Claud Franklin Gowen, [Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley9, William Benjamin8, [William, Jr.7], son of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen, was bornWednesday, October 19, 1887 in Red River County, Texas. He attended school at Milford, Texas and at Pancake community school in Coryell County, Texas. He appeared as a 12-year-old in the 1900 census of Coryell County living in his father’s household. He was orphaned at the age of 16 upon the death of both of his parents in 1904.
At that time he and his younger sister, Minnie May Gowen moved to make their home with their brother-in-law, James Harvey Lee. From the sale of the property of their parents’ property $900 had been realized. James Harvey Lee invested this inheritance for them in farmland in Throckmorton County.
On November 5, 1905 “C. F. Gowen, J. H. Lee et al” had received a deed from D. S. McDonald to 480 acres of land, according to Throckmorton County Deed Book 15, page 13. Total consideration was $3,960 at seven dollars per acre. Claud Franklin Gowen operated the farm to support his sister and himself, and they con-tinued to make their home with James Harvey Lee.
Three years later he met his future bride. Ora Ethel Cox, daughter of James Mad-ison Cox and Amanda Lucinda “Cindy” McCall Cox, was born in Leander, Satur-day, November 3, 1894. She appeared as a five-year-old in the 1900 census of Williamson County in her father’s household. In 1901 her parents moved to Nolan County, and after three years there, returned to Williamson County. In December 1906 they moved to Woodson after arriving at Albany on a train on Christmas Eve. In 1908 they moved to Young County. While on a visit to the family of her uncle Francis Marion “Buddy” Mullen in Woodson she attended a church service and there met Claud Franklin Gowen. Thus began a courtship of buggy rides, picnics, church socials, parties and community dances.
Later James Madison Cox moved his family to Round Timbers, Texas, and the young couple kept in touch with frequent visits. Claud Franklin Gowen moved to Ft. Worth to enroll in Draughon’s Business College, but “business” at home was uppermost in his mind, and he returned to Woodson for the purpose of asking for the hand of Ora Ethel Cox in marriage. To her dismay her family was planning a move to Oklahoma at that time. The groom’s timing was opportune.
And so they were married July 4, 1911–in the vogue of the time, seated in a buggy at the front gate of the home of George W. Holley, the bride’s uncle. The marriage was performed by another uncle, Asbury Frost Thurman, according to Throckmor-ton County Marriage Book 1, page 213. Asbury Frost Thurman baptized her shortly before their marriage. It is to her credit that all of her children, grandchild-ren and great-grandchildren were members of the Church of Christ.
The young couple settled down to a farming life at Woodson surrounded by a large number of relatives. On November 21, 1911 Claud Franklin Gowen received a deed from S. J. Kelley to 160 acres of land, according to Throckmorton County Deed Book 20, page 264. Their first son, Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen, was born there the following year on August 25, 1912.
Three years later Claud Franklin Gowen was influenced by his “itchy-footed” father-in-law to move to New Mexico to homestead free land in a new country. In the summer of 1916 the Cox and Gowen families loaded their possessions onto wagons and headed westward. Twenty-one days were consumed in making the trip from Woodson to Blue-water, New Mexico as the party followed the wagonroad from watering point to watering point. The caravan passed through Post, Brown-field and Seminole, Texas and Hope, Tatum, Lovington, Dunken and Weed, New Mexico.
The wagontrain moved slowly with cows, horses, chickens and turkeys. Ora Ethel Cox Gowen recalled that when they made camp on the trail at sundown they hobbled the horses and cows to graze around the camp, but turned the chickens and turkeys “scot free.” At dark the poultry wandered back into camp and one-by-one flew up to roost in their cages on the back of the wagon–the only home they knew on the then-empty expanse of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.
When the caravan arrived at Bluewater in Lincoln County at the residence of a Cox cousin, Arch Van Winkle, Claud Franklin Gowen admired the cold, blue flow of his spring. Upon his return for a visit 40 years later he noted that the spring still flowed, cold and blue.
Claud Franklin Gowen, along with his father-in-law and a brother-in-law filed homestead claims on adjoining tracts on McDonald Flat–a high-altitude plateau located a short dis-tance from Weed. They petitioned the Postmaster General for a post office and were instrumental in the establishment of Stellsworth, New Mexico, named in honor of Stella Worth, the first postmistress.
When his father-in-law was killed in a gunfight November 4, 1916 additional re-sponseibility settled upon Claud Franklin Gowen. He reported that his little group of settlers, with many hardships, wrested their homes “from the mountain, the State of New Mexico and the federal government.” He recalled their life in New Mexico included a lot of “privation, make-do and barter.”
While the men bartered their labor at a little mountain sawmill for lumber to build their homes, the women transported it by wagon-and-team up to McDonald Flat. The long uphill climb with a wagonload of lumber was difficult for the team and difficult for the pioneering women. Going uphill they frequently had to alight and walk along with their horses, alternately pushing and encouraging their teams. Go-ing downhill was a different story. They had to set the brake, tie a fallen tree to the rear of the wagon for additional braking power, put the team in a trot with a tight rein, and “let the devil take the hindermost,” according to Ora Ethel Cox Gowen.
