States and Counties to research:
Capt. James Gowen Fought The French at Ft. Ticonderoga
Capt. James Gowen, stood in the bow of his bateau and surveyed the motley armada of boats traversing the waters of Lake George in an attack on the French Ft. Carillon. The French & Indian War had been going on for nine years now in a see-saw battle, and the British commanders were desperate to drive the French out of upper New York.
James Gowen, at age 43, had seen militia duty for several years, but this was the first time his company had been involved in an amphibious landing against a strongly fortified position. His troops were farmers, shopkeepers and mechanics and were struggling to keep their boat in formation. Strung out across the lake in disorganized confusion was the flotilla composed of 900 bateaux, 135 whale boats and 16 barges bearing the artillery. The captain could realize that this was a recipe for disaster, and at that moment, the French opened a barrage of cannonfire upon the helpless armada . . .
James Gowen, son of Nicholas Gowen and Abigail Hodsdon Gowen, was born February 14, 1715 at Kittery, according to “Province and Court Records of Maine.” He was the grandson of William Alexander Gowen, Scottish soldier captured in the Battle of Dunbar and deported by William Cromwell.
James Gowen received the bulk of his father’s farm in the will of Nicholas Gowen written in 1733. He also received a yoke of oxen under the terms of the will. James Gowen was married November 21, 1738 to his cousin, Anna Smith by John Hill, J.P. She was the daughter of William Smith who was married to Sarah Gowen March 30, 1684.
James Gowen was a witness to the will of John Heard, his neighbor, January 17, 1742 in York County. Later he was one of the appraisers of the estate of John Heard November 25, 1751 in York County. James Gowen was one of the appraisers of the estate of his aunt Margaret Emery Gowen December 21, 1751 in York County.
He was one of the appraisers of the estate of Nicholas Shap-leigh December 13, 1752 in York County. He was one of the appraisers of the estate of Joshua Black May 4, 1756 in York County.
James Gowen sold 10 acres of the land to Benjamin Stacy prior to October 10, 1757. This may have been the 10 acre plot owned earlier by his brother Patrick Gowen. In 1757, James Gowen was named Coronet of the York County Blue Troop of Horse commanded by Capt. Abraham Lord in the regiment of Sir William Pepperell.
“Capt. James Gowen,” was the commander of an infantry company in 1758. In that year he commanded a company in the expedition against Crown Point, New York during the French & Indian War. Then his company joined the forces under Lt-Gen. James Abercrombie and Brig-Gen. George A. Howe, in the attack on the French on Lake George.
The French occupied Ft. Carillon there on Lake George with less than 4,000 troops. They were besieged by 6,000 British regulars and 10,000 provincial troops, and although outnumbered four to one, defeated the attack, killing 2,000 of the British and Americans, including Gen. Howe. Capt James Gowen and most of his company survived the disaster.
His nephews, Corp. David Gowen and Pvt. Samuel Gowen were serving in his command. Samuel Gowen was killed in the battle, according to Yvonne Margarett Collinson Gowen in “Gowen Family Genealogy.”
Later in the year, the Marquis de Montcalm withdrew with all but 400 of his French troops from Ft. Carillon, moving to defend Quebec. On July 26, 11,000 troops under Lord Jeffrey Amherst returned to besiege Ft. Carillon. The 400 French soldiers blew up the fortifications and abandoned the fort. The British moved in and renamed it Ft. Ticonderoga. Capt. Gowen and his company returned home briefly. During the interim, James Gowen was one of the appraisers of the estate of John Shapleigh October 7, 1759 in York County.
Capt. James Gowen and his troops were quickly transported northward to participate in the Battle of Quebec under Maj-Gen. James Wolfe, age 33, 11 years his junior. Again the campaign was a stalemate–until Wolfe attempted the unthinkable. He set his troops to climbing the vertical cliffs before the Heights of Abraham. The surprise worked. The 8,000 British and Americans charged across the plain, with Wolfe in the van, before the French could move to meet them. Wolfe won the most important battle of the war, but, taking three bullets, lost his life in the charge.
On February 21, 1761 Capt. James Gowen joined a group of war veterans in signing a petition requesting a land grant near “Mt. Deseret, Massachusetts Bay Colony” for a township, ac-cording to “Documentary History of Maine, Baxter Manuscript,” published by the Maine Historical Society. The petition was successful for on January 27, 1764 they re-ceived the requested land grant on the “east side of Mt. De-seret [now Union] River.”
In 1763 the company of Capt. Gowen was back in Canada and “continued in occupation duty at Quebec City.”
Back home, he was instructed October 13, 1765 in a town meeting to “oppose the Stamp Act.” Capt. James Gowen on October 29, 1765 was appointed to a committee to settle a boundary dispute for Henry Young Brown by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
He was a member of the General Court in March 1767 when the dispute was settled. “He sat on the bench of the Inferior Court just prior to the Revolutionary War,” according to “Province and Court Records of Maine.”
On December 21, 1767, he was elected to a committee, a better business bureau, “to report what they think proper to encourage industry, economy and manufactories in the Kittery area, thereby to prevent the unnecessary importations of Europe’s commodities.”
Anna Smith Gowen died about 1768, and James Gowen was remarried about 1770 to Lois Woodbridge, daughter of John Woodbridge.
James Gowen served as a selectman in Kittery for 20 years. He was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for seven years and was a Governor’s Councillor from 1770 to 1774.
On October 27, 1774 James Gowen, along with two others, at a town meeting “to act as delegates in a county congress to be holden some time in November next at Wells by the several towns in this county, there to consider and to agree upon some proper measures for the preservation of the peace and good order of the inhabitants; also to agree upon some legal and constitutional measures in order to defeat the arbitrary tyrannical plans laid by our enemies, the British, to enslave us.”
Capt. James Gowen “of Kittery” resigned November 29, 1777 as “one of the Justices of the Superior Court of Common Pleas for the County of York” because of ill health, according to “Documentary History of Maine.” He died in 1781, and his will was introduced in probate February 12 of that year. Lois Woodbridge Gowen continued to live in Shapleigh House, the Gowen home until her death in 1813. Her estate, including Shapleigh House and 70 acres of land was valued at $2,500.
Children born to James Gowen and Anna Smith Gowen include:
Sarah Gowen born April 21, 1739
Abigail Gowen born August 23, 1741
Elizabeth Gowen born September 18, 1743
Phebe Gowen born February 6, 1746
Anna Gowen born May 8, 1750
Mary Gowen born May 8, 1756
Children born to James Gowen and Lois Woodbridge Gowen include:
Louisa Gowen born July 18, 1771