Peter I. Gowan Dealt in Blacks
In Charleston Slave Market
“Peter Gowan took the oath of Naturalization” in Charleston
November 1, 1819, according to “South Carolina Historical
Magazine.” His son, the Rev. Peter I. Gowan, Jr. of Wesson,
Mississippi indicated that he was born in Scotland.
Peter I. Gowan was mentioned in the will of Prue Benson of
Greenville County, South Carolina written October 19, 1819.
The abstract read:
“I give and bequeath unto my son-in-law, John Gowen
four negroes, also half of a mill built between P. I. Gowen
and myself, to my son William B. Benson, five negroes;
to daughter Jane, five negroes; plantation tract of land and
all the balance of my personal property to be sold at public
sale on a credit of 12 months, and the money arising from
the sale therein to be divided between John Gowen,
William B. Benson and Jane Benson. I do hereby appoint
John B. Gowen and William B. Benson my lawful
The estate sale of Prue Benson was held December 1, 1821.
John B. Gowen, William B. Benson, John H. Easley and
Thomas Wynn were among the purchasers.
Hazel Dean Overstreet, family researcher and Editorial
Boardmember of Odum, Georgia, discovered in the South
Carolina Archives abstracts of Charleston bills of sale for
slaves involving Peter I. Gowan:
“February 28, 1823. Bill of Sale from Jehu Jones to Peter
Gowan a slave named Richard, a tailor by trade.
Warranted sound. [Jehu Jones, Sr, a tailor, a free Negro
and a slave owner himself, had several slaves.]
“July 15, 1824. Bill of Sale from Jacob De La Molte to
Peter Gowan for a mulatto slave named Mary, about 40
July 18, 1826. Bill of Sale from Eliza Garner to Peter
Gowan for a mulatto slave named Sally, about 22 years old
and her two children named David and Mary.
June 14, 1828. Bill of Sale from Fleming Ross & Company
to Peter Gowan for a slave named Ellen. Warranted
:April 9, 1829. Bill of Sale from M. A. Desoussure, executor
of estate of Alexander Gordon to Peter Gowan for a
slave named Melia and her daughter Kate.”
Peter I. Gowan, “white male 40-50,” was recorded as the head
of a household composed of six whites and six slaves in the
1830 census of the City of Charleston, Charleston County,
page 38. During the decade Peter I. Gowan continued to deal
“March 10, 1837. Bill of Sale from Peter Gowan to Robert
Walder for a mulatto slave named Betsey, with deed of
assignment to Samuel Weston, a free black.
November 16, 1837. Bill of Sale from Edward Harvey to
Peter Gowan, as guardian, for a slave named Maria.”
Peter I. Gowan, “white male 40-50” reappeared in the 1840
census of Charleston County, page 19, as the head of a household
composed of 10 whites and five slaves. Two members of
the family were engaged in trades and manufacturing. Peter I.
Gowan had two other slave transactions after the census:
“March 23, 1841. Bill of Sale from Charles Clarke, executor
of John Redfern, to Peter Gowan for a slave named George.
July 3, 1844. Bill of Sale from C. Parknin to Peter Gowan
for a slave named Patty.”
Peter I. Gowan later moved to Orangeburg County, South
Carolina where he and his wife died at the home of their
daughter, Mrs. Riggs.
According to his granddaughter, Miss Sarah Louise “Sally”
Gowan of Wesson, Mississippi, children born to Peter I.
Alexander Gowan born about 1828
[daughter] born about 1830
John Gowan born about 1834
Peter I. Gowan, Jr. born March 13, 1843
Peter I. Gowan, Jr. became a Presbyterian minister. He was
married about 1874 to Sarah Louise “Sally” Palmer, daughter
of Benjamin M. Palmer and Sarah “Sally” Sanneau Palmer.
Sarah Louise “Sally” Palmer Gowan died at Wesson, Mississippi
July 22, 1896 and was buried in Wesson Cemetery. He
died there December 2, 1912 and was buried beside her.