1763 John Gowen b. 1763 in Wells, Mass

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From GRF Newsletter Dec 1998:

Revolutionary John Gowen Fought Three Years In Seventh Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

John Gowen, son of Nicholas Gowen and Keziah Cole Gowen, was born July 12, 1763 in Wells, Massachusetts [later Maine] and was baptized there September 11, 1763. He was a great-great-grandson of William Alexander Gowen, the Scottish immigrant who was deported to the colonies by Oliver Cromwell after the Battle of Dunbar.

At the age of 18, John Gowen was enlisted as a private in the Seventh Massachusetts Infantry Regiment March 28, 1782 for a period of three years. Later he served in a Massachusetts Regiment under Lt. Col. John Brooks. He also served in the Maryland Continental Line, according to “DAR Patriot Index.”

In 1620, Sir Ferdinando Gorges had received the “Council for New England,” a royal grant which included the area of present-day Maine. He attempted to develop the area as a fiefdom by distributing the land in manors to his associates. His plan was thwarted by the success of two vigorous, self-governing, middle class colonies at Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay.

In 1650, dissatisfaction among the earlier settlers of Maine with the aristocratic regime of Gorges and his sons, led to Maine be-ing annexed to Massachusetts. It remained as Yorkshire County, Massachusetts until 1760 until it was divided into three counties–Lincoln, Cumberland and York. At that time, it had a population of 17,000.

Thus Maine remained as part of Massachusetts until 1820 when it was admitted as the 23rd state, and thus John Gowen served in the Massachusetts Continental Line.

The military record of John Gowen read:

“Gowen, John, Wells, Massachusetts Receipt dated Wells, March 28, 1782, for bounty paid said Gowen by Capt. John Cole, Chairman of Class No. 3 of the town of Wells to serve in the Continental Army for the term of 3 years; a descriptive list dated February 20, 1782; Light Infantry Company, Lt. Col. J. Brook’s [7th] Regiment: age 19 [also given as 20] years; stature 5 ft. 8 in.; complexion, dark; hair, dark [also given as brown]; occupation, farmer; birthplace Wells; residence, Wells; enlisted March 28, 1782; enlistment, 3 years; also he was included in a list of men under the heading ‘names and amounts due several men of the old Light Company sent Maj. Sumner February 16, 1784,’ appearing in a register of orders accepted on account of wages.”

John Gowen was married to Mary Storer on Christmas Day, 1787 at Wells. She was born to William Storer and Mary Storer June 1, 1767. After the Revolutionary War, he became a minis-ter. From 1788 until 1795 they lived at nearby Sanford, Mas-sachusetts. They then returned to Wells where they lived for the remainder of their lives.

He died June 25, 1810, at the age 46, according to his tombstone in Oak Grove Cemetery at Wells. Five months later, his estate was appraised at $1,758.68 and returned to the York County Court for probate. The inventory of his estate provides a glimpse into the austere furnishings of a New England house-hold in the early 1820s.

His estate, according to York County Deed [& Will] Book 22, page 90 was described as:

“An Inventory of the Estate of John Gowen, late of Wells, in the County of York, yeoman deceased, appraised upon oath by us, the subscribers duly appointed to that Service by the Hon. Stephen Thatcher, Esq, Judge of Probate of wills for said County of York, viz:

Real Estate
The homestead of said deceased situated in said Wells
containing about 85 acres with the buildings thereon $1,301.00
1 Galley Pew in the Meetinghouse, first parish, Wells 16.00
1/24th of a Saw Mill situate in Wells 12.00
1 Lot of land, about 8 acres, situate in Wells 24.00


