Sections in this issue:
1) John Peter Goins Attracted To “Waving Sea of Grass”;
2) William Gowen, Scout, at Age 17, Fought the French and Indians;
3) Dr. N. Brent Kennedy to Lecture On Melungeon Film at Houston;
4) Nathan Going Slain by Hoe In the Hands of Robert Hall;
5) Dear Cousins.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 5, No. 9 May 1994
1) John Peter Goins Attracted
To “Waving Sea of Grass”
Teenage Johnny Goins listened spellbound to the pitchman describing
the “waving sea of grass, stirrup-high and 300 miles
wide” on the High Plains of West Texas to neighbor J. C. Ausmus
on a September day in 1908.
Land agent B. W. Ellison, while extolling the fertility of the virgin
land, unfolded a map of 90,000 acres of land owned by the
C-B Livestock Company “as flat as a pool table, on top of a
sawed-off mountain.” Located in newly-organized Crosby
County, Texas, it could be bought at the give-away price of $3
When Ellison declared, “You’d have to ride a mile to find a rock
as big as your fist,” both Ausmus and Johnny Goins were convinced.
Both families had struggled with the rocky, mountainside
land in Campbell County, Tennessee, trying to scratch a
living out of the hard-scrabble.
Johnny Goins raced home to tell his parents about his decision
to head west. John Peter Goins had been born there March 21,
1889 to Preston Goins and Annie Smith Goins. His father was
less than enthusiastic. “I don’t guess you will,” he firmly told
his son. But the determined Johnny Goins won out. He left his
parents’ home on November 4, 1908, “the day William Howard
Taft was elected president of the United States.”
Although he failed to realize fully the impact this decision
would have on the remainder of his life, John Peter Goins became
a pioneer in a developing country. His life was changed
forever, according to an article in the March 12, 1961 edition of
“The Crosbyton Review” of Crosbyton, Texas.
The Tennessee farm boy informed his parents, “I’ll return home
in one year.” He didn’t! In fact, it was 16 years before he returned
to Tennessee for a visit.
Goins and the Ausmuses bought railroad tickets to Texas. They
changed cars in Kentucky and stayed overnight in Kansas City
where they turned south. The group “landed in Seymour, Texas
on November 4” and stayed at the B. W. Ellison place three
days. On the 11th, they hired John Bradford to move them to
Crosbyton with his wagon and team. Ausmus paid Bradford
$25 to deliver his family and possessions, and Goins paid $10.
Leaving Seymour, they “didn’t see one soul until we got to Benjamin.”
They asked Bradford, “How could all these counties get
organized when nobody lived there?” Bradford explained that
all they had to do was to “throw a dance,” and cowboys would
ride ‘clear across three counties” to get there. Texas law
required 75 residents to organize a county, and the dance would
continue until they had 75 signatures on the petition.
“Occasionally a cowboy signed for his horse, as well.”
Camping overnight at Benjamin, Texas, the Tennesseeans met
east-bound Henry Leatherwood. “Mr. Leatherwood was the
first Crosby County man I met” the slightly-built Goins
remembers. He also got acquainted rapidly with the rawness of
West Texas, observing Leatherwood handling wild mules.
Stock back home in Tennessee was “raised right in the pen and
was always tame.”
Isolation and primitiveness were all around. Goins recalled that
Mrs. Ausmus cried all night long when they were camped at
Benjamin, expressing a desire to “go back home to Tennessee.”
The Ausmus family “didn’t stay long; they compromised and
went to Illinois.”
Despite the adversities of this austere, pioneer land, Johnny.
Goins stayed! The 19-year-old lad had “$15 in cash when I got
to Crosbyton. I bought a little food, and we stayed that night in
a half dugout on B. W. Ellison’s place west of town. Along
about midnight, Harley Coffey, Ewing Lawson and Luther
Collier reached the dugout to overnight.”
Early the next morning, “Harley Coffey made breakfast. He
cooked the first biscuits I ate in Crosby County. Ausmus killed
an antelope, and we had fresh meat.”
