Sections in this issue:
1) Elijah Goin Sues Slanderer In Claiborne County, TN;
2) Joseph Gowen Sentenced To 21 Lashes in Chowan County, NC;
3) Dear Cousins;
4) Cebe Goins Killed by Indians At Salt Gap, Texas in 1861.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 2, Number 10 June 1991
1) Elijah Goin Sues Slanderer
In Claiborne County, TN
By Carol Ledford
Route 1, Box 16, Leicester, North Carolina, 28248
Trouble started for Elijah Goin when his daughter, Mary Ann
“Polly” Goin was married to William H. “Billy” Mayes May
23, 1853 in Claiborne County, Tennessee. Sterling Mayes,
brother to the groom, took exception to the marriage, and one
week later was telling everyone that his brother had married a
Mulatto and that the whole Goin family were Mulattos and
Sterling even instructed his children to taunt the Goin children
with the Mulatto label and promised to protect them in it. By
July, the whole county had heard the accusations. Sterling had
gone so far as to make up a little song about Blacks and
Mulattos which he sang to the tune of “Old Dan Tucker,”
popular jig tune of the day. He even had the nerve to sing the
song to Elijah Goin in front of his friends on the main street of
Tazewell, the county seat.
Elijah Goin bit his tongue and turned the other cheek, hoping
that Sterling would tire of his little game, but the pressure only
intensified. In September, Sterling sang his doggerel verses in
church. He made his rhymes fit the hymns that were being
sung at the camp meeting, an evangelistic meeting held
outdoors in a tent. Several rows of worshipers heard the
caustic Mulatto slurs drowning out the gospel words.
That was the last straw, Elijah Goin filed suit in Circuit Court
for slander against Sterling Mayes September 15, 1853,
requesting damages of $5,000, a monumental sum in those
days. The charges were serious and damaging to Elijah Goin
who was a schoolteacher and active in community affairs. He
had once been elected as constable. It was embarrassing to his
family and his friends, and Elijah Goin had to take action
before his reputation and standing in the county were
Action on the suit was exceedingly slow, with continuous
postponements and continuances. It would be five years
before a verdict was finally handed down. When the case
finally went to court July 26, 1858, the trial lasted 37 court
days and involved the testimony of 43 witnesses. Tennessee
law required that the loser in a suit pay the court costs and the
expense of bringing in the witnesses. The witnesses were paid
25 cents a day for their appearances, and if they traveled over
20 miles, they were paid four cents a mile travel allowance.
There were 22 witnesses who had to be in court 27 days of the
trial, some traveling as far as 290 miles. Total court costs of
the case was $720 with $669 going to the witnesses.
Each of the litigants had to post bond guaranteeing payment of
the huge sum. Both were men of substance, but it was a
severe obligation. Elijah Goin owned land valued at $1,000,
and his personal property was valued at $350.
He was 38 years old and married. His wife and six children
would suffer severely if the verdict went against the plaintiff.
William H. “Billy” Mayes joined his father-in-law in posting
The “Mulatto and Negro” charge had serious implications.
The Territory Act of 1794 and the Tennessee Constitution of
1796 declared, “all Negroes, Mulattos and Indians and persons
of mixed blood, descended from Negro or Indian ancestors to
the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each
generation may have been a white person, whether bond or
free, should be held deemed to be incapable in law to be a
witness in any case whatsoever, except against each other.”
The Act also forbad such persons from obtaining marriage
licenses, voting, owning land, paying taxes, making wills,
owning slaves or holding office. Their civil rights were
Even in Revolutionary days and in the War of 1812, Negroes
and Mulattos could not serve as soldiers. A few were utilized
in non-combatant roles as cooks and teamsters.
Elijah Goin’s 70-year-old father, Levi Goin was enduring great
anguish. Elijah Goin had several brothers, uncles and cousins
who were undergoing mental duress, not to mention all of the
in-laws involved. He took some comfort in the fact his old
grandfather, Thomas Goin, Revolutionary soldier and family
patriarch of Claiborne County, did not have to undergo the
pain and anxiety that the trial brought to the family.
