By Maggie Oster
“The Celtic Knot”
Before 1650, the potato was primarily a garden crop used mostly as a cattle food in Europe. In Ireland it had already become a staple food for humans. The date of the arrival of the potato in Ireland is unclear. Maybe a member of the Spanish Armada left a few behind. Others give Sir Walter Raleigh credit. Nevertheless, by 1606, potatoes were an accepted crop. Only fifty years following the introduction of the potato, it had become a primary source of nutrition in Ireland.
Ireland’s geographical location as an isolated island with limited trade, few natural resources, a small population who based their economy on cattle as wealth and entrenched local customs, contributed to the popularity of the potato. Ireland’s cool, windy, damp climate was well suited to potatoes, but poor for growing grain crops. A lack of iron, copper or tin ore limited the production of farming tools needed for grain production. The more primitive, less efficient wooden implements were effective for cultivating potatoes.
Ireland had a unique political and social climate also. The personal relationship of man to soil was lacking, with a long communal cultivation. The English established a tenancy system in Ireland in the sixteenth century whereby farmers worked the land of the absentee landlords in return for enough money to pay the rent and feed themselves. Cromwell’s method of enforcing English domination of Ireland was to starve the natives out. The potato was their last resort and saved the half of the Irish population Cromwell failed to exterminate. No other single food would feed a family and its livestock as well as the potato.
A five hundred to eight hundred yard deep‑mulched bed of potatoes could feed a family, with a supplement of milk, pork, cheese and cow’s blood. If potatoes were the only food, a longer bed could be planted. A small plot of land could support a family of six, providing hundreds of pounds of potatoes each week, rounded out with relatively tiny amounts of oatmeal, milk and fish.
Between 1760 and 1840, the Irish population increased from 1.5 million to 9 million. On the existing land, if bread had been the staple, only 5 million could have been fed. The Irish soon began to depend almost solely on the potato for subsistence, both on the farms and in the cities. A factory worker’s daily ration was twelve pounds of potatoes.
Then a worldwide shortage of affordable grain in the late 1700s doubled its price, and potato diseases started to find potatoes. Botrytis cinerea, a mold, first appeared in Ireland in 1795. Blackleg appeared in 1833 and late blight, phytophythora infestans, on the Isle of Wight in 1845. The earlier diseases caused some small scale potato failures, with some classed as famines. These were interspersed with good years and were mostly local. Blight, however, hit hard and fast. The first winter of the Great Potato Famine was 1845‑1846.
The lack of modern methods of communication delayed widespread knowledge of the scope of the crisis, but through newspapers, word slowly began to spread. By the time public sympathy was aroused, it was too late to prevent disaster. The number of dead was staggering ‑ over one million according to most estimates with a figure of 2.5 million not unrealistic. An estimated additional 1.5 million emigrated.
Cormere O’Gowyn, Donal M’Gowin and Patrick O’Gowyn were among a group of 21 men who were pardoned by King Henry VIII February 7, 1545 in the 36th year of his reign. The men had been convicted in the murder of Matthew Gibne, a soldier of Castlecor.
Those who received the King’s pardon include:
“Thomas Barnewall, Shean O’Kayly, Cayher O’Rayly, Nicholas Tuite, John Sage, Hubert Savage, Richard Savage, William Savage, James Savage, Hugh O’Lynch, Cormere O’Gowyn, Thady M’Gillyken, Donal M’Gowin, Geffry M’Gillernowe, William O’Rone, James M’Morierde, kerns [soldiers]; Donald O’Lynche, Bernard O’Kelly, Donal O’Kelly, Patrick O’Gowyn, and Gerald O’Kayly, for the murder of Mathew Gibne, of Castlecor, kern.”
James Gowan was born in Ireland in 1815. His family emigrated to Canada where he became a judge at the age of 27. Sir James Gowan was knighted [K.C.M.G.] in 1909 at the age of 94.
Philip D’Olier Gowan was born in Ireland about 1770. He was the father of George D’Olier Gowan who was born in Ireland in 1813. George D’Olier Gowan was married June 26, 1838 to Sarah Clementine Bowie, daughter of Thomas Hamilton Bowie and Eliza Ray Bowie. She was born in Maryland in 1819, according to “Across the Years in Prince George’s County” by Effie Gwynn Bowie. George D’Olier Gowan became a very successful banker in London.
Children born to George D’Olier Gowan and Sarah Clementine Bowie Gowan include:
Philip Hamilton Gowan born about 1840
Elizabeth Hyde Gowan born about 1842
Cecilia Gowan born about 1844
James William Hyde Ray Gowan born about 1845
Helen Jane Gowan born about 1846
Bowie Campbell Gowan born July 30, 1848
Bowie Campbell Gowan, son of George D’Olier Gowan and Sarah Clementine Bowie Gowan, was born July 30, 1848. While on a visit to his American relatives in 1870 he was married to his cousin, Lelia Davidson. Children born to Bowie Campbell Gowan and Lelia Davidson Gowan are unknown.
COUNTY ANTRIM, IRELAND
“Muster Rolls of the Ulster Army of 1642” includes the names of some individuals of interest to Gowen researchers.
Portaferry, where a number of these groups mustered is in County Down, near Downpatrick.
muster rolls of the10,000 man Scottish army that was raised to counter the rebellion of the Gaelic Catholics in the north of Ireland who had been displaced by the plantation scheme of King James.
p. 146-147 Regiment of foote company under Alexr Pennycooke, Capt. of Arthur Chichester, Collonell, mustered at Belfast, Co. Antrim, 26 Apr 1642, includes Thomas Gowen, Walter Gowen.
p. 154-155 The regiment of foote company of Sir John Clot-worthy, Knight and Collonell, mustered at Antrim May 4, 1642 includes Alexander M’Gowen.
p. 201-202 Regiment of foote co. under John Cuningham, Capt. Under Sir Wm Stewart, Knt & Collonell mustered at Newtowne, Co. Dunnagall, 20 Aug 1642 includes John M’Gowne.
p. 209-210 Regiment of foote company under Charles Boul-ton, Capt. under Sir Wm. Stewart, Knt & Collonell mustered at Cliford, Aug 22, 1642 includes Donell M’Gowen, Arthur M’Gowen.”
John Gowan was the master of the “Shamrock” which sailed between Belfast and London, according to the Liverpool “Ships List” of 1825.
James Gowen, age 37, emigrated from Belfast to New York aboard the “Raleigh” in 1816, according to “New World Immigrants” by Michael Tepper.
Harry Dodsworth of Ottawa, Ontario wrote:
“Irish emigration was heavy in 1842, and many of the ships were overloaded in the opinion of the Emigration Agent in Quebec, A. C. Buchanan; a dozen significant-ly and four more to the extent that he charged the cap-tains.”
According to the “Montreal Gazette,” the four vessels were:
Captain Ship Departure Arrived Quebec Passengers
Gowan “Dumfrieshire” Belfast July 5 600
Payne Bark “Dromahair” Sligo May 25 262
Talbot Bark “Lord Seaton” Sligo July 6 317
M’Cappin “Independence Belfast July 6 503
The prospecution of Capt. James Gowan of the “Dum-frieshire” required 30 handwritten pages and included both the warrant for his arrest and his bail bond. Mr. Buchanan charged him in the Vice-Admiralty Court under the older Passenger Act of 1835-36. The charge was that he had 524 persons on board plus a crew of 26 which was 144 more than allowed. The fine if convict-ed, and his bail bond were both 20 pounds.
There was never any argument about the facts of the case, but Capt. Gowan got a good lawyer and got off. Charges in the Vice-Admiralty Court had to be prose-cuted by the Attorney General. He was in England and the charge was prosecuted by Mr. T. Primrose, Queen’s Counsel. Unfortunately he didn’t have a formal proxy to act for the Attorney General, and the court held that the charge was not properly prosecuted and was dis-missed.
The opinion of the provincial law officers was taken about an appeal, and the matter was referred to the Colonial Office in London for their views, but the case was dropped. The Quebec lawyers asked London why the ships were allowed to sail overloaded from England or Ireland. London replied that the ships were meas-ured differently in England so most weren’t overloaded. In one case where overloading was admitted, the cus-toms officer had used discretion and allowed it since the passengers had travelled a long way and would have suffered hardship if not allowed to board.”
Ballygowan was the name of a hamlet in County Armagh. Its origin and meaning of name is obscure.
Mrs. Jane Gowan Hamilton was a resident of Armagh, County Armagh in 1776, according to “Irish Records Index, 1500-1920.” Following a fire in the Dublin Record Office in 1922, the government appealed to Irish citizens to donate any copies of records that they held. A vast collection of records was donated, and the LDS Church microfilmed the collection in 1960. Many of the records came from County Armagh, made famous as the seat of St. Patrick. The population of the town in 1974 was 12,000.
Anthony M’Gowan filed suit against John Thornton April 15, 1859, according to Portadown court records published April 30, 1859 in “Portadown Weekly News:”
“John Thornton was charged by Anthony M’Gowan with assault on the 15th of the present month. Two witnesses were examined in support of the charge, after which the defendant was reprimanded by the Court and ordered to find sureties to keep the peace for six months, himself in £10, and two sureties in £5 each.”
Patrick M’Gowan was sentenced to 30 days in jail for theft committed April 22, 1859, according to Portadown court rec-ords published April 30, 1859 in “Portadown Weekly News:”
”Patrick M’Gowan was charged with stealing four silk handkerchiefs, value 10s, from the shop of Mr. Averell Shillington, on Saturday, the 22nd instant. The prison-er pleaded guilty by the advice of his attorney, Mr. At-kinson, and was sentenced to one month imprisonment in Armagh gaol.”
COUNTY CORK, IRELAND
Philip Goen was born in County Cork in 1826 and came to Clinton, Missouri in October 1878. He died at home March 7, 1901 leaving a wife and four children, according to “Annals of Henry County, Missouri” by Kathleen White Miles. He was “buried at Englewood with his daughter, Sister M. Florentine of Franciscan Sisters at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica, New York in attendance.”
Susanna Going Laurence married George Cashel in 1836 in County Cork, Ireland, according to County Cork marriage records
Michael Duggan Gowen was born in 1840 at Lisheen, County Cork, according to James Gowen Boatner, a great-grandson. He emigrated to the United States as a young man. He was married about 1866 to Elizabeth O’Connell, also an Irish emigre. She was born in 1841 in Ballyhooley, County Cork. Although both were from the same vicinity, it is unknown if they were acquainted before they arrived in the United States.
Two sisters, Margaret Gowen and Katherine Gowen emigrated with Michael Duggan Gowan. Elizabeth O’Connell had a sister, Martha O’Connell who accompanied her from Ireland, according to Boatner.
Margaret Gowen was married about 1870, husband’s name Harris. They lived in Brooklyn and Jamaica, Long Island. Katherine Gowen did not marry. Martha O’Connell was married about the same time, husband’s name Albert. They also lived in Brooklyn.
Michael Duggan Gowen and Elizabeth O’Connell were residents of New York City in 1872. They were the parents of:
James Bartholemew Gowen born September 25, 1872
James Bartholomew Gowen, son of Michael Duggan Gowen and Elizabeth O’Connell Gowen, was born in New York September 25, 1872, according to “Biographical Register of Officers and Graduates of U. S. Military Academy” by George W. Cullum.
He was appointed to West Point from New York State in 1894 and was graduated from the military academy in 1898, according to “Who’s Who in America.”
Spain had declared war on the United States April 24, 1898 while Gowen was still a cadet, and the class of 1898 was graduated early because of the war. Second Lieutenant Gowen joined the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment in Tampa, Florida one week later and sailed with it immediately to Cuba, according to his obituary published in “The Assembly,” a publication of the U. S. Military Academy.
In a company commanded by a Civil War veteran, he fought in the Battle of San Juan Hill in which he saw his West Point roommate killed in action. Also fighting up San Juan Hill that day was a lieutenant-colonel by the name of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. “Teddy” Roosevelt was in command of the 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, the “Rough Riders” who led the charge July 1, 1898. The popular hero was nominated for governor of New York two weeks after returning home and won the election. Two years later he was nominated for vice-president on the Republican ticket with William McKinley. When the president was assassinated in September 1901, Roosevelt took the oath as his successor.
Following this battle, Lt. Gowen participated in the siege of Santiago. At the end of hostilities and after recovering from severe malaria, he sailed for the Philippines in 1899 and served three years there with the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment at the height of the of the Insurrection.
He fought in the San Miguel de Mayumo campaign, and for many months his company was deep in the jungles of the Cagayan Valley, far from the headquarters and supply base at Aparri on the coast.
When communications failed he led a small patrol across the mountains of northern Luzon to Baguio City and thence to Manila where he was called in by Gen. Leonard Wood for a full report on the arduous 220-mile journey. He was promoted to first lieutenant March 2, 1899. He was recommended for a brevet captaincy for gallantry in action at San Ildefonso in December 1899. He won the Purple Heart in that action and was appointed military governor in Nueva Viscava in 1900. He, a Catholic, was popular with the Filipinos.
By 1900, his fiance since cadet days, Helene Lily Burlinson of New York City, despaired of his returned to the United States. With the help of Sen. Chancey M. Depew, who took the problem to Secretary of War Elihu Root, she obtained passage on the S.S. Logan, a transport bound for the Philippines. Duly chaperoned by a married sister who was to join her husband there, she reached Manila in January 1901. They were married immediately and established a home at Aparri. She was one of four Burlinson sisters who married army officers. Nancy Burlinson Finnegan wrote October 4, 1997, “Members of my Burlinson family came from Chester, England in the mid-to-late 1800s to settle in New York state.”
Lt. Gowen was reassigned to the 10th Infantry Regiment and promoted to captain in 1902, according to “List of Officers of the U.S. Army.” He remained with the 10th until the outbreak of the World War I. He was stationed at Ft. Benjamin Harrison from July 1908 until March 3, 1911. He was stationed at San Antonio, Texas July 5, 1911 and at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas where he was an honor graduate from the U.S. Army School of the Line in 1912. He served two tours in Panama from January 26, 1913 to December 2, 1914 and October 24, 1916 to January 11, 1917. Maj. Gowen was then stationed at Plattsbury, N. Y. where he was graduated from the Army Staff College.
