Hugh Sidley Gowans was born on 23 February 1832 to Robert Gowans and Grace McKay Gowans in Perthshire, Scotland. He came to Tooele, Utah Territory, in 1855. Gowans served in several civic capacities, including mayor of Tooele, county assessor, and probate judge. In March 1854 he married Betsy Gowans, daughter of Andrew Gowans and Ann McLeish. He also married Elizabeth Broomhead as a plural wife in April 1883. He served as second counselor in the Tooele bishopric from 1876 to 1877 and then as a counselor to Heber J. Grant in the Tooele Stake presidency. When Grant was called as an apostle in 1882, Gowans became the president of the Tooele Stake. He died on 12 September 1912 in Tooele.
 Tooele Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1 Apr. 1876, CHL; Eunice C. Rhea, “Hugh Sidley Gowans,” History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Tooele County, 1961), 477; Edward W. Tullidge, Tullidge’s Histories, vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor, 1889), 93, 96, 97; “Gowans, Hugh S.,” in Frank Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah Pioneers Book Publishing, 1913), 895; “Gowans, Hugh Sydney [Sidley],” in Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History, 1901), 354–355.