James H. Gowen, son of William Gowen and Sarah Simpson was born about 1752
Lived in Sumner Co, Tenn
(See various James Goings on this page: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/various-james-goings/ )
He was very dark complexioned, had Melungeon features and later had difficulty when he was regarded as a mulatto and a runaway slave.
It is believed that he accompanied his father, his brother, William Gowen and his kinsman, David Gowen when they made a move to Tennessee in a party led by John Rains, his brother-in-law.
Levi Gowen of Fairfield County, South Carolina, brother of David Gowen, stated in a Fairfield County court affidavit that “Four mulatto went to Daverson County on the Cumberland River in 1779.” David Gowen was killed by the Indians at Mansker’s station [later in Sumner County] about 1780, and Levi Gowen was named as his heir.
James H. Gowen settled on land located north of the Cumberland River, and when Sumner County, Tennessee was created in 1786, found himself in the new county.
“James Gowen” purchased a horse for $79.25 at the auction of the estate of Allen Gowen, his kinsman in 1800, according to Rutherford County Court records.
According to the research of Donna Gowin Johnston, Foundation Editorial Boardmember of Casper, Wyoming, James H. Gowen appeared in the court records of Sumner County March 23, 1804. At that time the court ordered that depositions be taken from John Watts Crunk and his wife, Milley Crunk, in addition to a deposition by John McCarton. The case was declared a mistrial by the judge and set to come up again in the June Quarterly Session.
On June 22, 1804, the court did not hear the case, but issued an order that “the deposition of Thomas Elliott of Kentucky to be taken in behalf of the defendant.”
It is probable that John Watts Crunk, Mrs. Milley Crunk, John McCarton and Thomas Elliott were able to present convincing evidence that James H. Gowen was born a free man. Daniel Gowen, kinsman of James H. Gowen, was married in Fairfield, South Carolina to Rebecca Elliott. Charles Elliott, George Elliott, Hugh Elliott, James Elliott, John Elliot, Samuel Elliott, Simon Elliott and Tebiah Elliott appeared in Sumner County during this pioneer period.
John Watts Crunk was no stranger to the courthouse in Gallatin. In April 1788 the case of State of North Carolina vs. John Watts Crunk came up, but was dismissed. On September 20, 1804 John Watts Crunk was sued by John Young on an indebtedness, but the suit was also dismissed.
On December 19, 1804 John Watts Crunk was appointed constable in Capt. James Whitsitts militia company. He posted the required performance bond of $625 with Elisha Prewitt and Nicholas Boyce his securities. On December 20, 1804 John Watts Crunk was sued by Henry Fuller on a $4.86 indebtedness, and the court found in favor of the plaintiff. In March 1805 John Coffee sued John Watts Crunk for a $28.86 indebtedness, and the jury found for the plaintiff.
On June 21, 1805 John Young “records his stock mark, also personal mark, a bite out of the right ear done by John W. Crunk,” according to Sumner County court minutes.
On June 22, 1805, the appeal of John Coffee & Co. vs John W. Crunk was heard and the court issued a “scire facias against the security of Crunk.”
On September 21, 1804 the case of James Gowen vs. Isaac Baker was continued until the fourth quarter. On that date Allen Purvis “impannelled in cause Jas. Gowen agt. Isaac Baker fined $5 for being absent after the hour of adjournment to this day in contempt of court.” The judge again ruled a mistrial.
“Pleas at the court house in the town of Gallatin before the justices of Gallatin on the third Monday in December Ano Domini 1804 & 29th year of American Independence.
James Gowen, Plaintiff vs Isaac Baker, Defendant [Trespass, Assault & Battery, Ve.]