In World War I, Lt. Col. Gowen commanded the Officers’ Training Camp at Ft. Roots, Arkansas. On August 15, 1917 he was chief of staff of the 38th Infantry Division at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. The division went overseas to France. He later served with the 78th Division in the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France.
Later he was attached to the headquarters of Gen. John L. “Black Jack” Pershing where he was promoted to colonel February 9, 1918. There he was awarded the Purple Heart and the French Order of the Black Star.
After the war he served as executive officer of the Army War College in 1919. He received the Meritorious Service citation May 19, 1919 and the Panamanian Medal August 30, 1919. Col. Gowen was named president of the Infantry Board at the Infantry Training Center, Ft. Benning, Georgia from August 15, 1923 to June 30, 1925, where he later commanded the 29th Infantry Division July 1, 1925 through June 30, 1927.
He was graduated from the Army War College and promoted to brigadier general May 3, 1929 while serving as chief of staff of the Fifth Army Area. Later that year he served as the commanding officer of the First Field Artillery Brigade at Ft. Hoyle, Maryland.
In 1932 he was transferred to Hawaii. “Gen. Gowen and his wife of Schofield Barracks” were listed in the 1933 “Blue Book of Hawaii” where he commanded the 11th Field Artillery Brigade. He retired September 30, 1936 and lived in Arlington, Virginia. He died August 10, 1958, at age 85, in Walter Reed Hospital, according to the “New York Times” which carried his photograph and obituary in its edition of August 11, 1958. His survivors were listed in the account:
“Surviving are his widow, the former Helene Burlinson, and six daughters, Mrs. Hayton I. Boatner of Ft. McNair, Washington, Mrs. Richard C. Prather of Ft. Holabird, Maryland, Mrs. James M. Worthington of Ft. Lewis, Washington, Mrs. W. S. Rockwell of Savannah, Georgia, Mrs. Robert H. Sanders of Falls Church, Virginia and Miss Helene Gowen of Schofield Barracks. He also leaves fourteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.”
He was buried with full military honors in Arlington Cemetery. Children born to James Bartholomew Gowen and Helene Lilly Burlinson include:
Dorothy Aline Gowen born about 1902
Helene Burlinson Gowen born about 1905
Mildred Muriel Gowen born about 1907
Elizabeth Lucille Gowen born about 1910
Mary Marjorie Gowen born about 1913
Kathleen Constance Gowen born about 1916
“Four sons-in-law [one killed in action in Holland in World War II], two grandsons and a great-grandson are West Point graduates,” according to “The Assembly.”
Dorothy Aline Gowen, daughter of James Bartholomew Gowen and Helene Lilly Burlinson Gowen, was born about 1902. She was married to Hayton I. Boatner, U.S. Army about 1922. In 1958 they lived at Ft. McNair.
Helene Burlinson Gowen, daughter of James Bartholomew Gowen and Helene Lilly Burlinson Gowen, was born about 1905. She became an army librarian. In 1958 she was single and living at Schofield Barracks.
Mildred Muriel Gowen, daughter of James Bartholomew Gowen and Helene Lilly Burlinson Gowen, was born about 1907. About 1927 she was married to W. S. Rockwell. In 1958 they lived at Savannah.
Elizabeth Lucille Gowen, daughter of James Bartholomew Gowen and Helene Lilly Burlinson Gowen, was born about 1910. About 1930 she was married to Richard G. Prather, U.S. Army. In 1958 they lived at Ft. Holabird.
Mary Marjorie Gowen, daughter of James Bartholomew Gowen and Helen Lilly Burlinson Gowen, was born about 1913. About 1934 she was married to Robert H. Sanders, U.S. Army. In 1958, they were living at Falls Church.
Kathleen Constance Gowen, daughter of James Bartholomew Gowen and Helen Lilly Burlinson Gowen, was born about 1916. She was married to James M. Worthington about 1936. In 1958 they were living at Ft. Lewis, Washington.
William Gowen was born June 5, 1894 at Ballyhindon, Fermoy, County Cork, according to U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization records. William Gowen arrived in New York City August 22, 1927. He was naturalized May 1, 1933 at the District Court of New York, Southern District. At that time William Gowen was residing at 75 W. 92nd Street, New York.
Matthew A. McGowan was “raised to the priesthood” in September 1890, according to an article in “The Cork Examiner,” of September 29, 1890:
“RAISED TO THE PRIESTHOOD
SIX members of the Order of Friars’ Preachers were raised to the priesthood on Thursday morning in the Church of St. Mary’s, Pope’s Quay, by the Most Rev Dr O’Callaghan, O. P. His Lordship was assisted by the Rev. Father Magrath of the Cathedral. The following are the names of those who were ordained—Revs. Maurice J O’Kelly, Michael D. Sheehan, John H Jones, Joseph A. M’Conville, Matthew A. M’Gowan, and James J. M’Govern. Besides the community of St. Mary’s, there were also present–The Very Rev. Father Paul, the Provincial of the Capuchin Order in Ireland; the Very Rev. Father Browne, O. S. F; the Very Rev. Father Begley, O. S. F, and Very Rev. James J. Ban-non, O. P, Dundalk. A number of relatives of the newly-ordained likewise assisted at the solemn cere-monies, as well as a large congregation of devout persons, who were attracted by the impressive and sacred occurrence.”
COUNTY DERRY, IRELAND
Clotworthy Gowan was appointed a chaplain to Col. John Michelburne’s Regiment, Irish troops, January 11, 1700. He was appointed a chaplain to Col. Henry Conyingham’s Regiment of Irish Dragoons December 19, 1700. His commission was renewed in 1702.
A younger Rev. Clotworthy Gowan was rector of Inverness, County Derry. Children born to him include:
Clotworthy Gowan born about 1750
Clotworthy Gowan, son of Rev. Clotworthy Gowan, was born about 1750. Clotworthy Gowan, Esquire “of Bessingby, near Bridlington and of the East India Service,” was married to Anne Mauleverer, daughter of Thomas Mauleverer September 14 1780 at Ingleby Arncliffe, according to “Transactions of Yorkshire Antiquities Society,” Vol. XVI. Thomas Mauleverer died in 1785, according to “Landed Gentry.” Col. Clotworthy Gowan died September 25, 1809 and was buried at Weston near Bath.
Anne Mauleverer Gowan died June 1, 1832 and was buried at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
Children born to Clotworthy Gowan and Anne Mauleverer Gowan include:
William Gowan born about 1783
William Gowan, eldest son of Col. Clotworthy Gowan and Anne Mauleverer Gowan, was born about 1783. He was married about 1813 to Helen Abercrombie.
Later his name was changed to Mauleverer by an act of Parliament, enabling him to succeed to the Arncliffe property on the death of his aunt in 1833. Details of the Arncliffe manor is described in “Ingleby Arncliffe and Its Owners” by William Brown, F.S.A.
He died in 1857, according to “History of Yorkshire-North Riding.”
Two daughters were born to William [Gowan] Mauleverer and Helen Abercrombie including:
Georgina Helen Mauleverer born about 1818
Georgina Helen Mauleverer, younger daughter of William [Gowan] Mauleverer and Helen Abercrombie Mauleverer, was born about 1818. She was married about 1835 to Douglas Brown. Their descendants eventually succeeded to the Mauleverer property.
George Gowan, Esquire lived in Arncliffe in 1835, according to “Irish Records Index, 1500-1920,” Box T15743, Order 29.
COUNTY DONEGAL, IRELAND
James Emmett Gowen, an Irish emigrant, landed in Philadelphia at the age 15 and by enterprise and dedication, became eminently successful. He guided his nine children into successful businesses and successful marriages. Each generation in turn, built on the financial foundation laid down by James Emmett Gowen, and an empire was created.
His descendants became bankers, lawyers, railroad presidents, coal mine owners, steel mill owners, manufacturers, financiers, career diplomats, politicians and philanthropists. Their marriages were to some of the most successful “main line” families in the Philadelphia social register including Innes, du Pont, Disston, Firestone, Drexel, Coleman, Goodyear, and others.
The Gowen family of Philadelphia, generally admired and envied, became financially the most successful branch of the family in America.
It all started in the impoverished community of NewtonStewart in County Donegal, the northernmost county of Northern Ireland. James Emmett Gowen was born there March 17, 1787, according to “Descendants of Grandpa Gowen,” author unknown. He emigrated to the United States in 1802, and upon his arrival in Philadelphia, secured a job working for “Mr. McKane, Importer of Portuguese Fine Wines.” Later he became a partner with McKane, and upon the death of his employer, took over the business.
In 1815, while serving as best man at the wedding of his friend, Mr. I. Thorp to Catherine Miller, he met his bride-to-be. When teased by the bridesmaids for being “an old bachelor,” he put his hand on the arm of the youngest sister of the bride, Mary Miller, and declared, “I’m waiting for this little girl.” About the end of the year 1829, they were married.
She was descended from Sebastian Muller [later Miller] who, with his brother Baltus Muller came from Germany with Francis Daniel Pastorius in 1683. Pastorius, a German lawyer, became a religious leader and brought a colony of Quakers and Mennonites to Pennsylvania, settling northwest of Philadelphia. He laid out his settlement and named it Germantown, Pennsylvania. It continues today as a section of Philadelphia.
Pastorius delivered a protest against Negro slavery in America at the Yearly Meeting of the Friends, the first protest of its kind by a religious leader in colonies. Two hundred years later, the abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier made Pastorius’ address the subject of his poem, “The Pennsylvania Pilgrim.” His preface to the poem contained a translation of Pastorius’ Latin prologue to the Germantown book of records.
James Emmett Gowen was married at the age of 42 in Germantown to “this little girl,” Mary Miller, daughter of James Miller of Mt. Airy, Pennsylvania. When whiskey became legalized in Philadelphia, James Emmett Gowen declared that the business was no longer a proper vocation for a gentleman and retired to farming at Mt. Airy, a wealthy man. He became known throughout the state as a foremost breeder of shorthorn cattle.
John Gowen, “a brother to James Gowen,” was a candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania about 1828. He died October 4, 1832, according to the “National Genealogical Society Quarterly,” June 1964. After his brother’s death, James Emmett Gowen became interested in politics and considerably irritated “the establishment.”
In an Irish anti-Jackson meeting held in Philadelphia August 6, 1832 James Emmett Gowen and “Mr. Haly” spoke on Irish eloquence. Their speeches were printed and were listed in the National Union Catalogue.
James Gowen, “an Irish mechanic” was nominated for Congress in 1834 in the First Congressional District in Philadelphia, according to “Jacksonian Heritage in Pennsylvania Politics” by Charles McColl Snyder.
James Emmett Gowen made a political speech in Philadelphia in 1837 which was printed and listed in the National Union Catalogue. “James Gowen, low Irish radical politician” was referred to in the “Diary of Sidney George Fisher, 1834-1871,” edited by Nicholas B. Wainwright.
James Emmett Gowen “of Germantown. Pennsylvania” addressed the Lancaster County Agriculture Society at its annual meeting January 13, 1852, according to Library of Congress records [S523.G72]. He delivered an address before the Mercer County Agriculture Society at its annual meeting September 20, 1853. It was printed in a 27-page booklet and is listed in the National Union Catalogue.
James Emmett Gowen died in 1871 at the age of 84.
Children born to James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen include:
Alfred Gowen born about 1831
James Emmet Gowen born in 1832
Ellen Gowen born in 1834
Franklin Benjamin Gowen born February 9, 1836
Mary Gowen born about 1837
Henry Gowen born about 1839
George Gowen born about 1842
Rebecca Gowen born about 1845
Emily Gowen born about 1850
Alfred Gowen, son of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen, was born in Mt. Airy about 1831. He was married about 1854 to Maria Ewing.
Three children were born to them:
Robert Ewing Gowen born about 1856
Mary Gowen born about 1858
Elizabeth Ewing Gowen born about 1862
Robert Ewing Gowen, son of Alfred Gowen and Maria Ewing Gowen, was born about 1856. He was married about 1880 to Charlotte McMurtrie.
One daughter was born to Robert Ewing Gowen and Charlotte McMurtrie:
Virginia Gowen born about 1885
Virginia Gowen, daughter of Robert Ewing Gowen and Charlotte McMurtrie Gowen, was born about 1885. She was married about 1910, husband’s name unknown, and lived in California.
Mary Gowen, daughter of Alfred Gowen and Maria Ewing Gowen, was born about 1858. He died at age 16.
Elizabeth Ewing Gowen, daughter of Alfred Gowen and Maria Ewing Gowen, was born about 1862. She was married about 1881 to Harvey N. Carpenter. One daughter, Elizabeth Carpenter was born to them. She died without issue.
James Emmet Gowen, son of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen, was born in Mt. Airy in 1832. He was married about 1854, to Clementine Innes, according to “Encyclopedia of Biography.” She died about 1860.
James Emmet Gowen was one of the counsel for the defense in the case of Farnham, Kirkan & Company vs. Camden & Amboy Railroad Company before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in January 1864. The defense was printed and deposited in the Library of Congress, Bureau of Railway Economics [A-23-626].
James Emmet Gowen was remarried about 1873 to Mrs. Emiline F. Hopkins, a widow with three daughters whom James Emmet Gowen adopted.
James Emmet Gowen was listed as the head of a household in the 1880 census of Philadelphia, Enumeration District 457, page 5. His family and three servants lived at 5769 Main Street, Philadelphia. They were enumerated June 25, 1880 as:
“Gowen, James E. 50, born in PA, lawyer, father
born in Ireland, mother born in PA
Emiline F. 53, born in PA, father born in PA, mother born in PA
Francis I. 24, born in PA, lawyer
Frederick C. 20, born in PA, in college
Mary 16, born in PA, attending school
Emiline 15, born in PA, attending school
Ellen 10, born in PA, attending school”
James Emmet Gowen joined his brother, Franklin Benjamin Gowen as counsel for the defense in the case of Dinsmore vs. the Railroad Company et al tried in the U. S. Circuit Court at Trenton, New Jersey in November 1883. The 246-page presentation was printed by Allen, Lane & Scott’s Printing House in 1884 and was listed in the National Union Catalogue.
James Emmet Gowen died February 16, 1885, at age 56, according to the February 17, 1885 edition of the “New York Times”.
