1667 Nicholas Gowen b. abt 1667 in Kittery, Maine

Nicholas Gowen b. abt 1667 in Kittery, Maine, m. Abigail Hodson


Children born to Nicholas Gowen and Abigail Hodsdon Gowen include:


States and Counties to research: 


Occupation – Deputy to general court.

Nicholas was the eldest and illegitimate son of William Gowen and Elizabeth Frost. Wiliam was found guilty of bastardy on May 7th 1667 in Yorke, Mayn. (See reference below)

Nicholas married in 1694 in York County, Maine
{Born – 1664 at Kittery, York, Maine
daughter of Benoni HODSDON and Abigail CURTIS}.

Nicholas and Abigail were parents of;
Abigail, Elizabeth, Margaret, Hester, Nicholas, William, Patrick, Anne, James.

Nicholas served in his younger days as an Indian scout; later he studied law and became an attorney in York County. He became prominent in Kittery. He and his brother, John, inherited the homestead property from their father {valued at £ 100} and land from Tristram Harris. The farms of Nicholas and John were at what is now Gould’s Corner in Eliot. Nicholas’ home was what has been known as the ‘Shapleigh House’, which passed to his youngest son, James. Nicholas purchased several tracts of land in Kittery and in Berwick.

1677: September 11 – The estate of Tristram Harris was administered. Tristram Harris was an Englishman who lived alone near the Gowen farm. He occupied a grant of land of forty acres on Mast Cove Way, also owned fifty acres of land near the York line. During the Indian up-rising of 1675 he joined Captain Charles Frost’s Company as a Scout. He had expressed special affection for the two oldest children of William Gowen, {Nicholas and John}. Tristram stated to several persons that if he should lose his life in the conflict he wished his property to be given to them. These were his nearest neighbor’s children for whom he expressed great attachment and a desire that if he were killed or died they should have the results of his industry and frugality, because of mutual love. He was killed by the Indians in 1676 leaving no heirs in this country. Eventually, Nicholas and John received the property in accordance with Tristram’s wishes. On the forty acres adjoining the Gowen farm stood Tristram’s house, the best lumber of which was used to build the home of Nicholas Gowen. John Gowen and his family occupied the older William Gowen home. In the final division of the Gowen – Harris property, Nicholas had the Harris house and the two barns of his father; John had his father’s house and was allowed a sum of money to build a new barn. The brothers used the same well. The fifty acres of Harris land by the York line {granted to him June 24, 1673} was divided equally between the two brothers.
On 8 January 1733 Nicholas prepared his will.

In 1739 Nicholas gave to his son, James, the homestead farm, stock, and farm utensils. James was to pay legacies to his brother, Patrick; and to his sister.

In 1742 Abigail sold a tract of land in Kittery to her son, William.

On 2 January 1753 the will of Nicholas Gowen {deceased} was presented to court.

The Great Migration Begins – Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 Vol 1 – A-F by Robert Charles Anderson – 1995 p 708
ELIZABETH {FROST}, b. say 1645; m. 14 May 1667 William Gowen (date from GDMNH, but not in published Kittery vital records; eldest child John b. Kittery 19 November 1668 [KitVR9], although son Nicholas may be older, in which case the marriage date would be in doubt).

Province and Court Records of Maine – Maine Historical Society Vol 1 – 1991 p 292
“Province of Mayn, May 7th 1667, at Yorke, … Leeftent Charles Frost of Kittery complayns against William x x x alias Smyth of said Town for Bastardy… This Court upon examination … in concerning the said Gowin alias Smyth in reference unto his charg…do find the said person William Gowin alias Smyth to be the rep x x x ther of that Child layd upon him by Elizabeth Frost”

From GRF Newsletter Apr 2000:


William Gowen, a Scotch soldier captured by the
troops of Oliver Cromwell in the Battle of Dunbar
September 3, 1650, is believed to be the first mem-
ber of the Gowen family in New England. He was born
in 1634, according to a deposition signed by him in
1685. His full name appeared to be William Alexan-
der Gowen from tax records of Oyster River, Massa-

He was reported to be among 10,000 Scots captured
by Cromwell in the battle fought on the east coast
of Scotland. The one-sided battle which lasted only
two hours was fought between 11,000 English Parlia-
ment supporters and 26,000 Scotch Royalists led by
David Leslie, later Lord Newark. Dunbar is a sea-
port on the southern entrance to the Firth of Forth,
36 miles northeast of Edinburgh.