The group supplemented their income from their meager crops with work in lumber camps, on adjoining ranches, in a gypsum plant, in apple orchards, on cotton-pick-ing forays back into Texas or “anything else that would turn an honest dollar.” To assist each other, members of the little community gave freely of their time in log-rolling, barn-raising, quilting and nursing the sick.
On a cold December night in 1918 Ora Ethel Cox Gowen and her mother were sitting up with Margaret C. Cox Drennan who was critically ill. When they left for home, a short distance away, at midnight they discovered that a six-inch snowfall had covered the trail and familiar landmarks. They became disoriented and wand-ered for hours across the pine-covered mesa, frequently stumbling upon herds of startled cattle. Finally a light appeared in the window of “Grandma Cantrell’s cab-in,” and from it they got their bearings again, arriving at home in time to fix breakfast for their families.
Names of the early settlers on McDonald Flat appeared in a column entitled “High Mountain Tales” carried in the August 19, 1983 edition of the “Alamogordo Daily News”:
“On the fun side of things–did you have any idea there was once a neat little town nestled in the MacDonald Flat area? Yep! The name of the town was Stelworth. Maxine Key, a child in the years of 1913‑ 1923 re-calls the good times in that town and some of the families that lived there. There was a post office, a school and church. Miss Knowles, then Mrs. Van Winkle, Artie Hickson, and Elsie Scroggins were teachers there during those years.
Maxine said that with the help of many friends and relatives she was able to round up names of folks who lived there. Her family was Alexander Ste-phens Key, her father and mother, sisters and brothers, Richard, Marian, Doris, Lex and Malcolm. George Key lived there, also, his wife, Emma and their three sons, Albin, Clarence and Cecil. Others were William and Jane Allen and children, Jimmy, Dilla, Pearl and Oliver, Walter McCleskey and his wife, Alphie Trammel, and their children; Bernard, Melbourne, Josie Pearl and Alton, lived there. Kid and Anna Reed bought the place.
There was a large family of Drennans there. Dick Drennan and wife, Sue Haynes and children, Fred, Earl, Virgil, Jim and Ethel. R. E. Chalk worked there helping the Keys with their crops. A Doctor Shields came there about 1920. Nora Cox and her mother [Amanda Lucinda “Cindy” McCall Cox] lived there along with Elmer Cox and Alva Cox. [brothers to Nora Cox.]
The Claud Gowens, the Smiths and a Rodney and a Floyd were there. Their children were Braxton, Ernest, Coy, Vivian, and Edna. Tom Dren-nan was a neighbor and had Bessie and Lena. At one time there were five families of Drennans on McDonald Flat.
There was a Scottish family named McRae with a son, J. A. and a daugh-ter, Virginia, and a daughter, Wanda. Mrs. McRae was an artist and served hot rolls to the neighbors and kiddoes who stopped by for a visit. The McRaes built fences and outbuildings with rock.
Alec Key recalls others who lived on McDonald Flat or near Weed: Alvie Cox, A. J. Fisher the fiddler, Ed Watts, Nelson Jones on down the Penasco, Nelson Jones, Richard and Maggie Watts, Joy, Prathers, Emmet Potters, Buckskin Jernigan on the way to Pinon, Bill Porter, Austin Reeves down on the Penasco, Longbothams, Jack Wasson and a family named Snow. Ad Madlock’s family lived on McDonald Flat and also his mother. Homer and Lilly Barclay with sons Cyril and Charles lived there and Arthur and Elsie Strang. The Strangs were there during 1913 and 1923. They had a large family.”
In August 1920, the Gowens and the Coxes completed the required four years of tenancy and received title, free and clear, to 160 acres on a “sawed-off mountain-top.” They promptly sold their homestead and loaded for a return trip to Texas. Ora Ethel Cox Gowen and her widowed mother, Amanda Lucinda “Cindy” McCall Cox were the teamsters on the two wagons. Claud Franklin Gowen, riding “Ole Bill,” and Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen riding his burro, acting as drovers, herded the livestock before them.
The livestock, grazing and watering as they moved, made slower progress than the faster-moving wagons. The wagons moved along the trail from windmill to wind-mill, spring to spring, with their wagonsheets billowing out like sails in the south-westerly breeze. When no landmark could be found on the monotonous prairie the groups rendezvoused with the wagon of Amanda Lucinda “Cindy” McCall Cox at nightfall. Frequently she found it necessary to light a lantern and place it on the end of an elevated wagon-tongue to guide the others to the campsite.
After another 21 days on the trail they arrived in O’Donnell, Texas. In continuing rainstorms in the summer of 1920, Claud Franklin Gowen inspected land in Lynn and Dawson counties, selecting a quarter-section of ranch land at $27.50 per acre in the eastern part of Dawson County in the McCarty community. Fifty-seven years later, the land sold for $1,000 per acre. He moved his family to the site and erected a tent to protect them from the continuing rainy weather.
The family was a beehive of activity in the remainder of the year. Up went a wind-mill, a watering tank for the livestock was dug out, a barn was erected and a chick-enhouse was built. Virgin sod was turned, a “short crop” was put in, and then thoughts were turned to a residence.
