THE GOWEN MANUSCRIPT
Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen, [William Benjamin8, [William, Jr.7, Lt. William6, John5, William4, [William3, Thomas2, Mihil1], son of William Benjamin Gowen and Mary A. Nunley Gowen, was born May 30, 1847, according to the inscription on his tombstone in the Jonesboro, Texas cemetery. Descendants quote him as stating that he was born in Middle Tennessee.
He appeared in his father’s household in Davidson County, Tennessee September 9, 1850 as a three-year-old, “Jerry B. Gowin.” Six days earlier, he was also enumerated in the household of Jeremiah B. Nunley, Sr., believed to be his maternal grandfather. Here in Household No. 119-119 in Grundy County, Tennessee, Civil District 5, he was recorded as “Jeremiah Gowen,” a three-year-old, along with his sister.
He reappeared in the 1860 census of Grundy County in his father’s household as “Jeremiah N. Gowins,” a 13-year-old. Thus it is believed that he was a namesake of his grandfather and that his full name was Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen. Like most children however, he apparently did not like the name his parents picked for him. Throughout his life he said his name was “Jerry Meyer Gowen” and invariably signed his name as “J. M. Gowen.”
Nothing is known of the childhood of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen. He left home [or ran away] when he was 15 to join the Confederate army. Descendants relate that he left riding a mule that belonged to the family, and apparently the mule was “conscripted” by an army wagoner before he got very far. It is assumed that the young soldier wound up in an infantry company. His son, Claud Franklin Gowen, mentioned that he spoke of the double rank style of fire by odd and even numbers–one standing and advancing to fire and the other kneeling to reload–perhaps confirming the statement that he was an infantryman.
Although the Civil War is usually regarded as a conflict between the North and the South, among the Gowens in Tennessee it was a battle between East and West. Thirteen Gowens from Middle and Western Tennessee, fighting for the “Stars and Bars,” lined up against nine Eastern Tennessee Gowen cousins seeking to preserve the Union.
In reply to a request to the National Archives for the military records of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen in the Civil War photostatic copies of five entries were received. The file, identified as “G-42-Tennessee” revealed that “J. M. Gowen, a private in Company E, Forty-Second Tennessee Infantry Regiment, appears on a register of Prisoners of War belonging to the Rebel Army, in custody of U. S. Provost Marshall, Memphis, Tennessee.”
He was captured April 18, 1863 near Morning Sun, Tennessee, identified as a railroad switch near Memphis. He was identified as a “guerilla” and released April 23, 1863 upon taking the oath of allegiance and giving $2,000 bond, according to Memphis, Tennessee Register No. 1, pages 2 and 14 and Register No. 2, pages 5 and 72.
The report continued:
“Confederate Archives, Chapter 5, File 79, page 197: J. M. Gowen, Private, Company E, 42nd Tennessee Regiment, appears on a Register of Payments for Descriptive Lists. Period of service: from 22 April 1863 to 24 July 1863. Paid 15 August, 1863, $33.70 by W. Lindsey.”
Privates in the Civil War, both Confederate and Union, were paid $11 per month. Apparently Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen, after his release from prisoner status, was retained for three months as a laborer for the Union Army and paid as a private.
The Forty-Second Tennessee Infantry Regiment was raised at Camp Cheatham in west central Tennessee November 28, 1861 with men primarily from Alabama. The unit was involved in the defense of Ft. Donnelson and was surrendered there February 16, 1862. Col. William A. Quarles, a lawyer, was elected as its first regimental commander. Captain Isaac N. Hulme raised the “Perry County Blues” which later became the regiment’s Company G. Captain Levi McCollum organized an infantry company in Hickman County, Tennessee in the late summer of 186l. Another company was organized by Capt. Josiah M. Hubbard. After its surrender the regiment was reorganized September 27, 1862 and stationed in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Col. Quarles had been enumerated in the 1860 census of Montgomery County, TN as the head of Household 544-544:
“Quarles, W. A. 34, born in VA, lawyer, $55,000 real
estate $41,500 personal property
Lucy 32, born in VA,
J. M. 11, born in KY, son
S. J. 5, born in TN, daughter
McFall, Jim H. 35, born in TN, clerk”
Col. Quarles was held prisoner at Johnson’s Island on June 21, 1862. On August 21, 1862 he was ordered to proceed on his on his own parole to Vicksburg, Mississippi via St. Louis and Cairo, reporting on or before September 15 to be exchanged for Col. P. Kennedy, U.S.A, a Confederate prisoner. Major Levi McCollum of the 42nd was also exchanged at the same time.
