Sections in this issue:
1) Maj. John “Buck” Gowen Led Carolina Troops;
2) Dear Cousins;
3) CPO William H. Gowan Given Congressional Medal of Honor.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
Gowen Research Foundation Newsletter
Volume 2, No. 1 September 1990
1) Maj. John “Buck” Gowen
Led Carolina Troops
John “Buck” Gowen, son of William Gowen and Sarah [Allen?]
Gowen, was born about 1740, probably in Granville County,
North Carolina. He was married about 1759 to Lettice “Letty”
Winn Bearden, daughter of John Bearden and Lettice Winn
Bearden. In 1761 and 1762 “John Gowen, planter,” appeared in
the legal records of Granville County. On August 14, 1764, he
conveyed land there to Edmund Bearden, his brother-in-law.
On May 16,1770, “John Gowing” received a land grant of 200
acres in Craven County, South Carolina, according to Craven
County Deed Book 2. This grant which later lay in District 96
was probably made for colonial militia service. On March 20,
1773, he received a royal grant of 100 acres of land “situate on
the North side of Tyger River,” according to “South Carolina
Archives, Colonial Plats,” Volume 16.
John “Buck” Gowen commanded a militia company in the
Revolutionary War, and Samuel Caldwell, in an affidavit, stated
he “served in Capt. Gowen’s company in 1776,” according to
“Sketches of Western North Carolina” by C. L. Hunter.
Militia companies were raised in the northwestern corner of
South Carolina–to face the Cherokees on the northwest and the
British on the southeast. Capt. Gowen was in command of
Gowen’s Fort near the north end of the Indian line, and the
community of Gowensville was named for him.
In 1855, John Bearden, at age 89, mentioned in his pension
application that he served under his brother-in-law Capt. John
“Buck” Gowen in February 1778 in a company of rangers,
according to “Kings Mountain Manuscripts,” Volume 2.
John “Buck” Gowen received a land grant of 400 acres located
on the middle forks of the Saluda River October 15, 1784, according
to Greenville County Deed Book 1. In 1785, he was
deeded “94 acres of land in Abbeville County, District 96,
“above the branches of Twelve-Mile River,” according to
Abbeville County Deed Book B, page 153. About the same
time Lettice “Letty” Winn Bearden Gowen, “citizen” received a
patent to 256 acres in Abbeville County. They sold the property
December 13, 1785 to Benjamin Barton of Greenville County.
Allan Gowen, believed to be a cousin to John “Buck” Gowen
witnessed the deed.
Also in 1785 John “Buck” Gowen received a grant of 340 acres
in District 96 “on both sides of George’s Creek of Saluda River,
adjoining Edmund Bearden.”
In the state census of South Carolina taken in 1786 the house-
hold of John “Buck” Gowen appeared in Spartanburg County,
District 96, page 89 as “4 white males over 16, 4 white males
under 16, 6 white females and 20 slaves.”
On May 1, 1786, Lettice “Letty” Winn Bearden Gowen was
granted land in District 96, located on “Twelve-Mile Creek,” according
to Abbeville County Deed Book 9.
On January 24, 1787 Maj. John “Buck” Gowen received a grant
to 342 acres in District 96, according to Deed Book 14, page
137. Hugh Lewis, “about to remove from South Carolina to
Cumberland River of North Carolina [Tennessee], appoint my
friend, John Gowen my attorney to sell my land,” according to
Greenville County Deed Book A.
On March 1, 1788 Mathias Sulser deeded 400 acres on the
South Tyger River to John “Buck” Gowen for 200 pounds,
according to Greenville County Deed Book A. On October 10,
1788 John Gowen received 215 acres on Hill Creek of the
Pacolet River, according to Greenville County Grant Book D.
On April 11, 1791 John “Buck” Gowen was commissioned
sheriff of Spartanburg County. John B. Gowen, his son;
William Benson, his son-in-law and Andrew Thompson posted
bond for him, according to Spartanburg County Deed Book 2.
