Sections in this issue:
1) History of the Census;
2) Hangman for a day . . . William W. Gowen Plunges Two Murderers to Eternity
(William W. Gowen b. 1803 son of William Keating Gowen of South Carolina);
3) Whence Came the Name . . . ? Gowen Field, Idaho;
(1st Lt. Paul R. Gowen of Caldwell, Idaho who was killed July 11, 1938 in Panama);
4) Manuscripts and Charts Solicited;
5) Dear Cousins
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 1, No. 6 February 1990
1) History of the Census
Enumerators Coming By In March for 20th Census For the twentieth time, the census the most treasured resource of family historians is coming around again in March.
Every household in America will find the questionnaire in the mailbox. If the householders take the time to fill out the census form and drop it back in the mailbox, it will be a simple thing. But the Census Bureau is not expecting that. It predicts that 30,000,000 individuals will remain uncounted afterward, due to incompleteness, procrastination, carelessness
and “just plain oneriness.” It will take an additional 315,00 enumerators on foot to finish interrogating the quarter billion of us.
That’s just for starters. Then comes millions of manhours and millions of dollars in the compiling and the publishing of the data. Afterward the documents have to be placed into proper hands of all the officials and policy makers responsible for keeping America on an even keel.
The census is not a pure American institution. From the time in “Exodus” when Moses numbered the Children of Israel to the 21st century, every government has had a need to know about its people. The ancient Babylonians, Persians and Egyptians used the census for the purpose of fixing taxation.
The Roman census, from which our modern census derives its name, was used to determine citizen status and military might.
King Charlemagne’s “Breviary” and William the Conqueror’s “Domesday Book” were used to dispense the kings’ largess to their subjects and to insure their fiefdom to the kings.
The constitution mandates that America take a count every 10 years to make certain each state has the proper number of representatives in Congress. Invariably they find population shifts from area to area and demographic bulges here and there that keep statisticians busy for years.
The census has been fine tuned every decade since its inception in 1790. The first census recorded free men, females and slaves. White males were divided into two age groups, over 16 and under 16. Sixteen was the average age in the nation at that time. The government was taking a count of its fighting men, in case the British returned. At the time of the Revolutionary War, a child born in America could expect to live to be 35 years old.
The 1800 enumeration remained basically the same, and the free white males and females were broken down into five age brackets. There were few aged people. Industrial statistics
were added to the 1810 census. In 1820 a sixth age bracket was added, but there was not enough of the elderly to be concerned about needs of old age.
In 1830, 13 age brackets were carried on the census form and the average life expectancy was 40. The 1840 census asked for detailed information on agriculture, manufacturing,
mining, commerce, education and population.
In 1850, to the delight of genealogists, every individual in every household was enumerated by name. Data included age, place of birth, profession, pensioners, literacy and mortality schedules. The 1860 census was basically the same as 1850, but the canvassing was poorly done, and it was severely flawed, according to the protests of Southerners who saw many of their congressional seats taken away.
James A. Garfield, later president of the United States, was chairman of a congressional committee appointed shortly after the Civil War to rectify the flaws of the 1860 census. His
committee devised a splendid overhaul of the census and redistricting, but Northern politicians defeated his bill, condemning the 1870 census to be the worst ever undertaken.
The 1880 census started under a new law and turned out to be a complete encyclopaedia of the resources of America. It was so complete that the government printing office was still trying to complete it in 1889. For the first time, the compilers, forerunners of I.B.M, used punch cards and data processing to manage the mountains of data. The 1890 census was a more streamlined version, but after the data was gathered, 90% of it was destroyed by fire.
The 1900 census was taken under a new law which recognized the right of privacy of those enumerated, and, to the chagrin of genealogists, required that the personal data be sealed from the public for 70 years. In 1902 the Census Bureau became a permanent office and operated on a full time basis.
Throughout the 20th century, the census became more concerned with demographics. Since 1900, 28 years have been added to life expectancy in this country. The median age has climbed to 32 and is expected to reach 36 by the year 2000.
The National Institute on Aging projects for 2000 a life expectancy of 86 years for men and 91.5 for women. In 1890 there were only 2.4 million Americans, 4% of the population, over 65. By 1920, the number had doubled. By 1960, it had tripled. In 1990, there are more than 30 million Americans, 12~ percent of population, over 65. Demographers expect the 1990 census to report that there are twice as many senior citizens as there are teenagers!
