1769 William Gowen b. abt 1769, living in Davidson Co, TN

William Gowen b. abt 1769 of Davidson Co, TN


  • Unk

Children born to William Gowen and his first wife are believed to include:

  • William Gowen, Jr. born about 1793
  • John S. Gowen born about 1795

One son was born to William Gowen and Martha Rains Gowen:

  • Alfred P. Gowen born about 1798

Children possibly born to William Gowen and his third wife include:

  • Samuel Thomas Beavers born about 1817
  • Harriett Gowen born about 1821


  • Unk


From GRF Newsletter Oct 1993:

Lt. William Gowen Fought the Creeks for Nashville

William Gowen, son of John Gowen and grandson of William Gowen who received a 640-acre preemption grant in Davidson County, Tennessee by the state of North Carolina, was born about 1769, probably in South Carolina. He was brought to Ft. Nashborough, Tennessee in 1779 by his father, accompanying his grandfather and his uncle, Capt. John Rains.

It is believed that William Gowen was married about 1792, wife’s name unknown. After the birth of two sons, she apparently died.

On April 14, 1793 John Rains was commissioned captain of a “company of mounted infantrymen called into service for the protection of the frontier of Mero District,” according to Robert Hays, muster master. Capt. Rains wrote the names of the men included in his command. Among the 75 men enrolled
for three months service were “privates William Gowen, John Gowen, John Shute [brother-in-law of John Gowen] and William Rains [brother-in-law of William Gowen.]

The “Knoxville Gazette” published a report of the activities of this company in its edition of Saturday, June 15, 1793:

“Nashville, May 12, a detachment of cavalry consisting of one hundred men commanded by Captains Rains and [Thomas] Johnson, set out from this place on a tour of duty to the northward.

On the 16th of May, Maj. Brown, in his cornfield, 4 miles from Nashville and Mr. M’Mulin at the Cotton Manufactory near Nashville were killed by Indians. Many horses were stolen between the 16th and the 20th.

On the 18th a party of Indians were discovered at Capt. Bosley’s plantation; they stole four horses near his farm.

On the 20th day of May a boat laden with 350 bushels of salt, belonging to Messrs. Donelson and Jackson was taken on the passage from Kentucky to Cumberland by a strong party of Indians.

A party of cavalry of Mero District, commanded by Captains Rains and Johnson, being out on duty, discovered the trace of about 10 or 12 Indians making into the Cumberland Settlements.

On this trace they pursued and soon came to a place where it appeared the Indians had held a war dance. On the 21st ult. the white men overtook the Indians, but it was in ground very caney, they killed but one Indian. He appeared to be a Creek from the fashion of his hair. The others ran off almost naked, leaving all their baggage behind.

On the 3d instant, Maj. Beard returned to this place from the relief of Cumberland [Mero District] from the invasion of the Creeks. His route to and from Nashville to this place was by the heads of the southern waters of the Cumberland, and to the southward of the settlements, through the middle of the main Creek camps, from which they have so repeatedly annoyed the frontiers. But unfortunately he found many abandoned camps of numerous parties of warriors; he fell in with only three such parties, of which he killed two and wounded several. The Indians, finding their main camping ground thus traced with bodies of armed men, will either cease altogether or approach Cumberland with more care than they have hitherto done.”

Also in 1793 Capt. Rains’ company served in Gen. John Sevier’s Etowah Campaign. The men were finally paid for their service in 1798 by Robert Hayes, muster master who listed their names under “Men who served in Sevier’s 1793 campaign who were living in Mero District when paid in 1798.”

On December 30, 1795 William Gowen received a deed to 150 acres on Stone’s River which he bought at a sheriff’s sale, according to Davidson County Deed Book D, page 38. His brother, John Gowen bought 81 acres on Stone’s River at the same sale on December 30, 1795, according to Davidson County Deed Book D, page 40. Apparently the land, which was sold for delinquent taxes, lay in adjoining plots.

William Gowen was mentioned as a purchaser at the estate sale of Robert McCrory, deceased in the Davidson County Court term of April 1796, according to Davidson County Will Book 1, page 44.

On February 15, 1797 William Gowen purchased 90 acres on Mill Creek from William Terrill, according to Davidson County Deed Book D, page 380.

On September 1, 1797 William Gowen was commissioned a lieutenant in the Davidson County militia company commanded by Capt. Rains. Later that year William Gowen was married to his cousin, Martha “Patsy” Rains, daughter of Capt. Rains and Christiana Gowen Rains, on December 3, according to Davidson County Marriage Book 1, page 28.

Martha “Patsy” Rains was born about 1773, probably in Montgomery County, Virginia. She was brought to Davidson County by her parents about 1779. Her father took her mother and the children back to safety in Kentucky when Indian attacks threatened to kill all the settlers on the Cumberland.
When hostilities subsided Capt. Rains brought his family back to Ft. Nashborough.