Children born to James Emmet Gowen and Clementine Innes Gowen include:
Francis Innes Gowen born August 17, 1855
Frederick Clement Gowen born about 1860
Children reared by James Emmet Gowen and Emeline F. Hopkins Gowen include:
Mary Gowen born about 1864
Emilene Gowen born about 1865
Ellen Gowen born about 1870
Francis Innes Gowen, son of James Emmet Gowen and Clementine Innes Gowen, was born at Germantown August 17, 1855. He enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania in 1875. In 1877 he was admitted to the state bar association. The university conferred a B.A. degree upon him in 1906.
He appeared in the 1880 census of Philadelphia living in the household of his father at 5769 Main Street. He was listed as a 24-year-old lawyer. He obtained a marriage license October 4, 1884 to marry Alice Robinson, daughter of Judge John Mitchell Robinson and Mariana S. Emory Robinson of Queen Anne County, Maryland.
“Francis Gowen, 29, white, single, lawyer, Philadelphia” and “Alice Y. Robinson, 26, white, lady” were married October 19, 1884 by J. H. Mitchell, minister, according to Queen Anne County marriage records.
Following the footsteps of his father and uncle, he began to represent the expanding railroad industry as legal counsel. He was a law partner with his father until his death in 1885 and then with his uncle, Franklin Benjamin Gowen until his death in 1889. He then formed a law firm with James E. Hood and Charles E. Ingerson as junior partners.
Following the panic of 1893, the Choctaw Coal & Railroad Company was reorganized by its Philadelphia owners as Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad with Francis Innes Gowen as president. Prior to that time Francis Innes Gowen was appointed, along with James W. Throckmorton, a former governor of Texas, as receivers to operate the defunct CC&RC. During the period of intense coal mining activity in eastern Oklahoma the town of Gowen, Oklahoma was established January 13, 1894 and named for Francis Innes Gowen.
He was also counsel for the Lehigh Valley Railroad at Philadelphia. He was the assistant general solicitor for the Philadelphia & Reading until 1902. He was the General Solicitor for the Philadelphia & Reading until 1912. In that year he was named general counsel for the railroad and continued in that capacity until 1921. He was a director of the Girard Trust Company and Midland Valley Railroad Company. He was a manager of Philadelphia Saving Fund Society. He attended St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church.
He was listed in “Who’s Who in America” in 1920 as counsel for Lehigh Valley Railroad. His home at that time was at 2006 Delaney and his office was in the Broad Street Station, Philadelphia. He died April 8, 1927 at his home.
Children born to Francis Innes Gowen and Alice Robinson Gowen include:
Alison Robinson Gowen born about 1886
James Emmet Gowen born April 22, 1895
Mariana Winder Gowen born about 1899
Alison Robinson Gowen, daughter of Francis Innes Gowen and Alice Robinson Gowen, was born about 1886. She was married about 1910 to W. Frazier Harrison. Later she was remarried to Louis C. Clark.
Children born to them include:
Alfred C. Harrison born about 1912
Alison R. Harrison born about 1915
Alfred C. Harrison, son of W. Frazier Harrison and Alison Robinson Gowen Harrison, was born about 1912. He was married about 1937 to Pauline duPont.
Children born to them include:
Alison Harrison born about 1939
Alfred Harrison born about 1941
Henry duPont Harrison born about 1946
Ruth Ellen Harrison born about 1949
Alison R. Harrison, daughter of Alfred Harrison and Pauline duPont Harrison, was born about 1915. She was married about 1937 to Frank H. Goodyear. Children born to them include:
Alison Goodyear born about 1940
Frank H. Goodyear, Jr. born about 1946
James Emmet Gowen, son of Francis Innes Gowen and Alice Robinson Gowen, was born in Philadelphia April 22, 1895. He was graduated from St. Paul’s school, Concord, New Hampshire about 1913. He received an A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1917 and served as an ensign in the U. S. Navy during World War I. He received an L.L.B. degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1921 and was admitted to the state bar in 1921. He was married to Sally Drexel Henry June 25, 1925. She was born March 28, 1905 to Howard H. Henry.
He began work for the Pennsylvania Railroad legal department shortly after he was admitted to the bar. From 1930 to 1933 he was vice-president of Philadelphia Saving Fund in Philadelphia. He served as president from 1933 to 1939. He was named director of Western Saving Fund Society, Penn Mutual Insurance Company, Insurance Company of North America, Indemnity Insurors, NA Alliance Insurance Company, Philadelphia Fire & Marine Company, United Fireman’s Insurance Company, Muskegon, Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf Railway, Muskogee County Mutual Assurance Company, The Pennsylvania Company, Donaldson Iron Company, Westmoreland, Inc, Drexel Institute of Technology, Baltimore & Wilmington Railway Company and Manor Real Estate & Trust Company.
He was president of Girard Trust Company from 1939 to 1949 and was named president of Girard Trust-Corn Exchange Bank in 1949.
He was listed in 1954-55 “Who’s Who in America.” He was a democrat, Episcopalian, a member of the Philadelphia Club, and the Rabbit Club. In 1954 his residence was at Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, and his office was located at Girard Trust Company.
James Emmet Gowen died July 30, 1969 and was buried at St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery, Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania. Sally Drexel Henry Gowen died February 5, 1977 and was buried beside her husband.
Children born to James Emmet Gowen and Sally Drexel Henry Gowen include:
Francis Innes Gowen born about 1927
Howard Henry Gowen born about 1929
Mariana Winder Gowen, daughter of Francis Innes Gowen and Alice Robinson Gowen, was born in Philadelphia about 1899. She was married about 1918 to George Dawson Coleman. He became president of Ebensburg Coal Company.
He died about 1959. An undated copy of a news article in the “Lebanon Daily News” read:
“The widow and two sons of G. D. Coleman, late of Lebanon and Philadelphia, banker-industrialist, will share his two million dollar estate, it was disclosed by his will which was filed for probate at Media yesterday.
The sons, Bertram D. Coleman who was associated in business with his father and Francis I. G. Coleman, American vice-consul at Marseille, France, are to receive equally all the farms which their late father inherited from his aunt Fanny B. Coleman and his grandmother, Mrs. Debbie B. Coleman.
G. Dawson Coleman maintained a summer home at Elizabeth Farms, near Brickerville. He died February 8 of a heart attack while attending field dog trials at Macon, Mississippi.
He lived at Conestoga Road and Ithan Avenue, Rosemont, near Philadelphia.
He was chairman of the board of Ebensburg Coal Company of Coleman, Inc, both Philadelphia firms, and had been chairman of the board of the First National Bank of Lebanon since 1942. His widow, Mrs. Mariana Gowen Coleman will receive all his personal and household effects and a life income of one half of the estate, according to the terms of the will. Mrs. Coleman, her brother, James Emmett Gowen, chairman of the board of the Girard Trust Company and Girard Trust Company are named executors and trustees.
The sons are to share the income from the balance of the estate after a $24,000 bequest to Francis Coleman to equalize his share in view of a similar amount received with the other son during Mr. Coleman’s lifetime.
The late G. Dawson Coleman was a son of B. Dawson Coleman, banker and coal mine operator, who upon his death left an estate of $5,000,000.
Martha Winder Gowen Coleman was instrumental in the transfer of Coleman Memorial Park, location of five estates belonging to the Coleman family, to the city of Lebanon, Pennsylvania in the 1960s. The 350th anniversary of the founding of Lebanon was observed in 1990.
She died February 28, 1975. Her obituary in the “Lebanon Daily News” read:
“Mrs. G. Dawson Coleman, the former Marian Winder Gowen, and Philadelphia area civic leader, died Friday at Bryn Mawr Hospital after a long illness. She was 77 and lived at 415 Caversham Road, Bryn Mawr.
Mrs. Coleman was a member of the board of the Home of the Merciful Savior for Crippled Children in Philadelphia for 51 years. She was a former chairman of the board of managers of the Church Farm School in Paoli, Delaware County; a former life trustee of the Foxcroft School, Middleburg, Virginia and board member of the old Women’s Hospital in West Philadelphia.
She was also a former chairman of the Devon County Fair; a former board member of the Harriton Association, an historical restoration group and a former board member of the Young Women’s Christian Association in Philadelphia.
Surviving are two sons, Bertram D. and Francis I. G. and six grandchildren.
Funeral services will be at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Pennswood Road and New Gulp Road, Bryn Mawr.”
Children born to them include:
Bertram Dawson Coleman, Jr. born December 1, 1919
Frances Innes Gowen Coleman born about 1921
Bertram Dawson Coleman, Jr, son of George Dawson Coleman and Mariana Winder Gowen Coleman, was born December 1, 1919 in Philadelphia. He was a descendant of Robert Coleman and Ann Old Coleman who emigrated from Ireland in 1764 and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
During World War II he served in the U. S. Navy. Having enlisted in July 1940, before hostilities, he served until December 1945 and was discharged as a commander. He was communications officer aboard the U.S.S. Almaack, commanding officer of a mine sweeper in the North Atlantic and executive officer aboard the U.S.S. Fullam, a destroyer in the South Pacific. Later he was commander of Destroyer Flotilla 5 in the occupation of China and Korea. He was awarded the Bronze Star.
He was graduated B.A. from Yale University in 1942 and received an L.L.B. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1949. He was married November 26, 1949 in St. Paul’s Church, Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania to Patricia Disston, daughter of William Dunlop Disston and Dorothea Pratt Disston of Chestnut Hill.
He was president of Ebensburg Coal Company from 1950 to 1957. From 1958 to 1965 he was a partner in Drexel & Company. In 1966, he became president of Drexel, Harriman, Ripley, Inc. In 1971, he was chairman of Drexel, Firestone, Inc, retiring in 1972. He was a director of Western Savings Bank of Philadelphia, Griet Realty Trust, Rockower Bros, Inc. and Abitibi Paper & Power Co, The Wyomissing Corp, Susan Thomas, Inc, Greenfield Investment Realty Trust, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Home of the Merciful
Savior and Agnes Irwin School. He was a member of the Sons of the War of 1812. He died in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania October 29, 1976 at the age of 56.
His obituary appeared in the “Lebanon Daily News:”
“Bertram Dawson Coleman, 56, was killed Thursday in an automobile accident in Bryn Mawr.
He was a former member of the board of directors of the First National Bank of Lebanon. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and was retired with the rank of commander.
He commanded the destroyer escort U.S.S. Fulham and received the Bronze Star for combat service as its executive officer in the attacks on the Marianas and Palau Islands, in the first Battle of the Philippine Sea. He also received a commendation ribbon and the Philippine Liberation ribbon.
He was a direct descendant of Robert Coleman, the original owner of Elizabeth Farms, now an historical landmark. At one time the Coleman family owned Cornwall ore banks and the American Iron & Steel Co.
Coleman is survived by his widow, the former Patricia Disston and a son, William D, New York; two daughters, Carol and Mariana G, Bryn Mawr and a brother, Francis I. G. Coleman. Services were held in the Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr.”
Children born to Bertram Dawson Coleman and Patricia Dunlop Coleman include:
Carol Coleman born about 1953
William Disston Coleman born about 1956
Mariana Gowen Coleman born about 1960
Francis Innes Gowen Coleman, son of George Dawson Coleman and Mariana Winder Gowen Coleman, was born in Bryn Mawr about 1921. He was married October 5, 1957, bride’s name unknown. They sailed October 22, 1957 from New York to Naples, Italy aboard the S.S. Independence. He was with the U. S. State Department stationed with the American Embassy in Naples. In November 1976 he was vice-consul at Marseille, France.
Children born to Francis Innes Gowen Coleman include:
Bruce Coleman born about 1960
Ann Coleman born about 1962
Craig Coleman born about 1964
Frederick Clement Gowen, son of James Emmet Gowen and Clementine Innes Gowen, was born about 1860. He did not marry.
Mary Gowen, daughter of James Emmet Gowen and Emeline F. Hopkins Gowen, was born about 1864. She did not marry.
Emeline Gowen, daughter of James Emmet Gowen and Clementine Innes Gowen, was born about 1865. She did not marry.
Ellen Gowen, daughter of James Emmet Gowen and Clementine Innes Gowen, was born about 1870. She was married about 1889 to Ralph Robinson of Baltimore. Five daughters were born to them:
Ellen Gowen Robinson born about 1891
Mariana Robinson born about 1893
Emeline Hopkins Robinson born about 1896
Amy Robinson born about 1899
Frances Robinson born about 1903
Ellen Gowen Robinson, daughter of Ralph Robinson and Ellen Gowen Robinson, was born about 1891. She was married about 1911 to Adgate Duer. Two children were born to them:
Adgate Duer, Jr. born about 1913
Ellen Duer born about 1916
Adgate Duer, Jr, son of Adgate Duer and Ellen Gowen Robinson Duer, was born about 1913. About 1940 he was married to Phyllis Bartis of England. Three children were born to them:
Margaret Duer born about 1942
Adgate Duer born about 1947
Phyllis Duer born about 1950
Ellen Duer, daughter of Adgate Duer and Ellen Gowen Duer, was born about 1916. She was married about 1940 to Leland Webber. Three children were born to them:
Leland Webber born about 1942
Randolph Webber born about 1947
Ellen Gowen Webber born about 1950
Mariana Robinson, daughter of Ralph Robinson and Ellen Gowen Robinson, was born about 1893. She was married about 1930 to Norman Waddington. No children were born to them.
Emeline Hopkins Robinson, daughter of Ralph Robinson and Ellen Gowen Robinson, was born about 1896. She was married about 1920 to Clarence Fisher. One daughter was born to them:
Emeline Fisher born about 1924
Emeline Fisher, daughter of Clarence Fisher and Emeline Hopkins Robinson Fisher, was born about 1924. She was married about 1948 to Dr. Donald Miller. Five children were born to them:
Donald Miller born about 1950
Richard Miller born about 1951
Woodward Miller born about 1953
Emeline Miller born about 1956
Melinda Miller born about 1959
Amy Robinson, daughter of Ralph Robinson and Ellen Gowen Robinson, was born about 1899. She was married about 1920 to Francis Read. Two daughters were born to them:
Anne Read born about 1922
Frances Read born about 1925
Anne Read, daughter of Francis Read and Amy Robinson Read, was born about 1922. She was married about 1946 to John C. Rodgers. Two children were born to them:
Anne Rodgers born about 1948
Amy Rodgers born about 1951
Frances Read, daughter of Francis Read and Amy Robinson Read, was born about 1925. She was married about 1950 to Stuart Baldwin. No children were born to them.