The deceased’s Personal Estate
1 Pair wheels and two carts, 25, 1 plow, 2 27.00
2 Harrows, 3.50, 1 sled, 1.00, 2 ox yokes & tackle,
4 chains, 3.00 9.50
1 Broad ax, 2.00, 1 old harrow, .33, 2 chisels, .50,
2 augers, 1.00 3.83
1 Adz, 1.25, 1 square & compass, .25, 3 old hoes, 1.00,
2 handsaws, 2.00 4.50
1 Crow bar, 1, .25, 2 old sythes & snares, 1.00,
1 sleigh and harness, 10.00 12.25
1 Grindstone, 2.00, 2 pitchforks, 1.00, 2 rakes, .12
2 old dung forks, .05 3.17
1 Iron Shovel, .67, drawing knife, .25, 2 iron sledges, .75 1.67
The Deceased’s Stock, viz.
1 Mare, 15.00, 13 sheep and 6 lambs, 30.00 45.00
1 Yoke oxen, 48.00, 1 Yoke oxen, 42.00, 2 cows, 30.00 120.00
1 3-yr. old heifer, 13.00, 1 2-yr. old heifer, 12.00 25.00
3 Yearlings, 21.00, 2 calves, 6.00, 2 hogs, 13.00,
3 pigs, 6.00 46.00
The Deceased’s Household Goods, Beding, Etc.
1 Feather bed, 7.50, 1 straw bed, .75, 1 bed stead, .50
2 pillow & covers, 1.00 9.75
2 Sheets, 2.00, 1 quilt, 2.50, 1 bed, 7.50, 1 straw bed, .75
2 sheets, 1.00 13.75
1 Bed stead & card, 1.25, 1,000 feet boards, 7.00,
2 old straw beds, 1.50 9.75
4 Old Sheets, 1.50, 2 old quilts, 1.50, 2 old
bedsteads, 1.25 4.25
3 Old rugs, 1.00, 2 old spinning wheels, 2.50, 1 old
meal chest, .50 4.00
1 Loom & gear for the same, 5.00 5.00
25 lb. Sheeps wool, 8.25, 1 bed curtain, 1.50, 1 pr.
old blankets, 1.00 10.75
6 Towels, 1.00, 2 table cloths, 1.00, 2 old sheets, 1.50 3.50
3 Pillow cases, .50, 1 can with draw, 1,00,
1 clothes basket, .50 2.00
1 Old chest, .50, 1 doz. twissers, .37, 1 pitcher, .25
1 mug, .25 1.37
3 Tumblers, 1 bottle, .36, 1 tin teapot, 1 tin cannister,
1 tin basket. 75 1.11
2 Sugar bowls, 2 pint bowls, 9 cups & saucers, .62 0.62
4 Jars, bottles .33, 1 tea table, .50, 1 kitchen table .75 1.58
1 Round chair, .75, 7 kitchen chairs, 1.33, 1 kettle, 1.00
1 pot. .50 3.58
1 Pr. Tongs & shovels, 1.00, 1 Crain, 2.00, 1 Tramel
& hooks, 1.00 4.00
1 Pr. Flat irons, .50, 1 water pail, .17, 1 sieve, .12,
1 tin pail, .50 1.29
5 Tin basins, .30, 2 pewter platters, .50, 5 pewter
plates, .30 1.10
1 Coffee pot, .25, 4 milk pans, .60, 1 cullender, .30 1.25
1 Lamp, .20, 6 knife & forks, .75, 4 earthen milk pans, .50 1.45
2 Tin milk pans, .33, 2 earthen pots, .25, l lanthern, .50 1.08
2 Candle sticks, .17, 1 stove, .83, 1 funnell, .08,
1 tin pot, .10 1.18
1 Old gun, 3.00, 1 old saddle & bridle, 4.50 7.50
2 Old cyder barrels, l.50 1.50
The Deceased’s Wearing Apparel
2 Pr. panteloons, 3.00, 1 pr. small clothes, .03 3.50
3 Pr. stockings, 1.00, 2 shirts, 1.00, 1 coat, 3.00 5.00
2 Old waistcoats .50, 1 old pr. panteloons, .25 0.75
1 Old greatcoat, .50, 1 pr. shoes, .75 1.25
8 Yards Mill Cloth @ .75 6.00

Wells, November 15, 1810 Sam’l Gooch,” Appraiser Stephen Thacher, Judge

The influence of the English custom of primogeniture is seen in the distribution of the real estate. Customarily the widow received one-third of the property, and the oldest son received the oldest son received two-thirds. At the death of his mother, the oldest son received her one-third of the real estate. Primogeniture served the British Crown well in that it preserved the manor system intact and kept its land boundaries unchanged.

Pursuant to a warrant from the Honorable Stephen Thatcher, Esqr, Judge of Probate for the County of York, We the subscribers have assigned unto Mary Gowen, the widow relict of John Gowen, late of Wells in said county of York, Yeoman, deceased, her dower which to her happeneth in the real estate of the said deceased whereof he died seized in fee, being one third part thereof, in doing which we have had regard to the quality as well as the quantity, and have severed the same by metes and bounds, to hold to her the said Mary in severalty during life, in the manner following, viz:

We have assigned to the said Mary the kitchen, being the easterly room in the said deceased’s dwelling house and the bed-room thereunto adjoining and the chamber over the same kitchen & bedroom and one-third part of the cellar belonging to said dwelling house and one-half of the front door and entry and one-third part of the land adjoining said dwelling house, commonly used for the purpose of depositing wood and other conveniences and one-third part of all other privileges and appurtenances of said dwelling house excepting that the owners and occupiers of the rest of said dwelling house shall have the privilege of passing and repassing through said Mary’s part of the house into the cellar and also shall have a right to use the oven to bake in when necessary.

