Sections in this issue:
1) James H. Gowen, Melungeon Jailed as a Runaway Slave;
2) Peter I. Gowan Dealt in Blacks In Charleston Slave Market;
3) Foundation Electronic Library Expands Manuscript Holdings;
4) DEAR COUSINS.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 4, No. 3 November 1992
1) James H. Gowen, Melungeon
Jailed as a Runaway Slave
James H. Gowen, regarded as a Melungeon, was born about 1752 probably in Granville County, North Carolina. He, the son of William Gowen and Sarah Gowen, was very dark complexioned and later had difficulty when he was arrested as a runaway slave.
It is believed that he accompanied his father, his brother, William Gowen and his nephew, David Gowen when they made a move to Tennessee.
Levi Gowen of Fairfield County, South Carolina, brother of David Gowen, stated in a Fairfield County court affidavit that “Four mulatto went to Daverson County on the Cumberland River in 1779.” David Gowen was killed by the Indians at Mansker’s Station about 1780, and Levi Gowen was named as his heir. It is believed that the Gowen men joined the Buchanan-Mulherrin party on the trek to Ft. Nashborough in the winter of 1779-80.
James H. Gowen settled on land located north of the Cumberland River, and when Sumner County, Tennessee was created in 1786, found himself in the new county. “James Gowen” purchased a horse for $79.25 at the auction of the estate of Allen Gowen, his kinsman in 1800, according to Rutherford County Court records.
According to the research of Donna Gowin Johnston, Foundation Editorial Boardmember of Casper, Wyoming, James H. Gowen appeared in the court records of Sumner County in
1804 in a suit alleging false arrest in 1802. The jury found in his favor, but the damages awarded were far less than the $5,000 he sought.
“Pleas at the court house in the town of Gallatin before the justices on the third Monday in December Ano Domini 1804 & 29th year of American Independence.
James Gowen, Plaintiff vs Isaac Baker, Defendant:
Isaac Baker was attached to answer James Gowen in a plea of trespass, assault & battery & false imprisonment with force & arms to his damage Five Thousand Dollars.
Whereupon the said James Gowen by John C. Hamilton, his attorney filed his declaration upon the same, to wit:
State of Tennessee, Sumner County. James Gowen by his attorney complains of Isaac Baker in . . . a plea of trespass, assault & battery . . . with force & arms and assault did make upon the body of the said James . . . did beat, wound & ill treat, and . . . did falsely & illegally imprison him . . . for the space of fifteen days to the damage of the said James five thousand Dollars & therefore he brings suit.
The Defendant in his aforesaid plea . . . says he is not now nor ever has been a slave, and of this he puts himself on his county and the Defendant.
A Jury to wit, Andrew Blythe, Richard Carr, Robert Robb, Thomas Joiner, George Gillespie, Isaac George, William Bruce, William Snoddy, James Graham, John Shaver, Smith Hansbrough & James A. Wilson, who being elected, tried & sworn the truth to speak upon the issue joined upon their oath do say that they find the issue in favour of the plaintiff, saying that the said Plaintiff is a free man, and do assess the said plaintiff’s damages by occasion of wrongfully detaining him in servitude, to six & one-fourth cents [one-half of a bit] and court costs.”
James H. Gowen received an inheritance of 240 acres of his father’s 640-acre land grant. He and brother, John Gowen advertised the property, “containing 240 acres and lying on the main road from Nashville to Jefferson” for sale in a Nashville newspaper December 13, 1806, probably after the death of their mother. James H. Gowen sold the property to Daniel
Vaulx who lived nearby June 2, 1807, according to Davidson County Deed Book G, page 199.
Steve Rogers of the Tennessee Historical Commission who researched the deed record of the property wrote, “this 240- acre tract is located on the northern third of the property north of present-day Murphreesboro Road. The route of the Murfreesboro Turnpike, established in 1824, followed approximately the southern boundary, according to ‘Acts of
Tennessee, 1824,’ page 148.” The southern part of the preemption was later the location of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport.
Following his abusive experience in Sumner County, James H. Gowen moved across the county line to adjoining Robertson County which had been created from Sumner County in 1796.
“James Goin” and “Jeremiah Goin” were recorded in 1812 as taxpayers in Robertson County in Capt. Gabriel Martin’s Company, according to “Taxpayer List,” Roll 7, Tennessee State Archives.
Included among the assets of the estate of William Rains administered November 27, 1812 was a past due note on “James H. Gowan for $100, payable on June 3, 1808.”