Francis Robinson, daughter of Ralph Robinson and Ellen Gowen Robinson, was born about 1903. She was married about 1923 to Henry Baker. Two sons were born to them:
Ralph Robinson Baker born about 1925
Henry Baker, Jr. born about 1928
Ralph Robinson Baker, son of Ralph Robinson and Ellen Gowen Robinson, was born about 1925. He became a medical doctor. He was married about 1950 to Jean Harvey. Children born to them include:
Susan D. Baker born about 1952
Robinson S. Baker born about 1954
Robert W. Baker born about 1957
Henry Baker, Jr, son of Ralph Robinson and Ellen Gowen Robinson, was born about 1928. He was married about 1951 to Marian Stockton Townsend. Three children were born to them:
Frances R. Baker born about 1953
Sandra S. Baker born about 1956
Stockton T. Baker born about 1959
Ellen Gowen, daughter of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen, and namesake of her aunt was born in 1834 at Mt. Airy. She was married June 7, 1853 to Samuel Hood, according to “Appleton’s Encyclopedia of American Biography.”
Children born to Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood include:
Mary Hood born about 1855
Henry Hood born about 1856
James Ewing Hood born about 1857
Samuel Hood, Jr. born about 1858
George Gowen Hood born July 14, 1863
John Parke Hood born about 1866
Frederick Hood born about 1869
Ellen Hood born about 1871
Mary Hood, daughter of Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood, was born about 1855. She died unmarried.
Henry Hood, of Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood, was born about 1856 and died in infancy.
James Ewing Hood, son of Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood, was born about 1857. He was married about 1880 to Esther Gowen. No children were born to them.
Samuel Hood, Jr, of Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood, was born about 1858 and died in infancy.
George Gowen Hood, son of Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood, was born July 14, 1863 in Philadelphia. He became a chemical engineer. He was married in San Francisco August 22, 1911 at age 48, to Helen Josephine Sidney Smith. George Gowen Hood died in July 1932.
One daughter was born to them:
Ellen Gowen Hood born October 25, 1912
Ellen Gowen Hood, daughter of George Gowen Hood and Helen Josephine Smith Hood, was born in Philadelphia October 25, 1912. She was married about 1933 to Lloyd Morris Coates. Ella Gowen Hood Coates was later remarried to Cummins Catherwood.
Two sons were born to the first marriage:
Lloyd Morris Coates, Jr. born about 1935
George G. H. Coates born about 1938
One son was born to the second marriage:
Cummins Catherwood, Jr. born about 1946
John Parke Hood, son of Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood, was born about 1866. He was married about 1890 to Emily Thompson.
Four children were born to them:
John Parke Hood, Jr. born about 1892
Sidney Hood born about 1896
James Gowen Hood born about 1898
Heber Hood born about 1901
John Parke Hood, Jr, son of John Parke Hood and Emily Thompson Hood, was born about 1892. He was married about 1914 to Marjorie Koch. Later he was remarried to Aurelia Wiegand, and no children were born to the second union.
Two children were born to them:
John Parke Hood III born about 1917
Marjorie Hood born about 1921
John Parke Hood III, son of John Parke Hood, Jr. and Marjorie Koch Hood, was born about 1917. He was married about 1941 to Mary Billingsley.
Three children were born to them:
John Billingsley Hood born about 1943
Barbara Ann Hood born about 1947
Susan Hood born about 1950
Marjorie Hood, daughter of John Parke Hood, Jr. and Marjorie Koch Hood, was born about 1921. She was married about 1946 to Richard Lee Yuengling.
Two children were born to them:
Richard Lee Yuengling born about 1949
Patricia Hood Yuengling born about 1953
Sidney Hood, daughter of John Parke Hood and Emily Thompson Hood, was born about 1896. She was married about 1919 to Charles Sidney Haight.
Two children were born to them:
Ellen Gowen Haight born about 1922
Lois Haight born about 1925
Ellen Gowen Haight, daughter of Charles Sidney Haight and Sidney Hood Haight, was born about 1922. She was married about 1947 to Lawrence Hawkes.
Three daughters were born to them:
Ellen Gowen Hawkes born about 1950
Margaret Hawkes born about 1953
Elizabeth Hawkes born about 1957
Lois Haight, daughter of Charles Sidney Haight and Sidney Hood Haight, was born about 1925. She was married about 1949 to Kneeland McNulty.
Three children were born to them:
Rita McNulty born about 1952
Robert Charles McNulty born about 1955
Carol McNulty born about 1958
James Gowen Hood, son of John Parke Hood and Emily Thompson Hood, was born about 1898. He was married about 1921 to Lula Archer.
One son was born to them:
James Gowen Hood, Jr. born about 1924
Heber Hood, son of John Parke Hood and Emily Thompson Hood, was born about 1901. He did not marry.
Frederick Hood, son of Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood, was born about 1869. He died in infancy.
Ellen Hood, daughter of Samuel Hood and Ellen Gowen Hood, was born about 1871. She did not marry.
Franklin Benjamin Gowen, son of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen, was born February 9, 1836 at Mt. Airy, [Philadelphia], Pennsylvania. He was sent to a Catholic school at Emmitsburg, Maryland, and from this institution he was transferred to the Moravian School at Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where his formal education was finished.
He became a clerk in a store at Lancaster at the age of 19 and two years later accepted the superintendency of a furnace at Shamokin, Pennsylvania. Here he became acquainted with the vast resource of the anthracite coal fields, which had much to with his later career. For a time, he engaged in mining as a member of the firm of Turner & Gowen. He was admitted to the bar in May 1860 and acquired an extensive and lucrative practice.
He was married about 1860 to Esther Brisbane of Sunbury, Pennsylvania, according to “Descendants of Grandpa Gowen.” In 1862 he was elected district attorney of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. He was elected a member of the constitutional convention of Pennsylvania in 1872 and took a conspicuous part in the work.
The most dramatic happening of his life was his work as counsel for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the prosecution of the Molly Maguires.
This famous secret society had terrorized the anthracite coal regions for 20 years. Everyone knew when he undertook the work that he risked his life because he was dealing with a band of successful, experienced murderers.
He put detectives on the case, one of whom lived and worked among the members of the secret society for three years, ultimately becoming a member of the organization. Upon the testimony of this man and corroborating evidence gathered by Gowen himself, he obtained the conviction and execution of a number of the leaders and broke up the organization. Shortly afterward, at the height of his popularity, he was nominated for governor of Pennsylvania.
Of the Molly Maguires, Jean Rice wrote:
“The Molly Maguires of Pennsylvania got their name from a secret society active in Ireland just before the Famine. According to one popular story, Molly Maguire was an old woman threatened with eviction from her cottage. The Molly Maguires were a secret society that used its power to aid its members in labor disputes. It was founded in Ireland and its branches were
started in Pennsylvania in 1867. Its members terrorized the hard-coal region
of Pennsylvania and they were finally suppressed in 1877.
In Pennsylvania, a powerful trade union movement, the Workingmen’s Benevolent
Association (WBA), had become the largest union in the nation. In a series
of strikes in the late 1860s and early 1870s, the union won important victories,
not the least of which was recognition by the employers and the linking
of wages to the price of coal. But in the 1870s, it met a rival in the
person of Franklin B. Gowen. President of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway
Co., Gowen was determined to destroy all obstacles in his way, including
small-scale entrepreneurs, trade unionists and the Molly Maguires. Half
the leaders of the union were Irish-born. The Mollys, composed of Irishmen
and favoring tactics of violence, acted as a shadow organization. To gather
information against the Mollys, Gowen hired America’s foremost private
detective Allan Pinkerton.
At the end of 1874, Gowen declared war on the trade union, inaugurating
the famous “Long Strike,” which would culminate in the union’s defeat and
collapse in June 1875. Between mid-June and early September, the Molly’s
assassinated a policeman, a justice of the peace, a miner, two mine foremen,
and a mine superintendent. Two years later, the Molly Maguires were brought
to trial. More than 50 men, women and children were indicted. The star
prosecutor at the great showcase trials in Pottsville was none other than
Franklin B. Gowen. Twenty Molly Maguires were hanged in all, ten of them
on a single day – June 21, 1877, know to the people of the anthracite region
as “Black Thursday.”
A handbill put out by the Pinkerton National Detective Agency read:
List of Fugitive Mollie* Maguires, 1879
William Love – Murderer of Thos. Gwyther, at Girardville, Pa, August 14th,
1875. Is a miner and boatman: 26 years old; 5 ft. 9 in. high; medium build;
weighs about 150 lbs; light complexion; grey eyes; yellow hair; light moustache;
has a scar from burn on left side of neck under chin, and coal marks on
hands; this and sharp features; generally dresses well. Lived at Girardville,
Schuylkill Co., Pa.
Thomas Hurley – Murderer of Gomer Jamas, August 14th, 1875. Is a miner;
25 years old; 5 ft. 8 in. high; well built; weighs about 160 pounds; sandy
complexion and hair; small piercing eyes; smooth face; sharp features;
large hands and feet; wears black hat and dark clothes; lived in Shenandoah,
Schuykill Co., Pa.
Michael Doyle – Murderer of Thomas Sanger and Wm. Uren, September 1st,
1875; is a miner; 25 years old; 5 ft. 5 in. high; medium build; dark complexion;
black hair and eyes; full round face and head; smooth face and boyish looking
generally; wears a cap. Lived at Shenandoah.
James, Alias Friday O’Donnell – Murderer of Sanger and Uren, is 26 years
old; 5 ft. 10 1/2 in. high; slim built; fair complexion; smooth face; dark
eyes; brown hair; generally wears a cap; dresses well; is a miner and lived
at Wiggan’s Patch, Pa.
James McAllister – Murderer of Sanger and Uren, is 27 years old; 5 ft.
8 in. high; stout built; florid complexion; full broad face, somewhat freckled;
light hair and moustache; wears a cap and dark clothes; lives at Wiggan’s
John, Alias Humpty Flynn – Murderer of Thomas Devine, October 11th, 1875,
and Geo. K. Smith, at Audenreid, November 5th, 1863. Is 53 years old; 5
ft. 7 or 8 in. high; heavy built; sandy hair and complexion; smooth face;
large nose; round shouldered and almost humpbacked. Is a miner and lived
at New Philadelphia, Schuylkill Co., Pa.
Jerry Kane – Charged with conspiracy to murder. Is 38 years old; 5 ft.
7 in. high; dark complexion; short brown hair; sharp features; sunken eyes;
roman nose; coal marks on face and hands; wears black slouch hat; has coarse
gruff voice. Is a miner and lived at Mt. Laffee, Pa.
Frank Keenan – Charged with conspiracy to murder. Is 31 years old; 5 ft.
7 in. high; dark complexion; black hair, inclined to curl and parted in
the middle; sharp features; slender but compactly built; wear a cap and
dark clothes. Is a miner and lived at Forrestville, Pa.
William Gavin – Charged with conspiracy to murder. Is 42 years old; 5 ft.
8 in. high; sandy hair and complexion; stout built; red chin whiskers;
face badly pock-marked; has but one eye; large nose; formerly lived at
Big Mine Run, Pa. Is a miner. Wears a cap and dark clothes.
John Reagan – Murderer of Patrick Burns at Tuscarora, April 15th, 1870.
About 5 ft. 10 or 11 in. high; 40 year old; small goatee; stoop shouldered;
dark hair, cut short; coal marks on hands and face; has a swinging walk;
wears shirt collar open at the neck.
Thomas O’Neill – Murderer of Patrick Burns at Tuscarora, April 15th, 1870.
About 5 ft. 9 in. high; 35 years old; light hair; very florid complexion;
red moustache, and think red goatee; stoop shouldered; walks with a kind
of a jerk; think has some shot marks on back of neck and wounded on right thigh.
Patrick B. Gallagher, Alias Pug Nose Pat – Murder of George K. Smith, at
Audenreid, November 5th, 1863. About 5 ft. 8 in. high; medium built; dark
complexion and hair; latter inclined to curl; turned up nose; thick lips;
wears a frown on his countenance; large coal cut across the temple; from
32 to 35 years old; has been shot in the thigh.”
In 1870, he was elected president of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, for which he had been counsel since 1864. His administration of the road was marked by great ability, but his record was marred by the fact that the company encountered financial difficulty during his administration. This was due, at least in part, to his policy of tying up the anthracite coal mines with the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. He planned, as he said in a report to stockholders, “to secure–and attach to the company’s railroad– a body of coal-land capable of supplying all the coal-tonnage that can possibly be transported over the road.”
Many of the speeches, presentations and writing of Franklin Benjamin Gowen have been preserved.
His argument in the cases of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad Company vs. the Catawissa Railroad Company, the Great Western Railway Company delivered in June, before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania was published by H. G. Leisenring’s Steam Printing House in Philadelphia and deposited in the Library of Congress.
Also in the Library of Congress is the argument of Franklin Benjamin Gowen, counsel for the Commonwealth in the case of The Commonwealth vs. Thomas Munley, indicted for the murder of Thomas Sanger, a mining boss at Raven Run, Pennsylvania. On September 1, 1875 in Schuykill County. Munley was a member of the secret organization known as the “Molly Maguries.”
He appeared before the Committee on Commerce, House of Representatives, January 7, 1880. His comments were published and are on deposit in the Library of Congress [HE2757.1880G7].
On April 23, 1881 Franklin Benjamin Gowen, president of Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, addressed the share and bondholders at the Philadelphia Academy of Music.
Upon the invitation of the citizens of Philadelphia he spoke on the position which the city of Philadelphia should occupy to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to its transportation lines and to the railway problem of the day June 16, 1881 at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The speech was published by the invitation committee and is on deposit in the Library of Congress [HE2781 P6G6].
On November 10, 1881 he spoke at a public meeting called at Cannon Street Hotel, London, England concerning the condition of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. He was then the ex-president of the line.
At that time, Franklin Benjamin Gowen resided at Mt. Airy. In 1883 was a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. On December 11, 1885 he addressed the Society on “The Liberty of the Press.”
He spoke to the share and bondholders of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company at the academy of Music, Philadelphia, December 11, 1885.
Franklin Benjamin Gowen accumulated a fine library of the “best English edition in choice bindings which was sold in January 1897 after his death.”
The policies of Franklin Benjamin Gowen brought disaster to the railroad. The company defaulted on the interest of his obligations in 1880, and the road was placed in the hands of receivers by the United States circuit court. Gowen continued to direct operations, and the management of its finances, however, and it was later restored to the stockholders. Shortly afterward it passed through a second period of receivership. Many of the properties which he acquired during the period of expansion subsequently became immensely profitable.