Many enlisted personnel were exchanged about the same time, and it is possible that if Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen had been present at the surrender of Ft. Donnelson, he was thus able to return to his regiment. However since he was listed as a “guerilla” in his prisoner-of-war records it is believed that he was not associated with the Forty-Second Tennessee Infantry Regiment until after the debacle at Ft. Donnelson, if ever.
On the date of the capture of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen, April 18, 1863, the reorganized 42nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment was stationed at Meridian, Mississippi. Later the regiment went on to fight accountably in the Battles of New Home Church, Pine Mountain, Kennesaw, Smyrna Depot, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Lickskillet Road, Franklin and Bentonville, according to “Lindsley’s Annals.”
However, it is believed that the war had taken a different complexion for the 15-year-old boy-soldier. His guerilla group was likely camped out and living off the land. For some 14 months after the fall of Ft. Donnelson the Confederates had unrestricted movement around western Tennessee as long as they stayed away from the Federally-controlled Mississippi River.
A check of Confederate military reports reveals no place identified as Morning Sun, Tennessee, his point of capture. However the 1873 edition of “The Tennessee Gazetteer” locates the long-extinct hamlet in the extreme southwestern portion of Shelby County. When the Yankees began to penetrate inland along the military roads and railroads, guerilla bands harassed them night and day. Since Morning Sun, Tennessee was near the old Memphis and Charleston Railway, it is likely that a band was staging a train raid there when it ran into overwhelming odds and was captured.
Thus shortly before his sixteenth birthday, the military career of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen ended abruptly.
It is speculated that when he was offered release from prison by swearing allegiance to the North he readily accepted, since he was imprisoned for only five days. Procedure for swearing allegiance to the Federal government was conducted by military boards. The character of the oath and the requirement that each one who took it was expected to become hence forward a good Union citizen were fully explained to the prisoners in each prison. As security for the faithful observance of the oath and parole each prisoner was required to post bond, usually in the amount of $1,000.
The fact that Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen was a guerilla might explain his being required to post $2,000 bond, twice the amount ordinarily required.
Slips of paper were distributed in all of the prisoner-of-war camps with instructions that all who wanted to take the oath freely and voluntarily should secretly and separately give in his name, age, company, regiment, hometown, county and state.
Colonel J. C. Kelton, U.S.A, on one such military board reported:
“The prisoners of war from Tennessee appear to be true and earnest in their desire to become loyal citizens and the board does not hesitate to recommend that all whose homes are within our lines should be allowed to take the oath of allegiance and return to their families. I similarly regard the Kentuckians, but have grave doubts about those of Arkansas.”
A group of Tennessee prisoners of war, which included individuals from the 42nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment, wrote the Federal governor of Tennessee seeking to take the oath of allegiance and be released:
From: Camp Douglas
April 10, 1862
To: His Excellency, Andrew Johnson
Governor, State of Tennessee
“Your petitioners of the 42nd, 48th, 49th and 50th Regiments of Tennessee Volunteers recruited in the counties of Stewart, Montgomery, Robertson, Dixon, Cheatham, Humphreys, Hickman and Perry, captured at Ft. Donnelson and now held as prisoners of war at Camp Douglas being desirous of being released and wishing to return to our homes and families in our native state as true and loyal citizens of the Union, in confirmation of which we are willing to take the oath of allegiance and hold it inviolate. In view of your political and personal influence with the Federal Government, together with the interest you have hitherto and we believe still feel for the people of Tennessee, has induced us to make this petition to you hoping that you will use your influence in our behalf.”
We, the orderly sergeants of the different regiments, express the sentiments of our respective companies.”
The following endorsement was attached and the document was forwarded to the Secretary of War by Governor Johnson on April 17, 1862:
“Inclosed herewith I send a petition from certain members of Tennessee regi ments at Camp Douglas in which they express a strong desire to renew their allegiance to the Government and become true and loyal citizens.
I will only state in presenting this petition for the consideration of the War Department that whenever circumstances shall justify the discharge of prisoners of war from this State entertaining such views and feelings as are set forth by these prisoners their reappearance among their friends and relatives will I doubt not exert a great moral influence in favor of the perpetuity of the union.”
