Submitted by Descendants: Sarah Elizabeth and Thomas Ross MCSWAIN
William Cawthon was born in 1785 in Georgia. In the early 1800s he moved to what was then Henry County, Alabama, the area now known as Dothan. In the 1820s this area was known as Cawthon’s Cowpen because this is where William Cawthon grazed his large herds of cattle. Two historical markers located next to the Dothan Civic Center commemorate William Cawthon and the area once known as Cawthon’s Cowpen.
While he was married three times – to Sallie Smith, Elizabeth O’Neal, and Mary McSwain, he had children with four women, the fourth being Nancy Langston Fountain with whom he had eight children. He had a total of twenty-two children and is reputed to have had 138 grandchildren at the time of his death.
In the mid-1830s, he and Nancy Langston Fountain moved to Walton County, Florida. Upon Nancy’s death, he married Mary McSwain, sister of the spouses of four of his children. They had one child, William Jefferson Shehane Cawthon.
William Cawthon died in 1870 and is buried on Eglin Air Force Base Reservation in Basin Bayou, Florida.
William Cawthon was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 1987