The aging of the nation is the subject of “Age Wave,” a new book placed in the Gowen Research Foundation Library in January by our founder, Miller A. Gowen of Geneva,
Switzerland. Its author, Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D, writes:
“One third of all Americans 76 million baby boomers -were born between 1946 and 1964. This generational mass has dominated American culture for four decades. When they
arrived, the diaper industry prospered. The baby food industry, which ladled out 250 million jars in 1940, produced 1.5 billion jars in 1953. Dr. Spock became a national figure.
When they hit school age, schools went into double sessions in the 1950s. More schools were built in 1957 than in any year before or since. The bulge continued; by 1975, the high school population had doubled. More high schools were built in 1967 than in any year before or since. College population rose from 3.2 million in 1965 to 9.2 million in 1975, and 743 new colleges were opened to help absorb the glut. The bulge is like a pig moving through a python.”
Millions of Americans enjoying longevity promises a golden age for Genealogy. It has always been the older members of the family that have taken the lead in heritage preservation.
Now, with the time they have never had before, with the resources they have never had before, with the leisure they have never had before and with the interest they have never
had before, great accomplishments can be made.
Robert J. Goyen of Sebastopol, Victoria, Australia, left, chairman of the Foundation’s Cornish Research Team, has named Brian K. Goyen of Doncaster, Victoria, his son, right,
as co chairman of the team. The two are transcribing data on the Gawin GowenGoyen Goyne family of Cornwall into their computers using the Roots IIl program. Members holding Cornish research are requested to send a copy or diskette to Robert J. Goyen, 525 Sutton St, Sebastopol 3357, Victoria, Australia. Steven Goyen, Brian’s son, center, is standing by in case they need a tri chairman.
2) Hangman for a day . . .
William W. Gowen Plunges
Two Murderers to Eternity
When William W. Gowen settled in Charlton County, Georgia in 1853, little did he dream that the community would request him to participate in a hanging. But it did, and he and 106 other men willingly pulled the trip rope that dropped two condemned murderers to death. Family members later reported that he regretted the necessity of the execution of two renegade slaves, but suffered no remorse for his part in the grisly affair.
William W. Gowen, son of William Keating Gowen and Mary Harrison Gowen was born in 1803 in Beaufort District, South Carolina at Combahee Ferry. In 1820, when he was 17, his
parents died both on the same day!
About 1828 William W. Gowen was married to Rebecca Townsend Greene, granddaughter of Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene, [1742 1786] a Quaker and a Revolutionary War commander
who badgered the British in the South. Gen. Greene, from Rhode Island, became enamored with the land of his military successes, and after the war, settled there. He died of a sunstroke at Mulberry Grove, his estate located some 14 miles north of Savannah. It was at Mulberry Grove that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin.
The household of William W. Gowen appeared in the 1830 census of Beaufort District, page 289. The family reappeared in the 1840 census of Beaufort District. Prince William Parish,
page 247. In the following year, William W. Gowen was the high bidder at $650 for “Frank, a slave for life” in a sale held June 7, 1841 by the sheriff of Colleton District, according to
the bill of sale retained in 1960 by Gertrude Godley Durden, a great granddaughter.
Rebecca Townsend Greene Gowen died about 1846 after the birth of her ninth child, and William W. Gowen was remarried about 1850 to Elizabeth Chevalier, a widow of Beaufort
District. Following the birth of one child, the second wife died, probably in the winter of 1851.
William W. Gowen removed to Charlton County and located near his brother, James Gowen who had preceded him to Georgia by some 35 years. James Vernon Gowen, a grandson, still owned his 1,200 acre tract in 1932.
It was in 1858 that William W. Gowen participated in Georgia’s largest hanging party. An extra 100 feet of rope was tied to the trip line on the gallows, and 107 men took hold of
the rope and, all pulling simultaneously, carried out their execution. Alex S. McQueen described the event in “History of Charlton County, Georgia.” To avoid being branded a
Iynch mob, they wrote a declaration to justify their action:
“To the Public: The undersigned citizens of Charlton County and surrounding country, being about to resume for a moment their delegated rights and do execution upon two
acknowledged murderers, publish to a candid world their reasons for the same.