It was explained to the prisoners when they were released that they would be permitted to return to their homes only if the homes were inside Federal lines. Since the home of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen in Middle Tennessee was still in Confederate hands he chose the only route open to him and went west across the Mississippi into Arkansas when released, carefully preserving his parole for presentation any time he was challenged by Union troops. It is believed that after he crossed into Arkansas he never returned to his native state nor made any sustained effort to maintain contact with his family. It is impossible to know the feelings, the motivations and the resentments this 16-year-old may have held when his situation then is considered now by his descendants 120 years later.
Many questions arise. Did he not attempt to contact his family because of his oath of allegiance to the Union? Would they regard him as a traitor? Would his parents, who probably attempted to deter their son in his resolve to become a soldier at such a young age, jeer him with “I told you so?” Did he hold resentment against his father, perhaps for remarrying, if his mother were deceased by this time? Did he clash with his step-mother?
Apparently his only contacts with his family, who apparently did not know of his location for perhaps the next 30 years, were with his only surviving brother, James Carroll Gowen. And these contacts were only in the form of a rare letter or two.
Tulah Catherine Gentry Riddick in an interview with Miriam Riddick Dendy in November 1981 in her 89th year reported that Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen wrote to Benjamin Franklin Riddick “from Florida and enclosed a photograph of himself.”
On July 21, 1870 Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen appeared at the Independence County courthouse in Batesville, Arkansas to obtain a marriage license to wed Mrs. Hellen Roberts, a widow. His license application in Independence County Marriage Book C, page 467 reveals that “Jeremire Gowen, age 24,” was to marry “Mrs. Helen Roberts, age 20.” The wedding was performed by Justice of the Peace William H. Rose.
Jeremiah B. Nunley Gowen did not appear on the voter list of Independence County in 1870. Neither Jeremiah B. Nunley Gowen nor Hellen Roberts Gowen appeared in the 1870 census of Independence County. It is possible that they lived in an adjoining county. A Roberts family, headed by Benjamin Roberts, age 48, a native of North Carolina, was enumerated in adjoining Jackson County, Arkansas in Jefferson Township. The only other Roberts marriage in the county was that of Zachariah B. Roberts to Rebecca W. Hancock December 16, 1851, according to Independence County Marriage Book B, page 153.
Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen continued for about three years to live in Arkansas, location unknown. His first child was born in Arkansas June 14, 1872. A son was born in Texas in 1873. In 1875 he was living in Lamar County, Texas. There on April 29, 1875 he executed a deed of trust to collateralize a crop production loan made to him. The deed of trust, made to Griffis & Dickey, was recorded in Lamar County Deed Book 214, page 417 as follows:
“I, Jerry Gowen, of Lamar County and State of Texas, for, and in consideration of the sum of twenty-five dollars to me in hand paid by Griffis & Dickey of said county and state the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have granted, bargained and sold, and by these presents do grant, bargain and sell, unto the said Griffis & Dickey the following personal property, crops and farm produce now growing upon the farm known as the Waldron Place Six (6) acres in cane, Six (6) acres in wheat, Six (6) acres in cotton and Two (2) acres in oats. Conditioned that whereas the said Griffis & Dickey has furnished me provisions and implements to the amount of Twenty-five (25) Dollars without which advances I would be wholly unable to make said crop, I agree to cultivate said crop in good farm-like manner, gather and house the same all in good order and the cotton I agree to have ginned and baled at T. E. Griffis Gin by the first day of November 1875, and I further agree to pay to the said Griffis & Dickey Twenty-five Dollars, the amount of their advances and expenses hereof on or before the aforesaid first day of November 1875, and should I fail to do so then I hereby authorize and empower the said Griffis & Dickey to take possession of, and after ten days notice by posting in three public places in the County of Lamar to sell at public auction to the highest bidder for cash all of said crop, produce and property herein conveyed and appropriate the produce of such sale to the payment of said Twenty-five dollars and all expenses herein incurred, and if any residue be left to pay the same over to me, but should I faithfully pay off and discharge said indebtedness as aforesaid, then this obligation to be void and of no effect.”
In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 29th day of April, 1875.
Jerry [X] Gowen
David [X] Hays
There remains some question as to the validity of the “X” of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen in the signature. He was an educated man and certainly could write his name.
It is possible that J. Joplin wound up in possession of the crop because on July 1, 1875 the provision that the cotton would be ginned at Griffis Gin was removed by J. Joplin, according to a notation penciled in the margin of the Deed of Trust.
