William Franklin Gowen Trails Father’s Footsteps into
William Franklin Gowen, son of William Gowen and Susan
Gowen, was born in Egypt, Tennessee September 21, 1839,
according to his tombstone inscription. He enlisted in Company
H, Thirteenth Tennessee Infantry Regiment, CSA, along with
his brother, Hayward Benton H. Gowen when the Civil War
erupted. “Tennessee Soldiers in the Civil War” shows “Pvt.
W. F. Gowen, field and staff, 13th Infantry.” His pension
application, No. 9109, of Shelby County, on file in Tennessee
State Archives in Nashville.
William Franklin Gowen, following in his father’s footsteps,
became a Baptist minister and preached in the same area where
his father had proclaimed the gospel. He was married about the
end of the Civil War to Sarah J. “Sallie” Berryhill in Shelby
County. She was born there May 16, 1845, according to
“Confederate Patriot Index, 1924-1978,” Volume II
published by Tennessee Division, United Daughters of the
She is believed to be a daughter of S. B. Berryhill who was a
deacon in the Bartlett Baptist Church in 1851. She died May
23, 1876 in Shelby County. He was remarried about 1879,
wife’s name, Mary E.
His family of four was enumerated at Bartlett, Tennessee in the
1880 census of Shelby County, Enumeration District 121, Civil
District 7, page 5, as:
Mary E. Gowen died September 29, 1916, and a few minutes
after her death, William Franklin Gowen suffered a heart attack
and died . . . both on the same day! They were buried in Egypt
Baptist Cemetery near Memphis, Tennessee. Their inscriptions
read, “W. F. Gowen–9/21/1839–9/29/1916 and Mary E.
Gowen, his wife, 6/15/1850–9/29/1916.”
Four granddaughters of William Franklin Gowen and Sarah J.
“Sally” Barnhill Gowen, Jo Gowen Chambers [Mrs. W. H.
Chambers], [66/1163]; Ruth Gowen Klinke, [66/1203]; Eloise
Dickey Tapp [Mrs. Ernest Tapp], [66/1237] and Sarah L.
Dickey Barrett [Mrs. Paul Barrett] [66/1152] were admitted to
United Daughters of the Confederacy on the basis of his
Children born to William Franklin Gowen and Sarah J. “Sallie”
Berryhill Gowen include:
Clarence Gray Gowen born September 22, 1866
William Tucker Gowen born about 1868
Hattie Irene Gowen born about 1869
Children born to William Franklin Gowen and Mary E. Gowen
Lennie Lee Gowen born in 1880
James Franklin Gowen born in 1885
Taylor Blackwell Gowen born in 1886
Mamie Lou Gowen born about 1889
Paul Austin Gowen born October 25, 1891