Sections in this issue:
1) William Preston Goins Trapped a Corn Thief;
2) Jessie Morgan Gowen Surprised By Unexpected Wedding Present;
3) Dear Cousins.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 4, No. 12 August 1993
1) William Preston Goins Trapped a Corn Thief
By Louise Goins Richardson
Foundation Editorial Boardmember
2207 East Lake Street, Paragould, Arkansas, 72450
Night after night, William Preston Goins noticed that corn was
missing from his bin. My grandpa, a patient and gentle man,
had concluded that this must stop. Since he had lots of experience
at trapping animals, he decided one night to set a trap for
the thief. So he set his biggest, and strongest steel trap just inside
Later that night he heard the trap spring, however he decided
to leave the “animal” in the trap until daylight. The next
morning, sure enough, he had caught the thief. The big steel
trap held him securely by the wrist. But instead of scolding or
prosecuting him, Grandpa had the fellow come in and have
breakfast with him.
You will never guess who the culprit was.
William Preston Goins, only child of Oscar Claiborne
“Roscoe” Goins and Nancy Florence Potter Goins, was born
May 11, 1853 in Hamilton County, Tennessee. He and his
mother lived with his Potter grandparents, Moses Potter and
Ellander Potter when his father went away to serve the
Confederacy. His grandfather, Moses Potter lived to be 104,
and Grandpa, receiving these longevity genes, made it to 97.
Just prior to the Battle of Chickamauga the Potters found
themselves situated in the path of the Union Army of the
Cumberland under the command of Gen. William S.
Rosencrans. Before engaging the Confederate army, Gen.
Rosencrans halted his army in the fertile valley near
Chattanooga and sent out foraging parties. They stripped the
surrounding farms of their cattle and hogs and plundered their
barns for provender.
The book, “Battle of Chickamauga” describes how the
Union soldiers covered the valleys like a swarm of locusts.
Gen. Rosencrans even held his troops there in the summer of
1863 until the corn crop ripened and then had his soldiers
harvest the entire crop for the use of his army. After the corn
was gathered, they turned their horses into the fields for any
remaining grain and fodder. After the men and animals were
well rested, they pushed forward to the next battle line,
carrying all of the plunder with them.
Grandpa said nearly all of their food was devoured, crops destroyed,
animals taken and their wells were pumped dry, leaving
them destitute. Grandpa’s Grandpa had him hide the pigs
in the woods so they would have something to eat after the
Union troops had gone. But the Yankees found the pigs and
butchered all of them except one poor old sow. Since there
was nothing to feed the sow, the family butchered her as soon
as the troops pulled out.
Since the Union soldiers took their salt supply, Grandpa and
his grandmother tore the floor out of the smokehouse and
shoveled up the dirt underneath. Some salt had collected there
from the curing process. They sifted out the salt content and
purified it by boiling the brine solution.
As a young boy, Grandpa had learned to play the fiddle and it
was one his most prized possessions. The night before the
Union troops pulled out, they asked him to play for them. He
obliged them, and at the end of the evening hung up his fiddle
and the bow.
The next morning when he got out of bed, he discovered that
not only were the Yankees gone, but his beloved fiddle as
Grandpa dashed after the troops, found the thief who took his
fiddle and demanded it back. The soldier refused to give up
his plunder, and Grandpa went to the company commander
who ordered the fiddle returned to the boy. The fiddle is still a
treasured possession in the family and is now owned by my
brother, David Goins of Paragould.
About 1870 he removed to Martinsville, Illinois in Clark
County. He was married there October 20, 1878 to Lydia
Elizabeth Lafferty, daughter of Parmenas Lafferty and Mary
Jane McClure Lafferty. She was born in Clark County August
Grandpa, by now, was a good fiddle player and was hired by
the Laffertys to play at Lydia’s party to announce her
engagement to another young man there. However, when
grandpa saw her, he fell in love with her and knew that he
couldn’t let her marry the other man who was financially well
off, and Grandpa was broke at the time. It was love at first
sight for both of them. He started making plans to marry her.
I recall how he used to say, “I wooed her, and I won her.”
In 1884 they removed to Beech Grove, Arkansas in Greene
County. They travelled in three covered wagons, taking three
weeks to make the trip. Upon arrival in Greene County, they
purchased 40 acres and started farming.
In 1897 Grandpa and Grandma homesteaded 160 acres on the
‘Cache Bottoms,’ swampy land that was not very desirable for
farming. They obtained this land under Arkansas’ Donation
Act; the land was free if they lived on the land, improved it
and paid taxes on it.
Grandpa set about to drain the water from the land by constructing
a series of ditches. He hired neighbors to bring their
teams and equipment to dig the laterals, and he contracted
with dredgeboat operators to open the main channels. In time
the work converted a swamp into valuable farmland. This
property remains in the Goins family today.