Whereas, in the month of April last an atrocious murder was committed upon one Henry Jones, a white man, by two negroes named Peter and George, slaves of Dr. C. E. Ballard in this county, and said negroes on being arrested did voluntarily confess the same and pointed out the place of their victim’s burial, disinter his body and acknowledge all the
circumstances of his death, thus leaving no doubt in the mind of any one of those present of their guilt. And whereas, they have since their arrest broken from two prisons and have been recaptured after great trouble and much expense and are now in our hands under guard.
Now, therefore, we, after quiet mature deliberation, resolve that to give peace and quiet to an excited neighborhood and do an act of justice which none can condemn and which involves the principle that self preservation is the first law of nature, we do therefore condemn the said Peter and George to be hung by the neck until they are dead, and the execution shall be at Trader’s Hill between the hours of 12 and 1 p.m. on Wednesday next.”
The document, dated September 6, 1858 had 107 signatures, including William W. Gowen’s. In 1932 McQueen, interviewed eye witnesses of the event and recorded his findings:
“The writer, upon examining this old paper, became curious about the large number of signers and went to interview three old men yet living in the county who remember quite
distinctly the hanging of the two slaves. It was found that this bold statement ‘to a candid world’ was signed by nearly every adult male in the entire county, and it was also revealed,
actually participated in the hanging later. This information was gleaned by interviews with Jesse Grooms and John Vickery, the only two ex Confederate soldiers now living in Charlton County and from James Robinson, a boy at the time of this incident, but who remembers it well.
A gallows was erected at Traders Hill, both negroes were placed on the scaffold at the same time, and a noose around the neck of each one was tied by Daniel R. Dedge, ex sheriff, who was also a member of the vigilance court; a long rope was then procured and fastened to the ‘trigger’ and every man of the 107 who had condemned the negroes to death placed a
hand on the rope, and, at a given signal pulled the rope, springing the trap that plunged the murderers to their death.”
William W. Gowen was married for the third time about 1860 to Mrs. Emily Nunguyer, a widow some 27 years his junior.
On July 5, 1860 he was enumerated in the federal census of Charlton County residing in Centrovillage District as Household 195 178, page 28. A slave, Donas Gowen was included in the household. He was born March 4, 1832 and died May 5, 1915, according to the inscription on his tombstone as copied by Barney Alexander Gowen of Woodbine, Georgia, now 87, grandson of William W. Gowen.
Agnes Dean Gowen, a great granddaughter reported in a letter dated May 10, 1961 that William W. Gowen died at age 95 in 1898. He was buried in Union Church Cemetery near
Colesburg, Georgia at the side of his brother, Barney B. Gowen.
There were perhaps 14 children born to William W. Gowen and his three wives, but only 12 have been identified to date:
William Washington Gowen born May 15, 1829
Ann Elizabeth Gowen born Dec. 29, 1831
Mary R. Gowen born April 15, 1833
James Glenn “Buck” Gowen born Nov. 18, 1835
Barney Glenn Gowen born September 1, 1837
Andrew Greene Gowen born February 13, 1839
Barney James Gowen born December 4, 1841
Elizabeth Jane Gowen born March 22, 1844
Rebecca Glenn Gowen born July 17, 1846
Madison Amanda Reed Gowen born June 27, 1851
Secession “Cess” Gowen born about 1861
Mintie Gowen born about 1863
Whence Came the Name . . . ?
Gowen Field, Idaho
Gowen Field was named July 23, 1941 in honor of 1st Lt. Paul R. Gowen of Caldwell, Idaho who was killed July 11, 1938 in Panama in the crash of his twin engine Army Air Corps
bomber, according to the July 23, 1941 edition of “Idaho Daily Statesman.” The War Department announced its decision to honor Lt. Gowen, chosen from names of three Idaho Army pilots who had met death in the line of duty, after several weeks of consideration.
His plane crashed in flames on the Paitilla Point military reservation shortly after taking off from Albrook Field near Panama City. His navigator and radioman crawled from the
wreckage severely burned. They reported that smoke began pouring out of right engine shortly before it went dead. Lt. Gowen was unable to gain altitude with only one engine and attempted to glide to the ocean less than two miles away. A few hundred yards from the water the plane was impacted by tree tops and plunged into the jungle. He was killed instantly.