In September 1920 Amanda Lucinda “Cindy” McCall Cox moved to Swenson, Texas to make her home with her son, Willie Elmer Cox, but on November 24, 1922, the date of the birth of her grandson, Arlee Claud Gowen, she returned to the household of Claud Franklin Gowen where she made her home for the next 40 years.
The life led by the Gowen family on their new farm was typical of that of many of the settlers of the area. Both the men and the women worked in the field. Card-board “splints” reinforced the bonnets the women wore during fieldwork with the strings bowtied under their chins. Long black stockings with the feet cut out were worn over their arms to prevent freckling and tanning under the merciless West Texas sun.
The cool water from the windmill served as the milk cooler. Watermelons floated in the concrete horsetrough to cool in the summertime. Pork was preserved in the “saltbox” on the back porch. An orchard was put in, and peaches were halved and dried on the tin roof of the “car-shed.” On cold winter days the family shelled pop-corn around the fire and drew straws to see who would have to go out into the cold and snow to winnow the grain before making popcorn balls.
The boys had plenty of pasture to hunt in with Dean Ranch adjoining. Two dogs, “Jiggs,” a collie and “Tippy,” a rat terrier, were busy chasing rabbits and killing rattlesnakes on the hunts. With barbed wire “twisters” the boys twisted rabbits and prairie dogs out of their burrows.
Sunday was church-going. Night services were attended after the advent of the automobile reduced the seven-mile trip to a matter of a 20-minute drive to La-mesa. On cold winter nights the mother heated bricks and wrapped them in towels for climbing into a cold sedan or a cold bed. No telephones–the early-day line always seemed to be grounded out on a barbed wire fence anyway.
Thunderstorms and sandstorms were frequent–with an occasional cyclone. When a high wind came up it was necessary to cut off the windmill to prevent the fan from running away and tearing up. Sometimes the storm broke without warning, and the farmer had to risk the dangerous job of climbing to the top of the tower and avoid-ing the whirling blades while manually turning the spinning wheel away from the wind so that the cut-off might be engaged.
About 1925, Claud Franklin Gowen was baptized into the Church of Christ in a stocktank located on the courthouse square in Lamesa.
In the fall of 1925, the family with a lot of excitement installed a radio, the first in the community, and the Gowen livingroom was filled with visiting neighbors anx-ious to try out the new-fangled gadget. Reception was difficult, but occasionally they received broadcasts from station WFAA in Dallas. Later they were able to receive its sister station WBAP in Ft. Worth which alternated air time with Dallas. In the fall of the year, they were sometimes able to receive KTHS [Come to Hot Springs]. One of the most colorful stations received was KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana. The station owner was W. K. Henderson who came on the air with “Hello, world. Doggone your old buttons!”
When Dr. John R. Brinkley came on the air with his 150,000 watt radio blaster and its 300-foot transmission tower from Villa Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico, The Gowens had no trouble in receiving him; he was heard all the way to Canada. He was a controversial American medical doctor who had his medical license revoked in the United States, but operated with impunity in Mexico. He experimented with xeno-ransplantation of goat glands in humans to cure male impotence and used the most powerful radio station in the world to publicize his practice on radio station XERA. He became a multi-millionaire, but the fore-runner of American Federal Communications Commission forced Mexico to shut him down and he died penniless in San Antonio, Texas.
In 1927, Claud Franklin Gowen bought a new Ford sedan, and quite a few sprained wrists and near-misses on broken bones resulted from hand-cranking the new machine. In the fall of 1929 Claud Franklin Gowen took a contract as a rural mail carrier on Star Route 2 out of Lamesa, and the sedan began to show the results of traversing “60 miles of bad road” six days a week.
In 1929 Claud Franklin Gowen moved his family to a 10-acre tract adjoining the city limits of Lamesa on the east.
In 1930 the census taker came and enumerated the family located in Precinct 1 of Dawson County, Texas.
“Gowen, Claud F. 42, farmer, mailcarrier, born in TX
Ora E. 35, wife, born in TX
Olga L. 17, son, truckdriver, born in TX [Stanley Olgee]
Orlee R. 7, son
Cox, Mandy L 56, mother-in-law, born in TX”
In 1940 Claud Franklin Gowen was enumerated in the federal census of Dawson County in Lamesa “on South Seventh Street” as the head of a household composed of:
Gowen, Claud F. 52, farmer, born in TX, worked as a newspaper agent
Ora E. 45, wife, born in TX,
Arlee C. 17, son, born in TX, printer
Cox, Manda L. 66, mother-in-law, widow”
The census information was more thorough than any preceding enumeration. It showed that farming was the main source of employment for Claud Franklin Gowen and that he had worked at it for the previous 52 weeks. It also mentioned that he had additional income as a newspaper representative. The enumerator erred in recording the address as “South Seventh Street.” The home was located at “310 South Bryan Street” the corner of South Fourth Street and South Bryan.
Although Arlee Claud Gowen was in Lubbock, Texas attending Texas Techno-logical College and working there at Wood Printing Company, he was recorded in the home.
In 1940 the family had just purchased a two-story apartment house built in 1909 at 310 South Bryan Street in Lamesa. It became its residence for the next 12 years. During World War II, the apartment house was filled to overflowing with workers from the local U. S. Army Air Corps glider training base. During this period Claud Franklin Gowen was a circulation representative of the “Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.”