Isaac Baker was attached to answer James Gowen in a plea of trespass, assault & battery & false imprisonment with force & arms to his damage Five Thousand Dollars. Whereupon the said James Gowen by John C. Hamilton, his attorney at March term 1804, filed his declaration upon the same in the words following, to wit:
State of Tennessee, Sumner County, March Term, 1804. James Gowen by his attorney complains of Isaac Baker in custody, etc of a plea of trespass, assault & battery for this to wit on the ____ day of ____ in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & two in the county aforesaid with force & arms and assault did make in & upon the body the said James & him the said James did beat, wound & ill treat, and whereas also afterwards towit on the same day & year last aforesaid at the county aforesaid the said Isaac with force & arms did falsely & illegally imprison him, the said James for a long time [to wit] for the space of fifteen days to the damage of the said James five thousand Dollars & therefore he brings suit.
And the said Defendant by W. L. Hannum, his attorney at the term last above mentioned comes into court and defends the force and injury when and where, etc, and for plea saith that the Plaintiff ought not to have or maintain an action or suit ____ and for __________ the Plaintiff by John C. Hamilton, his attorney says he ought not to be barred or precluded from having or maintain his action aforesaid against the said Defendant not with standing any plea pleaded by the Defendant in his aforesaid plea because he says he is not now nor ever has been a slave, and of this he puts himself on his county and the Defendant by W. L. Hannum, his attorney, and at September term a Jury was impannelled & sworn to try the issue aforesaid, but they did not retire, a mistrial being made by consent of parties ____ and now at this term to wit the first above mentioned comes the parties by their attorneys and a Jury to wit, Andrew Blythe, Richard Carr, Robert Robb, Thomas Joiner, George Gillespie, Isaac George, William Bruce, William Snoddy, James Graham, John Shaver, Smith Hansbrough & James A. Wilson, who being elected, tried & sworn the truth to speak upon the issue joined upon their oath do say that they find the issue in favour of the plaintiff, saying that the said Plaintiff is a free man, and do assess the said plaintiff’s damages by occasion of wrongfully detaining him in servitude, to six & one-fourth cents. It is therefore considered by the court that the plaintiff recover against the defendant his damages aforesaid in form aforesaid assessed & his costs by him about his suit in this behalf expended.”
James H. Gowen received an inheritance of 240 acres of his father’s 640-acre land grant. He and brother, John Gowen advertised the property, “containing 240 acres and lying on the main road from Nashville to Jefferson” for sale in a Nashville newspaper December 13, 1806, probably after the death of their mother. James H. Gowen sold the property to Daniel Vaulx who lived nearby June 2, 1807, according to Davidson County Deed Book G, page 199. The land was described as:
“. . . beginning at a hickory at the Northwest corner of the preemption originally granted to William Gowen, thence east 332 poles to a red oak, the original Northeast corner of said tract, then South 166 poles to a white oak, poplar and dogwood, then West 145 poles to a post oak, then north 42 poles to a hickory, then North 60 West 98 to a black oak, thence North 80 West 95 poles to a dogwood on the West boundary of the original survey, thence North to the beginning . . . ”
Steve Rogers of the Tennessee Historical Commission who researched the deed record of the property wrote, “this 240-acre tract is located on the northern third of the property [preemption] north of present-day Murphreesboro Road and is not a part of the Central States Hospital tract. The route of the Murfreesboro Turnpike, established in 1824, followed approximately the southern boundary, according to ‘Acts of Tennessee, 1824,’ page 148.”
Following his abusive experience in Sumner County, it is believed that James H. Gowen moved across the county line to adjoining Robertson County which had been created from Sumner County in 1796. It is believed that land was granted to James H. Gowen, perhaps in both counties.
“James Goin” and “Jeremiah Goin” were recorded in 1812 as taxpayers in Robertson County in Capt. Gabriel Martin’s Company, according to “Taxpayer List,” Roll 7, Tennessee State Archives.
Included among the assets of the estate of William Rains administered in Davidson County November 27, 1812 was a past due note on “James H. Gowan for $100, payable on June 3, 1808.”
Children born to James H. Gowen are unknown. Possible kinsmen of James H. Gowen are Reuben Gowen of Sumner County and Jeremiah Gowen, Benjamin Gowen and Reuben Gowen of Robertson County.