Children born to James H. Gowen are unknown. Possible kinsmen of James H. Gowen are Reuben Gowen of Sumner County and Jeremiah Gowen, Benjamin Gowen and Reuben
Gowen of Robertson County.
Melungeon researchers Evelyn McKinley Orr, Omaha and Jack Goins, Rogersville, TN are pictured investigating gravestones in the Ebbing & Flowing Spring Church Cemetery of Rogersville.
2) Peter I. Gowan Dealt in Blacks
In Charleston Slave Market
“Peter Gowan took the oath of Naturalization” in Charleston
November 1, 1819, according to “South Carolina Historical
Magazine.” His son, the Rev. Peter I. Gowan, Jr. of Wesson,
Mississippi indicated that he was born in Scotland.
Peter I. Gowan was mentioned in the will of Prue Benson of
Greenville County, South Carolina written October 19, 1819.
The abstract read:
“I give and bequeath unto my son-in-law, John Gowen
four negroes, also half of a mill built between P. I. Gowen
and myself, to my son William B. Benson, five negroes;
to daughter Jane, five negroes; plantation tract of land and
all the balance of my personal property to be sold at public
sale on a credit of 12 months, and the money arising from
the sale therein to be divided between John Gowen,
William B. Benson and Jane Benson. I do hereby appoint
John B. Gowen and William B. Benson my lawful
The estate sale of Prue Benson was held December 1, 1821.
John B. Gowen, William B. Benson, John H. Easley and
Thomas Wynn were among the purchasers.
Hazel Dean Overstreet, family researcher and Editorial
Boardmember of Odum, Georgia, discovered in the South
Carolina Archives abstracts of Charleston bills of sale for
slaves involving Peter I. Gowan:
“February 28, 1823. Bill of Sale from Jehu Jones to Peter
Gowan a slave named Richard, a tailor by trade.
Warranted sound. [Jehu Jones, Sr, a tailor, a free Negro
and a slave owner himself, had several slaves.]
“July 15, 1824. Bill of Sale from Jacob De La Molte to
Peter Gowan for a mulatto slave named Mary, about 40
July 18, 1826. Bill of Sale from Eliza Garner to Peter
Gowan for a mulatto slave named Sally, about 22 years old
and her two children named David and Mary.
June 14, 1828. Bill of Sale from Fleming Ross & Company
to Peter Gowan for a slave named Ellen. Warranted
:April 9, 1829. Bill of Sale from M. A. Desoussure, executor
of estate of Alexander Gordon to Peter Gowan for a
slave named Melia and her daughter Kate.”
Peter I. Gowan, “white male 40-50,” was recorded as the head
of a household composed of six whites and six slaves in the
1830 census of the City of Charleston, Charleston County,
page 38. During the decade Peter I. Gowan continued to deal
“March 10, 1837. Bill of Sale from Peter Gowan to Robert
Walder for a mulatto slave named Betsey, with deed of
assignment to Samuel Weston, a free black.
November 16, 1837. Bill of Sale from Edward Harvey to
Peter Gowan, as guardian, for a slave named Maria.”
Peter I. Gowan, “white male 40-50” reappeared in the 1840
census of Charleston County, page 19, as the head of a household
composed of 10 whites and five slaves. Two members of
the family were engaged in trades and manufacturing. Peter I.
Gowan had two other slave transactions after the census:
“March 23, 1841. Bill of Sale from Charles Clarke, executor
of John Redfern, to Peter Gowan for a slave named George.
July 3, 1844. Bill of Sale from C. Parknin to Peter Gowan
for a slave named Patty.”
Peter I. Gowan later moved to Orangeburg County, South
Carolina where he and his wife died at the home of their
daughter, Mrs. Riggs.
According to his granddaughter, Miss Sarah Louise “Sally”
Gowan of Wesson, Mississippi, children born to Peter I.
Alexander Gowan born about 1828
[daughter] born about 1830
John Gowan born about 1834
Peter I. Gowan, Jr. born March 13, 1843
Peter I. Gowan, Jr. became a Presbyterian minister. He was
married about 1874 to Sarah Louise “Sally” Palmer, daughter
of Benjamin M. Palmer and Sarah “Sally” Sanneau Palmer.
Sarah Louise “Sally” Palmer Gowan died at Wesson, Mississippi
July 22, 1896 and was buried in Wesson Cemetery. He
died there December 2, 1912 and was buried beside her.
