1991 – 12 Dec Newsletter – GRF

Sections in this issue:

1) Lt. Wm. B. Gowen Wrote Journal In Johnson Island POW Camp;
2) Continued from November . . . Did The Lumbee Indians Have Early European Ancestors?;
3) Dear Cousins;
4) Library Receives New Volumes On Gowen and Going Families.

All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters:   https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/

Gowen Research Foundation Newsletter
Volume 3, No. 4 December 1991

1)  Lt. Wm. B. Gowen Wrote Journal
In Johnson Island POW Camp

While languishing in a prison camp on Johnson’s Island, Lt.
William Bradford Gowen, CSA who had been captured near
Vicksburg, recorded his thoughts and fears in his diary. Much
of the journal was addressed to his wife at home. The opening
entry expresses the pathos the prisoner felt:

“Mournful cries of the wounded and dying which would
sometimes rise above the din of battle still ring in my ears and
ever and anon the livid countenances and ghastly wounds of
the dead whom I passed on the field rise before my mind.

Doubtless many of the poor fellows had wives & children at
home which a few short hours before had been as precious to
them as life itself, and perhaps the hearts of those wives and
children were even now, while the Husband and Father lay
cold in death, filled with hope that he might soon be permitted
to return to the bosom of his family and all the endearments of

But, alas, who can contemplate without tears of anguish the
wail of sorrow and disappointed hope that shall rise from the
broken hearts of those loved ones when in a few short days the
dreadful truth shall become known. My God; who can
describe the deso-lation of one hard fought battle.

I felt a profound sense of gratitude to the God of Mercy for my
life preserved and sincere and heartfelt thanks for the kind
pro-tecting hand that had brought me safely and unhurt
through the dangers of that day.

In speaking of my varied thoughts, let me assure you, dear
Jen-nie, that yourself and our precious little Darlings, Mattie
& Wil-lie, occupy by far the largest share. You are in blissful
igno-rance of my situation tonight, but I am tormented with
the thought that in a few days you will hear of the Battle of
Cham-pion Hill and hear that our Regiment was in the thickest
of it and perhaps will see my name among the Missing, and
then you will be tortured with the intolerable suspense of not
knowing whether I am killed or captured.”

The journal, maintained from May 16, 1863 until his release
and arrival home in 1865, chronicled his feelings at the time of
capture and imprisonment on Johnson’s Island in the
confluence of Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie, off Sandusky,
Ohio. The journal is now in the care of Lt. Gowen’s greatgranddaughter,
Mary Carrington Gowen, a Foundation
member of Austin, Texas. Her father, William Lister Gowen,
transcribed the diary and placed a typewritten copy in the
Texas State Library & Archives before his death in 1972.

Gowen Research Foundation Library recently obtained a copy
of the 160-page Journal from the state library.

William Bradford Gowen, son of Winn Bearden Gowen and
Elizabeth Hunt Gowen, was born July 31, 1828, according to
the family bible. He was a grandson of Maj. John “Buck”
Gowen, Revolutionary soldier of Spartanburg County, South
Carolina and his wife, Lettice Winn “Letty” Bearden Gowen.

He appeared in the 1850 census of Talledega County,
Alabama as “William B. Gowen, age 22, laborer, born in
Alabama.” He was married February 1, 1855 at Talledega,
Alabama to Laura Virginia “Jennie” Oden who was born April
19, 1837, according to the family bible.

On February 27, 1862 William Bradford Gowen enlisted in
the Thirtieth Alabama Infantry Regiment at Sylacauga,
Alabama. He was named a sergeant and later second
lieutenant. In the Battle of Champion Hill in Mississippi,
prior to Grant’s siege of Vicksburg in May 1863, Lt. Gowen
was captured.

By steamboat he was transported up the Mississippi to Cairo,
Illinois and thence overland by rail to Sandusky. During his
imprisonment he recorded in a journal the fears, the hopes and
the frustrations of the Confederate prisoners.