Thomas E. Griffis was a doctor who had settled in Lamar County in the Starksville community about 1860, according to Lamar County census of 1870. According to his great-grandson, Tim M. Holt, 354 West Washington, Paris, Texas, he had come to Texas from his native North Carolina bringing his slaves with him. A great-granddaughter, Mrs. Wilson Norris, in 1973, lived at 1756 LaMar Street in Paris.
About 1880 Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen removed to southern Kansas. On June 9, 1880 he was enumerated in the census of Cowley County, Kansas. His household, No. 84-85, was recorded in Enumeration District 173, Dexter township, as:
“Gowen, Jerry 33, born in TN, father born in
TN, mother born in TN,
Martha 30, born in TN, father born in TN
mother born in TN, wife
Ellender E. 8, born in Arkansas, father born
in TN, mother born in TN,
Charles O. 6, born in TX, father born in TN,
mother born in TN, son
Cynthia D. 3, born in TX, father born in TN,
mother born in TN, daughter.”
Since Martha Gowen, his wife in 1880, and Hellen Roberts Gowen, whom he married in 1870, were both born in 1850, it is believed that they are the same individual. It is believed that her full name was Martha Hellen Roberts Gowen. The town of Dexter, Kansas is located on Highway 15, 24 miles northeast of Arkansas City, Kansas and 20 miles southwest of Winfield, Kansas, the county seat. No tombstone was found in the Dexter Cemetery for Martha Hellen Roberts Gowen by Arlee Claud Gowen when he visited there in April 1973. However, townspeople stated that after repeated flooding by the adjacent Walnut River, the early day citizens moved the cemetery to higher ground, perhaps “losing some graves” in the process. County records in the courthouse inspected in July 1976 revealed no record of the residence of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen in Cowley County.
Descendants state that, although Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen was a successful farmer, he never owned any farmland in his life–preferring to rent the land that he tilled, making it unlikely that deed records will be found anywhere in his name.
Children of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen recalled that he mentioned being caught in a cyclone in Kansas which blew away the only feather bed the Gowens owned during their residence there.
Rosetta Hughes Rutherford Woodward stated in an interview July 11, 1959 in Woodson, Texas that her father, James Edward Hughes lived as a neighbor to Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen in the 1880’s in Kansas, however the Hughes family did not appear in the 1880 census of Cowley County.
James Edward Hughes, father of Miles Samuel Hughes and Anna Hughes Shipley [wife of Hardy Shipley], served in the Union army during the Civil War, probably from Illinois, according to recollection of descendants. He was married to Mary Jane Stice, probably in Illinois about 1866. Descendants recall that he drew a $100-per-month pension in later years, and claimed that the size of the pension indicated that he was an officer.
Members of the Hughes family state that James Edward Hughes moved from Kansas to Ozark County, Missouri about 1880, possibly influencing Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen to make a similar move, however it cannot yet be documented that the Gowen and Hughes families were associated before 1894 in Texas. James Edward Hughes died, date unknown, and was buried at Stamford, Texas. Mary Jane Stice Hughes, who preceded him in death, is also buried there.
Following the death of Martha Hellen Roberts Gowen, perhaps at the birth of their fourth child, Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen made a move back to Texas as a widower, locating in Red River County. Since there was a four-year span between the birth of the third child and the birth of the fourth, it is possible that Martha Gowen was his second wife and that Hellen Roberts Gowen had died prior to 1880.
The 350-mile trip from Cowley County, Kansas to Red River County, Texas probably took almost a month for the family to traverse, especially if they had livestock and break-downs. Once they were delayed a day by “navigation problems.” Elender E. “Ella” Gowen Rotan recalled:
“One day during the long trip the sun did not shine all day. The country was flat as a pancake. There were no landmarks to guide us. At the end of the day, we stopped to camp for the night. We discovered that we had driven in a complete circle that day. We made camp in the same place we had camped the previous night.”
In a letter dated January 7, 1959 Maggie Ada Hawkins Hughes , his step-daughter, stated that Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen was a widower in 1881 in Red River County and that a “sister-in-law, Sue McNabb” of Clarksville, Texas, kept his small children while he was working. Having relatives there probably influenced him to move there.