After his resignation from the presidency of the Reading, Gowen practiced law and acquired a position of preeminence. In December 1889 while in Washington, D. C. to appear before the Interstate Commerce Commission in behalf of one of his clients, he committed suicide in his room at a hotel, by firing a bullet into his brain.
No satisfactory explanation could be found for his act, according to Scribner’s “Dictionary of American Biography,” Volume VII. “He was in good health, at the height of his mental powers, well-to-do and enjoying the respect of his contemporaries.”
His obituary appeared in the “Philadelphia Public Ledger” December 16, 1889, the “Philadelphia North American,” December 16, 1889, the “Baltimore Sun,” December 16, 1889. The case that Franklin Benjamin Gowen prepared against the Molly Maguires was reported in the “Miners Journal” in 1876. He is mentioned in the “History of Philadelphia” by Scharf and Westcott. A narrative of his life was included in “Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Biography of Pennsylvania,” Volume II.
“Gowen, Ruler of the Reading–The Life of Franklin B. Gowen, 1836-1889” was published in 1947 by Archives Publishing Company of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Marvin W. Schegel was the author of the 308-page book.
In its edition of December 15, 1889 the “New York Times” carried as its banner story on page one an account of the suicide of Franklin Benjamin Gowen, as follows”
“GOWEN’S TRAGIC DEATH
The Railroad Magnate Takes His Own Life
Shooting Himself In His Room In Washington
Friends Unable To Assign Any Reason For Suicide
Washington, Dec. 14–Franklin B. Gowen, the well-known railroad officer and lawyer, was found dead in his room at Wormley’s Hotel this afternoon. He had shot himself.
The immediate circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Gowen are shrouded in mystery. The last seen of him at the hotel before his body was discovered was about 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon when he came down to the dining room to take lunch. He then appeared to be in excellent spirits and gave no manifestation of existing trouble.
Later in the afternoon a chambermaid of the hotel went to the room occupied by Mr. Gowen, but found the key was on the inside and Mr. Gowen in the room.
At an early hour this morning the chambermaid went again to the room and found the door still locked, but paid no attention to it. About noon she went to the door again, and this time, finding it still locked she became alarmed and informed Mr. Wormley, the proprietor of the hotel, of the condition of affairs.
Mr. Wormley immediately made an investigation. Getting a chair to stand on, he looked through the transom when a horrible sight met his gaze. Lying on the floor of the room was the dead body of Mr. Gowen, and beside his knee lay a pistol of small calibre.
The body was found lying on the floor with the head under the table. The dead man had evidently stood up before the mirror and fired the fatal shot, for his blood had splashed upon the foot of the bureau. The weapon was of .38 calibre, new, and from the nature of the wound, it must have been pressed closely against the suicide’s right temple, for the burned powder had been driven into his head. The pistol itself lay on the hearth several feet from the body, and its ivory handle was crimsoned with blood which had also soaked through Mr. Gowen’s coat and underwear. Through the wound in the head the brains were oozing.
The body was cold which, at first, led to the belief that death had occurred yesterday. But later developments have modified that belief. A gentleman who occupied the room adjoining that where the suicide was committed is habitually in the room except between the hours of 7 and 10 o’clock at night, and he is confident that he would have heard the report of a pistol if fired during last night. Then the droplight was found overturned and unlit on the floor. The bed had apparently been occupied though the covering had been carelessly arranged, and confirmatory evidence that the deed was committed was found by the Coroner in the perfect pliability of the limbs of the body which would probably have stiffened if it had lain overnight.
The friends of Mr. Gowen were indignant tonight at the hasty and irregular manner in which the body was removed from the hotel, which they say was not becoming treatment for a man of his high character. It appears that as soon as the landlord discovered the body he summoned a policeman.
A man of slight build was helped through the opening for the transom, which had been removed, and the turned the key which was on the inside, and unlocked the door, admitting the people in the corridor. Without awaiting the action of the Coroner the body was hastily removed to the morgue to the New Jersey Avenue station.
As soon as the news reached the friends of the deceased, Representatives Maish and Riley of Pennsylvania hurried off to the police station and protested earnestly against this action. They communicated with Coroner Patterson, who responded promptly, and after, viewing the body, decided, as is customary, in cases where suicide is evident, that an inquest was unnecessary. He also authorized removal of the body which was turned over to the friends of the deceased. Undertaker Spears was summoned, and soon removed the body to his establishment where it was decently arranged.
Soon after 9 o’clock Franklin I. Gowen, the nephew and business partner of the deceased, arrived at Washington from Philadelphia and proceeded immediately to the undertaker’s shop. He was accompanied by J. E. Hood [his son-in-law] and Capt. Lindom. By his direction the body was placed in the plain oak box which had been made for it, the cover screwed down and it was takened immediately to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station, where it was placed aboard the 10:30 train and carried to Philadelphia.
No doubt is felt by the friends of Mr. Gowen here that he committed suicide, but everybody is at a loss for anything like a plausible explanation of the motive for the act.
All of the testimony that could be gotten tonight was to the effect that Mr. Gowen was an extremely temperate man and certainly it could not be learned that he had indulged in intoxicating liquors during his last stay here. Mr. Gowen was well known here publicly. He was one of the counsel for individual producers who appeared before the House Commit-tee on Manufactures during the last congress, when it was in-vestigating the subject of trusts, and has since been here fre-quently in the conduct of cases arising before the Inter State Commerce Commission. The news of his suicide was a great shock to members of the commission who looked upon him as a shrewd, able and courageous lawyer, and regarded him as one of the foremost men in his profession that have ever appeared before them. He was well liked by them and his loss is keenly felt.
Since Monday, when he arrived in Washington, Mr. Gowen devoted himself to the business which brought him here, the oil case of George Rice against the Louisville & Nashville and other Southern and Western companies and he had busied himself in taking depositions required to complete his case.
PHILADELPHIA–December 14–Without a known fact in the circumstances of the tragedy to sustain them, there are plenty of well-informed men in this city to-night who are saying that they do not believe Franklin B. Gowen committed suicide. But that he was assassinated in revenge for the score or more Mollie Maguires he caused to be executed about ten years ago.
This shows some measure of the concern aroused in railroad, business, legal and social circles by the telegram from Washington this afternoon, saying that Mr. Gowen had shot himself. A man of superb physique, splendid health, regular habits, without a vice, of dauntless courage, and the most buoyant and sanguine spirit, Mr. Gowen was the last man in the world that those who knew him would think likely to take his own life.
His devoted wife and beautiful and accomplished daughter, who comprise all of his immediate family, are at their beautiful Mount Airy residence, surrounded by sympathetic friends, but utterly prostrated by the shock.
Mr. Gowen’s next closest relative in this city is his nephew, Francis I. Gowen, a rising young lawyer, who occupied the same office with his uncle. The nephew, at 3 o’clock, had confirmation of the bad news. Mr. Delaney, the chief clerk, broke down completely, and when Mr. F. I. Gowen came out of the inner office he was visibly affected.
‘What can I say,’ he exclaimed, ‘at this appalling intelligence which is just confirmed. Mr. Gowen went away from his office last Monday as bright in spirits and apparently so happy and seemingly as sound in mind, memory and understanding as he ever was in all his busy and energetic life. We are simply overwhelmed at his calamity. What can I say more!’
The dead man’s offices were filled with friends who expressed their sorrow at the sudden calamity that deprived Philadelphia of one of its most brilliant leaders in thought and action.
George D. B. Keim, President of the Reading Coal & Iron Company, at one time President of the Reading Railroad Company, and for many years chief counsel of the company, was found in his office in the Reading Railroad Building. He was overwhelmed at the sudden death of ex-President Gowen.
He said: ‘I was never more shocked in my life than at the mel-ancholy news which reached me from Washington a few moments ago. The last man whose death I expected was Mr. Gowen. It is inexplicable, and I am momentarily expecting an explanation of this sad ending of one of the most brilliant men in this country has ever produced. No man knew President Gowen better than I did. He was only 50 years old and apparently happy, contented and hopeful of the future.
With a family to whom he was devoted, comfortably fixed as far as this world’s goods were concerned. I cannot explain the sudden ending of a life as brilliant and useful and that of Franklin B. Gowen. I know of no cause which could led to his death in this sad manner. He was a great man in Napoleon’s definition of greatness, when he said: ‘A great man is a man who can accomplish great things.’
Albert H. O’Brien, Assistant General Manager of the Reading Railroad, said: ‘He was an aggressive man, strong in his con-victions. Possessed of much warmth of feeling, he loved his friends. Like all aggressive or affirmative natures, he made enemies; but he had troops of friends who were bound to him with hooks of steel. He had enough of this world’s goods being possessed of at least $250,000 in the junior bonds, so-called, of the Reading 5 percents. There is no known reason for this sad ending for a man dowered with such splendid intellectual gifts as those possessed by Franklin B. Gowen. I cannot realize the fact that Gowen is dead.’
J. Bridgon White, for many years comptroller of the Phila-delphia & Reading Railroad Company, said: ‘Gowen never committed suicide. I will never believe it on the present evi-dence. He was either murdered or the pistol was accidentally discharged.’
Col. Myers, another life long friend, spoke in the same way. ‘Gowen never shot himself purposely’ he said.
Mr Gowen’s friends here say that from the time he became president of the Reading Railroad Company in 1872, his whole life was wrapped up in the possibilities of this corpor-ation. It was to him a huge kaleidoscope, each aspect of which created new splendors upon which he doted, and his visionary disposition caused him to ponder the development to a degree which carried him beyond the bounds of practical business plans. He was persuasive and possessed of a mag-netism which attracted attention and admiration from enemies and friends alike. He was an optimist of the most exaggerated type, and in his management of the Reading he had one theory and could only see one result by its application.
After acquiring 90,000 acres of coal mines he reasoned that the Reading would profit by the production of coal at a loss. He argued that while the Reading might lose 20 cents per ton by mining coal, it would make such a profit by hauling coal to market that the loss by mining would be trifling, and he even argued that the output of coal should be increased $3,000,000 per annum. He failed to consider however that the enormous increase of production would demoralize the coal market and cause a contraction of profits upon the coal already produced. It is believed by many that he never abandoned the hope that he would be reinstated as president of the company, and that he had cherished this hope of late until it became a delusion which aided to unbalance his mind.
He was the legal champion of the third preference bondholders who have insisted that they should have been paid 7.5 percent interest on their bonds instead of 2.5 percent for the 18 months ending November 30, 1888.
The income bonds, of which Mr. Gowen held about $250,000, have depreciated in value till the first preference bonds lost 5 percent, the second 13 percent and the third 7 percent. He held 5,000 shares of Reading stock which had shrunk from $32 to $20 per share within 10 years, a loss of $60,000 upon Mr. Gowen’s holdings. It was a matter of speculation on the street whether these losses and the realization that all efforts toward being restored to the Presidency of the company were futile, impelled him to take his life.
MAKING HIS OWN CAREER
The career of Franklin B. Gowen was in many ways remark-able. Starting in life with his talent for capital he rose to commanding place in railroad and financial management.
There were times also which he showed that in other lines of work he might have stood high. His ability as an advocate was brilliant. There was little occasion to employ it in direc-tion to call for public applause in the dry, stern work set before him in the management of a decrepit railroad company. At times he manifested an aptitude for politics which offered many allurements to him and in which no doubt he might have engaged with conspicuous success. His business ventures organized in connection with the railroad were sagacious. In his personality he enjoyed alike the respect of the magnates of whom he had to seek favors and the entire confidence of the thousands whose savings supplied in good part the original stock lists of the enterprises which he managed.
It was a railroad man that his life became of chief interest to the public. Whether or not, in view of the temptations laid before him for the easy and rapid acquirement of fame and worth, an occupation was agreeable to him which kept him at the grindstone in perpetual drudgery Mr. Gowen never made complaint. Much of cheer and promise as was furnished for years to the patient stockholders of his enterprise came from him and even to the speculative element, whose interest in what he did reached scarcely beyond the Stock Exchange, he stood as the embodiment of these enterprises. His integrity, his tireless and enthusiastic devotion to his work, his vast fund of hope and his evident honesty of purpose did more than any-thing else to keep the Reading properties afloat when they needed a buoyant influence.
Under an average manager the properties would have passed to a receiver at times when, Under Mr. Gowen’s guidance, the outlook seemed brighter.
Balances on the wrong side only spurred him to new efforts. But in this connection the thing most remarkable was that those whose money was involved believed so implicitly in him that a loss at his hands was borne with positive cheerfulness. In that light the Reading management was a merry under-taking over a long series of years.
The confidence that Mr. Gowen inspired in his railroad work was due in great measure to his personal qualities. No one could meet him without believing in the sincerity of the man. He possessed in an imminent degree with the power to command attachments. In any calling he would have enjoyed the firm allegiance of his associates. He was a natural leader who, carried men with him by persuasion and who retained them by a reciprocal loyalty which often required courage and sacrifice of self. In Philadelphia, where he lived, and where Reading interests were chiefly lodged for many years, these qualities were fully appreciated. That alone explains the trust and affection with which so far an individual interests could be massed, he was sustained in all he undertook or proposed with practical unanimity. It explains also the substantial vic-tory which he won after the control of the properties had so shifted as to force his retirement, for he went out on a com-promise that in essential respects provided for the continued management of the properties on lines mapped out by himself.
His prosecution of the ‘Mollie Maguires’ illustrated both his ability and his courage. Everybody knew that when he under-took that work he risked his life. To that band of marauders, and to those who came within their influence, he represented the fancied tyranny who oppressed the mining district. It was he who put detectives at work to ferret out the criminals who kept the coal region in terror. Much of what he did was un-dertakened at personal cost. Without such work justice must have gone long unsatisfied.
And when the exposure came, his part in bringing them about was heralded abroad and was known in the mines and in the mountains where the desperados ruled. Undaunted by threats and deaf to warnings and entreaties, he went into that region with the prosecuting officers. Except for the evidence that he placed at their disposal and the help otherwise that he extend-ed, the prosecution could have hardly succeeded. His argu-ments in some of those cases were forensic models.