Thomas Goin had lived in Claiborne County long before its
creation in 1801 and had died there in 1838, 15 years before
the suit was filed. Thomas Goin didn’t come to Claiborne
County; the county came to him. Thomas Goin bought his
land, 225 acres on Cherokee Creek in 1786 from the State of
North Carolina, two years before Tennessee came into
existence. He was a constable there [Washington County,
North Carolina] in 1784. He served on several jury panels
there, according to the county court records and was in court
in Jonesborough on the day that Andrew Jackson was admitted
to the bar.
In 1788, he sold his land in Washington County and moved 90
miles west to newly-created Hawkins County, Tennessee from
which Claiborne would be later created. He appeared there as
a taxpayer on Big Barren Creek in 1799 in “Capt. Coxes
company.” The postoffice of Goin, Tennessee would later be
named for this pioneer’s family. Goin still exists today, but
the postoffice was discontinued in 1965. In 1802, he and his
sons help to build to road to Tazewell and were appointed its
overseers. In 1803, he was instrumental in establishing the
Big Barren Primitive Baptist Church. He served on Claiborne
County jury panels and in 1833 was listed as a “white male”
Until he died in 1838, no one had ever suggested that he was a
Negro or a Mulatto. The family had distinct Melungeon
features, but the mixed-blood characteristics were attributed to
Indian or Portuguese ancestry. Thomas Goin was buried in
Old Big Barren Cemetery. The site is now at the bottom of
Morris Lake, and it is unknown if the graves were moved
before the lake was created.
Known children of Thomas Goin include Levi Goin, born
about 1778, Uriah Goin, born about 1785 and Isaac Abraham
Goin, born about 1793.
The verdict? Elijah Goin won his slander suit against Sterling
Mayes, and the jury awarded him $50 damages, far less than
the $5,000 he sought. Sterling Mayes appealed the case to the
Tennessee Supreme Court in Knoxville where the Circuit
Court’s decision was reversed and remanded. He won the
appeal on the grounds that it had long been common
knowledge in the community that the Goin family was of
mixed blood and that he was not seeking the forfeiture of the
civil rights of Elijah Goin.
The authoress, Carol Ledford who was born March 4, 1944 in
Monroe, Michigan is a double ninth-generation granddaughter
of Thomas Goin. Two of his sons, Levi Goin and Uriah Goin
were her eighth-generation grandfathers.
2) Joseph Gowen Sentenced To 21
Lashes in Chowan County, NC
Joseph Gowen “alias Smith” of Chowan Precinct was indicted
August 2, 1725 for larceny. He was charged by Patrick
Ogilby of Edenton, North Carolina in the theft of a pair of
shoes, according to “Colonial Records of North Carolina,”
Volume 2, page 591. The indictment read:
“William Little, Esq: Attorney General comes to
Prosecute the Bill of Indictment found by the Grand Jury
against Joseph Gowen, alias Smith of Chowan Precinct,
Mariner for Larceny in these words, viz:
The Jurors of Our Sovereign Lord the King on their
Oath doe present that Joseph Gowen alias Smith, not
having the fear of God before his Eyes, but moved by the
instigation of the Devill in the precinct of Chowan
aforesaid on or about the seventeenth day of this instant
July in the year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred
& twenty-five by force and armes did fradulently and
feloniously Steal, take and carry away from the house of
Patrick Ogilby of Edenton of the Precinct of Chowan
aforesayd one payr of shoes of the value of eleven pence
against the peace of Our Sovereign Lord the King that now
is his Crown & dignity etc . . .
Upon which Indictment the said Joseph Gowen alias
Smith was arraigned and upon his arraignment pleaded
[Not Guilty] and for tryall thereof he putt himself upon
God and the Country and the said William Little on the
behalf of our Lord the King likewise.
Whereupon the Marshall was commanded that he
should cause to come twelve good & honest men etc. . .
and there came viz: Capt. John Pettifer, Mr. Thomas
Luton, Junr, John Harlee, Thos. Matthews, J. Pratt, Const.
Luton, John Lewis, William Benbury, John Adderly, Thos.
Stubbs, Edward Patchett and John Ward who being
impannelled and sworn etc. . . do say upon their Oath,
‘Wee of the Jury find the Prisoner Guilty.’