A year earlier Susan A. McNabb had appeared in adjoining Lamar County, Texas in the census of 1880. Her family was recorded as Household 466-467 June 22, 1880 in Enumeration District 77, Precinct 3, page 54, as:
“McNabb, J. R. 38, born in KY, father born in KY,
mother born in TN,
Susan 30, born in TN, father born in SC
mother born in TN, wife
W. F. 10, born in TN, father born in KY,
mother born in TN
E. G. 9, born in TX, father born in KY,
mother born in TN
John M. 5, born in TX, father born in KY,
mother born in TN
Poindexter, J. A. 24, born in TN, father born in SC
mother born in TN, farm
Re-examination of this census return will probably confirm that James A. Poindexter was a brother to Susan A. Poindexter McNabb. When Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen died 21 years later his widow requested the family to “notify the Poindexters who lived in the vicinity of Ft. Worth.” It is suggested that Susan Poindexter McNabb was a twin sister to Hellen [Poindexter?] Roberts Gowen, but no Poindexter twin sister infants were found in the 1850 Tennessee census index.
The will of William McGehee of Louisa County, Virginia written January 23, 1840 mentions “daughter, Polly Poindexter of Madison County, Alabama,” according to Madison County Deed Book S, page 62. Other Poindexters lived in adjoining Lincoln County, Tennessee.
John R. McNabb reappeared in the 1900 census of Texas, enumerated in Denton County, Enumeration District 48, precinct 2 as:
“NcNabb, John R. 57, born in November 1842 in KY
Sue A. 51, born in April 1948 in TN
Edward E. 17, born in April 1883 in TX
Effie L. 8, born in March 1892 in TX”
James A. Poindexter appeared in the 1900 census of adjoining Cooke County, Texas, Enumeration District 34, precinct 3 as the head of a household composed of:
“Poindexter, James 44, born in April 1856 in TN
Patrie 30, born in August 1870 in TN, wife
Jessie 7, born in Nov.1892 in TX, son”
Soon after his arrival in Red River County, probably in early 1881, Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen met Mrs. Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins, a widow, born in Tennessee, who was destined to become his wife. The initial meeting between the two took place on a sidewalk outside a church when Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen took her sleeping infant son, Lemuel Alexander “Bud” Hawkins, from her arms and placed him on a pallet in her wagon.
Lemuel D. Hawkins, her former husband, who was born in Alabama, had been a farmer and perhaps a schoolteacher in the Red River County area. He was enumerated in the 1870 census of Red River County living in the household of T. H. Hart, No. 1357-1357. He was then recorded as a “farmer, age 22, born in Alabama.” They were married April 10, 1874, according to Red River County Marriage Book C, page 296.
The 1870 census was begun on 1 June 1870. The enumeration was to be completed within five months.
The 1870 census form called for dwelling houses to be num-bered in the order of visitation; families numbered in order of visitation; and the name of every person whose place of abode on the first day of June 1870 was with the family. The census further asked the age of each individual at the last birthday. If a child was under one year of age, months of age were to be stated in fractions, such as 1/12. Additionally, the census ask-ed the sex, color, profession, and occupation or trade of every male and female. There were also columns for disclosure of value of real estate and personal property. The 1870 census asked for the place of birth, specifically in which state or ter-ritory of the United States, or in which country if foreign born (including the province if born in Germany). The schedule provided space to indicate whether or not the father and the mother of the individual was foreign born, and if an individual was born or married within the year, the month in which the event occurred was to be entered. The census also asked for those who had attended school within the year; those who could not read; those who could not write; and the deaf and dumb, blind, insane and the “idiotic” to be identified. Finally, the schedules had space to identify any male citizen of the United States of age twenty-one and older, and any male citizen of the United States age twenty-one and older whose right to vote was denied or abridged on grounds other than rebellion or other crime.
The 1870 census may identify survivors of the Civil War, thus suggesting that military records may be found. Conversely, if an individual does not appear in the 1870 census as expected, it may be a clue that the person was a casualty of the war. In the absence of so many other records from the South for this era, information from the 1870 census can be especially im-portant.
The 1870 census is the first census in which parents of foreign birth are indicated—a real boon in identifying immigrant an-cestors. Immigrants who were naturalized and eligible to vote are identified, suggesting follow-up in court and naturalization sources. Indications of a person’s color that were intended to be more precise—white (W), black (B), Chinese (C), Indian (I), mulatto (M)—may be helpful in determining individuals’ origins.