He purchased a quarter-section farm in adjoining Martin County from J. I. Matthews January 15, 1944 for $4,400, according to Martin County Deed Book 51, page 99.
In 1952 Claud Franklin Gowen moved his household to Lubbock, Texas to be nearer to the families of his sons who had earlier settled there. For the next five years, in a period of retirement, he busied himself with great attention to his four grandchildren, with churchwork and with supervision of three farms which he owned in Dawson and Hockley County, Texas.
Like many of his forebears Claud Franklin Gowen was soft-spoken, of a gentle nature, fond of teasing and pranks, considerate of his loved-ones, particularly his younger sister, Minnie May Gowen Shipley. He was unknown ever to have made an enemy and had a deep religious conviction.
Claud Franklin Gowen, like his father, was very active in churchwork. He was appointed a deacon in 1927 and an elder in 1932 in the Church of Christ at Lamesa. Shortly after his arrival in Lubbock he was made an elder in College Avenue Church of Christ, an office in which he served diligently until his death Jan-uary 13, 1957 at age 69. His last words, spoken as he lay near death on a Sunday evening were, “It’s about time to go . . . to church.”
On October 1, 1976 Ora Ethel Cox Gowen sold her home and lived with a cousin, Leona Maye Mullen Lamirand in Lubbock. Two years later she removed to Lame-sa where she was living in September 1981. In 1982 she returned to Lubbock and again lived with the Lamirands. In the summer of 1986 she suffered a broken hip in a fall and died October 9, 1986 at trhe age of 92. She was buried beside her husband in City of Lubbock Cemetery.
Two sons were born to Claud Franklin Gowen and Ora Ethel Cox Gowen:
Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen born August 25, 1912
Arlee Claud Gowen born November 24, 1922
Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen, son of Claud Franklin Gowen and Ora Ethel Cox Gowen, was born at Woodson, Sunday, August 25, 1912. He and his cousin, Ol-gee Perry McCall, were namesakes of Olgee Shofner, prize-fighter of Florence, Texas.
Early in his life he was subjected to the vicissitudes and hardships of his pioneer-ing family. At the age of three he was carried on the wagontrail to New Mexico, sometimes on horseback with his father and sometimes jostling along in a bumpy wagon.
On the trip he fell out of the wagonseat on one particularly hard jolt, and before his mother could stop the wagon she felt the heavily loaded vehicle lurch as a wheel rolled over the body of her child. Expecting to find him crushed to death she wept tears of relief to find his only injuries to be broken ribs and a broken arm.
While in New Mexico Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen adopted an obstreperous burro who became his constant companion on boyhood hunting trips on McDonald Flat near Weed. When the family returned to Texas he rode his burro “every jump of the way” for 21 days, as he reported it.
He attended grade school at McCarty community and was graduated from Lamesa High School in 1929, at the beginning of the depression. The next ten years he was primarily concerned with trucking and construction work. In his trucks he hauled cattle, oil, gasoline, cotton, grain, tomatoes, sand and gravel–and even a Negro baseball team. In his travels around West Texas he met Madella Jean Beach, a clerk at Kress’Variety Store in Plainview, Texas and immediately labeled her his “million dollar baby from a five and ten cent store.”
One story about their meeting reports that it occurred in Lamesa on the court-house square. The high school girls of the Class of 1929 had developed a neat arrange-ment to meet boys. One girl would obtain her father’s sedan and pick up a load of her girlfriends for “cruising.” On Friday and Saturday nights, several carloads of girls would be found “circling the square” counter-clockwise.
The traffic pattern was counter-clockwise because that brought the sedans closest to “Collins’ Corner.” On “Collins’ Corner,” just above the poolhall, was where the boys were “standing on the corner, watching all the girls go by.”
If a boy was particularly interested in a particular girl, he would run out from the corner and jump on the runningboard of the car as it cruised by and ride around the square. Sometimes there would be six to eight swains hanging on the running-boards and fenders, and the car springs took a beating.
Preston Smith [Class of ’30], a contemporary of Jot [Class of ’29], recalls that they jumped on the running boardender of a particular car one Friday night, and in the backseat was a very pretty girl from Plainview. He added that they went around three times.
Preston Smith later went into the theatre business in Lubbock. There he began a political career in 1944. He was elected state representative in 1945; senator in 1957, lieutenant governor in 1963 and served as Governor of Texas from 1969 to 1973.
Cab Calloway, a popular jazz bandleader of the 1920s introduced a song called “Jotta” that young Stanley Olgee Gowen took a liking to and which he sang con-tinually. Jarvis Zeeck, his constant companion, in derision, began to call him “Jot-ta.” In time it was shortened to “Jot” and 40 years later, he incorporated his oil business as “JOT, Inc.”
Preston Smith liked to relate a story about the Lamesa High School Principal F. T. McCollum under whom he took a civics class. On one particular assignment des-cribing the operation of the state government, Prof. McCollum in 1929 had written on the back of Preston’s paper, “You will be Governor of Texas.” This prediction was made 40 years prior to his swearing-in ceremony.
