Here's how the Cowger hypothesis developed. While researching various, early Pendleton families [Simmons, Rexroad, Propst, Harpole, Pitsenbarger], I kept running into people who intermarried with the Cowgers. While I am not a Cowger descendant, I try to develop an understanding of all pre-1780 Pendleton area families. I knew there was a group of Cowger siblings who showed up in Pendleton, so I put together a family group worksheet on them. The known Pendleton siblings were: George, John, Jacob, Michael, and Mary; all were born circa 1750-65.
When I went to look on-line, I found a similar list of siblings reportedly born to Johann Conrad Gauger, and baptized at "Raccoon Lutheran Church, Cohansie, NJ." This baptismal list added daughters Catherine and Margaretha, born 1755 and 1758, respectively. I already knew that the pioneer John Michael Propst had come to VA from Cohansie, NJ, so thought this new information had some face validity. Upon checking, I found that Conrad Gauger married Barbara Propst at Cohansie, NJ on 3-9-1742. I also knew that the pioneer John Michael Propst had a sister named Barbara of about that age. HOWEVER, NEITHER BILL REXROAD NOR MYSELF WERE ABLE TO FIND AN OVERALL BAPSTISMAL RECORD FOR THE "RACCOON LUTHERAN CHURCH" NEAR COHANSIE, NJ, to corroborate the dates/list of the reported children of Conrad Cowger.
When I began to look in the Pendleton area, I found that records of a Conrad Cowger did exist. In the 1782 Augusta Personal Property tax list, he was listed [with two others] between Henry and Zachariah Rexroad. The last record I found for this Conrad Cowger was around 1784; I'm guessing he either died without notice, or moved further westward.
Of all those Cowger children supposedly baptized at Cohansie, NJ, Catherine and Margaret were the only two that I did not have a corroborating record of existence in Pendleton, but of course, I had never looked for them. Once I began looking, two possibilities jumped out at me: Margaret, the wife of George Rexroad Sr., and Catherine, the wife of Mark Simmons, son of Leonard Sr. I started with Margaret because of the obvious fact that George and Margaret named one of their older sons "Conrad," a name not used previously in the Rexroad family. The oldest son, Henry, was named for his recently deceased uncle, brother of George Sr. Secondly, a 1758 birth for Margaret, the wife of George Rexroad Sr. is a perfect match; she would have been about 18-19 when they married, and about 45 when their youngest child was born. Lastly, as evidenced by the 1782 Augusta Personal Property tax list, the Zachariah Rexroad family and Conrad Cowger family lived very close to each other around the time George married Margaret.
After having hypothesized all of that, I noticed that Mark Simmons' wife Catherine could be a match for Margaret's supposed sister Catherine. And, as it turns out, right before Mark and Catherine Simmons went to Bourbon Co., KY, they sold their South Branch property to George Rexroad in 1790. Mark Simmons married Catherine -----, circa 1780. Their first child was born 1781, and the last in 1799. IF Mark's wife was Catherine Cowger, then she would have been about 25 when her first child was born, and about 44 when her last child was born, which is a perfect fit. Additionally, Conrad Cowger's youngest son, Michael went to Harrison Co., KY, where Mark and Catherine Simmons, and his brother Peter, were, and then moved on to Rush Co., IN, where another sister of Peter and Mark's was, namely John and Ann (Simmons) Cook.
Again, this is a hypothesis. There is circumstantial evidence to support it, but I don't know of any proof. I'm always cautious about presenting hypotheses, because soon they become accepted fact, and I don't want that without the proof. Forward to whomever you see fit.