In the battle 3,000 Scots were killed and 10,000
taken prisoner. The English put their casualties at
only 20 men killed. The prisoners taken at Dunbar
were marched by the English down to Durham and New-
castle in Northumberland. Many perished on this
march, and some were shot because they could not or
would not march, according to “History of Dover, New
Hampshire.” During the march, which took eight
days, the prisoners were given little to eat.

Disease swept off 1,500 in the course of a few weeks.
The flux was responsible for the death of 500. The
English reported that the Scots killed each other for
money or clothing. In Northumberland the prisoners
were put under the care of Sir Arthur Heselrig who
wrote October 31, 1650 that “1,600 died altogether
in 58 days.”

On September 19, 1650, Cromwell’s council ordered Hes-
elrig to deliver to Samuel Clark 900 of the Scots for
transportation to Virginia, and 150 more “well and
sound, and free from wounds” were selected for trans-
portation to New England. Those bound for New Eng-
land were placed under the charge of Joshua Foote
and John Becx of London who “were interested as man-
agers of the ironworks at Lynn, Massachusetts.”

They sailed on the “Unity” November 11, 1650. Upon
arrival at Boston, some were sent to Berwick, Maine.
There they settled in Unity Parish [named after
their ship] and began work in a sawmill. When re-
leased in 1656, they settled in Berwick.

Col. Charles Edward Banks wrote an article, “Scotch
Prisoners Deported to New England by Cromwell,
1651-52” on the fate of the deported Scots which
was published in “Massachusetts Historical Society
Proceedings,” Volume 61 [1928].

The Rev. John Cotton wrote a letter reporting on the
condition of the prisoners “to the Lord General
Cromwell, dated at Boston in N. E, 28th of 5th, 1651:

“The Scots, who God delivered into your hands at
Dunbarre, and whereof sundry were sent hither we
have been desirous [as we could] to make their yoke

Such as were sick of the scurvy or other diseases
have not wanted physick and chyrurgery. They have
not been sold for slaves to perpetual servitude,
but for 6 or 7 or 8 years, as we do our owne; and
he that bought the most of them buildeth houses for
them, for every four an house, layeth some acres of
ground thereto, which he giveth them as their owne,
requiring 3 dayes in the week to worke for him [by
turnes] and 4 dayes for themselves, and promiseth,
as soone as they can repay him the money he layed
out for them, he will set them at liberty.”

“William Gowen, alias Smith,” Philip Chesley and
Thomas Footman were convicted of quarreling with
James Middleton at Oyster River in 1658, according
to “History of Durham, New Hampshire.” This volume
reports that “William Gowen, alias Smith,” was
taxed at Oyster River in 1659.

“William Smith, alias Gowin,” was fined “for fight-
ing and bloodshed on ye Lords day after ye after-
noone meeting,” June 30, 1668. “Elaxander Gowing,”
who “History of Durham, New Hampshire” reported as
the same man, was taxed at Oyster River in 1661.

William Gowen was married May 14, 1667 in Kittery,
Maine to Elizabeth Frost, daughter of Nicholas
Frost and Mary Bollen Frost, according to “John
Salter, Mariner,” a volume, written by W. T. Salt-
er published in 1900.

Nicholas Frost was born in 1592 in England, at
Tiverton. At age 21, “Nicholas Frost of Biddeford,
merchant, had license from the Bishop of Exeter
April 1, 1613 to marry Mary Bollen of Monckleigh,
gentlewoman,” according to “Pioneers of Maine and
New Hampshire.” Nicholas Frost and Mary Bollen
Frost “of Devonshire” emigrated to Massachusetts Bay
Colony, sailing from Bristol, according to “Maine
Historical & Genealogical Records.”