It was after his work in the direction that political honors were placed in Mr. Gowen’s way. In the burst of popular approval which followed the exposure and conviction of the ‘Molly Maguires’ his name was proposed for governor of Pennsyl-vania. An acceptance of a nomination at that time would have been equivalent to an election, regardless of partisan consid-erations. He dismissed the suggestion at once and went back quietly to his desk in the Reading office where he found enough work accumulated to make him forget politics. Four years before the ‘Molly Maguire’ exposures, in 1872, he was a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention where he made an impression as a clear thinker and an eloquent and forceful speaker. He always took an interest in public affairs and frequently engaged in the discussion of public questions, but otherwise he found no time for such matters. He was a Democrat.
After his retirement from the Presidency of the Reading properties in 1885, Mr. Gowen engaged again in the practice of law, and occupation that he had since followed. The case of Coxe Brothers against the Lehigh Valley Railroad Com-pany charged that the company charged more for carrying coal for them than for certain favored shippers. If the decision in the case, now due, shall lead to such a construction of the inter-state commerce law as will impose a closer review upon the operations of the rail companies, the case will be recorded among the celebrated ones in the law reports. It was this class of business for which Mr. Gowen’s experience as the manager of the combination of railroad and mining companies specially fitted him.
He was thus assured an excellent practice in a profitable class of cases, yielding him certainly an income suited to his posi-tion and surroundings.
Mr. Gowen was born at Mount Airy, Pennsylvania, February 9, 1836. He attended for some years at Emmetsburg, Mary-land, finishing his school life at the Moravian Institute at Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His first effort to earn his living was a clerk in a store at Lancaster. In 1857 he took charge of a furnace at Shomokin, which he soon left to engage in coal mining at Mount Landon, Schuykill County. He had a partner and this firm failed, but the business gave him the idea of natural relationship between the Reading Railroad and a coal mining company, which he developed later in the organization of the coal and iron adjunct to the railroad. He assumed the liabilities of his firm and after years paid them in full. Soon after the failure, he began to study law. In 1860 he was admitted to the bar in Schuykill County. Two years later he became District Attorney of that county. He resigned this office because of the accumulation of private practice, the Reading Railroad and the Girard coal trusts being among his clients. Their business soon occupied all his time. In 1863 he became president of the railroad company, holding that office except during one year 1885.
Mr Gowen’s appearance was attractive. He had a tall com-manding figure and a strong, but winning face. His memory was extraordinary, and as an illustration of his mental aware-ness, his admirers used to say he could name instantly the cube root of any number stated to him. He was both scholarly and affable, and his nature was magnetic. There is little doubt that he had as large a personal following during his railroad career as any man in Pennsylvania ever enjoyed.”
Over a century after his fight against he Molly Maguires, Franklin Benjamin was remembered. On April 28, 2000 the “Allentown Morning Call” of Allentown, Pennsylvnia car-ried a feature article describing the struggle and its aftermath:
SAGA OF THE MOLLY MAGUIRES: A TALE OF POWER, DECEIT, DEATH—THE HAVES VS. HAVE-NOTS CONFLICT CULMINATED IN THE DEATHS BY HANGING OF SIX MEN OF IRISH DESCENT.
“Behind the bloodshed and murders, Mollies and Pinkertons, Coal and Iron Police and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, murder trials and hangings was the classic tale of the haves vs. the have-nots.
To attribute these terrible times to one or two men may seem unjust. However, the acts and deeds of Franklin Gowen in Schuylkill County and Asa Packer in Carbon County certainly lend credence to their involvement.
Gowen was district attorney of Schuylkill County before be-coming president of the Reading Railroad Co. and its sub-sidiary, the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Co. In Carbon County, Packer controlled the Lehigh Coal and Nav-igation Co. and the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Both companies were monopolies and as such, set prices and wages to best benefit the companies.
The term Molly Maguires used to besmirch the Irish in America was coined by Pottsville’s Benjamin Bannan in the “
”Miner’s Journal.” Joseph Lynn, in Mauch Chunk’s “Carbon Democrat,” picked up Bannan’s line. Other media followed suit.
The Irish Catholics, once feared for taking American jobs, were vilified by the press, denounced by the Protestants and Pennsylvania Dutch and taken advantage of by the coal com-panies. Immigrant Irish laborers felt the brunt of the wage and price fixing, and the depression that followed the Civil War made living conditions even more intolerable.
Between 1860 and 1870, the Irish population of Carbon and Schuylkill counties nearly doubled. In an attempt to hold the Irish in line, Gowen and Packer utilized the Coal and Iron Police, a private force with far-ranging power. The Irish fought back with attempts to unionize the miners. In 1868, John Siney organized the Workingmen’s Benevolent Associa-tion. The companies recognized it as a bargaining unit and offered $2.50 per day as minimum wage.
In 1873, Gowen refused to negotiate with the association and announced a 20-percent wage cut with no minimum wage. The union called a strike in December 1874 that lasted until July 1875. The miners, with their union crushed, had only one choice; return to work or starve. Now that the union had been destroyed, Gowen had only the local chapters of the Ancient Order of Hibernians to deal with on labor and wage matters.
Gowen hired a private detective, James McParland, from the Pinkerton Detective Agency. An Irishman who used the name James McKenna, McParland quickly became bodymaster of the Shenandoah AOH. McParland’s brother, Edward, also a Pinkerton agent, helped gather information on the Mollies. While underground masquerading as Mollies, the McParlands were feeding valuable information to Gowen, who used it against the Irish in bigoted newspaper and magazine articles and editorials.
Gowen was intent on destroying the AOH. He persuaded Archbishop James F. Wood of the Archdiocese of Philadel-phia to threaten to excommunicate any Irishman who joined the AOH. From that point on, it was relatively simple to connect the Mollies to the AOH. The shooting of assistant mine boss Morgan Powell in Summit Hill on Dec. 2, 1871, went unsolved until September 3, 1875, when mine boss John P. Jones was shot and killed in Lansford.
Coal and Iron Police and a large angry mob followed three men who were captured near Tamaqua. They were identified as Michael Doyle, Edward Kelly and James Kerrigan. All were taken to the Mauch Chunk Jail and charged with murder. While being held for trial, Kerrigan turned `squealer` and named Doyle and Kelly as the shooters in the Jones murder. Kerrigan also named John `Yellow Jack` Donohue, Thomas Fisher, Patrick McKenna, John Malloy, Patrick O’Donnell and Kelly as participants in the Powell killing.
Both murders, Kerrigan said, were planned and carried out under the direction of Alexander Campbell. Kerrigan said Campbell was the ringleader of the Mollies in Carbon County. Campbell was arrested Feb. 4, 1876, and charged with both murders.
As the Molly Maquire trials began in Mauch Chunk, the power and wealth of Asa Packer was quickly evident as the prosecution assembled a team of first-rate attorneys. Gen. Charles Albright, Civil War hero and Carbon County’s highest- ranking military officer, led the commonwealth’s team. Outfitted in Army dress uniform complete with sword and scabbard, Albright was an imposing figure as he paraded before the jury box.
Albright’s partner, William Freyman, also was at the table. Both were friends of Packer and also
represented the LC&N Co.
Allen Craig, chief attorney for the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Packer’s personal lawyer, also was
seated on the prosecution’s side.
Perhaps the best-known member of the commonwealth’s high-powered team was hand-picked by
Gowen. Pottsville’s Frank Hughes, the Reading Railroad’s chief counsel, congressman, Schuylkill
County district attorney and attorney general of the commonwealth, was an imposing figure with
long white hair and sharp, piercing, blue eyes.
Carbon County District Attorney Edward Siewers was kept as a member of the prosecution because
under the law, he was the only one who could appoint associate prosecutors.
The defendants had hired lawyers as well but they were out- manned, out-maneuvered and
out-gunned at each step of the trials.
The cases were tried by President Judge Samuel Dreher and two associate judges, Levi Wentz and
The defendants were guaranteed to be tried by a jury of their peers; yet only two names of Irish
descent out of 640 were in the wheel when the juries were drawn. The Irish population was 13
Motions to quash the indictment and the jury array were denied by Dreher.
A pretrial motion for a change in venue was also denied despite pretrial publicity and prejudice
against the Irish, the Hibernians and the Mollies.
The conviction, sentencing and in six cases, death by hanging of the Mollies, was anticlimatic.
Kerrigan, set free following the trials, moved to Virginia. He returned to Tamaqua after several
years’ absence but had been blacklisted and could not find work. He died as a broken and friendless
man in 1898.
Detectives James and Edward McParland moved to Denver. James contracted alcohol-induced
diabetes and lost a leg. Fearful the Mollies were on his doorstep, he remained heavily armed and barricaded in his home until he died of dementia paresis in 1918.
Edward, following his brother’s death, took credit for destroying the Molly Maguires.
Siewers, who embezzled a large fortune from his mother and was declared insane, jumped to his death from a Philadelphia bridge.
Packer and two of his sons died within 10 years of the trials.
Gowen died from a `suspicious` gunshot wound to the head in Washington.
Legends of a Molly Maguire curse still exist.
One daughter was born to Franklin Benjamin Gowen and Esther Brisbane Gowen:
Esther Gowen born about 1862
Esther Gowen, daughter of Franklin Benjamin Gowen and Esther Brisbane Gowen, was born at Mt. Airy about 1862. She was married about 1882 to James Ewing Hood. No children were born to them.
Ester Gowen Hood endowed three Franklin Benjamin Gowen Memorial Fellowships in 1909 to law students at the University of Pennsylvania.
Mary Gowen, daughter of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen was born about 1837. She was married about 1860 to Edward V. Lansdale.
Three children were born to them:
Mary Gowen Lansdale born about 1862
Olivia Lansdale born about 1865
Philip Moylan Lansdale born about 1869
Mary Gowen Lansdale, daughter of Edward V. Lansdale and Mary Gowen Lansdale, was born about 1862. She did not marry.
Olivia Lansdale, daughter of Edward V. Lansdale and Mary Gowen Lansdale, was born about 1865. She was married about 1887 to Edward Howard of Boston. Later she was remarried to Robert Fraser.
Children born to them include:
Olivia Howard born about 1890
William Howard born about 1892
Ann Howard born about 1895
Gertrude Howard born about 1899
Marion Howard born about 1904
Olivia Howard, daughter of Edward Howard and Olivia Lansdale Howard, was born about 1890. She was married about 1910 to Robert Raymond.
Four children were born to them:
Olivia Raymond born about 1912
Margaret Raymond born about 1914
Robbin Raymond born about 1916
Edward Raymond born about 1918
William Howard, of Edward Howard and Olivia Lansdale Howard, was born about 1892. He was married about 1915 to Virginia Wilson.
Two children were born to them:
Marion Howard born about 1917
Virginia Howard born about 1920
Ann Howard, daughter of Edward Howard and Olivia Lansdale Howard, was born about 1895. She was married about 1918 to A. P. Mitchell-Innes.
One child was born to them:
Frances Mitchell-Innes born about 1921
Gertrude Howard, daughter of Edward Howard and Olivia Lansdale Howard, was born about 1899. She was married about 1920 to Leonce Fuller.
Two children were born to them:
Peter Fuller born about 1922
Leonie Fuller born about 1925
Marion Howard, daughter of Edward Howard and Olivia Lansdale Howard, was born about 1904. She was married about 1925 to Ian Mitchell-Innes.
Two children were born to them:
David Mitchell-Innes born about 1927
Janice Mitchell-Innes born about 1930
Philip Moylan Lansdale, son of Edward V. Lansdale and Mary Gowen Lansdale, was born about 1869. He was married about 1894 to Mary Nichols. Later he was remarried to Helen Palache.
Children born to them include:
Evelyn Lansdale born about 1896
Clare Lansdale born about 1898
Philip Van Horne Lansdale born about 1901
Evelyn Lansdale, daughter of Philip Moylan Lansdale and Mary Nichols Lansdale, was born about 1896. She was married about 1919 to Talbot Windman.
Three children were born to them:
Peter Wildman born about 1921
Tonia Wildman born about 1924
Lynne Wildman born about 1927
Clare Lansdale, of Philip Moylan Lansdale and Mary Nichols Lansdale, was born about 1898. She was married about 1920 to George Johnston.
Four children were born to them:
Clare Johnston born about 1922
Philip Johnston born about 1925
Terry Johnston born about 1927
Andrew Johnston born about 1930
Philip Van Horne Lansdale, son of Philip Moylan Lansdale and Mary Nichols Lansdale, was born about 1901. He did not marry.
Henry Gowen, son of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen, was born in Mt. Airy about 1839. He was married about 1860 to Ive Wickersham.
One son was born to Henry Gowen and Ive Wickersham Gowen:
Morris Wickersham Gowen born about 1865
Morris Wickersham Gowen, son of Henry Gowen and Ive Wickersham Gowen, was born about 1865. He was married about 1890 to Pyne Hamilton of England. In 1895 they lived in Florence, Italy where he was posted in diplomatic service.
Three children were born to them:
Morris Gowen born about 1892
Ive Gowen born about 1893
Franklin Crosbie Gowen born December 16, 1895
Morris Gowen, son of Morris Wickersham Gowen and Pyne Hamilton Gowen, was born about 1892. He did not marry.
Ive Gowen, daughter of Morris Wickersham Gowen and Pyne Hamilton Gowen, was born about 1893. She was married about 1920 to John L. Washburn.
One son was born to them:
John L. Washburn, Jr. born about 1923
Franklin Crosbie Gowen, son of Morris Wickersham Gowen and Pyne Hamilton Gowen, was born in Florence, Italy December 16, 1895. He was educated by private tutors and became a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department in 1925. He was based in Washington, D. C. in 1925 and 1926. On October 31, 1926 he was married to May Elizabeth Klein of England. He was appointed Vice Consul in Genoa, Italy in 1926. He was consul in Rome, Italy from 1926 to 1930. He was consul in Naples, Italy in 1930 and 1931, and in Palermo, Italy in 1931. In 1932 he was transferred to London, England where he remained for the next ten years.
He served as secretary of the London embassy from 1939 to 1941. He was appointed embassy secretary in London during World War II. He handled diplomatic relations with Poland, Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Yugoslavia, governments in exile in London.
In 1941 and 1942, he was assistant chief, Special War Problems Division, European Affairs, Department of State in Washington, D. C. From 1942 to 1944 he was first secretary and assistant to Myron C. Taylor, personal representative of the president off the United States to Pope Pius, the Vatican, a position he held for many years, according to “Who’s Who in America.”