On January 22, 1793 John “Buck” Gowen was granted 1,000
acres of land in Washington and Pinckney Counties in Union
In 1800, the census enumerator recorded the household of John
“Buck” Gowen in Spartanburg District as “1 white male over 45,
1 white female over 45, 1 white male 16-26, 1 white female
16-26, 3 white males 10-16, 1 white female 10-16, 1 white female
0)-10 and 34 slaves.”
Lettice “Letty” Winn Bearden Gowen was probably a member
of Friendship Baptist Church which met near Otts Shoals on the
Tyger River, according to “Southern Lineages” by Adeline
Evans Wynn. The congregation had been organized in 1765 by
Rev. Jacob Roberts, and extant records go back only to 1801.
Since Lettice “Letty” Winn Bearden Gowen did not appear on
that church roster, it is assumed that she died about that time.
Until his death in 1797, John Bearden, her father, was a member
of Friendship Baptist Church.
In 1801 John “Buck” Gowen and two other men contracted to
build a new courthouse and jail for Spartanburg County. They
began to run unto cost overruns before its completion and petitioned
the South Carolina General Assembly and the Senate for
additional money. Their petitions read:
“The humble petition of the undertakers of the public Building for Spartanburgh District Sheweth that whereas they have engaged to compleat the Court House and Jail for the above District at an underrate much less than you in your liberality were pleased to appropriate for that purpose in each District. From inexperience of the expense of so great an undertaking, the scarcity of Provisions sustained by the late dearth of corn, in our District, and the shortness of time which they have been allowed, being only eighteen months, that unless you in compassion to their weakness lend them some assistance they must in their private property be materially injured. They also beg leave to lay before your honor that whereas they contracted to compleat the Court House of Wood they for the publick benefit have raised the same of well-burned Brick relying on your justice to
make them compensation. The brick work of said Court House & Jail are now nearly compleated and that the whole of the moneys which they have received are already expended. The Jail is thirty feet long, twenty-four feet wide and Three Storey in height: The Court House is Forty feet long, Twenty-six feet wide and two storey in height, the whole to be compleatly finished–equal to any in this State. And this we are bound to do for the sume of Four Thousand four hundred Dollars. This small sum we need not state to you is inadequate to the expense of so Great an undertaking by at least Sixteen hundred Dollars which will be a triffle more than what was at first appropriated for that purpose. This request being so Just and mourall they sincerely hope you will not in humanity to their loss refuse it and your petitioners in duty bound will ever pray.
There is no indication that the state ever took pity on the
overzealous contractors. In 1804 John “Buck” Gowen was appointed
administrator of the estate of his son, William Gowen.
John “Buck” Gowen in 1807 deeded to Pleasant Easley “land in
Greenville and Spartanburg Counties, on both sides of the Pacolet
River where Easley still is on,” according to Greenville
County Deed Book H. “John Gowen, Jr.” believed to be John B.
Gowen, his son was a witness.
On August 20,1809, John “Buck” Gowen wrote his will:
First: I bequeath unto my son, Winn B. Gowen, a tract of
land Lying and being in Greenville District on both sides
of middle Tygar River. Also two negroes called Zed and
Spence, together with a stock of cattle and hogs now on
the premises before mentioned, one bed and furniture;
also my part of a bay gelding that he rides.
Second: I bequeath unto my daughter, Lettie, a plantation
by Ann Easley’s place, three negroe girls known by the
names of Vina, Ede and Harriot; one bed and furniture
and two cows and calves.
Third: I bequeath unto my Daughter, Minerva a tract of
land Lying on the south side of Saluda where my son,
James Gowen, attended; Two Negroes named Cresa and
Asa, one bed and furniture, One Hundred Dollars to purchase
a horsebeast, two cows and calves and her mother’s
Fourth: I bequeath unto my daughter, Elizabeth Woodson,
a tract of land on Tyger River called Sulsias place.