Then the sayd Gowen alias Smith being asked if he had
anything to say why sentence should not pass against him
as the Law in that Case has provided and he offering
nothing in avoydance thereof, It was then and there
Considered and Adjudged that he should be carried to the
publick Whipping post and there to receive twenty-one
lashes on his bare back well layd on & to remayne in
Custody till fees are payd.”
3) Dear Cousins
I am enclosing group sheets on my Goins family. We have
just installed the computer, and I am still learning all it will
do. Much of my data is not yet processed, and I will have
more for you later.
I am interested in finding details on the husband[s] of Nancy
A. Goins, daughter of J. B. and Sarah A. Goins. She was born
in Georgia, probably Murray County about 1836 and appeared
in the 1850 census of her father’s household. She was married
about 1855 to Freddy King in Georgia and lived in the
Calhoun area. Freddy King died before 1870, probably in
Franklin County, Alabama. It is believed that Nancy A. Goins
King remarried, husband’s name unknown. She died in 1920
and was buried in Antioch Cemetery in Franklin County.
Carrie M. McGee, 1303 6th Ave, Jasper, AL, 35501
With reference to “Goins, TN Selected as Site of Goins
Family Reunion,” I want to call to your attention that Goin,
TN is not spelled “Goins.” Enclosed are photostats of a road
map showing Goin, TN, a photo of the U.S. Postoffice at Goin
and of a state highway sign reading “Goin Road.”
The March issue of the Newsletter mentioned William Goin
and Thomas Goin, born 1750-60 and both enumerated in the
1830 census of Claiborne County, TN. My husband, Varion
Elmer Goin is a gg-grandson of this Thomas Goin. I am in the
process of compiling the record of Thomas Goin for the
Foundation. We are familiar with the work of Dianne
Thurman of Wichita, KS and William H. Goin, III of
Wyandotte, MI. Anna Lee Goin, 13811 Jefferson Hwy.
99E, Jefferson, OR, 97352.
Thanks for finding me. I don’t know how you did it, but
thanks so much. I want to join the Foundation because I am
active in genealogical research and because my grandmother
was a Gowin, a descendant of Nathaniel and Sabra Midgett
Gowin. I am most anxious to correspond and share
information with any and all of their descendants. Keep up
the good work. Larry A. May, 1548 Manor Drive, Salem,
When you printed my family information in the March
Newsletter, I heard from a second cousin that I didn’t know I
had–Capt. George A. Gowen, USN Ret, Asheville, NC. His
letter appeared in the October 1989 issue of “Dear Cousins,”
but at that time I had no idea that I had family in North
Carolina. It was great to hear from him. Thanks for
“reassembling” our family.
Capt. Gowen wrote of Arlee Gowen and his service in Naval
Aviation during World War II. We haven’t read much about
our editor in the Newsletter. I think the rest of us Gowens
would like to know more about him.
I am enclosing five gift memberships for other interested
members of my branch of the family. Edward Miles Joseph
Gowen, 1258 Cresthaven Drive, Silver Spring, MD, 20903.
I am seeking information on N. B. Gowan who purchased
land jointly with Pleasant Linsey Gowan in 1890 in Buncombe
County, NC. N. B. Gowan sold his interest in 1896, but did
not appear there in the census of 1900. Where did he go?
How was he related to Pleasant Linsey Gowan? I would like
to hear from any descendants. LaFay E. Gowan, 2157
Shadybrook Lane, Birmingham, AL, 35226.
Tomorrow I leave for the National Genealogical Society
Conference in Portland, but before leaving, I wanted to send a
few comments in your direction. I have read through most of
the Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina print-outs that you
sent for review.
I note some confusion among researchers regarding
Revolutionary soldiers named William Going/Goin/Goins,
[there were at least two, most likely three] and I believe an
ALERT should go out to all the GRF researchers so that they
can avoid ascribing the activities of one to another.
The  William Goin of Surry County, North Carolina, age
72 in 1835, married to a white woman, has nothing to do with
 William Going, wife Elizabeth Going, who served in Capt.