We have also assigned to the said Mary the eastern band in the barn of the said deceased with one-third part of the privileges of the barn’s floor & and the horse house and one-third part of the land adjoining said barn commonly used for a barn yard and for depositing manure and one-third part of the hog sty.

We have also assigned and set off to the said Mary a tract of mowing and tillage land bounded as follows, viz: Beginning at the easterly corner of said dwelling house running north sixty five degrees east twelve rods: Then south fifteen degrees east sixty-three rods to the bottom of the field: Then on the same course fifteen rods to the road leading by said dwelling house to the Branch so called: Thence southwesterly by said road till it turne to the northwest: Then northwesterly by said road house: Thence by said lane noroth sixty-five degrees east to the place of beginning: Excepting so much of said tract as belongs to the privilege of the other two-thirds of said dwelling house and barn for the purposes before described.

Also a tract of pasture land bounded as follows, viz: Beginning ten feet northwesterly from the north carner of the field: Then running north one and one-half degree west eight rods to a red oak tree marked on four sides: Thence north eighty-seven degrees east
fifty rods to Stephen Ricker’s land: Then easterly by said Ricker’s land six rods to land belonging to the heirs of Nathaniel Taylor, deceased: Thence southerly by said Taylor’s land forty rods to said Taylor’s field: Thence by said Taylor’s land in part and partly by the field of said Gowen deceased on as the fence by said field runs the general course of which is about a north-west by west course fifty-four rods to the place of beginning with the privilege of the land used to drive cattle to pasture in and with the privilege of the land leading from the road to the dwelling house before described.

We have also assigned and set off to the said Mary a tract of wood or timber land bounded as follows, viz: Beginning at the north corner of the land which the said deceased purchased from Joseph Wormwood, Thence running southeasterly by land of Benaiah Clark forty rods, Thence south forty-five degrees west about forty rods to land of Jacob Taylor, Thence North forty-five degrees west by said Jacob’s land forty rods to said Benaiah’s land: Thence north fifty-five degrees east by said Benaiah’s land to the place of beginning: All of which we have assigned to the said Mary as her full proportion and right of dower in the said deceased’s real estate.

Wells, 14th November 1811 Nath’l Wells
Abner Fisk
Samuel Mildram

At a Court of Probate holden at Wells in said county, 21, Nov. 1814

The foregoing return of the committee being presented for acceptance, and no objection being made there to, the same is hereby accepted. And thereupon decreed that the whole of said real estate, [except what has been assigned to the widow as her thirds] be and hereby is settled upon Nicholas Gowen, the eldest son of the said deceased, he appearing and accepting thereof, to hold to him, his heirs & assigns forever, provided and on condition that he pay or cause to be paid to his brothers& sisters, viz: Sarah, Mary, Christiana, Esaias [Keziah], John, Hannah, James, & Charles the sum of fifty-eight dollars fifty-three cents to each of them, which after deducting the amount of the balance due to Mary Gowen on her administration account on said estate, this day allowed makes up their several shares in said estate, agreebly to the appraisement by said committee.

The said sums to be paid as follows, viz: one-third part in one year, one other third in two years, and the remaining third in three years, with interest from this date, till paid.
Stephen Thatcher, Judge”

Mary Storer Gowen and her nine children received their portions of the estate of John Gowen from the York County Court shortly afterward.

Mary Storer Gowen applied September 26, 1838 from Wells, Maine at age 71 and received Widow’s Pension No. W23128 be-cause of her husband’s service. She was awarded Bounty Land Warrant No. 2348 for 160 acres of land.

Mary Storer Gowen was enumerated as the head of a household in the 1850 census of York County at the age of 83. She reap-peared at “age 91” in the 1860 census of York County living in the household of her daughter-in-law, Nancy Mildrew Gowen.
After 50 years of widowhood, Mary Storer Gowen died July 2, 1860, “age 93 years, 1 month,” according to her tombstone, placed next to her husband’s in Oak Grove Cemetery.

Children born to John Gowen and Mary Storer Gowen include:

Nicholas Gowen born September 5, 1788
Sarah Gowen born September 25, 1790
Mary Gowen born December 7, 1792
Christiana Gowen born January 15, 1795
Keziah Gowen born May 11, 1798
John Gowen, Jr. born August 3, 1800
Hannah Gowen born October 5, 1802
James Gowen born April 24, 1805
Charles Gowen born November 24, 1808

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