Fifth: I bequeath unto my son, James Gowen, 8OO acres
to begin at the ford of the river on the South Pacolet, now
used between here and where he lives, and thence a
North course so to include the school house spring where
Davis taught, and then ’round to a line to be made for
John Roddy; thence, to the beginning so as to include the
Sixth: I give and bequeath to my Grandson, John Gowen,
son of William, deceased, all the land between what I
have given Winn and Letty that I Own, also one Girl
named Hannah; to my granddaughter, Mahulda, a negro
boy called Buck; unto Matilda, a negroe boy called Sip; a
negroe boy named Ben unto Letty, my granddaughter.
I hereby appoint John and Winn Gowen, my sons, and
James Blassingame and Street Thurston, my sons-in-law
to be the executors of this, my last will and testament: to
sell all the real and personal property that I have not before
bequeathed, except 200 acres of land to be laid off,
agreeable to deed of gift made to Atlantic and Dorindas
Daughters of Polly Sanders. My debts to be paid and, if
any balance left, to be equally divided between all of my
children living, borne of my wife, Lettie, deceased. In
witness whereof I have set my hand this 20th day of August,
Anno Domini, 1809.
The will was probated January 8, 1810 in Spartanburg County.
Children born to John “Buck” Gowen and Lettice “Letty” Winn
Bearden Gowen include:
William Gowen born about 1762
Lettice “Letty” Gowen born about 1763
Elizabeth Gowen born about 1765
James M. Gowen born in 1767
John B. Gowen born about 1769
Mary Gowen born about 1770
Sarah Gowen born Junc 5, 1774
Minerva Gowen born about 1780
Winn Bearden Gowen born October 18, 1787
In response to a request from Tennessee Historical Commission for assistance in precisely locating a historic private family cemetery [see Page 2], Gowen Research Foundation is fielding a preservation team to aid the Commission in its research. Dirk Calvin has agreed to serve as chairman and is presently seeking other members to work on the team. Scope of the committee will be expanded to other states after completing the Tennessee research. Volunteers are urged to contact: Dirk Calvin, 9596 Liberty Church Road, Brentwood, TN, 37027, 615/776-2848 or 800/776-7466.
2) Dear Cousins
I am writing in hopes that your organization may be able to provide
information on a member of the Gowen family. The State
of Tennessee is in the midst of planning for an expansion of an
airport runway used by the National Guard. This expansion will
affect a large undeveloped tract of land six miles southeast of
downtown Nashville. I have been asked to conduct archival research
on the property to determine if any historic archaeological
sites might be affected by the runway construction.
In doing a complete deed analysis of the property, it seems a
William Gowen was given a 640 acre land grant from the State
of North Carolina on March 11,1788, Davidson County Deed
Book A, page 161. William Gowen apparently died sometime
before July 1790, and his wife Sarah Gowen served as the administratrix
of his estate, Davidson County Will Book 1, pages
168 and 175. A 240-acre portion of this land was sold in 1807
by James Gowen to Daniel Vaulx, Davidson County Deed Book
G, page 199. A second tract of 200 acres was sold by William
Gowen to John Gowen in 1818, Davidson County Deed Book
M, page 338. The remaining 200 acres, the area that will be affected
by the airport runway expansion, remained in the family
until 1842 when Wilford B. Gowen sold it to Jesse Collins,
Davidson County Deed Book 5, page 153. In this deed Wilford
B. Gowen reserved an area of 5 square poles that ‘includes the
family graveyard, the right of which is reserved in me and my
An archaeological survey of the area has located this Gowen
family cemetery, and it seems the location may be affected by
the construction of the runway. A low stone-line wall encloses
two or three graves. Graves of other individuals were also
buried there after the State of Tennessee acquired the property
in 1857 to be used as a mental hospital. An effort is now being
made to define the limits of the cemetery, to determine precisely
if the cemetery will be affected by the construction and to learn
the names of members of the Gowen family who might be
Any information your organization might have on this family
will be most helpful. If it is determined that the construction
of the airport runway will affect the cemetery, a legal process
called Termination of Use of a Cemetery will be followed in order
to move the graves. That process involves notifying family
members and descendants and gaining their input. Perhaps this
can best be done through the Foundation Newsletter. I hope that
this matter is of interest to your organization and that you will
be able to help us. Steve Rogers, Historic Preservation Specialist,
Tennessee Historical Commission, 701 Broadway,
Nashville, TN, 37243-0442,6155/742-6716.
