Gees, not the sheep again, I hope its not our ancestral occupation or a vocational interest in the wooly little beggars that has any significance to our history. I have heard and read that the known name of Ewart has various spellings such as: 

This could probably explain why so many non-Ewarts have such a difficult time spelling a five letter name let alone pronounce it properly!! I have heard it said and I have also read some material that has our name tied to an area in the borders that has to do with the rivers "glen and till" and specifically land surrounded or bordered on three sides by water. It also has been said that the name is a very old derivative English pronunciation of a Gaelic word to describe a persons occupation involving water, or the transportation of water. If anyone can add to this or dispel this ---please do. It sure sounds a lot better than sheep.

My grandfather used to tell us that the "Ewarts" were once part of the "Stewart" clan, but there being no saints in our branch of the family, they were forced to drop the first two letters. Another explanation he used to give (the inventiveness of his explanations being directly proportional to the amount of Robbie Burns "gargle" he had used) was that during the attempt to restore Bonnie Prince Charlie a branch of the Stewarts was cut off by the British, and when captured avoided certain death by claiming that they were not to be confused with the "Stewarts" even though their name sounded the same.

Probably a more accurate origin of the name was the occupation of the family as sheep herders in the borderlands of Scotland. They raises ewes, hence were "ewers." Over the years this name became Ewart.


The town was established by three Ewart brothers; Robert, Thomas and Matthew. They only allowed settlers of Irish descent, so the nearby town of Grinnell grew much larger. When the railroad came and passed through Grinnell rather than Ewart, the town became a footnote in the history of Poweshiek County. Today the largest feature in the town is the cemetery!

From the History of Poweshiek County, IA.


Matt Ewart-- Of the firm of Ewart Brothers, agriculturists and stock raisers, Matthew was born in Morrow County, OH, in 1839, and came to this county in 1866.  Himself and half-brother Robert own about 2,500 acres of land in Poweshiek County; the town of Ewart, on the Grinnell and Montezuma Railroad, was laid out by them, and their lands surround it.  Ewart Bros. are well and popularly known throughout this district, and are numbered among the leading stock-men of the West.


The Ewart Mansion pictured on the link page was built by Robert and Matthew. Matthew never married and lived in the house with Robert & his family and, later, Robert's son and his family. The house was quite a show place in its day and even had a cork surface tennis court. It was built some years after the founding of the town. Robert's son was my grandfather. My father was born and lived in the house until he went to college. Unfortunately the house burned while he was a student at Grinnell College.

----Ned Ewart, Ewart descendant

History of Poweshiek County, EWART, IA  Official document about the history of Ewart, IA. 

These obituaries are PDF files that may be obtained from the Grinnell Public Library, Grinnell -- DRAKE COMMUNITY LIBRARY  division.

You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files. We are grateful to Grinnell Public Library for providing this information for your convenience.


Robert Ewart 


Thomas D. Ewart


Matt Ewart


Alfred Ewart


Henrietta Ewart


James Ewart


Ewart Family Tree    Courtesy of Debra S. Ewart Gorham

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