Col. John K. Gowen wrote November 16, 1953:
“I was born in Dover, New Hampshire. My grandfather, Col. John Perkins Gowen, commanded the 12th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment, U.S.A. in the Civil War.
When I was stationed for some months in London in 1941, I foregathered with my cousin, Franklin C. Gowen, then first secretary to Tony Drexel Biddle, then our ambassador to Poland and still a State Department career officer.
Franklin, who came from Philadelphia, insisted that the original Gowens were Irish, and by way of proof, he and I dined with Sir Alan Brooke, then chief of the Imperial General Staff and a Capt. Mitchell-Innes, both of whom claimed we were distant cousins and were Irish through the Hamilton line.”
He was a member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution, and a member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington. In Washington his home was at 1911 R Street.
In Philadelphia his home was located on Chestnut Hill, the address given by his cousin, James Emmet Gowen, Philadelphia banker.
“Franklin C. Gowen” was listed in the 1968 telephone directory of New York living at 944 Park Avenue. In 1971 he was listed at 176 East 77th Street in the telephone directory.
Children born to Franklin Crosbie Gowen and May Elizabeth Kline Gowen include:
William Edward Wickersham Gowen born about 1929
George Washington Gowen born about 1932
William Edward Wickersham Gowen, son of Franklin Crosbie Gowen and May Elizabeth Kline Gowen, was born about 1929. He was married about 1950 to Margaret Wheaton. Children born to William Edward Wickersham Gowen and Margaret Wheaton Gowen are unknown.
George Washington Gowen, son of Franklin Crosbie Gowen and May Elizabeth Kline Gowen, was born about 1932. He was married about 1955 to Marcia Fennelly. Children born to George Washington Gowen and Marcia Fennelly Gowen are unknown.
George Gowen, son of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen, was born in Mt. Airy about 1842. He was killed “in the last battle of the Civil War,” according to “Descendants of Grandpa Gowen.” The last battle of the Civil War was fought at Brownsville, Texas, some time after the formal surrender at Appomattox Court House.
Rebecca Gowen, daughter of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen, was born in Mt. Airy about 1845. She was married about 1866 to Jourdon Roper of Bowling Green, Virginia..
Two sons were born to them:
William Winston Roper born about 1868
James Gowen Roper born about 1871
William Winston Roper, son of Jourdon Roper and Rebecca Gowen Roper, was born about 1868. He was married about 1894 to Elizabeth Binney Haines.
Children born to William Winston Roper and Elizabeth Binney Haines Roper include:
William Winston Roper, Jr. born about 1896
Elizabeth Binney Roper born about 1899
William Winston Roper, Jr, son of William Winston Roper and Elizabeth Binney Haines Roper, was born about 1896. He was married about 1920 to Fidelia Richards. Later he was remarried to S. Katherine Blue.
Children born to William Winston Roper, Jr. and Fidelia Richards Roper include:
William Winston Roper III born about 1922
Children born to William Winston Roper, Jr. and S. Katherine Blue Roper include:
Jane NcNeill Roper born about 1927
James Gowen Roper II born about 1929
Elizabeth Binney Roper, daughter of William Winston Roper and Elizabeth Binney Haines Roper, was born about 1899. She was married about 1920 to William E. Parker of Toronto.
Two sons were born to them:
William R. Parker born about 1922
Robert G. Parker born about 1925
James Gowen Roper, son of Jourdon Roper and Rebecca Gowen Roper, was born about 1871. He did not marry.
Emily Gowen, daughter of James Emmett Gowen and Mary Miller Gowen, was born in Mt. Airy about 1850. She was married about 1880 to Guiseppe Tozzi, an Italian army officer. No children were born to them.
COUNTY DOWN, IRELAND
Gowen Adams was married to Agnes Irvine July 15, 1771 at Bainbridge, County Down, Ireland.
John Goen, “Pvt, 76th Regt, Foot, was married November 25, 1806 to Jane Broun “of Church Street, according to Newry Union Parish Register, Church of Ireland, Newry, County Down. Children born to John Goen and Jane Broun Goen are unknown.
William Gowan and his wife, Margaret McMullen Gowan were residents of the area of Portaferry, County Down about 1823 when a son was born:
John Gowan born about 1823
John Gowan, son of William Gowan and Margaret McMullen Gowan was born about 1823 near Portaferry. He was married about 1846 at Slanes, County Down to Jane Parke, daughter of William Parke and Eliza McDonnell Parke. Thirteen children were born to John Gowan and Jane Parke Gowan, according to the research of Beverly McAlpine Zenke.
John M’Gowan [McGowan] was born in 1813 in County Down, according to “Irish Ministers and Missionaries from the Annals of the Free Church of Scotland”, edited by the Rev. William Ewing, DD Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1914.
John McGowan studied in Belfast and spent one year in the south and west of Ireland. Then he moved to Scotland and settled in Cathrine, Ayrshire in 1844. He died in 1874.
John Gowan was married to Jane Shaw in 1829 in Kircubbin in County Down, Ireland, according to County Down marriage records. Children born to John Gowan and Jane Shaw Gowan are unknown.
Rev. Thomas Gowan was a minister at Drumbo, County Down from 1706 to 1716.
COUNTY DUBLIN, IRELAND
Elizabeth Gowan was married to Andrew Nicholson on October 25, 1780 at St. Anne’s Church in Dublin, according to County Dublin Marriage records.
James Gowan was born about 1900. He, a north County Dublin [now County Fingal] market gardener, was married April 28, 1923 to Marcella Shaw. Children born to James Gowan and Marcella Shaw Gowan include:
James Edward Gowan born April 7, 1924
The message below was received from Joel White and Debo-rah White August 1, 20002. It describes some McGowan re-search they did in County Dublin:
“My husband and I just returned from a business con-ference in Ireland last week. While we were there, we took some time to search a little of his family history. His immigrant ancestor, John McGowan, about 13 years old, stowed away on a ship bound for America because he was angry with his father, Thomas McGow-an.
We believe he came to Canada, first, and worked on a survey-ing ship until he came to the Texas coast, where he married and then settled in Uvalde County, Texas. We know he told all of his descendants that his birth-day was in 1838, that he said he was from Dublin, and that he said he had 11 or 12 siblings. All of this is oral history. We have had no real substantiation for this in-formation.
While we were in Ireland, we visited the National Lib-rary and the National Archives, and we were able to find only one Thomas McGowan in all of Dublin County for that period of time, in a little seaside town called Skerries, a few miles north of Dublin city.
We looked at the microfilmed parish registers and found this Thomas’ marriage entry in 1836 to an Anne May, as well as baptisms for 12 children, about every year and a half from their marriage date. The fourth child was John McGowan.
John’s baptism was recorded in June of 1844. We went up to Skerries from Dublin and visited that town, as well as Balbriggan and Rush, two nearby communities that were all a part of County Dublin until very recent-ly. There are many McGowans in that area.
We talked to a local attorney named McGowan, who directed us to the old 18th and 19th Century cemetery plots of many McGowans in Skerries. We found stones with names of Michael, Anne, Mary, Matthew, John, Maureen, Kathleen, Vincent, Patrick [who died in 1821 at 55 years], Marcella, Margaret–all McGow-ans. We found some stones that said “Gowen” and “Gowan.” We found a large family plot with a very old stone that just said “McGowan”–no first names at all.
We are working very dilligently here in the States to discover any more clues from old-timers in Texas to see if any of the things we found out in Ireland ring true with the old oral stories. We hope and pray they do.
Skerries and Balbriggan are the most beautiful seaside towns you will ever see. We fell in love with the fami-ly we found, and hope that they are ours.
We ran out of time, but understood from Irish locals that there are large concentrations of McGowans in County Donegal [on the west coast of Ireland], as well as other places, too.”
Gowen Skafe was married to Elizabeth Jones on April 2, 1676 at St. Andrew’s Church in Dublin, according to County Dublin marriage records.
Gowen Wren was married to Jane Monroe on February 21, 1721 at St. Andrew in Dublin, according to County Dublin marriage records. Of Wren Gowen and Jane Monroe Gowen nothing more is known.
Gowin Gibson was married to Martha Weeklin on September 10, 1672 St. Bride in Dublin, according to County Dublin marriage records.
John Gowin was married to Frances Long on July 16, 1626 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Dublin, according to County Dublin marriage records. Children born to John Gowin and Frances Long Gowin are unknown.
COUNTY FERMANAGH, IRELAND
James MacGowan was one of the fugitives for which a reward was offered December 10, 1694, during the reign of William and Mary, for the apprehension of some Irish rebels, according to “Calendar of State Papers” edited by William John Hardy.
“Proclamation of a reward for the apprehension, dead or alive, of the following rebels, who have fled to the mountains and other places where they stand upon their keeping:
These are late of County Fermanagh:
Connor mac Gwire
Keadagh mac Sharry
Patrick mac Manus
Philip mac Cormuck
Patrick mac Gwire
Owen mac Corry
Patrick mac Corry
James mac Gowan
Cormuck mac Murray
COUNTY GALWAY, IRELAND
Surgeon James Gowen was mentioned in an article in the February 19, 1824 edition of “The Connaught Journal” regarding military promotions. Gowen of the Sixth West India Regiment was promoted from half pay to be the surgeon of the 13th Regiment of Foot in Galway.
KINGS COUNTY, IRELAND
Patrick Gowen, age 15 months, was one of about 50 people who died on the voyage on the “Erin go Bragh” from Ireland to Queensland, Australia in 1862. He died April 25, 1862 of scarletina at 35.9 degrees south latitude, 21.20 west longitude, according to Capt. George Borlase and Ship’s Surgeon J. A. Long. Approximately 400 passengers made the transit.
COUNTY LAOIS, IRELAND
Charles Gowen was married in 1838 to Mary Anne Delaney, according to the protestant marriage bonds from the Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin Dioceses. Children born to Charles Gowen and Mary Anne Delaney Gowen are unknown.
COUNTY LEITRIM, IRELAND
M. M’Gowan, located on Main Street in Manorhamilton; was a “victualler,” according to the 1897 business directory of the town. R. M’Gowan, located on Castle Street; fish merchant, was also listed among the 69 businesses in the town in 1930.
Richard Warnock and Bridget McGowan Warnock were the parents of children born in Kinlough, Leitrim:
William Warnock born July 18, 1865
Patrick Warnock born January 7, 1867
Mary Warnock born January 14, 1864
James Warnock born March 23, 1868
William Warnock born October 25, 1870
Alexander Warnock and Sibbey McGowan Warnock were the parents of children born in Kinlough, Leitrim.
COUNTY LONDONDERRY, IRELAND
Patrick McGowan, his wife and infant were passengers on the ill-fated steamer “Hibernia” which sank November 24, 1868 on its voyage from New York to Ireland. Cathy Joynt Labath transcribed a news article concerning the disaster which was published in the “Armagh Guardian” of Friday, December 11, 1868:
“FOUNDERING OF THE STEAMER HIBERNIA
SUPPOSED LOSS OF EIGHTY-ONE LIVES
NARRATIVE OF THE CAPTAIN.
Capt. Munro, in his narrative of the melancholy occurrence, states that the Hibernia left New York on Saturday afternoon, November 14, at three o’clock, with 133 souls on board in-cluding 59 of a crew, all told. When leaving New York, a pretty stiff breeze was blowing, but it was by no means severe, till the day before the accident [which ultimately caused the loss of the fine steamer] occurred. The accident to be after-wards described took place on Tuesday November 24, ten days after the Hibernia was at sea.
On Monday, the 23rd, there was a heavy gale of wind from the southwest, which caused the vessel to labour, but it was not till Tuesday morning, at two o’clock, that the event so fatal to many took place. At that time the screw shaft broke in the stern pipe, and the screw consequently getting loose damaged the sternpost of the steamer, to which the rudder is attached.
The “pipe” itself was also damaged by the then unconnected screw, and the result of both of these most untoward circum-stances was the ingress of large volumes of water into the after part of the vessel. A heavy gale was still blowing. During the whole of Tuesday the crew and others were engaged in throw-ing cargo overboard to lighten the ship, and the engine and other pumps were kept going, but the effect produced was not material.
While all this was going on, the passengers behaved admira-bly. No scenes, no consternation; everything was done de-cently and in order. On Tuesday night, the course was chan-ged to north west, and on Wednesday morning the situation became so critical that at four o’clock all the boats were low-ered. Long before this, however, all the after-hold was flood-ed with water, and the Hibernia seemed to be rapidly sinking – indeed there was, when the boats were lowered, ten feet of water in the after-hold.
All this time the engine-pumps and the hand-pumps were going. We had five boats on board — three life-boats and
two quarter-boats. At six o’clock on Wednesday morning, we commenced to embark the passengers in the boats. A certain number of ladies were appointed to occupy each boat along with a proportion of the crew. At seven o’clock all the crew and passengers were in their appointed places.
The water in the Hibernia was at this time increasing very rapidly, but still there was no alarm; all was done quietly. The ladies were lowered into the boats by a rope attached to their waists, and the transference from the large steamer to the small boats was effected in the utmost silence. The captain says the passengers went down as if it were a forlorn hope – they seemed as if leaving the ship to go to the bottom – there was no excitement, but the utmost tranquility and resignation.
As stated already, the passengers and crew were drafted into the different boats, which were brought round to the lee of the steamer. No. 1 lifeboat, was under the command of Captain Munro; No. 2 lifeboat, chief mate; No. 3 lifeboat, second mate; starboard-quarter boat, third officer; port-quarter boat, the boatswain. The captain saw all on board before he left. He was the last to leave, and that was at ten minutes past sev-en o’clock on Wednesday morning.
After getting about a quarter of a mile from the sinking ship she went down, not unexpectedly, stern foremost. This oc-curred at twenty minutes past seven o’clock. Up to this very moment the engine pumps had been kept going. They were working when Captain Munro left the foundering ship, as the depth of water in the engine-room was so great that the engin-eer could not get down to stop them.
When the Captain left the Hibernia the top of the poop deck was in the water. So far as possible each of the boats was equally provisioned, but no one, passenger or sailor, saved a single article of clothing except that which was hurriedly don-ned. As indicating what was generally secured in the way of provisions by all the five boats, Captain Minro states that on board of his boat he had two barrels of biscuits, three small breakers of water, each containing fifteen or twenty gallons, with a few preserved meats.