In California, under the alias of Francis O’Rourke, Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen helped to build the All-American Aqueduct carrying water through the Imperial Valley to Los Angeles. In California during the depression the state government made a stringent effort to prevent Texans and Okies from filling jobs that they preferred to go to California residents. Consequently Californian Francis O’Rourke, recently deceased, went back to work. In Arizona he worked on the construction of Salt River Dam and Morman Flat Dam.
On July 3, 1936 Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen and Madella Jean Beach, daughter of Toombs Hamilton Beach and Julia Ann Eggleston Beach of Plainview, were married in Phoenix, Arizona. She was born March 3, 1911 in Dimmitt, Texas. Toombs Hamilton Beach was born in Homer, Louisiana June 10, 1866 and died in Lubbock July 18, 1950. Julia Ann Eggleston Beach was born in Whitesboro, Tex-as August 15, 1873 and died in Lubbock February 23, 1956.
For the next three years Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen and Madella Jean Beach Gow-en made their home in Arizona and California, moving to various construction jobs. In 1939 the couple returned to Texas, living first at Lipan, Texas and later at Ralls, Texas. In the following year they moved to Plainview where Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen established a wholesale oil business. In 1940 he moved Gowen Oil Company to Lubbock.
With the advent of World War II and the accompanying shortages and rationing he sold his business and went to work for John Toles, Magnolia Oil Company con-signee in Lubbock. In 1947 he moved to the management of Continental Oil Com-pany’s distributorship and was employed by J. A. Fortenberry. In 1955 he pur-chased the company’s wholesale outlet in Lubbock and became the consignee.
On December 5, 1953 he and his entire family were baptized into the Church of Christ by M. Novel Young and became members of the Broadway congregation. In 1968 he was appointed a deacon there.
In 1958 he was elected a commissioner of Lubbock County Water Conservation District where he assisted in the administration of Buffalo Springs Lake recreation project.
He died of colon carcinoma in 1970 after a lengthy illness and was buried in City of Lubbock Cemetery with his parents.
Madella Jean Beach Gowen continued to make her home in Lubbock. She was an inspiration to her children spurring them on to pursue their dreams. She had a very positive attitude about life. She was a very talented artist and enjoyed oil painting and taking classes with her friends. There were several very talented artists in her Bailey family. She was a longtime member of Broadway Church of Christ and then later at Sunset Church of Christ, both in Lubbock. She encouraged her child-ren to be faithful Christians.
Madella Jean Beach Gowen died there of a brain hemorrhage July 8, 1994, at age 81 in Methodist Hospital. She was buried beside her husband July 11, 1994 in the City of Lubbock Cemetery. Pallbearers were her son, Michael Olgee Gowen; her son-in-law, Lee Everett Towns and grandsons, Gregory Kyle Gowen, Michael Stanley Gowen, Tod Everett Towns and Kent Barkley Towns. Her obituary was published in the July 10, 1994 edition of the “Lubbock Avalanche- Journal.” Her obituary was also published in the July 10, 1994 edition of the “Albuquerque Journal.”
Two children were born to them:
Sharon Ann Gowen born July 28, 1941
Michael Olgee Gowen born December 9, 1943
Sharon Ann Gowen, daughter of Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen and Madella Jean Beach Gowen, was born in Lubbock July 28, 1941, according to Lubbock County Birth Book 10, page 295. She attended Lubbock Public Schools, graduating from Monterey High School in 1959. She attended Abilene Christian College in 1959 and Texas Tech University in 1960. She had a passion for art and crafting and has done many arts and crafts shows through the years. Sharon worked for Dr. Ron Phillips, DDS as his office manager for nine years and also worked as a secretary for the Department of Human Services and Texas Tech University in the Extended Studies Program for a combined total of ten years. Instead of getting her degree in Art Education, she fell in love and got her MRS. Degree on July 2, 1960.
She attended Broadway Church of Christ as a young person, but in 1967 she and her husband moved their membership to Sunset Church of Christ. They celebrated their 50th anniversary July 2, 1910 at Lubbock Christian University. They worked together on ebay and enjoyed it very much. It gave them more opportunities to give to their children and to their church.
On July 2, 1960 she was married to Lee Everett Towns, son of Dudley Carl Towns and Clara Mary Jane Pillow Towns, according to Lubbock County Marriage Book 27, page 113. Dudley Carl Towns, a native of Bienville, Louisiana, and Clara Mary Jane Pillow Towns observed their 60th wedding anniversary in September 1981, a few days before his death on September 22, 1981.
Lee Everett Towns became associated with his father-in-law in the wholesale oil business, and upon the death of Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen became the owner of the firm. In 1970, Lee became agent for Continental Oil Company. He later be-came the consignee. In 1977 he became the sole distributor of Conoco. In 1983 he sold his business and went to work for Compu-Share, a computer business. The business shared computer time with other firms and wrote software programs for businesses. Lee was involved with the shipping and receiving, cabling and wiring of businesses that Compu-Share served. He is a faithful member of the Church of Christ and has served as a deacon and as an elder, a total of 15 years at Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock.