He was 29. The accident was witnessed by a group of coast artillery soldiers working in the vicinity. They sent a rescue party and brought the survivors to a hospital.
Lt. Gowen was survived by his wife, the former Betty Wilson of Twin Falls, Idaho and a small daughter, Stephanie who had lived with him in the Canal Zone for the previous year. Other survivors include his parents of Caldwell [unnamed], two sisters. Mrs. Robert Walker of Caldwell and Miss Daphne Gowen of Lewiston and three brothers, William B. Gowen of Boise, Ralph B. Gowen of Twin Falls and Justin B. Gowen “who is on a leave of absence from Katowice Poland where he is employed by Anaconda Mining Co.
Lt. Gowen was a graduate of Caldwell High School and the University of Idaho at Moscow where he was graduated with honors. Following college he was appointed to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point where he was also an honor graduate. He requested the Air Corps and, after flight training, was stationed in Louisiana, Oklahoma and the Canal Zone.
In a ceremony held April 9, 1942, the name of Gowen Field was formally adopted by the U. S. Army. Col. Charles B. Oldfield, commanding officer invited members of Lt. Gowen’s
family as guests of honor for the dedication. Representing the family were Miss Daphne Gowen, sister, Lewiston; Mrs. William B. Gowen, sister in law, Boise and Justin B. Gowen,
brother, Butte, Montana, according to the “Idaho Daily Statesman.”
Miss Gowen is secretary to the president of Lewiston Normal School. James B. Gowen, a geologist for Anaconda Copper Company, was working in Poland just before Germany
invaded that country. While most Americans were having great difficulty leaving Poland in opposite directions, he passed through Germany unchallenged and into freedom in Holland.”
4) Manuscripts and Charts Solicited
Members of the organization are encouraged to continue to deposit copies of the fruits of their research in the Foundation Library.
Holdings of the Library will not be limited to books and publications. Members are invited to forward copies of manuscripts, ancestor charts, newspaper clippings, bible records, reports of anniversaries, reunions, vital statistics, obituaries, citations, census reports, military records and every scrap of data that will help to tell the story of the family.
When the material is published in a proposed series of volumes, credit will be given to every contributor.
Beginning with 1990, the Newsletter will be mailed only to Foundation members who have purchased memberships, plus the historical and genealogical libraries on our mailing list.
Additionally sample copies will be mailed to prospective members upon request.
If you wish to participate in the Foundation, you may clip [or reproduce] the membership coupon below. Indicate the type of membership you prefer, and Linda McNiel, Foundation
secretary, will Issue your 1990 Membership Card.
The form below may also be used to request gift memberships for members of your family. The Foundation will send Gift Cards acknowledging your thoughtfulness, both to you and the recipients.
5) Dear Cousins
Enclosed is my check for membership in the Foundation. I was startled and very pleased in the first article in the November issue of the Newsletter. The article was about my grandmother. Ursula Rains Gowen and her quaint grocery list. There is an error in the spelling of her husband’s name. Correct spelling is Wilford Burleyson Gowen, not
Wilfred Burleson Gowen. This is from information in the family bible recorded at the time of their marriage in 1826.
I gave copies of this and considerable other information from the bible to Arlee Gowen when he visited me 15 years ago in Sheffield, AL. These names Wilford and Burleyson are family names. My father was Wilford Hayes Gowen, as is my older brother and also his son, Wilford H. Gowen III. My younger brother was Byron Burleyson Gowen. I am intrigued by Dr. John Whittemore Gowen’s abstract of the family and hope to have access to more of it. Thanks for a very interesting article. Jacob A. Gowen, 846 Inglewood, Forrest City, AR, 72335.
I am 88 years old now and am not carrying on any further research of the Melungeons. I am very glad to see Evelyn Orr and the Foundation group continuing the research on them. I have sold over 2,000 copies of my booklet on the Melungeons and have always enjoyed being associated with them.
I grew up with them living and working on my father’s farm in Lee County, VA. He knew them well during his youth. His step sister married a man of that group. He was educated in a mission school and became president of a local bank. His daughter succeeded him in the bank.