At about half-past seven o’clock the chief mate’s boat, con-taining thirty-three persons capsized. The wonder is that such was not the case with all the five. At this time the Captain’s lifeboat was about a quarter of a mile from that of the chief mate, and owing to the gale then blowing, and the crowded state of his boat, Munro was unable to render any assistance, though he saw his fellow -creatures perish almost under his eyes. So critical, indeed, was his own condition that he had to keep two men working at buckets, a couple more being busily engaged plying hand-basins to keep the boat afloat.
To lighten her the occupants had even to throw overboard one of the barrels of biscuit and some of the ladies threw off their shawls and outer coverings to enable the boat to keep her buoyancy. As regards those in the chief mate’s boat, the captain is of the opinion that none of the thirty-three were saved.
On Wednesday evening — that of the day on which Captain Munro left the Hibernia — he and his companions in No. 1 lifeboat were picked up about seven o’clock by the ship “Star of Hope,” Captain Talbot from Quebec to Aberdeen. Having been considerately cared for, Captain Munro suggested to Captain Talbot that a look-out should be kept for the other boats. Captain Talbot agreed and lights being hoisted, a look-out was kept, when the boatswain’s boat was described be-tween eleven and twelve at night, and the occupants for-tunately rescued. A heavy gale still prevailed at this time, but the weather shortly afterwards moderated considerably. The search for the other two boats was continued by the “Star of Hope,” but after cruising about for thirty hours, Captain Talbot gave up the then fruitless task, and bore on his course.
The two boats rescued contained altogether 52 persons, leav-ing a total of 81 out of 133, which the Hibernia contained, drowned, or missing. On Sunday morning at eleven o’clock Captain Munro was landed from the “Star of Hope,” near to John O’Groats, from which, as we have stated, he arrived last night. The rescued crew and passengers were carried on to the destination of the Star of Hope, and it is expected that they will arrive in Glasgow to-day or to-morrow.
When the Hibernia went down she was 700 miles to the West of Ireland, her position being lat. 53 20, long. 29. W, and the boat steered S. E, as they had to run before the gale. That course would have taken them to the nearest port in Ireland. The two boats still missing may have been picked up by ves-sels going to New York, or the West Indies. If rescued by any ship going to the Indies, it may be a month or two before they are heard of; but if by any vessel to New York news of the rescue will arrive much sooner. Unless, however, they are overtaken almost immediately after leaving the foundered Hibernia, but faint hopes can be entertained of their safety.
Previous to Captain Munro leaving the “Star of Hope” in the Pentland Firth on Sunday, he was presented by the rescued passengers with the following address:-
To Captain Munro.
Dear Sir, –
As we are going to bid you farewell, many of us perhaps for life, we deem it our duty to tender you our warmest congratu-lations on your narrow escape from the perils that so lately en-compassed you, as also to testify our appreciation and heartfelt gratitude for the heroic efforts you made to rescue us all from a watery grave.
Under the most adverse circumstances, when our ship was about to sink, and a strong sea threatened our inevitable des-truction you succeeded by your indefatigable energy, in launching all the lifeboats, and getting all your crew and pas-sengers away in safety, when with little more delay or less energy and care we might now be all swallowed in the deep abyss.
The boat of which you had charge, and in which most of the undersigned had the good fortune to sail, surmounted every danger, until an Almighty Providence came to our aid, and gave us in charge to another vessel styled by an approp-riate coincidence, “The Star of Hope” – [to the humane and hospit-able Captain Talbot and his crew we owe a debt of unbound-ed gratitude] — our position seemed all but hopeless; and to you, under God, we attribute our safety.
Never shall we forget your gallant conduct on that trying occasion. From the beginning of the voyage your kindness and affability endeared you to all; but raising equal to the occasion, evincing coolness in the midst of agitation, and cheering us all by your fraternal manner and Christian fortitude, your merits are beyond all praise we can convey in words.
Please then, to accept our best thanks, the humble tribute which alone it is in our power this moment after shipwreck to bestow. We pray God to grant you His choicest blessings, and we earnestly hope that you will be long spared to ennoble the cause of humanity and Christian resignation, and guide and cheer your fellow-creatures through many a trial and bereave-ment.
As we cannot forget the late dismal scenes through which we have passed and must ever thank God for His great mercy to us on that occasion, so also your memory shall ever be fondly entwined therewith, and we shall ever feel bound to supplicate Heaven for your temporal and eternal welfare.”
From all that can be learned, this unfortunate occurrence, re-sulting in what may now be presumed to be a most lamentable loss of life, simply occurred from the accidental breaking of the screw shaft, with its attendant consequences, in a heavy gale. The Hibernia was built by the Messrs. Stephen in June, 1865, and her tonnage was 1615.
The following board is a complete list of the passengers on the Hibernia:-
Cabin – Mr. G. Mason, Glasgow; Mr. A. Mason, Glasgow; Miss A. Rogerson, Liverpool; Catherine Boyle, Derry; Mr. J. C. Forbes, Glasgow; Mrs. E. Morell, Glasgow; Ann Webb, London; Mr. John W. Bethel, and lady, Glasgow; Mr. Patrick Brewster, Glasgow; Mr. N. A. Olds, Glasgow; Mrs. D. A. Melvin, Liverpool; Mr. J. Robinson, Glasgow; Mr. Bernard McFreely, Derry; Rev. M. O’Connor, Derry; Mr. Josiah Cocks and lady, London.
Intermediate – Miss Martha Campbell, Derry; Mr. Jos. Mc-Gorley, Derry.
Steerage – Alexander Cason, Derry; James Irving, Glasgow; Mary Brown, Derry; Eliza Johnstone, Belfast; Thomas Mc-Cready, Glasgow; Agnes Nicholson, Glasgow; Ann and Sarah Richmond. Glasgow; Bernard Kernan, Glasgow; F. Rodgers, Derry; John McCormick, Derry; Daniel Flannigan, Glasgow; John Devenny, Glasgow; John Tidley, Derry; George Casey, Glasgow; Anton Monsell, Havre; Patrick Mc Gowan, and wife and infant, Derry; Cornelius Curran, Glasgow; Patrick Cum-mings, Derry; Charles Boyle, Derry; Charles Sharpe, Derry; James Brislyon, Derry; Peter Grimes, Glasgow; Catherine My-ers, Derry; Mary Myers, Derry; Frank Richert, Hamburg; William Mcintosh, Glasgow;
Thomas McKinney, Derry; Jas Hill, Derry; John and Cather-ine Magee, Derry; Ed McGinn, Derry; Charles Divenny, Der-ry; Wm Smith, Glasgow; Hugh Toner, Derry; Mary Moriss, Derry; Bridget M’Mahon,. Derry; James M’Michael, Glasgow; William Morrison, Glasgow; Eliza M’Michael and infant, Glasgow; Samuel Brewster, Derry; John M’Elhinney , Derry; John and Martha Henderson, Derry; Roger M’Cann, Derry; Mary Mellon, Derry; Francis Kerrigan, Derry; Mary Dines, Derry; James and John Dines, Derry; Thomas Hamilton, Glasgow; Maria Valencia, Belfast; Robert Miller, Derry; John Austin, Derry; Patrick M’Lindon , Derry; Richard Scollen, Derry; Jane Scollen, Derry; Mary McConnachy, Glasgow; Francis Houston, Derry; George Dahr, Hamburg.
As soon as the intelligence of the disaster became known in the city, a number of the relatives and friends of those belong-ing to the crew, and also of the passengers, were very eager to ascertain the extent of the catastrophe, and also to inquire as to the safety of their respective friends. The news that Captain Munro was likely to arrive by the 6:15 train from the North got abroad, and several persons were there to await his arrival. The office of Messrs. Handyside and Henderson was also vis-ited by many persons, and as the captain left the office, a num-ber of women with tears in their eyes implored him to tell them if their relatives were alive or dead. One woman es-pecially appeared very excited, and when she was assured by the captain that the person near and dear to her was among those that had been saved, the tears flowed copiously down her cheeks, and she could not refrain from invoking the bless-ing of the Almighty upon that respected officer for having told such good news. – “North British Daily Mail.”
COUNTY MAYO, IRELAND
Mark Gowan and his wife, Bridget Gowan were the sponsors of Ellen Molaney who was baptized November 30, 1879. She was the daughter of John Molaney and Bridgit McDonogh Molaney at Claremorris in County Mayo, according to “Claremorris Baptisms, 1868-1879.”
Rosa Gowan was a sponsor and a witness at the baptism of Bridget Kilkenny who was baptized at St. Mary’s Presbytery in Swinford in 1862. Bridget Kilkenny was the daughter of Edward Kilkenny and Catherine Boland Kilkenny.
Rose Gowan was married to Edward Boland January 13, 1828 at Swinford. Anthony Gowan and Ignatius O’Donnel were bondsmen for the marriage.
Mary Gowan, daughter of John Gowan and Colin Fallon Gowan, was married January 24, 1849 to James Nally, according to County Mayo marriage records.
Catharine McGowan was married about 1864 to Pat O’Donnell. Children born to them include: Thomas O’Donnell, born December 18,1869 at Kiltimaugh, County Mayo, according to Civil Registration No. 101203
John McLauglin wrote a sad letter to the editor of the “Telegraph” December 30, 1848 to report the tragic death of John M’Gowan who died of starvation December 19, 1848 following the devastation of the Irish countryside that began with the potato famine.
Letter to the Editor-Telegraph
Sir- I hope that you will take it into one of your col-umns a melancholy and most grievous affair which occurred in the Townland of Mucknaugh, in the Parish of Islandeady, and Barony of Carra, and County of Mayo.
A few of the destitute of said townland, which is the property of Sir Roger Palmer, were supplied with relief tickets to work on a line road about four miles from their home, which was very harsh on them to walk twice a day going to and returning home; and in con-sequence of want and distress they were very happy to enjoy it; but the want of subsistence and the severity of the weather soon beat some of those persons, amongst whom were John M’Gowan and Micheal Heraghty, who were confined to their beds, and in a few days af-ter John M’Gowan departed this life through want and starvation, he having no means to support himself and family but whatever he earned on the road.
He was a man about forty years of age, able bodied, but want of subsistence caused his death; and his corpse re-mained three days and three nights unburied until Mr. Rowland provided all the necessaries for his interment. He died on Wednesday, the 16th of December and was buried on Saturday the 19th.
Poor Heraghty is not expected to recover. He has six in family and no means of supporting them, but the earning of one individual, a child about twelve years old, who works on the road; and there are many others in the same locality nearly in a state of starvation, who have long families, from six to ten in each house, and only one relief card for the householder, and all the rest as well able to use grub as him- so it is hoped that ev-ery locality will get its conveniecy, and that it should be made known to the County Surveyor, who is a knowledgeable man. If the districts were made known to him, he is willing and at readiness at all times to ap-point every man at his own conveniecy.
Your most humble and obedient servant,
John M’Gowan was mentioned in the “Ballina Chronicle” in its edition of Wednesday June 6, 1849:
“John M’Gowan, a trick of the loop man from Sligo, in whose wake a band of pickpockets followed, was ord-ered to be belled out of the town.”
Bryan Murtagh and Bridget McGowen Murtagh were the parents of Bedilia Murtagh who was born at Kiltimagh, County Mayo January 12, 1868.
COUNTY SLIGO, IRELAND
James [Mc?] Gowan was, born in Ireland in 1762, according to his tombstone in St. John’s Church Cemetery. He died in 1818 in Sligo, according to “The Ancient Parish & Church of St. John the Baptist” by Charles Tyndall.
Ellen Gerrity McGowan died October 13, 1931, according to her obituary published in the October 15, 1931 edition of the “Brooklyn Standard-Union” of Brooklyn, New York:
“Ellen Gerrity McGowan died Wednesday at her home, 80 Amity street. She was born in County Sligo, Ire-land, and lived in Brooklyn for over forty-five years. She was the widow of John McGowan and is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Anna McGowan Garvey; two sons, Peter McGowan, a patrolman attached to the Tenth Precinct, N. Y. P. D, and Martin McGowan; one sister, Mrs. Norah Wallace, and one brother, John Ger-rity. Funeral from her late home Monday 9:30 A. M.; thence to the Church of St. Peter, Hicks and Warren streets, where a solemn requiem mass will be cele-brated by the Rev. Father Edward J. Higgins. Inter-ment at St. John’s Cemetery under direction of Jere J. Cronin, Inc. 115 Atlantic Avenue.”
COUNTY TYRONE, IRELAND
The baptisms of five Goan children were recorded in Dromore RC church records in County Tyrone:
7/9/1848 Rose Patrick Goan
9/9/1856 Michael Patrick Goan
2/3/1837 Brigid Goan
9/27/1836 James Goan
9/4/1838 Bernard Patrick Goan
Francis Corrigan and Brigid Goan Corrigan were the parents of :
Rose Corrigan born May 25, 1865 at Newpark
Frances Ann Corrigan born February 16, 1877 at Esker
Rose Goan was married about 1870 to Patrick Teague. Brigid Teague was born to them April 2, 1876 at Cornamuck, according to County Tyrone birth records.
Mary Catherine McCarney was born December 5, 1875 to James McCarney and Rose Goan McCarney at Doocrock, County Tyrone, according to County Tyrone baptismal records.
Margaret McCarney was born October 20, 1877 to James McCarney and Rose Goan McCarney at Doocrock, according to County Tyrone baptismal records.
Thomas Gowen “of Dublin” witnessed a deed between Robert Lowery and John Love in 1727, according to County Tyrone deed records.
Names in the Flax Growers Bounty List of County Tyrone in 1796 were:
Edward M’Goan Artrea Parish
Hugh M’Goan Tullyniskan Parish
Daniel M’Goane Artrea Parish
Mary McGowan was indicted for “stealing several articles from Ellen Prendergast at Esker on the 2nd instant,” according to “Omagh Assizes” published in the July 29, 1845 edition of the “County Tyrone Guardian.” She was sentenced to three months imprisonment at hard labor by the judge.
William M’Gowan, grocer and maltster, was listed on Castle Street in the 1839 city directory of Strabane, County Tyrone.
John M’Gowen was recorded as a member of the Leckpatrick Presbyterian Church in October 1863 in County Tyrone
Mary O’Goan “was lodged in the gaol by Given & Semple September 1, 1793, according to the court records of County Tyrone.
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