1784 William Alexander Gowens b. 1784 of Dekalb Co, Ga

From GRF Newsletter Aug 1994:

William Alexander Gowens Drawn By Georgia Land Lottery

William Alexander Gowens was born about 1784 in Virginia,
according to his enumeration in the 1850 census of DeKalb
County, Georgia. He was married about 1814, perhaps in
South Carolina where a son was born in 1815.

Neighboring Georgia had begun giving away land in 1803 to
induce more white settlers. Until that time the Indians
predominated in the state, and the whites held only a slender
slice of the state along the Savannah River. Just prior to the
third lottery held in 1819, William Alexander Gowens
succumbed to the overtures and became a citizen of Georgia.

The state fathers, with British oppression and the
Revolutionary War still fresh in their memory, set some
regulations for the new Georgians. To hold office a man had
to be a white protestant, own property worth oe25 and be 25
years old.

Each voter took an oath that he had never held a title of
nobility. No military uniform was to be worn while exercising
the right to vote. If a person were eligible to vote and did not
appear at the polling place, he was liable for a oe5 fine. A
voter had to be a white male taxpayer owning property worth
oe10 and a resident of the state for six months.

Despite the other constraints, Georgia was generous with its
land, and eager settlers swarmed into the state. At the end of
the Revolution, Georgia had population of 75,000 whites.
Forty years later when the Indians were being pushed out,
500,000 people had arrived, many attracted by the land

White male inhabitants of the state who had reached the age of
21 and who were citizens of the United States and residents of
Georgia were entitled to one draw. A man with wife and
children was entitled to two draws, as well as widows who
were heads of households. The lottery system was used to
distribute more than 30,000,000 acres west of the Oconee
River. More than 100,000 fortunate individuals and families
benefited from the seven lotteries held between 1803 and
1832. By that time, the state’s population had quadrupled; a
tremendous buffer against the Indians had been created.

“Alexander Gowen” was listed as a non-slave owner in
Walton County in 1819, according to “Wayfarers of Walton
County, Georgia.”

He appeared in the 1820 census of Walton County as the head
of a household composed of five people. “Alexander Going’s
was enumerated as the head of a household of eight in the
1830 census of adjoining Newton County, Georgia, page 28.

Newton County had been created partly with land from
Walton County in 1821, and it possible that William
Alexander Gowens found himself in the new county without

He reappeared in the 1840 census of the county as a “white
male, 50-60.” A “white female, 90-100” was also a member
of the family. His wife died about 1845, and William
Alexander Gowens was remarried August 2, 1847 to Mrs.
Mary Wright, according to Newton County marriage records.

She was born about 1815.

He reappeared in the 1850 census of adjoining DeKalb County
in an adjacent location with his son, Solomon Gowens, page
144 as Household 14-14:

“Gowens, Alexander 66, born in Virginia, farmer
Mary 34, born in Georgia
Walter 30, born in Georgia
Wright, Lucinda J. 21, born in Georgia
Joshua 15, born in Georgia”

“Alexander Gowins” was recorded in the 1860 census of
nearby Polk County, Household 259:

“Gowins, Alexander 74, born in Virginia
Mary 60, born in Georgia
Wright, Elizabeth 26,female,born in Georgia
Jesse A. 4,male,born in Alabama”

It is believed that he died during the decade. Children born to
William Alexander Gowens include:

Solomon Gowens born June 8, 1815
Mariah Gowens born September 2, 1817
William Walter Gowens born in 1818
Rhoda Anna Gowens born August 25, 1822
Sterling Capers Gowens born about 1824
Sarah Gowens born in 1825
Martha Caroline Gowens born June 9, 1826
James D. S. Gowens born about 1830
Elizabeth Gowens born about 1834