A Goins man, a Melungeon, once lived on our farm with his family. He was a large and strong man. His wife was not a Melungeon. Other Melungeon families I knew in my
childhood include Gibson, Freeman, Collins and Sexton, all AngloSaxon names, but I have no doubt that they have Portuguese ancestry a few generations back. I taught some of
their children in school. Bonnie S. Ball, 606 Wood Ave. East, Big Stone Gap, VA.
I received the Gowen Foundation Newsletter yesterday, and I am delighted, thanks to you and Evelyn Orr. I have been collecting information on the Melungeons for several years and have also been working on my family genealogy. My ancestors were the Goins, Collins, Mullins, Gibsons and Bunch. Most were from Newman’s Ridge in Hancock County, Sneedville, TN. My 4th generation grandmother was Jane “Gincie” Goins, daughter of Joseph Goins, Revolutionary War veteran. Jane was the wife of Solomon Collins. I am enclosing a check for membership in the Foundation. Miss Ruth Johnson, 3705 Bloomingdale Rd, Kingsport, TN, 37660.
We think the Gowen Research bulletin is fantastic. Herewith is our membership. We want to know more about the Melungeons. This sounds like a very interesting subject. We’re glad to hear about the Gowen Foundation Library. When will it be ready for members to visit? Mrs. Roy E. Gooing, 3950 Homedale Rd, #78, Klamath Falls, OR, 97603
Seeking information on my grandfather, Lofton Sawyer Gowen, born October 28, 1875, Enid MS, married November 22, 1899 at Memphis, TN to Elizabeth McNett. He appeared in 1906 in Oklahoma City, OK. Any help appreciated. Terence G. Gowen, 3140 Old Toll Road.
Calistogo, CA 94515.
Searching for Jenny Goen who married Jordon Perkins in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana March 12, 1814.
Marriage license gives no clue as to her parents. She was born c1795, perhaps in the Carolinas. Occasionally descendants are enumerated as “Indian” and later shown as “white.” Most of the men in my family are dark with blue eyes and black hair. Any help with this long shot? Leila Ray Perkins Smith 1190 Kenley Rd, Corrigan, TX, 75939.
Do you know where my g g grandfather, Richard Goyn was born in Cornwall? There is no record of his birth or christening. His parents were Richard Goyn and Sarah Job in St. Agnes. Would like to hear from descendants of his siblings. Billie J. Salmond, 530 E. Woodland Lane, Bountiful, UT, 84010, 801/292-6457.
Seeking information on the family of William Goyne, Sr. who moved to Wilkinson County [later Warren County] about 1790 or shortly before. He had sons Hardy, William, Jr, Drury, John, Hiram Davis and Tyra A. Goyne and daughters Rebecca Dick and Alice King. His second wife was Nancy Schroeder [?] bc1769 in Pennsylvania. William dc1916 in Warren County. He seems to have been closely associated with Moses Goyne. Who were his parents? Timothy D. Hudson, 2911-B Silver Spur Circle, Bryan, TX, 77901.
Does anyone know who the Bill McGowan is who was on the “Today Program” about January 30? He was mentioned by Willard Scott on his 102nd birthday. He lives at
Dyersville, Iowa. Many of the Gowan [and other spellings] family live to ripe old age. Jean Near, 14909 Tomki Road, Redwood Valley, CA, 95470
Gowen Research Foundation Newsletter
Arlee Gowen, Editor
Linda McNiel, Circulation
Gowen Research Foundation
Phone: 806/795-8758 or 795-9694
5708 Gary Avenue
Lubbock, Texas, 79413
NOTE: The above information produced by the Gowen Research Foundation (GRF), and parts of the “Gowen Manuscript” they worked on producing. It has tons of information – much of it is correct, but be careful, some of it is not correct – so check their sources and logic. I’ve copied some of their information in the past researching my own family, only to find out there were some clear mistakes. So be sure to check the information to verify if it is right before citing the source and believing the person who researched it before was 100% correct. Most of the information I found there seems to be correct, but some is not.
Their website is: Internet: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gowenrf
There does not seem to be anyone “manning the ship” at the Gowen Research Foundation, or Gowen Manuscript site any longer, and there is no way to contact anyone about any errors. The pages themselves don’t have a mechanism to leave a note for others to see any “new information” that you may have that shows when you find info that shows something is wrong, or when something has been verified.
Feel free to leave messages about any new information found, or errors in these pages, or information that has been verified that those who wrote these pages may not have known about.