In addition to farming, our grandparents had a number of
occupations and endeavors. Grandpa made the best knives to
use in the kitchen and around the farm. He also made
Grandma’s crochet hooks with bones.
He owned a large sawmill where they cut and sold lumber and
timber. Neighbors frequently came to his woodworking shop
to request a casket be made for a funeral. Grandpa would heat
the wood so that it would bend to form the contour of the casket.
Grandma, with the help of Aunt Roxie Schamb, would
line the casket with satin for the adults and white flannelette
for children. Grandpa or Uncle Dee Morrow would build a
pine box for the casket.
Grandpa was an excellent woodcarver. Once he carved his
own portrait on a beech tree in the woods with the aid of a
mirror. My brother, David Goins was squirrel hunting about
35 years ago recently and came upon the portrait. Grandpa
had signed it when he finished–just like an artist. The tree
and the portrait are still there, in a secluded spot in the woods
and in good condition..
A number of men were always employed by Grandpa working
at the sawmill, on the farm or opening ditches. In 1912 he
purchased a threshers which he took all over the county
threshing wheat for the farmers. It took a big crew of men to
operate this business.
Additionally Grandpa had a blacksmith shop and was a good
farrier. He was a good metal worker and taught his sons
blacksmithing and horseshoeing. He built farm implements
and in 1892 received Patent No. 479,269 for corn-planting
attachment which he invented. In 1915 he invented a locking
device for a multiple mailbox system. His locking device
must have attracted lots of attention. In his correspondence
file we found offers on it from several firms, including: Scully
Pattern & Model Works of Kansas City, Missouri; American
Investment Company of Washington, D.C; New World
Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati, Ohio and Gerding
Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati.
He did carpentry work and also bought and sold cattle, horses
and mules. Once he bought an expensive Red Polled bull
from Kentucky. I still have the papers on this purchase.
Perhaps the most memorable enterprise that I remember
during my early years living on a farm adjoining them was the
large orchard which contained many kinds of fruit and pecan
trees, strawberries and Concord grape vines. The orchard was
also home to 150 honeybee stands. It was amazing to us how
Grandpa could work around the bees, extracting honey and
beeswax for sale in town, without getting stung by them.
In 1920, Grandpa and several neighbors bought carbide
lighting systems from a traveling salesman who came through
Greene County. There was a pipe to carry the carbide gas to
each room in the house with a valve in each room to control
the flame. Carbide was fairly inexpensive, and the neighbors
were envious of those who could afford to install the system.
After all the initial systems were installed, the supplier raised
the price of carbide so high that hardly anyone could afford it.
Rural telephones came about the same time. For as long as I
can remember, our family had a telephone. It ran off batteries,
and we had connections to my grandmother’s house and to
Aunt Pearl Morrow’s house.
When electricity came to the area, the carbide gas pipes were
removed and replaced with electrical wiring. I recall that our
home was one of the first in the area to receive electricity.
Gypsies came through our area and people were suspicious of
them. We kept an eye on our chickenhouses when they were
around. They always had a group of bad horses to trade to
people who did not know horseflesh. On trading day, they
would feed their poor horses lots of salt so they would drink a
lot of water and look fat and sleek. Grandpa knew all of the
tricks of the trade, however and he always looked at their teeth
to determine their condition. He could tell exactly how old a
horse was by checking his teeth.
My grandparents were baptized into the Church of Christ August
24, 1915 at Evening Shade, Arkansas. He was 62 at that
time. Their daughter, Pearl Goins had been baptized two days
earlier in the revival meeting. The family took a very active
part in the church.
Grandma’s diary recorded that on October 15, 1915, Grandpa
cut and hauled lumber to Commissary, Arkansas where he began
to build a new church building. He later served as the
church treasurer. They remained faithful members of the
church until their deaths, setting a good example for their
Following a stroke, my grandparents moved in with their
daughter Mary Goins who was a registered nurse at Dixon
Memorial Hospital in Paragould. Grandma died there April
10, 1947 and was buried in the Morrow Cemetery which was
located on a hill overlooking the farm where she and Grandpa
had spent so many happy years.
After Grandma died, Grandpa wanted to return to live on the
farm, and his children acceded to his wishes. In his older
years, it was difficult for him to get around over the farm, but
my father, John Leon Goins would take him in the car anytime
he wanted to go for a ride. His favorite Saturday afternoon
pastime was to sit in the car parked on the Paragould square
where he could visit with his friends as they walked by.
On a cold, icy day, December 7, 1950 Grandpa died at the age
of 97 years and six months. He was buried beside Grandma in
the Morrow Cemetery.