Nicholas Frost was recorded as “trading” at Dam-
erill’s Cove in 1632, and he was fined and punished
by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay “upon the
complaint of Dorchester traders.” He was prosecu-
ted again in 1636, according to “Massachusetts Col-
lections of Records.” He was “fined, whipped,
branded on the hand and banished for stealing from
the Indians and other crimes,” according to “New
England Frontier.”

One of his associates, John Dawe, was led to the
whipping post for “intiseing an Indian woman to
lye with him.”

Following his banishment from Massachusetts Frost
had the distinction of being the first settler of
Eliot, Maine in 1636. At Kittery he signed a peti-
tion addressed to the governor July 27, 1639 seek-
ing a pardon from his conviction. His signature
was “Nicholas Frost, of Pascattaquay, mason.”

In 1648 he was appointed a selectman. On November
16, 1652 he took the oath of allegiance to the Mas-
sachusetts government. In 1658 he was appointed on
a committee to “Pitch and lay out the dividing line
between Yorke and Wells townships,” according to
“Massachusetts Collection of Records.”

In Kittery William Gowen frequently signed his name
as “William Smith.” His use of the alias suggests
that he might still have some dread of the English
authorities. His sons also used the alias from
time to time. It was a natural application since
the name “Gowen” in Gaelic means “Smith.”

William Gowen received a land grant at Kittery in
1666 and a grant of a house lot in 1670. On April
13, 1672 “William Gowine, alias Smyth” received a
deed from Abraham Tilton “of growing timber of
Abraham Conly’s land at Spruce Creek, Kittery,” ac-
cording to York Deed Book 3, folio 64. He received
another grant there in 1674.

William Gowen was a freeholder in Kittery in 1675.
On September 16, 1676 “William Gowine, alias Smith
bought all right to lands on the Kennebec River
from James Middleton,” according to York Deed Book
3, folio 67. “William Gowine, alias Smith” was ap-
pointed administrator of the estate of Tristram Har-
ris, deceased,” October 15, 1677, according to York
records. Harris, his comrade-at-arms was killed in
a battle with the Indians.

“William Gowen, alias Smyth” was appointed to a com-
mittee to settle a boundary dispute April 12, 1680,
according to York Deed Book 4, folio 36. “William
Gowine, alias Smyth” received a partition deed April
13, 1680 from Charles Frost, John F. Frost and Jo-
seph Hammond, his brothers-in-law, to real estate in
Kittery inherited from Nicholas Frost, Jr. according
to York Deed Book 3, folio 67.

William Gowen and James Emery were appointed ap-
praisers of the estate of Jonathan Fletcher June 12,
1685, according to York Court Book I, folio 37. In
the “fourth month, 1685, Elizabeth Gowen, alias
Smith,” and Nicholas Frost posted bond to become the
executors of the estate of “Capt. Frost” according
to “Maine Historical & Genealogical Records.”

William Gowen made his living as a farmer and a car-
penter and apparently spent his entire life in the
new world at Kittery. He died there April 2, 1686
at age 52. His estate was valued May 21, 1686 by
John Wincoll and Nicholas Frost at “265 pounds, 9
shillings” as recorded in “York Court Records, Part
I, folio 40.

Included were 258 acres of land, five oxen, 10 cows,
two horses, and “in the fyre roume foure gunnes and
a backe sword.”

The court recorded: “Elizabeth Smith alias Gowen
doth Attest vpon her oath that his Inventory aboue
written of William Smiths alias Gowein deceased is
a true inventory to ye best of her knowledge & yt
more do appeare afterwards vpon oath in Court this
21th of May 1686.”

On July 2 1695 Elizabeth Frost Gowen was sued by
Phillip White “For detaining and withholding one
half of all ye estate, both reall & personall, be-
longing to Tristram Harris, deceased.” She lost
the case and appealed to the next superior court,
where the decision was reversed in Boston, Massa-
chusetts in October 1695.