His family was enumerated June 28, 1880 in the census of the county as Household 283-432 in Enumeration District 99, Precinct 1, page 3, as:
“Hawkins, L. D. 30, born in AL, father born in
GA, mother born in NC, farmer
E. C. 23, born in TN, father born in VA,
mother born in TN, wife
M. A. E. 4, born in TX, father born in AL,
mother born in TN, daughter
M. A. 1, born in TX, father born in AL,
mother born in TN, daughter”
In a consecutive entry in the eastern half of Precinct One in Red River County was listed the mother of Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins, Elizabeth Ursula Ward Bailey. She was the widow of John Sampson Bailey, and her household, No. 282-431, was recorded June 28, 1880, as:
“Bailey, E. 52, born in TN, father born in VA,
mother born in VA, widow
J. S. 19, born in TN, father born in TN
mother born in AL, son
M. A. 30, born in TN, father born in TN
mother born in AL, daughter,
S. E. 38, born in TN, father born in TN
mother born in AL, daughter
A. F. 26, born in TN, father born in TN
mother born in AL, daughter
L. M. 17, born in TN, father born in TN
mother born in AL, daughter
I. W. 15, born in TN, father born in TN
mother born in AL, daughter”
By the enumeration Elizabeth Ursula Ward Bailey was not the mother of the children listed above. However, it is believed that the censustaker erred in recording the place of their mother’s birth. Elizabeth Ursula Ward Bailey was born in Tennessee, probably Wilson County, December 5, 1828 and died in Red River County February 18, 1887. She had a sister, “Aunt Mat Thompson,” who later lived at Culleoka, Texas in Collin County before she died of typhoid fever.
From the bible record maintained by America Frances “Fannie” Bailey Childers much information is revealed of the family of John Sampson Bailey, who was born in middle Tennessee November 19, 1822. They were married about 1845, probably in Tennessee. He was a Confederate soldier, and during the Civil War he contracted “catarrh of the hand” which was the cause of his death June 24, 1877. He was buried at Lane’s Chapel Cemetery, Red River County. Details of the history of the Bailey and Ward families will be the subject of additional manuscripts.
The death of Lemuel D. Hawkins was due to an accidental drowning in the latter part of 1880. He had gone to Clarksville, riding a mule, on a mission to obtain medicine for his sick wife. On his return trip he came at nightfall to a creek which had risen due to a flash flood. By-standers cautioned him against attempting a crossing, but he was determined to deliver the medicine to his home and began to ford the swollen stream. In the middle of the stream the mule lost his footing, and both he and the rider were swept quickly downstream by the torrent. The mule emerged on the opposite bank and returned to his home. When he arrived in the middle of the night he pawed on the door to awaken the family. Seeing the dripping mule without his rider, the family guessed the tragic truth.
The next day the body of Lemuel D. Hawkins was located and brought to his home in a wagon. In his pockets were found the two bottles of medicine for which he had given his life. Maggie Ada Hawkins Hughes retained the bottles throughout her lifetime and later gave them to her son, Lemuel Andrew Hughes.
The meeting of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins resulted in friendship, courtship and marriage. On December 13, 1882 a marriage license was issued to the couple, recorded in Red River County Marriage Book E, page 244, as:
M A R R I A G E L I C E N S E
“The State of Texas, County of Red River:
To any judge of the county or district court, ordained minister of the gospel, or any Justice of the Peace in and for said county or Red River, greeting:
You are hereby authorized to celebrate the rites of matrimony between J. M. Gowan and E. C. Hawkins and make due return to the county clerk of the county court of said county within 60 days thereafter certifying your action under this license.
Witness my official signature and seal of office at Clarksville this 13th day of December, 1882
A. P. Corley, clerk”
The return read:
“I, T. W. Anderson, minister of the gospel, hereby certify that on the … day of December, 1883, I united in marriage J. M. Gowan and E. C. Hawkins, the parties named above.
Witness my hand the 5th day of February, 1883.
T. W. Anderson”
Gene Bowers, former county clerk of Red River County, who was interviewed in June 1959, identified the minister as Rev. “Tizzie” Anderson, Baptist minister of the time when Clarksville was one of the most prominent towns in North Texas. The exact date of the marriage of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins is not known, since the absent-minded minister neglected to fill in the date on his return. However, it is believed that the marriage was performed on the date of the license. The minister also incorrectly dated the wedding as 1883 when he signed the return.
At the time of their marriage he had four children, and she had three. He continued farming in Red River County until 1889 when they moved to Farmersville, Texas in Collin County. In he move he transported his implements and household effects by wagon, and his family rode the train.