Mrs. Elizabeth Thorpe Rockefeller was my Grandma Goins’
grandmother. While my grandparents were visiting in Minnesota,
some of the Rockefeller family came to Uncle Ross’
home to gather information for the family record. “The
Transactions of the Rockefeller Family Association for
1915-1925″ was published in 1926. My grandparents met
with the Rockefellers and gave them our family information
which was published in their book. Grandmother and her two
sisters Ginny Lafferty Knopp and Molly Lafferty Potter were
invited many times to the Rockefeller family reunions. We
still have some of the invitations to the Rockefeller reunions
today. After John D. Rockefeller died, these annual reunions
Oh, the man in the trap? Nobody knows.
This story was told many times by members of our family, but
nobody ever knew who the thief was. Neither Grandpa or
Grandma would ever reveal his identity.
Eleven children were born to William Preston Goins and
Lydia Elizabeth Lafferty Goins:
Ross Coe Goins born in 1879
Albert Goins born in 1881
Lewis Earsalee Goins born in 1883
Mary Irene Goins born in 1886
Jimmie Goins born in 1889
Edna Alice Goins born in 1890
George Chester Goins born in 1891
Jessie Attee Goins born in 1894
Alma Pearl Goins born in 1898
William Joe Goins born in 1900
John Leon Goins born in 1902
2) Jessie Morgan Gowen Surprised
By Unexpected Wedding Present
When her wedding day finally arrived, Jessie Morgan was
about as excited as any bride could be. Since the day she was
born, December 10, 1894, in Van Zandt County, Texas, she
knew it was her destiny to fall in love, get married and raise
Although her intended, John Lemuel Gowen, was 14 years
older than she, he owned a home and his own business in
Dallas, and looked like a fine catch for any 18-year-old girl.
John Lemuel Gowen, son of Thomas Jefferson Gowen and
Lucinda Margaret Floyd Gowen, was born February 3, 1880 in
Summersville, Kentucky. She knew that he had been married
before, but she had “run away with a drummer,” and that made
John L. an eligible bachelor.
And it was all right with Jessie that they couldn’t take a
honeymoon trip. John L. had explained that he had
responsiblities that he could not leave. So, there she stood, on
her wedding night, in the kitchen preparing supper. Her
husband opened the kitchen door and instructed her to “set the
table for six.” That’s when she learned that she had suddenly
become the mother of four!
3) Dear Cousins
Jessica Goings, my great-grandmother was married to
William Purvine [Purviance?] c1796 near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
They must have lived there for some years because
my great-grandfather, Charles Purvine, was born near
Chattanooga in 1815. Later they removed to Morgan County,
Illinois where they farmed, died and were buried, William in
1832 and Jessica in 1836. Charles Purvine then relocated, first
to Iowa and thence to California in 1849.
I would appreciate hearing from any Foundation member
who could help me learn more about Jessica and her family. I
will be happy to pay appropriate research and reproduction
fees. Bradley B. Garretson, 105 Danza Court, Orinda, CA,
Foundation members should be advised that Fred G.
Gowen, Director, Box 5000, Bath, OH, 44210 who is offering
for sale “World Book of Gowens” in a direct mail
solicitation is not associated with Gowen Research
Foundation. Arlee Gowen, editor.
I am researching the Corbett family of Davidson County,
Tennessee, and am seeking information on Dr. James J.
Gowen and Martha T. Moore Gowen of Nashville. My greatgrand-
aunt was Jessie Lee Corbett [1869-1907] who was
adopted by the Gowens. Jessie Lee was listed in the 1880 census
of Davidson County as their adopted daughter. Were the
Gowens related to the Corbetts, and how did Jessie Lee come
to be adopted by them?
Jessie Lee was born in Nashville to John Ford Corbett and
Frances Mary “Fannie” Revel Corbett. Fannie died in 1875
and John in 1877. John and Fannie had three other children,
Cora Lee, Lydia H, and William Stephen Corbett, my greatgrandfather.
Cora lived in a home for orphaned girls operated
by Martha Simons and may have been adopted. Lydia was
adopted by a West family in Nashville. Will was adopted by
John Franklin Robertson and Alice Lou Hamlett Robertson of
Crockett Mills, Tennessee.
Jessie Lee was married to William Perkins Freeman who
was once her father’s drugstore partner. Her marriage license
listed her name as “Jessie L. Gowan.” Any information about
any of the above would be most welcome. Jeff Reece, 1550
N. Parkway, #610, Memphis, TN, 38112.
I am enclosing for the Foundation Library a copy of “The
Goyen Family Scrapbook” edited and published by Robert,
Lois and Brian Goyen. The narrative begins with John
Gawen, our earliest known ancestor who was christened January
8, 1556 in Cornwall and progresses to the present time.
The various parish clerks spelled the surname in confusing
ways–just like the clerks do today.