3) Foundation Electronic Library
Expands Manuscript Holdings
After 18 months of online operation, the Foundation’s Electronic
Library has expanded into a new computer facility with
a new telephone number–806/795-2005.
A call to this new number will connect any Foundation member
to the expanded resources. Over 6,000 calls have been
made to the Electronic Library since its inception June 1,
1991. On that date the Board of Directions elected to open its
files to family researchers universally.
Over seven thousand pages of the Gowen manuscript compiled
by 350 different genealogists in 120 sections have been
fed into the computer and are now online for any member to
utilize. It is estimated that another 3,000 pages of data will be
fed into the manuscript during the next 12 months. To accomodate
this data explosion, the board has made arrangements
to triple the facilities available to electronic researchers from
Texas State Genealogical Society joined forces with the
Foundation and brought online April 1, 1992 the TSGS Electronic
Library and Bulletin Board System. Recognizing the
vast potential of this new research tool, it became the first
state society in the nation to take this important step.
Because of the experience gained by the Foundation in the
operation of the electronic facility, the TSGS Board of Directors
elected to have its equipment operated in the Foundation
office in Lubbock.
Foundation members interested in Texas history and genealogical
research can now log-on to the TSGS Library by
dialing 806/791-4822. Those desiring to research in FidoNet,
the Bulletin Board System affiliated with National Genealogical
Society, can continue to reach this message and query network
through the TSGS telephone number. Thus the Foundation’s
facility is now devoted entirely to family research and
no longer duplicates the BBS files carried by TSGS.
Those who have reached the Foundation Library in the past
through Genealogy Headquarters may continue to access
general genealogical research through the GRF’s former
number–806/796-7070 operated by Gene Mathis. He will
continue to operate as Systems Operator on all three Bulletin
Boards. If you find any one of the above numbers busy when
you call, try one of the others.
All three Electronic Libraries have access to National Genealogical
Society’s FidoNet Genealogical Conference for
worldwide electronic mail exchange. This service is available
free to every researcher. Nine hundred genealogy bulletin
boards in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland,
France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland,
Botswana, Denmark, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa,
Australia and New Zealand are affiliated in the network for
daily E-mail exchange.
Your modem-equipped computer can make a lightning-fast
search for any surname that holds interest for you, and you
may download the data to your equipment at no charge. The
price of the phone call, about 16 cents per minute for long
distance calls, is the only expense to the researcher. Also, the
researcher can upload data to any of the three Libraries, and
the SysOp will route it to the proper destination.
A very popular section of all three Electronic Libraries is the
Genealogy Shareware Conference. In it a researcher can
download programs for inspection and trial from a large collection
of genealogy software without charge.
This bulletin-board approach allows sharing of all genealogical
data with every member of the Foundation. Each will
know what information has been assembled, and duplication
of effort by the members will be avoided. The only “closed
stack” section of the GRF Electronic Library continues to be
the Foundation manuscript. It is limited to “Members Only.”
Volunteers willing to assist in indexing the manuscript and the
Newsletter are invited to contact the Foundation.
The name “Gowen” which means “Smith” in Gaelic, appears
in at least 24 different spellings in American and European
records. To make the search as complete as possible, the Library
will hold data on at least 24 different spellings of the
surname. Family lore will be indexed on Gawan, Gawen,
Gawne, Goan, Goeing, Goen, Goin, Goines, Going, Gooing,
Gowan, Gowen, Gowin, Gowine, Gowing, Goun, Gouwen,
Goyen, Goyn, Goyne, Guynes, plus plurals, prefixes and other
All three Electronic Libraries and Bulletin Boards will be
“open” 24 hours a day, 365 days a year . . . and nobody will
ever turn the lights out on you!
All three will use the same protocol: Baud, 2400; Parity, none;
Data Bits, 8; Stop Bits, 1; Duplex, full; Protocol, ZModem;
Terminal, ANSI. For technical assistance, call the SysOp at
806/796-0456 or 806/795-8758.
A modem makes it possible for even incompatible computers
[i.e. IBM and Apple] to communicate with each other. Researchers
who do not yet have a modem on their computer
may continue to exchange data by mail on either 5 1/4″ or 3
1/2″ diskettes. Hard copy print-outs will continue to be made
available at no charge to members who do not yet use a computer
to send Electronic Mail.