Three children born to Lee Everett Towns and Sharon Ann Gowen Towns:
Tod Everett Towns born May 22, 1962
Jill Ann Towns born January 13, 1965
Kent Barkley Towns born March 24, 1969
Tod Everett Towns, son of Lee Everett Towns and Sharon Ann Gowen Towns, was born in Lubbock May 22, 1962. Tod was graduated from Lubbock public schools in 1980. In September 1984, he was graduated from Abilene Christian University. He was married August 10, 1985 to Melany Ann Ayres, daughter of Ralph Ayres and Bonnie Ayres of Belton, Texas.
In 1988 and in 1983 he was employed in the advertising department of the “Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.” Later he made a career change and went into the heating and air conditioning business with Thornton Heating & Air Conditioning and Armstrong Mechanical. In September 2011 he became territory manager for ACES Air Conditioning Supply.
He and his family were faithful members of Monterey Church of Christ in Lubbock. He was involved in the music ministry. He loved singing and wrote Christian music.
In 1988 Melany Ann Ayers Gowen was a kindergarten teacher at Waters Ele-mentary School. She later taught at Lubbock Christian School. In 2010 she taught at Wright Elementary School.
Children born to them include:
Kayla Elaine Towns born August 20, 1989
Braden Scott Towns born September 16, 1991
Kayla Elaine Towns, daughter of Tod Everett Towns and Melany Ann Ayers Gowen, was born August 20, 1989 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Lubbock. She atended Lubbock Christian School, but moved to Coronado High School her last two years in high school, graduating in 2008. In high school she played in the band, ran track, was cheerleader and flag girl for the band. As a freshman she attended Lubbock Christian University, but moved as a sophomore to Texas Tech University and worked on a degree in interior design. She was creative and had a passion for art. She was a member of Monterey Church of Christ.
Kayla Elaine Towns was graduated from Texas Tech University in May 2014.
Braden Scott Towns, son of Tod Everett Towns and Melany Ann Ayers Gowen, was born September 16, 1991 St. Mary’s Hospital in Lubbock. He attended all 12 years at Lubbock Christian School where he was graduated in 2010. In high school he played football and played trombone in the LCHS band. In 2011 he was enrolled in Abilene Christian University for degree in physical therapy. He worked in Abilene at a physical therapy center. Braden, a Christian was a member of the Church of Christ.
Jill Ann Towns, daughter of Lee Everett Towns and Sharon Ann Gowen Towns, was born in Lubbock January 13, 1965. In September 1983 she was a student at Abilene Christian University. In 1988 she lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was in a travel agency school. In 1989 she was employed by a travel agency in Clearlake, Texas near Houston. In 1990 she worked for travel agencies in Lubbock. In 1993 and in 1999, she had returned to Albuquerque where she managed an art gallery for her uncle, Michael Olgee Gowen. She managed an apartment complex there. She did artwork for Storyteller 3-dimensional pictures. In 2001 she removed to Huntington Beach, California where she attended Orange County College. There she received Medical Emergency Technician and Certified Medical Assistant.
She returned to Albuquerque in 2004 and was employed in New Mexico Cancer Center where she became competent in chemotheraphy, radiation, labwork and technology. In 2011 she became Physician Suppport and Clinical Training Co-ordinator. She also enjoyed art and had a flair for decorating and design inherited from her grandmother Madella Jean Beach Gowen. Jill is a baptized Christ-ian.
Kent Barkley Towns, son of Lee Everett Towns and Sharon Ann Gowen Towns, was born in Lubbock March 24, 1969. In 1984 he was pursuing a hobby of pro-gramming on a computer which he purchased with earnings from his newspaper route. He was graduated from Lubbock Christian High School in May 1987. In 1987 he was enrolled in Texas Tech University and was employed by Compu-Share. He was graduated with a B.S. Degree in Computer Science in December 1991 and continued with the firm. Later he was employed by Texas Tech Univer-sity Library.
He was married May 23, 1992 to Shelly Renee Smith, daughter of Jerry Don Smith and Lawanna Towery Smith of Lubbock.
On June 3, 1999, he wrote:
“I was married to Shelly Renee Smith May 23rd 1992. Our relationship began as a friendship at church. We both attended Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock. Shelly’s birthday is January 16, 1971. Shelly has one older sister, Kristie, and one younger brother, Kevin. Both are residents of Lubbock. Shelly attended Monterey High School in Lubbock, until the spring of 1989. Shelly was enrolled at Texas Tech University in the Fall of 1989 and was graduated in May of 1993 with a B.B.A. majoring in accounting. While studying at Texas Tech, Shelly worked part-time for Furr’s-Bishop’s, Inc. as an accountant. After graduating from Texas Tech, Shelly began working full-time as an accountant for Furr’s-Bishop’s, Inc, and later worked as an accountant for United Supermarkets. Shelly con-tinued working at United Supermarkets until January of 1997 when she began rearing our children full-time.”
Later Kent Barkley Towns became employed by Texas Tech University and in 2011 was Assistant Director of Telecommunication Services. He is a faithful member of the Sunset Church of Christ where he serves as a deacon and works with the young people.