Four generations from John Gawen, his great-grandson,
himself a parish clerk, spelled his name “Gowen.” A century
later the name became Gowyn. In the 18th century the name
generally became “Goyne.” By the middle of the 19th century
when the wave of Cornish emigration began, “Goyen” was the
Cornishmen had little choice of occupations at that time.
They could risk their lives in the tin mines, face the perils at
sea as fishermen or resign themselves to poverty as
sheepherders. They saw opportunity elsewhere–in Australia,
in New Zealand, in Tasmania, in Canada, in the United States,
and they left in droves. The book is concerned with these emigrating
families and their descendants–their successes and
their failures. The 220-page book is $60 Australian, including
Now that the work of getting this book printed is out of the
way, I intend to concentrate on pursuing our country of origin.
In my earlier research, the name “Goyne” seems to have originated
in Spain. I intend to have as good a look at Spain as the
records available will let me. Robert J. Goyen, 523 Sutton
St, Sebastopol, 3356, Victoria, Australia.
I do not know how extensively your Foundation
Newsletter is used elsewhere, but we have a definite need for
your publication in our library. I have review each issue as it
arrives and photocopy various articles for interested
researchers. One has requested everything you publish on the
Our society hard binds every worthwhile journal we
receive in library-quality covers, and our members make good
use of them. Just to use your Electronic Library is
justification for every researcher to learn how to use a
computer. I feel that it justifies our society obtaining a
computer for the genealogy room. Although I have no Gowen
ancestors, I find your articles about various Gowens well
written and interesting. I am enclosing an article on the CSA
Pension Applications of James Munro Goins written by our
vice-president Vicki Rumble, Rt. 13, Box 179, Florence, AL,
35630. Darrell A. Russel, Natchez Trace Genealogical
Society, Box 420, Florence, AL, 35631.
I am stuck at my g-g-g-fg Benjamin Franklin Gowen. He
is recorded as being 88 years, 7 months old at the time of his
death September 18, 1865 in Worcester, MA. Place of birth
was listed as Franklin, MA. He was buried in Hope Cemetery,
Worcester. A daughter, Harriett Gowen Mayers who died in
1902 also lived there.
Benjamin Gowen was enumerated in the 1850 census of
Old Town, ME. “M. Gowen, female, also lived in his household
and is regarded as his wife. Her maiden name is suggested
as Mary Tiff. Children born to them include: Julia
Ann, bc1806; Erastus, b1808; Augustus, b1811; Harriett,
b1813; Luther, b1816; Albert Nelson, b1822; Mary Jane,
b1825 and Alvina [Alvira], b1827.
Albert Nelson Gowen of Minneapolis was my gggf. He
had three sons, one of whom [Harry Nelson] died in infancy.
Descendants of his son, Frank Leslie Gowen, b1859 remained
in that area, but my ggf Fred Herbert Gowen, b1857 married
and removed to Little Falls, NY.
I would be thrilled to receive any information about the ancestors
of Benjamin Franklin Gowen. “Desperately
Seeking” Susan B. Liedell, 1366 Rowe Rd, Schenectady,
I found the Foundation Newsletter in Penrose Library in
Colorado Springs. You are doing one terrific job! Please enter
a membership for me and one for my cousin Sandra Olsson
of San Antonio.
We are looking for additional information on our ggm Ann
Gowen who was born in 1844 in Maine. She is the daughter
of Isaac Gowen and Emily Gray Gowen and the gd of James
Gowen. Marilyn Kirkman, 2433 Virgo Drive, Colorado
Springs, CO, 80906.
Thanks very much for the print-out of the Foundation
manuscript on the Washington County, Virginia Goin family.
On page 7531 I found my William Goin as the son of Isham
Goin and the grandson of Daniel Goin. This puts two more
generations on my chart! This break-through eliminated a
dead end for me, and now I am off and running again.
Maxine Stufflebeam, 7916 Lazy Lane, Ft. Worth, TX,
I learned about the Foundation on Prodigy Bulletin Board,
and I am interested in the Goins [all spellings] family. My
great-grandfather was John Woodson Goins who was born in
Grayson County, KY May 15, 1847 [or 1852]. He was married
first to Caroline Harrison and second to Selia Maples, my
g-gm who was born January 4, 1868.
Children born to them include: Henry Harrison Goins,
Prisilia Allifore Goins, Cora Lee Goins, Jehn Ell Goins, Beulah
Beatrice Angeline Goins, Willie Leroy Goins and my gm
Bertha Augusia “Gussie” Goins.
I am looking for the family–parents–siblings of John
Woodson Goins and will share information. Will reimburse
for copying/mailing costs. Irene Mendes, 11265 Evergreen
Lane, Hanford CA, 93230.
Gowen Research Foundation Newsletter
Arlee Gowen, Editor
Linda McNiel, Circulation
Gowen Research Foundation Phone: 806/795-8758 or
5708 Gary Avenue E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.