Since we are putting out the “·Revolutionary War Period
Bible, Family & Marriage Records Gleaned from Pension
Applications,- I have access to a review of the laws pertaining
to the service-pension acts of 1818 and 1820. The act of 1820
was remedial legislation to prevent soldiers from feigning
poverty to obtain benefits. The law of 1820 required every pensioner
from the 1818 act to submit a certified schedule of his
estate and income to the Secretary of War.
Within a few years, the total of Revolutionary War service
Pensioners was reduced by several thousand. An 1823 act of
Congress resulted in the restoration of pensions to many whose
names had been removed under the terms of 1820 legislation.
That’s the reason why William Going of Hawkins County, TN
filed for a pension in 1819 and again in 1820. [GRF Newsletter,
Congress passed other service-pension acts in 1828, 1832,
1836, 1838, 1843, 1844, 1848, 1855 and 1878. A summary of
these acts appear in the introduction to each roll  of Selected
Records from Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty
Land Warrant Application Files. This same information is in
the introduction of “Index of Revolutionary War Pension
Applications in the National Archives” by National Genealogical
For a hundred years prior to the Revolutionary War, British
colonies in North America provided pensions for disabled soldiers
and sailors. The Continental Congress passed its first pension
legislation in 1776, followed by others in 1778, 1780 and
1783. The First Congress of the United States passed an act in
1789. Other service-pension acts were passed in 1792 and
1806. Not until 1818, did the U.S. Congress grant pensions to
Revolutionary War veterans, for service from which no disabilities
resulted–to officers and enlisted men in need of assistance.
Pensions under this act were to continue for life. Chan
Edmondson, Box 141235, Dallas TX, 75214.
We are suspicious of a census record of 1870 in Smyth
County, VA, Rich Valley Township which lists a Daniel Going
age 45, born in NC, living with Elizabeth, born in 1848 and two
children: William born ca1865 and Sarah born ca1868, also in
Virginia. While Daniel was married to Margaret at this time, he
was stationed in Virginia during the Civil War and possibly
could have taken another wife. We are interested in finding out
any information on the Daniel Going family listed above and his
descendants from the Virginia line.
Daniel Goins, sometimes known as William Daniel Goins,
died in the Confederate Soldiers Home in Raleigh. He registered
his name as Daniel Owens purposely because the policy of the
Confederate Home was not to admit anyone who had living relatives
to care for him. Daniel had more than enough living relatives,
but for some reason his wives and families disowned him
possibly due to polygamy? He died alone June 7, 1907. No
family member came to claim his body, so he was buried in the
Confederate Graveyard in Raleigh by the State of North Carolina.
In Randolph County, NC Deed Book 53 is recorded the affidavit
of Flora McDonald, age 88, and Catherine McBride, age
83 signed July 16, 1884 before Archabald Johnson, J.P.
Johnson noted, ” . . . both known to me to be respectable and
truthtelling women . . . state that they are acquainted with
Daniel Goins, late of this county and state, that they have known
his father, grandfather and great-grandather, that his greatgrandfather
was a native of Portugal and was always called a
Portugan and that he was the color of the natives of that place.
He and his sons and grandsons always exercised the right of and
passed as white men in every respect.” Can anyone help?
Ronnie & Cyndie Hoelscher, 4738 Kosarek, Corpus Christi,
3) CPO William H. Gowan Given
Congressional Medal of Honor
William H. Gowan was born in New York state in June 1884 of
parents unknown. About 1905 he joined the U.S. Navy and
served as a boatswain’s mate for 35 years.
William H. Gowan received the Congressional Medal of Honor
“for bravery and extraordinary heroism displayed by him during
a shipboard conflagration in the harbor of Coquimbo, Chile
January 20, 1909.” He braved smoke and flames to close a
valve aboard ship, “saving the lives of several shipmates.”