Children born to Kent Barkley Towns and Shelly Renee Smith Towns include:
Connor Blake Towns born October 31, 1995
Keaton Dax Towns born January 30, 1997
Carson Lee Towns born May 21, 2001
Connor Blake Towns, son of Kent Barkley Towns and Shelly Renee Smith Towns, was born in Lubbock October 31, 1995 at Covenant Medical Center. He attended Williams Elementary School, Hutchinson Middle School and in 2011 was a sophomore at Lubbock High School. He was an outstanding trumpet player and marched in the Rose Bowl parade in January 2012. He was also involved in the school choir. He is an active Christian in his church at Sunset Church of Christ.
Kent Barkley Towns wrote in February 2014 an insert regarding Connor Blake Towns.
“Connor has played trumpet since his 6th grade year in 2007. Now, a senior at Lubbock High School, he was in the top 3% of Texas high school music students that competed and qualified for the All-State level of the Texas Music Educators’ Association; the highest musical honor for a high school student. He was a member of the TMEA 4A High School Symphonic Band of 2014. He also qualified for the All-Region Orchestra in region 16.
Connor will be graduating from Lubbock High School in May of this year (2014) with an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. The IB program is similar to College Board’s Advance Placement (AP) program, but is an international curriculum with more emphasis on writing and conceptual learning. For each course taken, a corresponding IB test is administered. In the state of Texas, high scores on IB tests qualify the student to receive college hours for those topics. Connor’s test scores qualify him to receive college credit hours in the fall of 2014.
Connor has applied for college admission to Abilene Christian University, Texas Tech University, The University of Texas, and Texas State University with an intent to major in Music Education. His acceptance to each institution is partially based on passing music auditions, which have not yet been completed.”
Kent Barkley Towns wrote in February 2014 an insert regarding Keaton Dax Towns.
“Keaton is currently a junior at Lubbock High School. His elective studies are primarily related to computer science, robotics, and video game design. His scheduled graduation date is spring of 2015. College plans have not yet been made.
Keaton is an active member of the youth speaking team at the Sunset church of Christ. He and his fellow team members often speak to other young people about spiritual topics.
In the summer of 2014, Keaton will travel with a group of 40 Christians to the country of Nicaragua. 10 adults and 30 students will spend a week ministering alongside local missionaries to serve the people of the Jinotega region. The group will partner with an established mission in the area. “Mision Para Cristo” seeks to share the message of Jesus with the people of Nicaragua (see http://www.mision-paracristo.com). The 40 person team will work to provide clothing, medical care, and other services, while sharing the love of Jesus with them.”
Carson Lee Towns, son of Kent Barkley Towns and Shelly Renee Smith Towns, was born in Lubbock, May 21, 2001. In 2011 he was in the fifth grade at Williams Elementary School. He was a capable computer operator. He has made straight A’s since he was in the 1st grade. He was an avid reader and has read through the bible several times. He enjoyed track and running. He attended Sunset Church of Christ with his family.
Michael Olgee Gowen, son of Stanley Olgee “Jot” Gowen and Madella Jean Beach Gowen, was born December 9, 1943 in Lubbock. Lubbock County Birth Book 16, page 33 records his birthdate as December 11, 1943.
He attended Lubbock public schools in his teen years and was enrolled in Allen Military Academy in Bryan. Texas. He was graduated from high school in Slaton, Texas. In 1963 he attended Lubbock Christian College where he met his future bride, Martha Lynn Copeland. In 1963 and 1964 he was employed in the family wholesale oil business.
Michael Olgee Gowen was married March 28, 1964 to Martha Lynn Copeland of Tulia, Texas. In 1966, he became co-owner and manager of J&M Marine, and Martha Lynn Copeland Gowen was employed by Ralston-Purina Company. In 1973 he was an automobile salesman in Lubbock.
About that time the two became active in painting and sculpting and became very successful in that endeavor. In 1978 they moved to Cloudcroft, New Mexico and established an art studio, “The Mountain Man.” In December 1985 they continued to make their home in New Mexico. In 1986 they moved to Albuquerque where they remained in 1999. In 1999 they operated four art galleries there. In 2004 and in 2011 their residence remained in Albuquerque, but much of their time was spent in Acapulco, Mexico where they owned a villa.
An article describing their art galleries appeared in the May 3, 1991 edition of the “Albuquerque Journal:”
Gallery Deals Only With Friends
By Tom Sanchez
Journal Staff Writer
The art pieces displayed in the three galleries of Gowen Arts of New Mex-ico in Old Town Albuquerque almost come to life as Mike Gowen talks about the 34 sculptors and 100 artists who have created them.
“The artists we represent in our shops are our friends, not our competitors,” he says. “And we extend that friendship to our customers, because attached to every piece of art we sell, we tag information of the artist on it.
“My wife and I know the people well who place their work with us. We have a lot of respect for them as persons as well as artists.” One of them, Teri Sodd, will be the focus of an open house from 5 to 10 p.m. today at Gowen’s gallery at Plaza Hacienda.
“She favors depicting the Plains Indian tribes and will be joined by Navajo sculptor Leslie Pablo, who will be at our Patio Market store,” he says. “On Saturday and Sunday, both artists will demonstrate their work in our galleries from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as part of the ‘Month of Sculpture–New Mex-ico.’ ”
The project is sponsored by the City of Albuquerque’s Public Art Program, and Gowen will feature a different sculpture demonstration throughout the month. On Sunday, Gowen Arts will present “Sculpture Magnifico” in all three of his locations. The works of Leslie Pablo, Mike Gowen, Ernest Polar, Ken Dewey and Greg Gowen [the Gowens’ son], will be featured.