Elizabeth Frost Gowen on March 16, 1700 witnessed
a receipt signed by her daughter Sarah Gowen Smith
for a distribution of her inheritance, according
to “York Court Records.” Elizabeth Frost Gowen
received in 1704 a donation of “1s. 9d” from pub-
lic funds. She was mentioned as living in the
home of her son, Nicholas Gowen when he wrote his
will in 1733. She died shortly afterward at about
age 92.

In 15 generations, thousands of descendants of Wil-
liam Gowen and Elizabeth Frost Gowen have been re-
corded since their marriage 343 years ago. Family
historians spanning several generations have col-
laborated to research their fascinating story.

Angevine W. Gowen, a civil engineer, surveyor and
historian, who contributed much data to “History of
York, Maine” written by Col. Charles Edward Banks,
was a descendant. He was born in 1869 at York and
became one of the family’s earliest genealogists.

According to John D. Bardwell, York historian, he
was “an orphan who was reared by Miss Julia M. Gowen,
his mother’s sister [sister-in-law?] and an uncle,
Joseph Gowen” who instilled in him their curiosity
about their ancestors.

Angevine W. Gowen was born on the home lot of his
maternal ancestor, Thomas Moulton in the house built
in 1714 on the York River by Joseph Moulton, son of
Jeremiah Moulton and grandson of Thomas Moulton, ac-
cording to Bardwell. Jeremiah Moulton purchased the
property from Sir Ferdinando Gorges in 1684 for £20.

The site was surveyed for Sir Ferdinando Gorges,
“the Lord Proprietor of the Province of Mayne” No-
vember 11, 1641. It was described as “a division
of 12,000 acres of land amongst the Patentee of Aga-
mentics, made by us Thomas Gorges, Esq, Edward God-
frey and Roger Garde who are acting on behalf of Mr.
Sayward’s Patentees.”

Angevine W. Gowen learned the surveying trade from
Samuel W. Junkins, beginning as a chain carrier for
him. In 1890, he went out on his own as a surveyor.
He also received recognition as a photographer, vio-
lin maker, musician, game warden, farmer, fisherman,
astronomer, taxidermist and woodsman, according to
Bardwell. Many of his photographs of the York area
made on glass negatives survive. The Gowen home
and 20 acres of land was later acquired by Old
York Historical Society.

A niece of Angevine W. Gowen, Mrs. Leslie Freeman
of York, continued the work, building on his re-
search. Helen P. Gowen continued research on the
family into the 1950s when blindness interrupted
her work at the age of 84. She passed the torch
to her younger cousin Viola Allen Gowen of Sanford,
Maine. Julie Tuttle, a relative of Angevine W.
Gowen, lived at Ida Grove, Iowa in 1991. Another
relative, Bradley Moulton, lived at Cape Neddick,
Maine at that time, according to Margaret Pearson
Tate of Exeter, New Hampshire, a later Gowen re-

The most comprehensive work on this branch of the
family has been published by Yvonne Gowen of Sur-
rey, British Columbia, of Gowen Research Foundation.
Over 10 years were spent in gathering data on the
family. Mrs. Gowen, an accomplished genealogist,
assembled data from many sources. Among research-
ers who assisted were Margaret Pearson Tate of
Exeter, NH; Almeda Gowen Schofield of Contoocook,
NH; Barbara Clements of North Hampton, NH; Mary
Driscoll of Springvale, ME and Mary Ellen Gowen
Waugh of Riverdale, MD, also Foundation members.

Children born to William Gowen and Elizabeth Frost
Gowen include:

Nicholas Gowen born in 1667
John Gowen born in 1668
William Gowen born about 1672
Elizabeth Gowen born about 1673
James Gowen born about 1675
Margaret Gowen born about 1677
Lemuel Gowen born about 1680
Sarah Gowen born about 1682

From GRF Newsletter July 1993:

Nicholas Gowen Dealt with Controversy

Nicholas Gowen, son of William Alexander Gowen and Elizabeth Frost Gowen, was born in Kittery, Maine in the latter part of 1667 and was a namesake of his grandfather, Nicholas Frost. The birth of Nicholas Gowen “set some tongues a’waggin’” on the speculation that he may have arrived a little
prematurely after marriage of his parents on May 14, 1667.