Goins met ranch foreman Jay Walling, “one of the finest men I
ever knew” and became a cowboy. “When Mr. Walling hired
me, he sent me to Crawfish Ranch to feed cattle. That ranch
was in Fairview Community where Goins six years later
purchased land, which became his home for the next 63 years.
While working for Walling on the ranch Goins helped “lay off
the route from Crosbyton to Petersburg.” A sled pulled by four
mules was utilized to blaze a trail and to outline the road. “We
went across many farms; most land owners were agreeable.
There was a lot of give-and-take in opening up a new land. It
was hard, but there were also some fond memories.”
Johnny Goins remembers driving a chuck wagon with the crew
which was building the road. Goins jumped from the chuck
wagon to open a gate. He was unprepared to see the half-broke
horses running off with the chuck wagon. The mounted cowboys
soon had the runaway team under control.
Goins became friends with Frank White, newspaper editor and
helped him distribute the first issue of the “Crosbyton Review”
in January 1909. In fact, he had spent part of Christmas Day in
White’s office watching him handset type for that initial publication.
A copy of the first issue of the paper was sent “to my
father in Tennessee.” Six decades later, Johnny Goins owned
the longest-running subscription the newspaper ever had.
The former Tennessee farmboy worked as a freighter in 1909.
He hauled freight on a wagon, going to Plainview on a route.
The job had its good points. “You could get good meals for 25
cents at a boarding house in Plainview. It also had its bad features.
“I had a full load of Irish potatoes when it came up a
freeze, and they all spoiled. I burned out on that job because of
the weather. One night, me and my team nearly froze. We had
some hard winters. I took 90 hides to Plainview one time, hides
of cattle which had froze or starved.”
With the arrival of barbed wire, Crosby County began to change
from ranchland to farmland. By 1910, it was evident that the
fertile land was ideal for rowcrop production.
John Peter Goins was married about 1910, wife’s name, Nora L.
“John Goen” was the father of an infant born in Crosby County
November 30, 1911, according to BVS File 19418. A son was
born to them in 1915.
After seven years in Crosby County, Goins, now a full-fledged
Texan, became a landowner. He made a deal with the C-B
Livestock Company for 160 acres of land in the Fairview community.
Actually it was an agriculture lease for five years. The
agreement called for $1 per acre lease the first year, $1.25 the
second year, $1.50 the third year, $1.75 the fourth year, and
$2.00 the fifth and final year.
At the end of the lease, the land contract was marked, “Paid in
Full.” Goins moved to Fairview community in 1912 and “broke
out the sod with a walking plow.” He farmed there until 1959.
“Exceptionally dry years” prevailed across West Texas in 1917
and 1918. And World War I was declared in 1917. These were
troubled years. The war ended November 11, 1918. The situation
was improving. “The drought broke, and we had a good
crop in 1919.” He planted and harvested “wheat, oats, and highgear”
[heigera, a form of maize].
Goins “bought my first car” October 11, 1921. He retained his
original registration papers issued by the late B. W. Mitchell,
then sheriff and tax collector, 40 years later. He has “my first
poll tax receipt from 1910.” He also kept his first auto license
plates and his registration cards from two World Wars.
The spry pioneer points out that he vividly recalls events from
his childhood in Tennessee — recalling the Bible verse from his
final Sunday school lesson there– and “things when I first came
out here are fresh in my mind, but I don’t remember other
things” more recent.
Addressing the changing times, Goins says “people started gathering
at Fairview before sundown to get a seat for plays” presented
at school. Community life was strong in those days. He
served 12 years on the Fairview school board “before it was
consolidated with Ralls in 1948.” Admitting that he “strongly
opposed” the consolidation move, Goins is emphatic that “when
we lost our school, we lost our community life.”
Goins comes down hard on “farmers who talk about hard times.
Lord o’ mercy, in the early days, many people lost their land and
did well to just live. We didn’t have disaster payments, or
Social Security or anything.” Continuing on the changing times,
Goins remembers “I helped break out lots of sod land. I had
three horses to a plow and walked behind. “The first cotton I
raised, I hauled to Floydada in 1921 and sold for six cents a
John Peter Goins was remarried to Miss Ruth Pratt February 15,
1942, according to Crosby County Marriage Book 3, page 451.