Melissa Jane Bailey Morris, sister to Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen, lived at Farmersville at that time and had influenced them to make the move. Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen farmed there one year with a near crop failure.
In the fall of 1889 Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen moved again to Hillsboro, Texas in Hill County where he worked as a farm laborer. Again it was his wife’s sisters, America Frances “Fannie” Bailey Childers and Delia Morgan Bailey Bankston, Hill County residents, who influenced the move.
Early in 1890 Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen removed to Ellis County, Texas where he rented a farm from George Morrell, a storekeeper in Milford, Texas. Here his seventh child was born September 19, 1891, at age 44.
A visit to Milford in 1960 turned up Mrs. Hugh McDaniel and Mrs. Mary Morrell, sisters, who gave directions to the farmstead operated by Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen some 70 years previously. Mrs. Morrell was the widow of W. L. Morrell, nephew of George Morrell.
About 1894 Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen wrote the only letter he is known to have written to members of his father’s family. The letter was written to James Carroll Gowen, his brother, who was then living at Coldwater, Tennessee in Lincoln County.
Descendants of James Carroll Gowen, when visited in May 1973, recalled some excerpts from the letter. He had written to his brother that “Texas is a good place for a poor man to live” and invited his brother to come and join him. He mentioned that he had seven children at that time and that a daughter had recently married “a man by the name of Price.” He also mentioned that he was planning to move “about 100 miles south, close to Houston.” His destination was Edna, Texas, according to descendants.
In December 1894 the family of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen loaded their possessions on wagons and joined several others to form a wagontrain of 13 wagons and charted a course for Edna, Texas. Accompanying the Gowen family were the families of William Lee Rotan, son-in-law; James Harvey Lee, son-in-law; Hardy Shipley, father of Jehue Elmer Shipley , future son-in-law; Miles Samuel Hughes, son-in-law; James Edward Hughes, father of Miles Samuel Hughes; James Reuben Price, son-in-law and Bud Fludy and Charlie Evans.
After several cold and difficult days on the road, beset with hardships and accidents, the family of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and the family of William Lee Rotan left the wagontrain near Gatesville, Texas and went to work on the West farm.
Rosetta Hughes Rutherford Woodward related that the wagontrain, which continued without the Gowens and the Rotans, went on to Edna, Texas and then on to the Gulf of Mexico on a sight-seeing tour of South Texas. Eventually the wagontrain returned to Coryell County, Texas, and all settled near the Gowens when the trip was over.
Again, apparently, it was the influence of one of the sisters of Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen that prompted the move. Delia Morgan Bailey Bankston and her husband, Wesley Bankston, had removed to Coryell County, establishing themselves at Hurst Springs, Texas where he operated a blacksmith shop. Once in 1895, Aunt Delia came for a visit:
Seven-year-old Claud Franklin Gowen was ecstatic that his favorite relative, Aunt Delia Bankston had come to their farm for a visit. To have more time for her stories on that cool, crisp morning in central Texas, he was rushing through his chores.
One of his early-morning jobs was to lead the calves down the path to the creek. After the first one drank to his fill, he returned him to the lot and slipped his rope around the neck of the next calf to repeat the process. Finally, when he was down to the last two, the biggest ones, he concluded that he could speed up the process if he took them two at a time.
He thoughtfully tied the ends of the ropes together so that the calves could not separate on him. As he started down the path with his yearlings, they, thirstier than the others, broke into a run. Although he dug in his heels, young Claud found that he could not check them in their race to the creek and finally had to release them.
There was a landmark, the family two-holer, also located on the path. The calves passed it on the run; one went to the left and one went to the right, and the outhouse went flat on its back. Finally, an even bigger shock to young Claud was seeing the privy portal open like a cellar door. Climbing out was a somewhat disheveled Aunt Dee.
Later Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen worked as a tenant farmer on the Pancake Ranch in the Pancake community in Coryell County.
“I remember the day Uncle Jerry Gowen drove up and asked for a job,” related Joseph Russell “Dutch” Pancake when he was visited in l959 by Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen and Arlee Claud Gowen. At the time “Dutch” was an active 84-year-old, his mind alert and his memory keen.
John Russell Pancake, founder of Pancake Ranch and father of Joseph Russell “Dutch” Pancake, was a colorful rancher in the pioneer days of Coryell County. His photograph and biography were published in “Biographical History of Coryell County” in 1893. According to the biography John Russell Pancake emigrated to Texas in 1858 and established his ranch on a 1,476-acre site on the Coryell-Hamilton county line. His ranch included the site of the legendary “lost Spanish silver mine,” and he and his descendants have searched for the treasure for over a century, finding just enough evidence of the ancient mining operation to keep the search going.