4) DEAR COUSINS
Oti, a full-blood Choctaw woman who was married about
1795 to Phillip Goins in Choctaw Nation, mentioned in your
June 1990 Newsletter is of great interest to me. My father
spoke many times of Oti Montro, an Indian woman [or
princess] as his ancestor. Your June 1990 article was summarized
in the September 15, 1991 genealogy column of the
“Jackson Clarion-Ledger” written by Nancy Parker.
Robert McGowan, an official of Marion County, MS was
my fifth-generation grandfather. His daughter Cynthia Mc-
Gowan was married to Henry Sones. Their daughter, Mary
Sones was married Richard Boone. They are my greatgrandparents.
I would like to have a copy of this Newsletter and any information
your files might hold regarding the McGowan-
Goins-Montro relationship. Your consideration of this request
is deeply appreciated. Margie Bailey, 358 Purvis Road,
Columbia, MS, 39429.
I am enclosing a check for $35 covering my 1993 Contributing
Membership and a gift membership for Stratham
Historical Society, Stratham, NH. Additionally, I am enclosing
the names and addresses of three additional prospective
New England members for the Foundation.
I congratulate you on the outstanding work you are doing
for the family. Margaret P. Tate, 345 Washington St, Exeter,
I am enclosing my membership in the Foundation for
1993. I am a seventh-generation descendant of Thomas Goin
and Rebecca Clark Goin through their son Levi Goin and his
wife, Elizabeth Stallions Goin. They lived in Greensville
County, VA and Claiborne Co, TN. Sherry Linn Goin,
Route 2, Box 77, Woodlawn, IL, 62878.
Thanks for the good work you are doing on the Job Going
branch of the family. I wish I were fortunate enough to have
your standard of research available for all of my lines. The
work would then be so much easier. Cynthia McMullen,
Route 3, Box 621, Huntington, TX, 75949.
Our trip back to “Melungeon country” was most rewarding.
Jack and Betty Goins of Rogersville, Tennessee were our
hosts. They took Ruth Johnston, my husband John and me on
an all-day trip in his four-wheel van in the hills of Melungia.
As we drove the narrow, overgrown roads, viewed the hilltops
and listened to Jack’s excellent narration, our imagination visualized
these little communities in their prime.
Nature has pretty well reclaimed them now. Jack’s petite,
outgoing mother recalls it all very well. His parents left their
last home on the mountain in the early 1940s. Some years
later a man purchased their home, tore it down and took all its
fine Chestnut wood lumber to Florida to build a home. The
Chestnut trees that once covered these hills are now extinct.
Our trip also took us to Northeast Arkansas to visit Louise
Goins Richardson, a very dedicated member of the Melungeon
Our team has developed a special kinship through our
work together, and we are very grateful to the Foundation for
getting us together.
Earlier the Foundation had a query about the Redsticks
being the same as the Redbones, the mixed-bloods. I found
the answer to this question on this trip when I purchased
“Tennessee’s Indian Peoples, from White Contact to
Removal, 1540-1840” by Ronald N. Satz. He deals extensively
with the Redsticks The name was attached to a group of
Creek Indians who did not resign themselves to living alongside
the white men. They became the militant branch of the
Creeks that were led by Chief Tecumseh who were defeated in
the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. They became known as
“Redsticks” supposedly after Tecumseh gave their leaders
bundles of sticks painted red to count the days until the time of
their planned concerted uprising. Evelyn McKinley Orr,
8310 Emmet, Omaha, NE, 68134.
I wish to appeal to the Foundation members for assistance
in locating my biological Gowan family. I was an adoptee and
only recently learned that my natural father was Robert
Alexander Gowan, an American Indian born April 29, 1931 in
Dupuyer, Montana to William G. Gowan and Florence Salois
Gowan. He, a Korean War Air Force veteran, died in Great
Falls, Montana July 21, 1960 at age 29. His mother, a Cree
Indian, died four months later, November 24, 1960 and was
buried beside her son in Calvary Cemetery, Havre, Montana.
Siblings of Robert Alexander Gowan include: Walter,
William, Jim of Jasper, AL, Roy, Arnold, Ruby [Mrs. Brian
McBride of Chinook, MT], Eva [Mrs. Dale Tuttle, Havre,
MT], Betty and Joyce [Mrs. Frank Nordgulen, Havre, MT].
Anxiously awaiting any information any researcher can
provide about my family. Cherie Welling, 2005 Capitol
Ave, Sacramento, CA, 95814, 916/446-0200.
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 Internet:
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.