This pioneer man who will celebrate his 92nd birthday on
March 21 “if the Lord let’s me live,” says. “when farmers lived
on a quarter or a half section, they had milk cows, chickens, and
meat hogs. They had their living at home. They took milk and
eggs to town on Saturday and sold them. This kept the little
man on the farm.”
Goins and his third wife, the former Alice Holmes “who I met
by accident November 14, 1964 and married June 18, 1966” will
be allowed to maintain their residence on the Fairview farm for
the remainder of their lives. “I hated to sell the land after living
here 73 years because I knew we’d never own another home,”
the pioneer admits.
Children born to John Peter Goins and Nora L. Goins include:
Samuel Preston Goins born in 1915
2) William Gowen, Scout, at Age 17,
Fought the French and Indians
William Gowen, son of Nicholas Gowen and Abigail Hodsdon
Gowen, was born April 4, 1705 at Kittery, Maine. As a 17-
year-old, he served as a scout in Capt. John Wheelwright’s
militia company in 1722. The French claimed all of Maine
which lay east of the Penobscot River and supported the
Iroquois Indians in their harrassment of the British colony. The
Tuscarora tribe of North Carolina joined the Iroquois Nat ion in
1715 and moved to New England to take part in the fighting,
Things looked bleak on the frontier in Maine which was then
exposed to more fighting than any other American colony.
They were surrounded by hostility on three sides.
The militia of Maine was in continual military campaigns
against the French and the Indians from 1690 when Sir William
Phipps led them to capture Port Royal. Sir William Pepperell
led the Maine militia in 1745 to capture Louisburg, and the
French and Indian conflict moved primarily to the west, giving
the Maine colonists some respite.
On June 26, 1723, at age 19, he was married to his cousin, Jane
Gowen, born May 13, 1708, the daughter of John Gowen and
Mercy Hammond Gowen. They were married by their cousin,
Charles Frost who was a justice of the peace. In 1733 he
administered the estate of his uncle John Gowen.
In 1738 his father gave him 22.5 acres in Kittery. He added
considerable other property to his holdings. William Gowen
received, under the terms of his father’s will, “all my lands in
Kittery lying on the east side of Stony Brook.” In 1742 he
bought land in Kittery from his mother. He bought two pieces
of property in Berwick in 1742 and more at Kittery in 1743.
“William Gowen of Kittery” was named by the court January 1,
1747 to help evaluate the estate of Daniel Thurston. The appraisers
declared that the widow, Mary Thurston, was to receive
an estate of 102 pounds. Jane Gowen Gowen died September
20, 1750 at age 44 in Boston.
William Gowen and Jane Gowen Gowen were mentioned in
“American Ancestry” by Munsell , a volume about
Americans whose ancestors settled in the colonies prior to the
Declaration of Independence in 1776. In this volume William
Gowen was erroneously identified as the son of William
Gowen, younger brother of Nicholas Gowen.
William Gowen was remarried in June 1752 to Mrs. Mary Davis
Chick. No children were born to them.
Children born William Gowen and Jane Gowen Gowen include:
William Gowen, Jr. born March 3, 1727
Nicholas Gowen born May 4, 1729
George Gowen born May 15, 1733
Mary Gowen born August 1, 1736
Jane Gowen born March 20, 1742
John Gowen born May 18, 1740
Sarah Gowen born about 1753
James Gowen born about 1756
Elizabeth Gowen born about 1759
3) Dr. N. Brent Kennedy to Lecture
On Melungeon Film at Houston
N. Brent Kennedy, Ph.D, author of “The Melungeons: The
Resurrection of a Proud People,” will address the National
Genealogical Society conference at Houston in the Brown Convention
Center, June 2 at 4:00 p.m. Dr. Kennedy, a Melungeon
himself, is founder of the Melungeon Research Project, co-sponsored
by the University of Tennessee and Van Der Kloot Film &
Television of Atlanta. He is a native of Wise County, Virginia,
in the heart of Melungia.
Dr. Kennedy will discuss the hidden Melungeon heritage of
hundreds of thousands of Americans as well as evidence relating
to the most likely ethnic heritage of these mysterious people.
