John Gowen, [William4, [William3, Thomas2, Mihil1], son of William Gowen and Sarah Gowen was born about 1745. It is believed that he was married about 1770, wife’s name possibly “Jones.”
“John Going” who resided “between the Broad and Catawba Rivers,” was named as a petit juror in Camden District, South Carolina in 1778-1779, according to “Jury List of South Carolina, 1778-1779,” by GeLee Corley Hendrick and Morn McKoy Lindsey. John Gowen drew pay for militia duty May 23, 1785 in Camden District, Fairfield County, according to “Stub Entries to Indents,” Book 2, page 199. These volumes were compiled by A. S. Salley, former state historian of South Carolina.
“John Goin” was enumerated as the head of a household in the 1786 census of Fairfield County, page 20, according to “Heads of Families, South Carolina, 1790:”
“Goin, John white male, over 16
white male, under 16
It is believed that he removed to Davidson County, Tennessee about 1790. “John McGown” was appointed to a road committee “to oversee the road from Nichols Ferry to where it joins the main road, Mansker’s Station to Heaton’s Station” January 12, 1792, according to Davidson County Court minutes.
“John Goyen, trusty and well-beloved friend of Daverson County, North Carolina [later Tennessee], gentleman” received the power of attorney of “Levi Goyen” of Fairfield County, South Carolina to sell 640 acres of land on Mill Creek in Davidson County September 17, 1792. He was a kinsman of Levi Gowen and his brother David Gowen whose land was inherited by Levi Gowen when David Gowen was killed by the Creek Indians in 1780.
According to Davidson County Land Book G-7, “640 acres on the east side of Mill Creek” were surveyed June 26, 1793 for John Gowen. William Gowen, his son, was a “chain carrier” on the surveying party which marked out the land.
John Gowen received on May 19, 1794 640 acres from the State of North Carolina on Warrant No. 350. The land lay on Mill Creek about one-half mile west of his father’s pre-emption site, between land grants of Ebenzer Titus. Cleve Weathers, a descendant of Nashville, identifies the section as the one which was issued to David Gowen who was killed in 1780 “in the settlement and defense of Nashville.”
The land was described in Davidson County Deed Book C, page 281:
“State of North Carolina to John Gowen . . . 640 acres on the East side of Mill Creek . . . beginning at a white walnut on the bank of Mill Creek, being the Northwest corner of James Meness’s guard right on the East boundary line of said Meness’ preemption, thence East 390 poles to a dogwood on Ebenezer Titus’s West boundary line, then north 340 poles to a hickory, thence West 164 poles to a sycamore on the bank of said creek, thence up said creek with its meanders 333 poles to a poplar on said Meness’s East boundary line, then South with said line to the beginning 120 poles.”
According to Steve Rogers, examination of the deed transactions of John Gowen suggest that he did not live on his land grant, but sold off various portions of it from 1798 to 1802, according to Deed Book D, page 378 and 416 and Deed Book E, page 173 and 357. It is assumed that John Gowen lived somewhere on his father’s preemption.
On September 19, 1795 “John Gowen of Davidson County” bought 1,920 acres of land “on the east side of Stone’s River on Spring Creek” at a sheriff’s sale.
John Gowen bought 81 acres on Stone’s River at a sheriff’s sale December 30, 1795, according to Davidson County Deed Book D, page 40. On August 5, 1803 he sold this plot for $40, according to Davidson County Deed Book F, page 462. Later in that year the land lay in the newly created Reutherford County.
John Gowen received a deed to 201 acres on Mill Creek December 30, 1797 from Jonathan Phillips, according to Davidson County Deed Book D, page 388.
On May 12, 1798 John Gowen witnessed a bill of sale of “a negro wench named Judy” from Simon McClendon to John Blackman, according to Davidson County Will Book 1, page 148.
