather of John Dick Cochran, was the son of Sir John Cochran, and was born in eastern Pennsylvania.  Shortly after the Revolutionary was, William Cochran settled in what is now Armstrong County, where his son James, grandfather of John Dick Cochran, was born in 1787.  He settled on a farm, acquiring the ownership of a large tract 800 acres, then all in its primitive condition, put up log buildings, and passed the remainder of his life there.  When he first came there, he lived among the Indians, and they often hunted together.  Besides farming, James Cochran engaged in the manufacture of iron, being the leading member of the company which projected Ore Hill Furnace, in 1845, and gave a fifty-acre tract of land upon which that furnace was erected.   He built the original furnace and operated it on his own account for some time before selling it to the company.  He was one of the prominent men of his day in that and various other connections.  In religion he was a strong Presbyterian, in politics a Democrat, and he filled a number of township offices.  His wife, Esther Gibson, of near Kittanning, was a member of the family of that name so numerously represented in Armstrong and Indiana counties, and the following children were born to their union:  William (born Dec. 10, 1813, died Feb. 6, 1876, married Mary S. Quigley), John G., Samuel, Lowry, James Sloan, Levi G., Jane and Washington.

James Sloan Cochran was born March 11, 1821, and was reared on the old home place in Boggs Township, the farm now owned by his son John Dick Cochran.  For a time he was at Parker, engaged in the manufacture of brick, and then moved to Washington Township, where he kept a boarding house during the period of the Civil War.  He then settled on part of his father�s homestead, a tract of 114 acres which he improved very materially, replacing the log buildings with more substantial structures.  Few men of his day were better known than Mr. Cochran.  He taught school for ten winters, during the days when the teacher boarded some of the pupils, and during the greater part of his life he held township office.  He was auditor of Armstrong County one year, at the time of his election to that position polling the largest vote ever received by a Democratic nominee.  He was also a candidate for member of the State Legislature.  A prominent member of the United Presbyterian Church, he served a number of years as elder, and helped to build various churches in his section.  Mr. Cochran died Nov. 27, 1890, and his wife, Jane (Gibson), died June 21, 1886.  They were the parents of six children, two sons and four daughters:  A son that died in infancy, John Dick, Sarah, Jennie, Elizabeth and Matilda.

John Dick Cochran attended the common schools near his home and passed his early life assisting with the work on the homestead.  He has continued to make its cultivation his principal occupation since it came into his possession, at the time of his father�s death, but he had also been interested in selling agricultural implements having acted as a traveling salesman for the McCormicks for twenty-five years and for the Whitley Company nearly twenty years.  Mr. Cochran has been honored with election to most of the township offices, having served as school director for three years, assessor three years, overseer of the poor four years, twelve years as a constable, and several years as a tax collector.  In political connection he is a Republican.

On Oct. 19, 1880, Mr. Cochran married Rebecca Jennie Lewis, of Indiana County, PA, and they had six children, two sons and four daughters, namely: Charlie G., who was married Aug. 15, 1906, to Olive M Bahma; James Lewis, at home; Verna Nellie, deceased; Maudie May, who was married to Dee Gahagan Oct. 27, 1908; and Hazel Bell.

Source: Page 489-496, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Donna Rae Smith for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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