William H. Gowan retired from the navy in 1942 as a chief petty
officer. He was employed by Waterbury Rope Sales
Corporation after his retirement. He died May 29, 1957 of a
heart attack according to the “New York Times” of May 29,
1957. According to the news story, police were unable to locate
a sister in Manhattan or a brother of William H. Gowan in New
In its June 3, 1957 edition, “Time Magazine” carried a mention
of the death of William H. Gowan who “died without family or
friends or funeral expense.” He was to be buried by the Navy if
no one claimed the body.
Foundation Launches 1991
With the beginning of Volume Two of the Newsletter, the
Foundation announces the kickoff of its Membership Campaign
for 1991. New members affiliating now are offered memberships
which begin immediately and extend through December
31, 1991. Current members are also offered the same bonus–16
months for the price of 12!
Volume I records several milestones in the accomplishments of
the Foundation in 1990. Formation of a research team to make a
study of “The Gowrie Conspiracy” was announced in
Newsletter No. 1. Landa Beth Sloan, GRF member of Ft.
Worth, Texas was named head of the research effort, and
Martha Hix of San Antonio, Texas volunteered to assist. Issue
No. 2 listed the goals of the Foundation and announced the
Board’s plan for a permanent, financially sound organization.
The third issue announced the formation of the Foundation
Library. Newsletter No. 4 heralded the beginning of an
organized study of “The Mystery of the Melungeons” under the
direction of Evelyn McKinley Orr of Omaha, Nebraska. The
fifth edition described the beginning of a Cornish Research
Team under Robert J. Goyne of Sebastapol, Victoria, Australia.
His group has undertaken a study of the family records of
Cornwall beginning in 1541.
Volume II continues the growth with the announcement of the
formation of a Preservation Committee under the chairmanship
of Dirk Calvin, Foundation member of Brentwood, Tennessee.
Thls team will work with governmental agencies to obtain
historical site designation and preservation of the family historic
locations. Initial efforts will be directed to the restoration and
preservation of private family cemeteries and to investigate the
need of a directory of such cemeteries, with names and dates of
family members buried in each.
Citing a need for additional funds, the GRF Board of Directors
plans to expand the activities of the Foundation and the scope of
the Newsletter in 1991. Plans call for doubling the size of the
organization in the new year and for doubling the size of the
Foundation’s operating budget–all without increasing the membership
Current members are invited to send along with their renewals
the names of prospective members for 1991. Sample copies of
the Newsletter will be mailed by the Foundation to every cousin
who is regarded as interested in preserving the family heritage.
Arlee Gowen, Foundation president and Newsletter editor, has
recently sold his business and is undertaking to apply fulltime
effort to carry out the expansion plans of the Board. Family lore
will continue to be collected on all known spellings of the surname
including Gawan, Goan, Goen, Goin, Goines, Going, Govan,
Goven, Gowan, Gowen, Gowin Gowine, Gowing, Goun,
Gouwen, Goyen, Goyn, Goyne, Guynes and others.
The Board will intensify its efforts to:
1. Preserve and publish the heritage of the family in a series of volumes
dealing not with just a study of the “begats,” but with the
accomplishments and contributions of the family members as well.
2. To assist individual family members to find their “place” in the
lineage and to understand the nature of their ancestors and their
sacrifices for the family.
3. To unite the familia in toto and to undo The divisive damage done by
careless recorders who have brought about the 20-plus spelling
variations of our surname.
4. To instill in the younger generation an appreciation of their heritage
and a knowledge of the effort expended to bring the family to its
5. To make certain that young and old alike will manifest a family pride
that will be handed down for generations to come.
If you concur with the objectives of the Foundation, please join
this expanding effort and move upward with the organization. If
it is financially convenient, you are invited to “move up a notch”
for 1991 on the membership schedule below. Indicate the type
of membership you have selected, and Linda McNiel,
Foundation secretary, will get your 1991 membership cards in
the mail promptly.
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
Gowen Research Foundation Newsletter
Arlee Gowen, Editor
Linda McNiel, Circulation
Gowen Research Foundation
806/795-8758 or 795-9694
5708 Gary Avenue E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.