On the first day after his capture, he wrote,

“May 17, 1863: Our breakfast this morning was quite scanty,
some received none at all. The water we get from holes in a
branch partly dried up, it being muddy and unpalatable.”
“May 18: Saw Capt. Anderson of the 30th, and he appeared to
be doing well. I could not find a single man of my company.
It was a sad and sickening sight to look upon some with
amputated limbs and others with swollen faces and
countenances distorted with pain and one poor fellow who had
seemingly just expired; died doubtless without anyone
knowing when he drew his last breath, no kind friend to offer
a word of consolation or drop a tear of sympathy.”

“May 29: Our transport Boat lay over at Memphis all day.
The Bar Keeper on the Boat has been doing a thriving
business today exchanging money with our men, giving one
dollar of Federal for four dollars of Confederate money. I had
no money at all, having given my pocketbook with its
contents, $215 to Parson Underwood, the chaplain of our
Regiment for safe keeping the morning before the battle in
which I was captured.”

“June 1: Arrived at Cairo at the junction of the Mississippi
and the Ohio Rivers at 7 a.m. We were informed that we
would travel no farther by steamboat, but would travel by
railroad to our destination. I was not sorry of this, for our trip
up the river which had lasted nine days & nights was anything
but a pleasant one. Our only chance for sleeping was on our
blankets spread down on a filthy floor.”

“June 5: Traveled all night and arrived at Sandusky City at
11:00 a.m. We got off the cars and marched down to
Sandusky Bay amidst a crowd of men, women and children
who had fathered at the depot to see the Rebels. I suppose
they were looking for our horns and tails. We boarded a steam
ferryboat to convey us over to Johnson’s Island, three miles
out in the Bay.”

June 7:This is the holy Sabbath, God’s sacred day of rest, how
little it is regarded by many here. Some have been engaged at
card playing nearly all day. I have spent the day principally in
my room reading the Testatment which my friend G. M. D.
Patterson gave me when I first joined the army.”

July 4: This is the 87th Anniversary of American
Independence, a day once hailed with delight and still proudly
remembered by every Americn Citizen as the day on which
our Patriotic fore-fathers, then citizens of a feeble colonial
government pro-claimed their independence of a great and
powerful nation and maintained it through a war of seven
years. And many of these Patriotic Sires lived to see the
government in whose defense they had struggled to become
one of the great and powerful nations of the earth. But now,
alas! What is the condition of this once proud and prosperous
Nation? Convulsed with war and drenched in blood!”

“July 7: We have news today that Vicksburg has
surrendered and that Genl. Lee has been signally defeated in
the fight at Gettysburg, neither of which we are willing to
believe without confirmation. The Yankees are jubilant.”

“September 22: Glorious news in the papers this morning.

They report that Rosencrans is badly beaten and is falling back
from Chattanooga and acknowledges a loss of 3,000 killed,
wounded and missing. As soon as this news was read, the
Rebels on Johnson’s Island raised a yell that made the Island
tremble under our feet.”

“October 13: The best news I have heard for a long time came
in a letter which I rec’d from you [his wife] this morning and
which gave me joy enough for one day. After being deprived
of the pleasure of even hearing from you for nearly 5 months
to hear that you are well was truly glad tidings of great joy.”

“October 29: Our bible class met this morning and after going
through the lesson had an interesting discussion, the query being,
‘Did Jeptha slay and sacrifice his daughter, and if so, was
he justified in the act?'”

“November 29: Today the ground is covered with snow.
Our rations of wood are quite short, so much so that we do not
have enough to keep a fire going in the stove all the time and
must therefore suffer with cold.”

“December 26: Five prisoners, among them Genl. Archer,
got outside the prison wall a few nights ago. They made their
way to the shore of the Bay and got out some distance on the
ice when some of them fell through the ice. The noise reached
the ears of the pickets nearby who came up and gobbled the
poor fellows up again. Another Christmas has passed which
makes the second one since I left home.”

“January 8, 1864: The weather continues extremely cold. The
ground is covered with snow, and we have to stay in our
rooms all the time. The passing from the Island to Sandusky
is done altogether on the ice now. Some ladies came over
from the City on skates today. It is a very beautiful sight to
see them skating on the ice. Numerous attempts have been
made in the last few nights by prisoners to escape, some of
which I suppose were successful.”