He will also give an update on the status of a documentary film
on the Melungeons currently in production. Additionally he
will show four recent television programs outlining the progress
of the research committee’s work.
Members of the research committee include: Michael Abram,
M.D, Cherokee, NC, Susan Abram, B.A, Cherokee Heritage
Museum, Cherokee, NC; Tomas Atencio, Ph.D, University of
New Mexico; Khalid Awan, M.D, University of Virginia; Scott
Collins, Ed.S, Sneedville, TN; Tom Costa, Ph.D, University of
Virginia; Chester DePratter, Ph.D, South Carolina Institute for
Archaeology and Anthropology, Columbia, SC;, Robert Elston,
Ph.D, Louisiana State University Medical Center; Charles
Faulkner, Ph.D, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; G. F.
“Nick” Fielder, Ph.D, Tennessee State Archaeologist, Nashville,
TN; Eloy Gallegos, M.A, Knoxville; Robert Gilmer, M. D,
Abingdon, VA; Jack H. Goins, Rogersville, TN; Amy Hahn,
Ph.D, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC;
Ahmad Y. El-Hassan, Ph.D, University of Ontario; Benita
Howell, Ph.D, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Richard
Jantz, Ph.D, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; N. Brent
Kennedy, Ph.D, Atlanta, GA; Anouar Majid, Ph.D, University
of New England; Ralph Miner, Jonesville, VA; Joan Kirchman
Mitchell, Ph.D, University of Albama; Evelyn McKinley Orr,
Chairman, Melungeon Research Team, Omaha, NE; Horace
Rice, Ed.D, Madison Hts, VA; Fernanda Rodrigues, Ph.D,
Boston University; Robert Seay, Newport, TN: Sayyid
Muhammad Sayyid, Ph.D, Washington, DC; Frederick Taylor,
Ph.D, Georgia State University; Nelson Vieira, Ph.D, Brown
University; George Waters, M.D, Indianapolis, IN; Jack
Williams, B.A, vice-chancellor, University of Tennessee,
Knoxville; and Arlee Gowen, B.A, Foundation president.
Dr. Kennedy’s book will be published in late May by Mercer
University Press, 1400 Coleman Avenue, Macon, Georgia,
31207, 800/637-2378. The volume, ISBN 0-86554-445-X, will
list for $15 and should be available through bookstores across
4) Nathan Going Slain by Hoe
In the Hands of Robert Hall
The plantation of Shadrack Going was the scene of a jury inquest
held to determine the cause of death of Nathan Going,
regarded as his son, according to Patrick County Will Book 1,
page 53. The inquest was dated November 9, 1793, according
to Lela C. Adams in “Abstracts of Wills, Inventories and
Accounts, Patrick County, Virginia:”
“Inquisition taken at the plantation of Shadrack Going
before Edward Tatum, a commissioner. The body of
Nathan Going then and there lying dead. One Robert
Hall on Saturday, 21 September last, on the plantation of
Jacob Lawson mortally wounded the said Going on the
head with a weeding hoe and broke the skull of Going
through the rage and passion of Robert Hall.
Jurors: Jonathan Hanby, foreman, Obadiah Hudson,
Isaac Pennington, Aaron Rea, Harberd Smith, Warham
Easley, William Easley, Thomas Collings, William
Collings, Anthony Collings, John Wilson and Richard
Shadrack Going posted bond and was appointed administrator
of the estate of Nathan Going December 10, 1793, according to
Will Book 1, page 6. The estate of “Nathan Goings” was
appraised at 25 pounds, 8 shillings and 10 pense” by Obadiah
Hudson, John Rea and James Taylor and returned to the court
May 23, 1794, according to Will Book 1, page 22. The estate
consisted of “4 notes amounting to 24.2.3, hammer, gun and
rasp, Total: 25.8.10.”
5) Dear Cousins
Dear Friends of Choctaw Blood: My wife is a descendant of
Noahtimah, a Choctaw Indian woman. Her daughter Mary
Josey Moran Ladnier lived in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area.