William Alexander Gowen was captured in the Battle of Dunbar fought September 3, 1650 between the Scots supporting King Charles II and the Parliamentarians under Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell was victorious, killing 3,000 Scots and capturing 10,000. The English put their casualties at only 20
men killed. The Scotch prisoners were marched to London and deported to colonies throughout the empire.

William Alexander Gowen was included in a group of 150 that was sent aboard the “Unity” November 11, 1650, bound for New England. Landing at Boston, they were put to work in the ironworks. A group of the prisoners were chosen to work in the sawmill at Berwick, Maine, and William Alexander Gowen was included. After completing his endenture, he was released and was married to Elizabeth Frost,
daughter of Nicholas Frost who had come to New England in 1632.

Nicholas Gowen was a witness to a deed at Kittery November 10, 1685 according to “York Deeds” Volume 4, page 81. He received a land grant at Kittery in 1685. Nicholas Gowen was 19 years old when his father died in 1686. Ten years later, he and his brother had an agreement about the division of his
father’s land.

Nicholas Gowen was married about 1694 to Abigail Hodsdon, daughter of Benoni and Abigail Curtis Hodsdon of Berwick. Benoni Hodsdon was the son of Nicholas Hodsdon and Esther Wines Hodsdon who were residents of Hingham, Massachusetts in 1635.

Nicholas Gowen on December 23, 1695, was plaintiff in an action of trespass against Sarah Cahbourn, defendant, for unlawfully cutting hay from a marsh that he had rented. The court found in favor of the defendant.

On February 7, 1696-97 he and his brother John Gowen had an agreement made between them regarding property they had jointly inherited from their father. Their signatures read, “Nicholas Gowen alias Smith” and “John Gowen alias Smith.”

Frequently they, as well as their father, used the alias “Smith” in legal documents. It may have been because “Gowen” means “Smith” in the Gaelic language, or it may have been that they sought to avoid the continuing discrimination of the English against the Scots. Witnesses to the agreement were Daniel Emery and Alexander Forguson, their brothers-in-law.

Nicholas Gowen was mentioned as “town surveyor” March 2, 1699-1700, according “York Court Records.”

On July 10, 1700 Nicholas Gowen “alias Smith” and John Gowen “alias Smith” “both of Berwick in Kittery,” requested their neighbors to partition between them the land they had inherited from their father and from Tristram Harris, according to “Province and Court Records of Maine.” Their request, was to provide “allowance to our mother her thirds and to our brethern & sister their portions.”

Tristram Harris was a bachelor neighbor and a fellow militiaman with William Alexander Gowen. Young Nicholas Gowen had been a favorite of Harris who declared that the boy would become his heir, since he had no family in the colony.

Harris was killed in 1677 in an engagement with the Indians, and Nicholas Gowen was named his heir and his father administrator of the estate. As soon as relatives in England and in other colonies heard of Harris’ death, counter claims to the estate were filed. Thus began a legal controversy that swirled around the Gowens for the next 20 years, and William Alexander Gowen, Elizabeth Frost Gowen and Nicholas
Gowen were frequently in court during that period.

Nicholas Gowen was a witness to the will of James Warren December 9, 1700 in Berwick. On June 28, 1701 Nicholas Gowen was joined by James Plaisteed in sending a petition to the General Court requesting financial assistance to rebuild the garrisons at Wells, York and Berwick against Indian attacks.

They received 20 pounds to use for repairs on the fortifications.

On October 26, 1702 Nicholas Gowen purchased 21 acres of land from Richard Rogers for 13 shillings, according to “York Court Records.” He purchased 20 acres of land from Thomas Butler January 13, 1702-03. Lemuel Gowen, his brother, witnessed the transaction.