“April 1: A considerable religious feeling has been
manifested in Prison for some time past and a goodly number
have pro-fessed religion and joined the church. I had the
pleasure on last Sabbath of witnessing the baptism in Lake
Erie of 12 Confed-erate officers.”

May 24: Nature is fast becoming clothed in the green verdue
of spring; but what is all this to me, I am still a prisoner shut
up within the walls of this detested old prison. All that I can
do is to look over the wall at the few green trees left standing
on the Island and wish that I was once more at home and free
to roam among the old hills over which I have so often
followed the merry yelp of my hounds in the exciting chase
after the wild deer.”

February 19, 1865: Our rations are so curtailed that we are
barely able to sustain life. I am hungry from one day’s end to
another. Many of the prisoners have resorted to catching &
eating rats. I have seen other prisoners picking up crumbs
from the ditches & slop barrels and eating them. The
exchange of prisoners for which we have so long & anxiously
looked is about to be consumated at last. Some have already
gone, and 100 more officers are to leave here tomorrow, and I
am one of that number!”

March 22: “We mounted and started for home some 10 miles
distant where we arrived a little after dark. Besides the family
there was a large crowd of relatives & friends assembled to
meet us. The meeting, after three years absence, I will not try
to describe, but will leave it to the imagination of any who
may read this.”

Lt. Gowen very soon after the war removed his family to Lindale,
Texas. In 1888 he moved again to Tyler, Texas. His
treasured journal was kept in a safe place in each household.
Once his youngest daughter slipped the book down and inscribed
a poem on its frontispiece:

“Oh, if my heart was made of glass
And through its windows you could see
You’d see your picture painted there
And know the one so dear to me.”

William Bradford Gowen was enumerated in the 1900 census
of Trinity County, Texas, Enumeration District 96, page 3,
precinct 2 as the head of a household:

“Gowan, William B. 71, born in AL in July 1828
Laura V. 63, born in GA in April 1837
William A. 38, born in AL in Sept. 1861”

On January 19, 1907 William Bradford Gowen filed Confederate
Pension Application No. 13071. In the application he
stated that he was 78, totally disabled and had been living at
Tyler for 19 years. The pension was granted by the State of
Texas shortly prior to his death August 8, 1908.

On February 3, 1909 Laura Virginia Oden Gowen, at age 70,
applied for a widow’s pension, stating in her application that
she had lived at Tyler for 30 years. This pension was also
granted. In the 1910 edition of the Tyler city directory Laura
Virginia “Jennie” Oden Gowen, “widow of W. B. Gowen,”
lived at 408 East Line Street.

Once on a visit to her daughter, Mrs. H. F. Scheen at
Bienville, Louisiana, she became ill and extended her visit to
one year. During this period she lost her Texas residency and
her pension. It was later reinstated upon her application. The
pension papers referred to another daughter, Mattie Gowen
Ross who also lived in Tyler on January 22, 1919. The
endorsement of her son, William Alexander Gowen, also of
Tyler, dated January 24, 1919, appeared in the reinstatement
application. Laura Virginia “Jennie” Oden Gowen died at
Tyler February 2, 1919 and was buried at Bienville Cemetery,
Bienville, Louisiana.

Children born to William Bradford Gowen and Laura Virginia
“Jennie” Oden Gowen include:

Mattie Gowen born about 1860 in AL
William Alexander Gowen born Sept. 1861 in AL
Minnie Estelle Gowen born about 1867 in TX”

2)  Continued from November . . .
Did The Lumbee Indians Have
Early European Ancestors?

By Evelyn McKinley Orr
Melungeon Research Team Chairman
8310 Emmet Street, Omaha, Nebraska, 68134

For over 100 years the origin of the Lumbee Indians and the
possibility of a European ancestry for them has fascinated
historians and researchers. Writers who have been attracted to
them include: Hamilton McMillan, A.M, “Sir Walter
Raleigh’s Lost Colony,” 1888; William Edward Fritch, M.D,
“The First Founders in America,” 1913; Lew Barton, B.A,
M.A, “The Most Ironic Story in American History,” 1967
and David Beers Quinn, “Set Sail for Roanoke, Voyages and
Colonies, 1584-1606.”

