1991 – 06 June Newsletter – GRF

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/

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 Negroes.

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 destroyed.

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 bond.

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 denied.

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” taxpayer.

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

==Dear Cousins==

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.

==Dear Cousins==

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, OH, 44460.

==Dear Cousins==

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.

==Dear Cousins==

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.

==Dear Cousins==

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 [1] William Goin of Surry County, North Carolina, age 72 in 1835, married to a white woman, has nothing to do with [2] 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 [3] William Going, recorded in NC in 1793, who was married to Elizabeth in Caswell County.

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

==Dear Cousins==

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, TX, 75080.

==Dear Cousins==

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 slept.

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 Addressed.”

Any reader knowing the correct address for any of the individuals below is requested to advise the Foundation of their current address.

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 recipients.

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.

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