Cogan, Anthony (1824/5–72), catholic priest and diocesan historian, was born at Slane, Co. Meath, the first of the six sons of Thomas Cogan, a baker, and his wife Anne (née Sillary). Anne Cogan, whose family owned land at Nobber and Platten, was a protestant until her marriage. The third son, Francis (1827–71), became a surgeon-major in the British army. Anthony Cogan was educated locally and at St Finian's, the catholic diocesan school at Navan. At nineteen, having decided on an ecclesiastical career, he entered St Patrick's College, Maynooth, matriculating on 26 August 1844; he was ordained priest on 25 May 1850; at Maynooth he may have come under the influence of the church historian Matthew Kelly (qv). Cogan served as a curate in the parishes of Johnstown, Beauparc, Dunboyne, Bohermeen, and Navan, achieving distinction as a preacher and as an advocate of popular causes. He was regularly a visiting preacher in Liverpool, easily accessible by sea from Drogheda. In Navan he started a successful branch of the Catholic Young Men's Society. During the last decade of his life he was a master and then (from 1864) senior dean at the diocesan school.
Cogan is best remembered for his writings on the ecclesiastical history of the diocese of Meath. These began with a series of articles in the Tablet (1856–7) and culminated in The diocese of Meath, ancient and modern (3 vols, 1862–70), the first multi-volume history of an Irish diocese. Although the scope of his historical interests, like his experience of life, was narrow, and his treatment hagiographical and romanticised, he drew heavily on local folklore and antiquities as well as on documents, most notably the diocesan archives, which he arranged and listed, so that his history remains of great value to historians. Anthony Cogan died 28 December 1872. A monument to him executed by James Pearse, father of Patrick Pearse (qv), was erected in the catholic chapel at Slane. In 1909, on the orders of the bishop, Laurence Gaughran (1842–1928), the Meath diocesan archives were destroyed.