The Lumbees live mostly along the Lumber River in Robeson
County, North Carolina. Our Gowen name is common among
them where it is most often spelled Goins or Going. They
were never considered an Indian tribe or part of an ethnic
group until they petitioned the United States government to
become an official Indian tribe in 1951. Some researchers
have regarded them as survivors of the Lost Colony of
Roanoke. This origin has also been suggested for the
Melungeons of Southern Appalachia.

It is generally believed that every member of the Lost Colony
was slaughtered by the Indian Chieftain Powhatan before
1607. David Beers Quinn holds that part of the original
colony of 1587 could have survived.

He sets forth that survivors of other early English explorations
along our coast could have survived and inter-mixed with
native inhabitants.

The history book which Quinn wrote in 1985 contains accounts
of voyages to the colonies and along the Virginia and
Carolina coast and was an extension of his other works about
the Lost Colony. He does not expand on claims of specific
origins for any particular group of people living today.

However, his comprehensive research raises the probability
that there were survivors among early English explorations
which had been previously regarded as having perished.
John Lawson, exploring the region south of Pamlico Sound in
1709, met Hatteras Indians with gray eyes who told him that
their ancestors were white people who “talked in a book.”

When the Scotch first arrived in the Lumber River region, they
found Indians who spoke English, tilled the soil and owned

Capt. John Smith wrote to the managers of the Virginia Company
in 1608, “Chief Opechancanough informed me of certaine
men at a place called Ocamahowan cloathed like me.”

When two members of John Smith’s Colony attempted to contact
the supposed Europeans at Ocamahowan, the chief forbad
them. Later the scouts found “crosses and letters, the
characters assured testimonies of Christians” newly cut in the
bark of trees. Smith was convinced that they were “somme of
our nation planted by Sir Walter Raleigh yet alive, within fifty
mile of our fort.”

As early as 1584, Arthur Burlow, commanding one of
Raleigh’s ships, described children he encountered “with very
fine auburn and chestnut colored hair” and surmised them to
be children of Europeans from shipwrecks, according to
“American History Illustrated,” Volume 8.

An early name for the Lumbees was Croatans. There is some
evidence of a relationship between the early Croatans and the
Redbones of the Carolinas. What is the origin of the name
“Redbones?” Could “Redbones” have been a colloquial name
for the Croatans?


The Melungeon report of Mrs. Orr will be continued in future
Newsletters. The next installment will deal with Sabines and
the Redbones and their similarities to the Melungeons.

3)  Dear Cousins

I recently learned of your organization from my cousin,
Rev. Richard Goins of Ottumwa, Iowa who sent me a copy of
your September Newsletter. I found it to be most interesting,
and my membership is enclosed.

I am the granddaughter of Amanda Goins Snider [born
1873] of Daviess and Bates County, MO. She was the
granddaughter of Granville Goin [born 1838] of Claiborne
County, TN and Daviess Co, MO. He was the son of Daniel
Goin [born 1807] of Campbell and Claiborne Counties, TN. I
am most anxious to learn the parents of Daniel Goin.
Jeraldine Webb, 1318 Domador, San Clemente, CA,

==Dear Cousins==

I am seeking information concerning the parents and
grandparents of my g-grandmother, Melissa Belle
Gowen/Gowins who married John Quincy Adams, a fullblood
Choctaw in Rains County, TX September 1, 1889. John
and Melissa were the parents of Lear Belle [my grandmother],
Betty, Ben, Myrtle, Lula, Henry, Carl, Sam and Bob. Melissa
died July 3, 1930 in Rains County. According to the 1880
Soundex, her father was Samuel Gowen bc1817 TN. Her
mother was Martha Gowen bc1835 TN. A sister, Lucinda was
married to Clay Gowen, a cousin. They lived near
Jacksonville in Cherokee County, TX until their deaths in the
1930s. I would appreciate ANY information on this family.
Peggy A. White, 109 Underwood Drive, Hopkinsville, KY,

==Dear Cousins==

It was a nice surprise to see the picture of our Gowen
reunion at Stratham, NH in the Newsletter. The first reunion I
went to was in the early 1940s, and I married into the Gowen
clan in 1942. I am enclosing a membership renewal for Maj.
Richard A. Gowen, my son. M. Louise Gowen, Box 165,
Middleton, MA, 01949.