Dixon’s company, 10th NC Regiment 1781-72, who applied
for a pension in Hawkins County, TN nor  William Going,
recorded in NC in 1793, who was married to Elizabeth in
Has the Foundation obtained complete copies of all the
Gowen/Going [and variant spellings] Revolutionary files from
the National Archives? If not, let me know, about the time I
return from Portland. Virginia Easley DeMarce, 5635 N.
25th Rd, Arlington, VA, 22207
I treasure every issue of the Newsletter. I am keeping all my
copies since Volume 1, Number 1, September 1989 and enjoy
reading them over and over. You are doing an outstanding
job. Mildred R. Ayres, 804 St. Lukes Drive, Richardson,
I have made some progress in my Gowen research and can
now supply additional information regarding my mother’s
family. I join in praising the Foundation and thanking all
involved for helping us in our search. It is so rewarding in so
many ways. Thanks for the joy, the excitement, the
fascination and the wonderful feelings of meeting new
cousins. Barbara J. Ludwig, 9848 W. Gardner Road,
Bloomington, IN, 47403.
[Photo cutlines] Jonathan H. Gowen, left, Civil War veteran and patriarch of a large family in Adair County, Kentucky, was born in 1822 in Patrick County, Virginia in the heart of
Melungia. He was a hunting dog fancier whose children “swore that he loved his dogs more than his kids.”
His daughter, Martha Alice Gowen Womack, right, was born in Adair County in 1864. She was married in Adair County in 1884 to James Anderson Womack. Photos courtesy of Jean
Grider Fry, Cave City, Kentucky.
4) Cebe Goins Killed by Indians
At Salt Gap, Texas in 1861
By A. B. Reagan
Brady, Texas, July 15, 1936
[This account was first published in “Handbook of
McCulloch County, Texas.” Cebe Goins is identified as
Seaborn Goins, who was born in 1822 to Jeremiah Goins
and Sharofina Drake Goins who emigrated to Texas in 1834
from Choctaw Nation in Mississippi via Louisiana.]
Cebe Goins was the first white man killed by Indians in what is
now McCulloch County. This happened in May 1861 while
camped in Salt Gap, and his body was buried on the spot where
he was killed.
During the spring of 1861, Cebe Goins who ranched on
Richland Creek, some five miles west of the present town of
Richland Springs went with neighbors, Nabors and Hysaw, to
the prairies lying immediately north of the Brady Mountains for
the purpose of catching wild horses. It seems they were very
desirous of catching two beautiful stallions which had been
spotted and were known to range in that vicinity. The trip was
made more for the sport of catching these two horses than for
the necessity of owning them.
The hunt for the horses was made on a misty, rainy day. Visibility
was bad that day, and the men failed to find the horses.
They rode back into Salt Gap and camped for the night under a
forked liveoak tree which stood near the little creek which
wormed its way northward between the two mountains.
Near the camp was a bunch of smaller trees, 40 or 50 yards
away where the men tied their horses for the night. Near the
camp was a little spring coming from under a rock which afforded
water for camping purposes. After supper, they spread
their blankets on the wet ground under the liveoak tree, and all
lay down to sleep for the night on one pallet, all three sleeping
in the same bed. Being tired, they soon dropped off to sleep
without the slightest knowledge that they had been watched
from the mountain peaks above them by a ruthless savage foe
who sought only such an opportunity to murder them while they
During the night, a band of Indians had stealthily crept into
camp, untied their saddle horses and led them out into the
darkness. After this was done, the Indians then crept up the
little branch to a point within 40 feet of the camp where the men
slept in the quietude and shot a volley of arrows into the
sleeping forms. Cebe Goins happened to be sleeping on the side
nearer the attackers, lying on his back with his arm thrown over
his head. An arrow was shot through his body, under his arm.
The man sleeping next to Cebe was sorely wounded, but not
fatally, and the third man was not hurt. He immediately jumped
behind the liveoak tree and attempted to return the fire with his
pistol, but the gun misfired.
He helped his wounded companion flee into the darkness which
was their only shield. They immediately began their return to
the home of Cebe Goins where they made their report after three
days on foot.