On Tuesday, July 15, 1806 “John Goine,” administrator of the estate of James Gay deceased. returned to the Williamson County Court an inventory of the estate, according to “Williamson County, Tennessee Court Minutes, 1808-1812,” page 4. On page 5 another entry reads, “Jno. Gayne, administrator returns inventory, chattels and credits of James Gay, dcsd.”
On Tuesday, October 14, 1806 a return was made to the court of the sale of the estate of Jay Gay, deceased. On October 17 additional items in the inventory of the estate of James Gay was returned to the court.
On December 18, 1806 “John Gowan of Davidson County” purchased from Elisha Prewitt 372 acres on Cripple Creek, land that originally granted to Samuel Pearson, according to Rutherford County Deed Book E, page 425. This land adjoined that of Joseph Gowen.
In December 1806 John Gowen bought from Elisha Prewitt 372 acres of land “beginning at Joseph Gowen’s northeast corner,” according to Rutherford County deed records. “Joseph Gowen, James F. Gowen and R. Howell” witnessed the transaction. On December 18, 1806 “John Gowan of Davidson County” completed the transaction, paying Elisha Prewitt $150 for the 372 acres of land located on “Cripple Creek of Stone’s River” which was a part of a tract of land originally granted to Samuel Pearson by the state of North Carolina, probably for military services. This transaction was recorded in Rutherford County Deed Book E, page 425. “Reed Howell, Joseph Gowen and James Gowen” again were witnesses. Joseph Gowen and his son, James F. Gowen are regarded as cousins to John Gowen.
It is believed that John Gowen assisted his brother, James H. Gowen who had apparently settled north of the Cumberland River, in selling his inheritance from their father. An advertisement offering to sell the northern 240 acres of the original pre-emption was inserted in a Nashville newspaper in its edition of December 13, 1806. The land was described as “containing 240 acres and lying on the main road from Nashville to Jefferson [early name of Murphreesboro] sold by James H. Gowen June 2, 1807 to Daniel Vaulx, a neighbor. Daniel Vaulx was a member of Capt. Belk’s militia in its muster of 1812. Other members of this militia company at that time were Lt. William Gowen, his brother, John Gowen and Charles Crutchfield.
Daniel Vaulx and his wife, Catherine Vaulx had sons by the names of Joseph Vaulx and James Vaulx. James Vaulx in 1809 held an important position in the region as the locator of lands in the Western District. The locator system installed by North Carolina to distribute the land as Tennessee was opened for settlement was later found to be corrupt. Many of Its officials were charged with bribery and land fraud.
After the death of Daniel Vaulx in 1812, his widow, Catherine Vaulx continued to live in the area with her property adjoining that of Charles Hays. Charles Hays, the father-in-law of John Jones Gowen, was the founder of Antioch Baptist Church of Antioch, Tennessee, a Nashville suburb. John Jones Gowen was buried in the Hays family Cemetery located at the rear of the home of Charles Hays.
Steve Rogers of the Tennessee Historical Commission who researched the deed record of the property wrote, “this 240-acre tract is located on the northern third of the property north of present-day Murphreesboro Road and is not a part of the Central States Hospital tract. The route of the Murfreesboro Turnpike, established in 1824, followed approximately the southern boundary, according to ‘Acts of Tennessee, 1824,’ page 148.”
John Gowen was shown as a taxpayer in Rutherford County in 1809, paying $1.10¼ on 590 acres of land. He was the only Gowen taxpayer to be assessed in the county in that year. In 1811 he paid taxes on 560 acres of land–$1.39. In 1813 he paid $1.50 tax on 560 acres of land.
It is believed that John Gowen died about 1815. Children born to John Gowen are believed to include:
William Gowen born about 1769
John Gowen born February 3, 1775
William Gowen and John Gowen, assumed to be brothers were early residents of Davidson County. Both had descendants whose names included “Jones.” John Jones Gowen was a son of John Gowen, and another John Jones Gowen was a grandson of William Gowen. “Jones B. Gowin,” born in 1873, later appeared in Crawford County, Arkansas.
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