“You boys may live a long time, but you will never be better men than your granddaddy was,” stated “Dutch” when he described the gentle nature of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen. He mentioned that “Uncle Jerry” was a generous man–particularly interested in orphan homes. He recalled that he and his brother received much “righteous counsel” when they were growing up from “Uncle Jerry.” Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen was a deacon and a bible school teacher in Pancake Baptist Church. He was very faithful in his church attendance, going even when the roads were so muddy that the trip could only be made on horseback. Minnie Mae Gowen Shipley recalled riding behind her father’s saddle “on many a muddy Sunday.”
The early residents of Texas did not correspond much. Mail delivery was slow and undependable. Letters which were carried over 25 miles distance required 25c postage. Letters which were carried less required 12.5c postage. Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen to supplement his income was a mail carrier on a 17-mile route from Pancake, Texas to the Ames community from 1900 to 1903.
The only know contact that Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen had with his family in Tennessee was in the form of a “lost” letter which he received from his brother, James Carroll Gowen about 1895.
Claud Franklin Gowen, about eight years old at the time, recalls that his father sat down on the front porch to read the letter immediately after its arrival. At that particular moment Claud Franklin Bowen had started down to the creek to water a particularly onery calf and managed to get himself tangled up in the rope. At that point the calf ran away and began dragging the boy down the rocky slope.
When the father saw the little boy being dragged by the calf he threw down the letter and ran to extricate him. When he returned to the porch to read the letter he had just opened, it was nowhere to be found, apparently gone with the wind. After a long search the family gave up finding the letter, and lacking an address, it went unanswered, perhaps compounding the assumed estrangement.
Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen appeared as the head of a Household 50-50 in the 1900 census of Coryell County, Enumeration District 50, page 3. The family was rendered as:
“Gowen, J. M. 53, born in TN in May 1847, father
born in TN, mother born in TN,
Emma C. 43, born in TN in June 1856, father
born in VA, mother born in TN,
Claud 12, born in Texas in October 1887,
father born in TN, mother born in
Minnie 8, born in TX in September 1892,
father born in TN, mother born in
Hawkins, Lemuel 18, born in TX in June 1881, stepson”
In adjacent locations were enumerated the households of William Lee Rotan and James Harvey Lee, sons-in-laws of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen.
Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen lived the remainder of their lives on Pancake Ranch, operating several different farms, but always as tenants.
He died of tuberculosis May 25, 1904 at the age of 56 and was buried near the southeast corner of Jonesboro Cemetery, Jonesboro, Texas. It was reported by Minnie May Gowen Shipley that when her father died, her mother told her that he had “relatives by the name of Poindexter” who lived near Ft. Worth whom they must notify for the funeral.
Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen also died of tuberculosis on September 9 of the same year and was buried beside he husband. No death certificate was filed for the husband “because he was not attended by a doctor at the time of his death.” The State of Texas began to require a doctor’s certificate on each death in the latter part of 1904. Dr. J. T. Jones, a one-armed surgeon of the area, filed the following death report for Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen: “Mrs. Gowen, died of consumption, 9/4/1904,” according to Coryell County Death Book 1, page 11.
The children sold the last cow the family owned at the death of their parents to pay for a tombstone which was erected at the gravesite. Inscriptions on the tombstones read:
“Mother, E. C. Gowen, June 15, 1856–September 9, 1904
Father, J. M. Gowen, May 30, 1847–May 25, 1904
“The golden gates were opened when a gentle voice called. The angels from the other side welcomed our loved ones home.”
Following the death of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen the children sold the crop, the horses and the farming tools to Joseph Russell “Dutch” Pancake for $900.
Children born to Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and Hellen Roberts Gowen include:
Ellender E. Gowen born June 14, 1872
Charles Otis Gowen born in 1873
Cynthia Diera Gowen born in 1876
Roxie Vida Gowen born about 1880
Children born to Lemuel D. Hawkins and Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen and reared by Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen include:
Mary A. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Hawkins born Sept. 9, 1875
Maggie Ada Hawkins born in July 1878
Lemuel Alexander “Bud” Hawkins born about 1880
Children born to Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen include:
Ida Gowen born in 1884
Claud Franklin Gowen born October 19, 1887
Minnie May Gowen born September 19, 1891
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