They were of the Natchez branch of the Choctaw tribe.
Noatimah died at Biloxi and was buried in the Old Moran
Burying Grounds on the Back Bay of Biloxi. Any suggestions
or assistance you can give would be deeply apreciated. Jim
Harper, 501 S. Greenville Ave, Suite 214, Allen, TX, 75002,
Our family is descended from Thomas/Levi/Pleasant Goin
from Claiborne County, Tennessee. We only discovered the
Gowen Research Foundation about a year ago. We have joined
and will be attending the Reunion-Conference in Houston.
We designed a T-shirt for ourselves for the Conference and
thought others might enjoy having one too. We have enclosed
one for each of you as a gift. We herewith gift the shirt design
to the Foundation for whatever future use you would like to
make of it.
Madison Top Company in Madison, WI printed them for us.
They charged $7.40 [tax included] for each shirt in Small,
Medium, Large or Extra Large. XXL costs $9.55.
You will note on the back the 27 [at least] different ways to
spell our surname. Wilma & Syl Johnson, Charlotte & Elmer
Green and Lois Sergeant, 7891 Riverside Road, Verona, WI,
53593, 608/845-7825. The shirts are elegant, and we shall
wear them with pride in Houston. Thanks so much for the gift of
Thanks very much for the copy of the update on Section 134
of the Foundation Manuscript dealing with the history of my
family starting in Bedford County, Virginia. In appreciation for
this print-out and to help defray the expense of postage and
preparing it, I am enclosing a check to say “thank you.”
I have finally finished my Melungeon manuscript. It is now
being proofread. My story is about life on the mountain, and it
includes the Melungeons that I have known through the years. I
will send you a copy for the Foundation Library as soon they get
back from the printer.
I have had some physical problems lately and have some
difficulty walking. This has made it harder for me to take care
of my home, the office and my writing. Now that the
manuscript is finished, I hope to have more time to devote to the
Foundation and to the family history research. Ruth Johnson,
3705 Bloomingdale Rd, Kingsport, TN, 37660.
I have received a great deal of research help from some of
the Foundation members–particularly Louise Goins Richardson
of Paragould, AR. She had led me to the family of Shadrack
Gowin/Going of Patrick County, Virginia, his three wifes and
their 21 children. It is possible that my Jessica Goings was one
of his older children.
Recently Louise sent me copies of three Newsletters
containing articles on Shadrack Gowin written by Donna Gowin
Johnston. Is there more material available on him and his
descendants? Bradley B. Garretson, 105 Danza Court,
Orinda, CA, 94563.
I have writing in the hope that one of your researchers might
have some information on our branch of the family. We are
descended from William Henry Gowens and wife Annie Sprig
Gowens from the Carolinas.
My father is Elmer Happy Gowens, and he will be 78 July
21. He has a long-lost sister by the name of Alma Gowens
Henderson. She would be in her 80s, if still living. She had a
daughter whose nickname was “Giddy Mae.” I would
appreciate any help. Sharon Gowens Gabel, 7304 Bayswater
Road, Amarillo, TX, 79109
The GRF Newsletter is enjoyed, apprciated and most exciting.
Thank you for your valuable work for all of us. Elizabeth H.
Morfitt, 353 Westmoreland, Idaho Falls, ID, 88402
The New Hampshire Gowens invite Gowens everywhere to
our Annual Gowen family reunion July 9 at Stratham Hill Park
Dairy Barn, Stratham, NH, 11: a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please bring
picnic provisions and lawn chairs. For Additional details,
contact: Margaret Tate, 603/772-3278 or Barbara Clements, 38
Pine Road, North Hampton, NH, 03862, 604/964-8892.
I am enclosing my lineage chart for the Foundation Library
showing descent from Samuel Goings, b1780-dp1860 Nelson
Co, VA and Paulus R. Goings, b1830, mc1861 Lucy Patterson
b1832. I would like to correspond with anyone researching this
line. Cubert T. Wood, 1410 Towson Drive, Columbia, TN,
Gowen Research Foundation 806/795-8758 or
5708 Gary Avenue E-mail: email@example.com
Lubbock, Texas, 79413
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.