There was at that time in San Saba County a company of 25
men under the command of Capt. W. R. Woods known as
“Minute Men.” They were men who were obligated to rush at a
minute’s notice to rendezvous in case of an Indian attack. A
portion of this company had their meeting place at Richland
Springs. When it was reported that Cebe Goins had been killed,
10 of these rangers were immediately into the saddle.
The distance to be traveled was about 50 miles, through the
wilderness and without a road to travel. The men approached
the Gap from the north side of the mountain where they turned
south into the Gap. In the company was Cal Montgomery and
19-year-old Warren Hudson.
“When we rode in, the sun was reflecting off a bright object
about a half mile away,” recalled Montgomery, “and we rode
straight to it.” “It was a tin cup sitting on a rock just above
the little spring. There we found the camp and the body of
Cebe Goins lying on the pallet with an arrow shot through
his body, pinning the blanket to his side. The body was so
badly decomposed that it could not be moved, and we dug a
shallow grave beside the body. We rolled the blanket
around the body and placed it in the grave.”
Forty-eight years later, in 1909, Cal Montgomery made an appeal
to the citizens of McCulloch County to place a marker over
the grave of Cebe Goins. Several search parties went to the
location, but the landmarks could not be located after a half
century. Even Warren Hudson, a member of the burial party,
went along on one search with Jack and John Beasley, Newt
Craig and A. B. Reagan, but it, too was unsuccessful. Hudson,
at that time old and nearly blind, gave a minute description of
the site, but the search ended in failure. He recalled that he cut
an arrowhead out of the forked liveoak tree where one of the
men took refuge behind when his pistol failed to fire. The
arrowhead had been driven into the tree so deep that Hudson
had to dig into it the full length of his pocket knife blade before
he could extract the arrowhead.
Long Lost Cousins
Mail addressed to the family researchers listed below has been
returned by the Postal Service marked “Undeliverable as
Any reader knowing the correct address for any of the
individuals below is requested to advise the Foundation of their
Boudro, Vonah 2845 E. Hutch Rd, Modesto, CA, 95351
Burgess, Martha, 3101 S. Fairview #4, Santa Ana, CA, 92704
Dewitt, Leona, W. Persimmon, Rogers, AR, 72756
Eggum, Barbara, Thompson, Iowa, 50478
Goans, Vera, 9528-A Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN, 37922
Going, Inez, 8502 Baker Drive, Houston, TX, 77017
Goins, Derrick, 3957 N. Percy, Philadelphia, PA, 19140
Gowen, Horace B, 13 Pleasant St, Attleboro, MA, 02703
Gowen, Lee T, 518 Camilla Ave. SE, Roanoke, VA, 24014
Gowens, Ross W, 4381 Ewing Rd, SW, Austell, GA, 30001
Goyne, William M, 9 N. Lafayette St, Mobile, AL, 36604
Hartkopf, Fred, 3401 Emma, #J, Mira Loma, CA, 91752
Kearby, Donald, 3705-A Van Buren St, Bellwood, IN, 60104
Kimberlin, Mrs. C, No. 6 Court St, West Plains, MO, 85775
Lowery, Glenn, 217 Deerwood Circle, Warner-Robbins, GA, 31093
Marshall, Flora, 149 Cannon Driver, #117, Oceanside, CA, 92054
McKecknie, Mrs. A. H, Rt. 1, Box 496, Crestview, KY, 40014
Myer, Leona, 615 Wilshire Drive, Casselberry, FL, 32707
Plumley, Boyd, 4730 Oak Hill, Lorain, OH, 44053
Sullivan, Mrs. Thomas, 6323 Gullsyrand St, San Diego, CA, 92122.
Van Ness, Evaline, Ronan, MT, 59864
Your Participation is Invited . . .
The Foundation Newsletter is mailed only to members who have
current memberships, plus 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 in 1991, you may
clip or reproduce the membership form below. Indicate the type
of membership you prefer and Linda McNiel, Foundation
Secretary, will issue your 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
Gowen Research Foundation Newsletter
Arlee Gowen, Editor
Linda McNiel, Circulation
Gowen Research Foundation Phone:
806/795-8758 or 795-9694
5708 Gary Avenue E-mail:
Lubbock, Texas, 79413 Fax: 806/795-
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.