Nicholas Gowen, Continued

Nicholas Gowen became prominent in the affairs of Kittery.

He was admitted as an attorney to the Court of Common Pleas April 6, 1703. William Whitmore writing in “Massachusetts Civil List” mentioned Nicholas Gowen:

“In April 1703, another local person, Nicholas Gowen, was sworn as an attorney. Gowen was the son of that William Smith, alias Gowen, to whom the unfortunate Tristram Harris wished to leave his property in 1677.

His mother was Elizabeth, sister of Maj. Charles Frost, Sr. and one of his sons, James, born in 1714, was destined to sit on the bench of the Inferior Court in the years just prior to the Revolution. Nicholas Gowen was primarily a man of practical bent; he was a surveyor, scout and deputy to the General

He was not held in universal esteem, however, for Col. Pepperrell and Gowen’s uncle, Charles Frost, both testified in January 1695-96 that they heard Maj. Hooke call Nicholas a ‘busy body’ who concerned himself with that which did not belong to him.’ His appearances as an attorney were not frequent.”

Nicholas Gowen was in involved in a dispute over a land title October 20, 1703, according to “York Court Records” Volume 7, page 12. His brother John Gowen was a witness to the settlement of the dispute.

Nicholas Gowen received nine shillings from tax money from the General Court in 1704. Nicholas Gowen appeared on the York County jury list in October, 1706, July 1, 1707 and April 11, 1710.

He appeared on the other side of the bench April 2, 1706, according to “Province and Court Records:”

“Nicholas Gowen appeared in court to answer a presentment exhibited against him by the grand jury for being drunk and being legally convicted for his said offense fined 5s to the use of the town Kittery and pay fees of court 5s & to stand committed till his sentence be performed.”

He represented Kittery at the General Court of Massachusetts in 1709.

On March 5, 1711-12 Nicholas Gowen purchased from his brother John Gowen, his half of the land inherited from Tristram Harris, for 15 pounds, according to “York Deeds.” The conveyance covered:

“Twenty five Acres Scituate in ye township of Kittery being ye one halfe of Fifty acres of land known by ye Name of Trustram Harris out lot it being the westernmost part of said Fifty Acres According as ye Same is Set forth And bounded in A Certain Agreement or Instrument in writing under ye hands and Seals of us ye said John & Nicholas Gowen baring date ye Nineteenth day of January one thousand Seven hundred & two-three.”

On the same day Nicholas Gowen witnessed a payment to John Gowen and Mercy Hammond Gowen in the settlement of the estate of her father Joseph Hammond.

Nicholas Gowen was a witness to the will of Daniel Emery his brother-in-law April 5, 1722 in York County.

Nicholas Gowen was one of the appraisers of the estate of Gabriel Hambleton September 22, 1729 in York County.

Nicholas Gowen wrote his will January 8, 1733. It was published in 1898 at Eliot, Maine in a volume entitled “In Old Eliot” Volume 2, No. 3, dated March 1898. The will, which was also published in “Maine Wills, 1640-1760” by William Sargent bequeathed his real estate to his wife and his three
sons. One son, Nicholas Gowen, had died in childhood. He specified that “my honored mother, Elizabeth Gowen, widow shall be maintained & comfortably.” He directed that his five daughters, Abigail Thompson, Elizabeth Hart, Margaret Lord, Ester Ross and Anne Thurla were each to receive 20 pounds from the inheritance of his sons. His wife and three sons were named executors of his estate.

Nicholas Gowen lived 19 years after he wrote his will, dying in December 1752 at age 85. The will was probated January 2, 1753.

Children born to Nicholas Gowen and Abigail Hodsdon Gowen include:

Abigail Gowen born about 1698
Margaret Gowen born about 1699
Elizabeth Gowen born about 1700
Nicholas Gowen, Jr. born about 1702
Hester Gowen born about 1704
William Gowen born April 14, 1705
Patrick Gowen born about 1707
Anne Gowen born about 1709
James Gowen born in 1714