Glenn Hoyle is the inhouse artist at Gowen’s studio gallery, at 1919 Old Town Road NW. His wildlife portraits in watercolor and pencil will be displayed this weekend as he demonstrates his work for the public.
Mike and Martha Gowen traveled across the country for more than 20 years before they acquired their galleries. He was a West Texas metal sculptor and she was a painter, and they sold their pieces at arts and crafts, world fairs and civic plazas. In 1977, the couple left Lubbock for Cloudcroft N.M., where they lived and continued to “show what we made” in arts and crafts shows.
In 1985 they moved to Albuquerque and leased a shop in Old Town, where Gowen Gallery began. Now the wholesale accounts of their three galleries go beyond the Southwest, to places as far as Scotland, Japan, England and Ger-many.
Gowen remembers that his first show in Old Town was filled only with the welded sculptures he created from bronze, brass and copper and with the story‑teller dolls that Martha painted. Then artists’ works from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado and Mexico were added to the gallery’s collection.
Now the Gowen galleries look more like aesthetic shrines than mere art shops. Surrounded by traditional Southwest‑style paintings, sculpture, rugs, pottery, handmade clothes and furniture, Mike still sculpts metal, and Martha still paints.
“Indian artifacts are particularly in demand since the movie ‘Dances with Wolves’ made its mark,” he says. “But generally, people who visit our galleries are individuals who have fun spending money … especially when they can buy original or limited editions at reasonable prices.”
Two sons were born to Michael Olgee Gowen and Martha Lynn Copeland Gowen:
Michael Stanley Gowen born March 6, 1965
Gregory Kyle Gowen born September 19, 1968
Michael Stanley Gowen, son of Michael Olgee Gowen and Martha Lynn Copeland Gowen, was born March 6, 1965 in Lubbock. He was graduated as valedictorian from Cloudcroft, New Mexico High School in May 1983 and enrolled in September 1983 as a student in data processing in New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
He was married in 1986 to Sandra Kadle, daughter of John Perry Kadle and Joyce Ann McCurry Kadle. John Perry Kadle was born February 26, 1941 to John Perry Kadle. Joyce Ann McCurry Kadle was born February 13, 1944 to William M. McCurry and Ovada McCurry.
In January 1987 he was employed by IBM Corporation in Austin, Texas. In Aug-ust 1987 they returned to New Mexico State University. Following graduation with honors with a B.S. degree May 7, 1988, they again returned to Austin and to IBM robotics research. Continuing with IBM in 1993, he lived in Georgetown, Texas. In 1994 he helped to found a business of his own in Montrose, Colorado. In 1999, 2002 and 2011, he was employed by IBM and lived in Georgetown, Texas. In July 2012 they removed to Jacksonville, Alabama.
Children born to Michael Stanley Gowen and Sandra Kadle Gowen include:
Shannon Renae Gowen born August 31, 1987
Shelby Erin Gowen born November 18, 1989
Sadie Taryn Gowen born February 21, 1991
Shane Avery Gowen born January 24, 1994
Sawyer Gowen born about 1997
Shannon Renae Gowen, daughter of Michael Stanley Gowen and Sandra Kadle Gowen, was born August 31, 1987 in Las Cruces, weighing six pounds, one ounce at birth. She was brought to central Texas when her father began working for IBM in Austin, Texas. She was graduated from Georgetown High School, Georgetown, Texas May 22, 2005.
Shelly Erin Gowen, daughter of Michael Stanley Gowen and Sandra Kadle Gowen, was born November 18, 1989.
Sadie Taryn Gowen, daughter of Michael Stanley Gowen and Sandra Kadle Gowen, was born February 21, 1991.
Shane Avery Gowen, son of Michael Stanley Gowen and Sandra Kadle Gowen, was born January 24, 1994 in Williamson County, Texas.
Sawyer Gowen, son of Michael Stanley Gowen and Sandra Kadle Gowen, was born about 1997 at Round Rock, Texas.
Gregory Kyle Gowen, son of Michael Olgee Gowen and Martha Lynn Copeland Gowen, was born September 19, 1968 in Lubbock, Texas. He attended school in Lubbock, Cloudcroft and Albuquerque. In 1985 he lived with his parents in Albuquerque. He was married there August 15, 1987 to Tammy Reagor, daughter of Wayne A. Reagor, Jr. and Stella Flores Reagor at the home of his parents. Wayne A. Reagor, Jr. was the son of Wayne A. Reagor, Sr. and Frances Reagor. Stella Flores Reagor was the daughter of Jesus Flores and Mollie Flores. In 1993 they continued in Albuquerque where he operated an art gallery. They were divorced in December 1993.
Gregory Kyle Gowen was remarried September 14, 1994 in Old Town Plaza in Albuquerque to Deborah May Pierce.
Children born to Gregory Kyle Gowen and Tammy Reagor Gowen include:
Jordan Mykle Gowen born March 16, 1990
Gregory Kyle Gowen II born May 3, 1991
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