==Dear Cousins==

I am looking for descendants of John Gowen, bc1850
Stokes Co, NC to Jonathan Henry Gowen and Hannah J.
Beasley Gowen. He was married in 1877 in Adair County,
KY to Harriett Coomer, daughter of William R. Coomer and
Delilah Coomer. After she died, he moved “out west.” If
anyone knows anything of John Gowen, please contact Jean
Fry, 1734 Salem Church Rd, Cave City, KY, 42127,

==Dear Cousins==

The Gowen family cemetery at LaVergne, TN has been
recently renovated in preparation to receive the bodies of other
family members from the nearby Gowen family cemetery on
the William Gowen 640-acre Pre-emption in Davidson
County. This cemetery is being impacted by a runway
extension at the Metropolitan Nashville Airport.

Improvements at the LaVergne cemetery include paved
access, steel fencing, removal of vegetation and debris,
leveling of grave areas, landscaping and refurbishing of
headstones. Family members who worked in the renovation
include Jean Gowen Calvin, Iris Gowen Stanley, Iris Stanley,
Travis & Sarah Gowen, Lisa Calvin Meadows and Thomas
Mason Gowen.

The Pre-emption site has recently received a thorough
investigation by Garrow & Associates, an archaeological firm
of Atlanta and Memphis who gleaned from the site several
thousand artifacts, some dating back to the 1700s.

Should the grave removal be deemed necessary, the
Foundation has requested that the work be done by
archaeologists. At that time, it is planned that a pathologistgeneticist
be on hand to take DNA samples for comparison
with blood samples of living descendants. Perhaps the
“genetic fingerprint” of the Melungeons can be established.
Dirk Calvin, Preservation Chairman, 9596 Liberty Church
Rd, Brentwood, TN, 37027.

4)  Library Receives New Volumes
On Gowen and Going Families

As a gift of Jon Lee Going of Austin, Texas, the Foundation
Library has received “The Strong, Going, Dean, Campbell,
Metcalf and Other Families of Shelby County, Texas” by
Marjorie Going Johnson of Dallas. Only six copies have been
made of the unpublished 160-page volume which was compiled
in 1968. Jon Lee Going credits Berry Provence Griffin
of Spring, Texas for assistance in obtaining the book and updating

Bill Fritz of Jonesboro, Arkansas donated a copy of “The
Fighting Fifth,” a history of the Fifth Arkansas Infantry
Regiment, C.S.A. which fought under the command of Maj.-
Gen. Pat Cleburne in 15 battles. The volume was written by
Floyd R. Barnhill, Sr. of Jonesboro who spent 50 years researching
the history of the regiment and who autographed the
book for the Foundation. The history is dedicated to the
author’s grandfather, Pvt. Caswell Hall Barnhill served in
Company H of the regiment. Tennesseeans James Gowen and
George Washington Gowen, brothers who served in the
Arkansas Confederate forces, settled at Jonesboro after the
Civil War. Their farmland has now been incorporated into the
city of Jonesboro.

Mary Burns Stark, Foundation member and professional genealogist
of Houston, presented the Library with copies of the
1830 and 1840 “Census Index of the District of Columbia.”

Gowen Research Foundation Newsletter
Arlee Gowen, Editor
Linda McNiel, Circulation

Gowen Research Foundation Phone:806/795-8758 or 795-
5708 Gary Avenue E-mail: gowen@llano.net
Lubbock, Texas, 79413 Fax: 806/795-9694
Internet: http://www.llano.net/gowen


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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