She had a narrow escape from the Indians about 1790 when she and her friend, Betsy Williams, were fired upon by Indians while out riding. Martha “Patsy” Rains, riding a fast horse, escaped, but her friend Betsy Williams was killed and scalped.

A. W. Putnam writing in “History of Middle Tennessee,” stated “Indians shot and killed Betsy Williams who was riding on the same horse behind Martha “Patsy” Rains.”

John Rains, Jr. gave some additional details about the incident:
“On one occasion my sister [Martha “Patsy” Rains] wished to go up to Armstrong’s Station, about seven miles from Nashville. She could not get company as pleased her, so she went alone. She got there safely.

On her return a young woman [Betsy Williams] at some point desired to come along with her, and they both started on the same horse. A young man named Patton went along as a guard. A small dog became alarmed, and she desired Patton to go ahead. He did so, and the Indians fired at the party.

My sister turned her horse and tried to make him leap the fence, but he failed the first trial. The young woman being behind was hit by the Indians and fell off. The horse then leaping the fence, my sister escaped. As she looked behind her, she saw the Indians in the act of seizing her companion, whom they killed.

My sister kept on to Armstrong’s Station, and the people being alarmed, went back and found the poor girl’s body. Patton ran off in another direction and escaped in safety.”

It is believed that Martha “Patsy” Rains Gowen died about 1799, perhaps in childbirth.

William Gowen was one of four individuals, two fathers and two sons, of that name who appeared in the early days of Davidson and Rutherford Counties at the same time. The researcher has to be careful in delineating between the four so that the activities of one are not improperly ascribed to another.

William Gowen was listed as a purchaser at the estate sale of Thomas Martin, deceased reported to the Davidson County Court in its April 1802 term, according to Davidson County Will Book 1, page 236. Capt. Rains was the administrator of the estate.

In 1803 Rutherford County was created from the southeastern portion of Davidson County, and William Gowen began to appear in the legal records of the new county.

On May 4, 1807 William Gowen deeded 150 acres on the West Fork of Stone’s River to John Lawrence for $450, according to Rutherford County Deed Book E, pages 430 and 505. The trade, which involved the land that he had purchased at the sheriff’s sale in 1795, was completed October 5, 1807.

William Gowen, along with his brother, John Gowen, was listed in a tax list of Davidson County in 1812, according to records of Davidson County Court. The two were shown in the company enumerated by Capt. Belk. William Gowen was listed as Householder 1686, according to Davidson County Minute Book, page 826, as abstracted in “Pioneers of Davidson County, Tennessee” by Edythe Rucker Whitley.

On March 1, 1816 “William Gowan” was shown to be indebted to the estate of Maj. John Strother, deceased. He had given Maj. Strother a bond, according to Davidson County Will Book 2, page 433.

On April 15, 1817, a case against “William Gowen for bastardy” was settled out of court. The case was crossed out in the minutes of the Rutherford County Court Minute Book C, page 434. Although the case never came to trial, it remains in the court minutes for all the world to see, nearly two centuries later.

More research in the Rutherford County Court records is needed to determine which William Gowen was being implicated, who the mother was, and what the name of the child was. It has been suggested that the child was Samuel Thomas Beavers.

On March 20, 1818 William Gowen deeded 200 acres of land located on Mill Creek to his brother, John Gowen, according to Davidson County Deed Book M, page 338. This tract of land which was sold for $2,300, was located in the southeast section of the original pre-emption of his grandfather William Gowen.

It is believed that William Gowen was married a third time, possibly to “Mrs. Beavers,” a widow, about 1819.

The household of “William Gowen” appeared in the 1820 census of Rutherford County:

“Gowen, William white male 26-45; white female 26-45”

Four slaves were enumerated in the household: one male slave, 14-26; one female slave, 14-26 one male slave, 0-14; and one female slave, 0-14. Three members of the household were engaged in agriculture.

William Gowen was named a petit juror July 22, 1823, according to Rutherford County Court Minute Book E, page 16. Three times in 1823 William Gowen was summoned to serve on the grand jury, according to Court Minute Book E.

William Gowen died prior to July 19, 1827 in Rutherford County for on that date Harriett Gowen and Samuel Thomas Beavers were listed as “minor heirs of William Gowen” in Rutherford County court records. At the time of his death, William Gowen owned 518 acres of land in Rutherford County.

Children born to William Gowen and his first wife are believed to include:

  • William Gowen, Jr. born about 1793
  • John S. Gowen born about 1795

One son was born to William Gowen and Martha Rains Gowen:

  • Alfred P. Gowen born about 1798

Children possibly born to William Gowen and his third wife include:

  • Samuel Thomas Beavers born about 1817
  • Harriett Gowen born about 1821