Wilson Walter Gowin Received
LLB from Harvard Law School
Wilson Walter Gowin seventh child of John M. Gowan and
Mariah J. Peacock Gowan, was born in March 1853, probably
in Smith County, Mississippi. Descendants state that he was
born on a plantation located between Vicksburg and Jackson,
Mississippi. He and his siblings changed the spelling of their
surname while in school.
His daughter, Cornelia Elizabeth Gowin Allison stated that he
was graduated from Harvard Law School, the first law school
to be established in the United States. He was a great admirer
of Charles William Eliot who served as the university’s
president from 1869 to 1909. Following the Civil War,
Wilson Walter Gowin removed to Hillsboro, Texas.
On July 29, 1889 he received a quit claim deed to 640 acres of
land located four miles east of Amarillo, Texas, from J. W.
Davidson, according to Potter County Deed Book 5, page 509.
Consideration for the section of land in the county which had
been organized in 1887 was $400.
Wilson Walter Gowin was a taxpayer in Potter County from
1890 to 1895 and was listed as a notary public March 3, 1890.
On January 16, 1900 Wilson Walter Gowin was married, at
age 46, to Lillie May Klahr, age 22, who was born near
Columbus, Ohio. She became the first bride in Potter County
in the 20th century.
Wilson Walter Gowin was enumerated as the head of a
household in the 1900 census of Potter County, Enumeration
District 80, page 3, Precinct 1:
“Gowan, W. W. 47, born in Mississippi in March 1853
Lillie M. 22, born in Ohio in March 1878”
Wilson Walter Gowin wrote the charter for the City of
Amarillo when it was incorporated and in 1907 ran for Potter
County Judge. Among his friends and legal clients was Col.
Charles Goodnight who owned a large cattle ranch in Palo
Duro Canyon. This pioneer rancher and Indian-fighter was
well known and respected throughout the county, and when he
threw his influence behind his friend, his election was assured.
In the 1908 city directory of Amarillo Wilson Walter Gowin
was listed as an attorney with “office in the courthouse,
residence at 505 Filmore.”
His residence was located across the street from the Potter
County courthouse. In the city directory of 1909 and 1910
Wilson Walter Gowin was listed as “attorney and notary” with
his office in his residence at 505 Filmore.
Wilson Walter Gowin died January 6, 1911 “of Brights
disease,” at age 57. He was buried in Llano Cemetery, Hays
Avenue and East 27th Street in Amarillo. Lillie May Klahr
Gowin continued to live at 505 Filmore, according to the
Amarillo city directory. In 1921 Lillie Mae Klahr Gowin was
listed in the city directory offering “furnished rooms” at 505
In September 1921 Lillie May Klahr Gowin was remarried to
Thomas Jefferson Scott, a traveling salesman. They continued
to live at 505 Filmore, according to the 1924, 1925 and 1926
Lillie May Klahr Gowin Scott died July 1, 1957, after 58 years
of residence in Amarillo. Children born to them include:
Wilson Wilks Gowin born November 6, 1900
Cornelia Elizabeth Gowin born September 4, 1904
Wilson Wilks Gowin, first child of Wilson Walter Gowin and
Lillie May Klahr Gowin, was born November 1, 1900,
according to Potter County Probate Birth Book 3, page 307.
Wilson Wilks Gowin was listed in the Amarillo City Directory
for the first time in its edition of 1916, living at the home of
his mother. In 1917 he was shown as a clerk for City Light &
Water Company. In the 1927, 1928 and 1929 edition of the
directory he was shown as an engineer with Southwestern
Public Service Company, still residing at 505 Filmore. He
was soon transferred by his company to Roswell, New
On June 19, 1932 Wilson Wilks Gowin, “age 31, Roswell,
New Mexico,” filed in the Potter County Clerk’s office a
“Notice of Intention to Marry” with Louise Emily Townes of
Amarillo. She was born June 24, 1911. They were later
married in Amarillo, according to Potter County Marriage
Book 9, page 415. Louise Emily Townes Gowin died October
25, 1940 and was buried beside her fatherÄinÄlaw in Llano
Children born to Wilson Wilks Gowin and Louise Emily
Townes Gowin include:
Wilson Wilks “Pat” Gowin, Jr. born about 1934
Charles Gowin born about 1936
Cornelia Elizabeth Gowin, second child of Wilson Walter
Gowin and Lillie May Klahr Gowin, was born in Amarillo
September 4, 1904. She recalled, in an interview with Arlee
Claud Gowen in July 1974, running errands for her mother on
Taylor Street in Amarillo as a child and seeing Indians from
the nearby reservation sitting crosslegged on the Taylor Street
boardwalk wrapped in their blankets.
In July 1974 Cornelia Elizabeth Gowin Allison, a widow,
lived at 2301 South Austin, Amarillo. Later she lived at 2004
South Lipscomb. She, a member of Gowen Research
Foundation, died there February 7, 1991.
Children born to James Elmer Allison and Cornelia Elizabeth
Gowin Allison include:
Ada Cornelia Allison born April 17, 1922
James Wilson Allison born March 27, 1925
Betty Jean Allison born January 11, 1928
Frances Lillian Allison born February 12, 1930