Sections in this issue:
1) Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen, Train Robber;
2) First GRF Conference Draws 70 In Houston Research Meeting;
3) Members Offered Participation In mtDNA Matrilineal Research;
4) DEAR COUSINS.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 5, No. 10 June 1994
1) Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen, Train Robber
Train Robber [for a while there] Captured Jeremiah Benjamin
Nunley Gowen, son of William Benjamin Gowen and Mary A.
Nunley Gowen, was born May 30, 1847.
No one in his family would have ever guessed that he was destined
to become a train robber and to highjack more trains than
Jesse James ever did.
He appeared in his father’s household in Davidson County,
Tennessee September 9, 1850 as three-year-old “Jerry B.
Gowin.” Six days earlier he was also enumerated in the
household of Jeremiah Nunley, his maternal grandfather.
Here in Grundy County, Tennessee he was recorded as
“Jeremiah Gowen,” a three-year-old.
He reappeared in the 1860 census of Grundy County in his father’s
household as “Jeremiah N. Gowins,” a 13-year-old.
Like most children however, he did not like the name his
mother picked for him. Throughout his life he said his name
was “Jerry Meyer Gowen” and invariably signed his name as
“J. M. Gowen.”
He left home when he was 15 to join the Confederate army.
Descendants relate that he left riding a mule that belonged to
the family. He had headed west to find the army, but the army
found him first. He rode straight into the camp of a band of
They were remnants of the Forty-second Tennessee Infantry
Regiment which had been surrendered in the fall of Ft.
Donelson in February 1862. Although their regiment had
been handed over to the Federals by their officers, the
guerillas simply walked out of Ft. Donelson at night in a
blinding blizzard, following Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest who
extricated his cavalry regiments from the debacle also.
They made camp along the Memphis & Charleston Railroad
tracks southeast of Memphis which had also fallen to the
Federals. The guerillas made a good living there for a while.
They learned how to make barricades and were successful in
stopping the Yankee supply trains. Without officers, they
became efficient and effective in disrupting the Federal
Instead of tearing up the tracks and making “Sherman
neckties” out of the rails as the Yankees did, they did
everything they could to keep the trains running. When the
trains ran, they plundered provisions, supplies and
ammunition, and lived well.
For some 14 months after the fall of Ft. Donelson, the
Confederates had unrestricted movement around western
Tennessee as long as they stayed away from the Federallycontrolled
Mississippi River. When the Yankees began to
penetrate inland along the military roads and railroads, guerilla
bands harassed them night and day.
After many Confederate hold-ups, the Federals finally sent out
a troop train disguised as a supply train on the M&C, and the
guerillas fell into the trap. “Jeremiah Gowan,” along with
most of the guerillas, was captured April 18, 1863 near
Morning Sun, Tennessee, identified as a railroad switch near
A check of Confederate military reports revealed no place
identified as Morning Sun. However the 1873 edition of “The
Tennessee Gazetteer” locates the long-extinct hamlet in the
extreme southwestern portion of Shelby County.
Thus shortly before his sixteenth birthday, the military career
and the train-robbing lark of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley
Gowen ended abruptly. Although the Civil War is usually
regarded as a conflict between the North and the South, among
the Gowens in Tennessee it was a battle between East and
West. Thirteen Gowens from Middle and Western Tennessee,
fighting for the “Stars and Bars,” lined up against nine Eastern
Tennessee Gowen cousins seeking to preserve the Union.
In reply to a request to the National Archives for the military
records of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen, a Federal file
was received. The file revealed that “J. M. Gowan, a private
in Company E, 42nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment, appears on
a register of Prisoners of War belonging to the Rebel Army, in
custody of U. S. Provost Marshall, Memphis, Tennessee.” He
was identified as a “guerilla” and released April 23, 1863 upon
taking the oath of allegiance and giving $2,000 bond, according
to Memphis, Tennessee Register No. 1.
Privates in the Civil War, both Confederate and Union, were
paid $11 per month, but it doubtful that Jerry Gowen ever
drew Confederate pay. Apparently after his release from
prisoner status, he was retained for three months as a laborer
for the Union Army and paid as a private.
It is speculated that when he was offered release from prison
by swearing allegiance to the North, young Jerry Gowen
readily accepted, since he was imprisoned for only five days.
The oath required each one who took it to become a good
Union citizen. As security for the faithful observance of the
oath and parole, each prisoner was required to post bond,
usually in the amount of $1,000. The fact that the teen-ager
was a guerilla might explain his being required to post $2,000
bond, twice the amount ordinarily required.
Col. J. C. Kelton, U.S.A, on one such military board reported:
“The prisoners of war from Tennessee appear to be true and
earnest in their desire to become loyal citizens and the board
does not hesitate to recommend that all whose homes are
within our lines should be allowed to take the oath of
allegiance and return to their families. I similarly regard the
Kentuckians, but have grave doubts about those of Arkansas.”
It was explained to the prisoners when they were released that
they would be permitted to return to their homes only if the
homes were inside Federal lines. Since the home of Jeremiah
Benjamin Nunley Gowen was still in Confederate hands, he
chose the only route open to him and went west across the
Mississippi into Arkansas, carefully preserving his parole for
presentation any time he was challenged by Union troops.
On July 21, 1870, “Jeremire Gowen, age 24,” appeared at the
Independence County courthouse in Batesville, Arkansas for a
marriage license to wed “Mrs. Helen Roberts, age 20.” The
wedding was performed by William H. Rose, J.P.
Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen continued for about three
years in Arkansas His first child was born there in 1872 followed
by a son born in Texas in 1873. In 1875 he was living
in Lamar County, Texas.
About 1880, he removed to southern Kansas. On June 9, 1880
he was enumerated in the census of Cowley County, Kansas.
His children recalled being caught in a cyclone in Kansas
which “blew away the only feather bed the Gowens owned”
during their residence there.
Following the death of Martha Hellen Roberts Gowen,
Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen made a move back to
Texas as a widower, locating in Red River County. Soon after
his arrival, probably in early 1881, he was married to Mrs.
Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins, another widow, born in
He continued farming in Red River County until 1889 when
they moved to Farmersville, Texas in Collin County. In the
move he transported his implements and household effects by
wagon, and his family rode the train. In the fall of 1889 the
family removed to Hillsboro, Texas.
In December 1894 the family of Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley
Gowen loaded their possessions on wagons and joined several
others to form a wagontrain of 13 wagons and headed south.
After several cold and difficult days on the road, beset with
hardships and accidents, the family left the wagontrain near
Gatesville, Texas. Later he worked as a tenant farmer on the
Pancake Ranch in the Pancake community in Coryell County.
“I remember the day Uncle Jerry Gowen drove up and asked
for a job,” related Joseph Russell “Dutch” Pancake in 1959.
At the time “Dutch” was an active 84-year-old, mind and
John Russell Pancake, founder of Pancake Ranch and father of
Joseph Russell “Dutch” Pancake, was a colorful rancher in the
pioneer days of Coryell County. His photograph and
biography were published in “Biographical History of Coryell
County” in 1893. He emigrated to Texas in 1858 and established
his ranch on a 1,476-acre site on the Coryell-Hamilton
His ranch included the site of the legendary “lost Spanish
silver mine,” and he and his descendants searched for the
treasure for over a century, finding just enough evidence of the
ancient mining operation to keep the search going.
Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen to supplement his income
was a mail carrier on a 17-mile route from Pancake, Texas to
the Ames community from 1900 to 1903. Early residents of
Texas did not correspond much, and mail delivery was slow
Letters which were carried over 25 miles distance required 25c
[2 bits] postage. Letters which were carried less required
12.5c [1 bit] postage.
“Jerry Gowen” appeared as the head of a Household 50-50 in
the 1900 census of Coryell County. He died there of
tuberculosis May 25, 1904 at the age of 56 and was buried
near the southeast corner of Jonesboro Cemetery, Jonesboro,
Texas. Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen also died of
tuberculosis on September 9 the same year and was buried
beside her husband.
Children born to Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and
Hellen Roberts Gowen include:
Ellender E. Gowen born in 1872
Charles Otis Gowen born in 1873
Cynthia Diera Gowen born in 1876
Roxie Vida Gowen born about 1880
Children born to Jeremiah Benjamin Nunley Gowen and
Emma Catherine Bailey Hawkins Gowen include:
Ida Gowen born in 1884
Claud Franklin Gowen born October 19, 1887
Minnie May Gowen born September 19, 1891
Snapped at the four-day Houston Research Conference were,
l. to r, Chan Edmondson, Foundation vice-president, Dallas;
Arlee Gowen, president; Lubbock; Brian Goyen, Melbourne,
Australia and Don Lee Gowen, Decatur, AL, Editorial
Boardmembers. Photo courtesy Don Lee Gowen.
2) First GRF Conference Draws 70
In Houston Research Meeting
Seventy Foundation members and spouses registered during
the four-day research conference arranged at Houston’s Brown
Convention Center June 1-4 by National Genealogical
Society. The Hyatt Regency Hotel served as headquarters for
Foundation events scheduled to coincide with the NGS dates.
Brian Goyen of Melbourne, Australia and Billie June Salmond
of Bountiful, Utah spoke to 49 members attending the Foundation
Dinner held at the Hyatt to launch the Foundation program.
The NGS program, which included the Foundation
speakers, included 213 other lecturers during the four-day
Of particular interest to Foundation members were
presentations made by Guy G. Weaver, Dr. Virginia Easley
DeMarce, Cliff Manis, Helen Hinchliff, Dr. Thomas H.
Roderick, Sharon Standifer Ashton, Dr. George K.
Schweitzer, Donald K. Wilson, Mary McCampbell Bell,
Robert H. Waldrop, Dr. Joan Kirchman Mitchell, Helen F.
Leary, Lloyd Dewitt Bockstruck, Jo White Linn, Kent Carter,
Brent H. Holcomb, Dr. Brent Kennedy, Gene Mathis and
Nine of the presentations dealt with genetic topics, DNA
studies, avoidance of inherited disease tendencies,
Melungeons and tri-racial isolates.
(Continued on Page 2)
National Genealogical Society, recognizing the importance
of genetics to genealogy, has begun to emphasize the need for
researchers to gather family medical history as well as
ancestry. A task force of geneticists, physicians and
researchers has been formed to investigate this rapidly
Foundation members with an eight-generation matrilineal line
have a rare opportunity to participate in a Mitochondrial DNA
study being undertaken by the Center for Human Genetics.
[See article by Dr. T. H. Roderick elsewhere in this
At the Hyatt, Foundation members and Editorial
Boardmembers had an opportunity for gatherings to exchange
family research, discuss manuscripts and books in preparation,
plan the future of the Foundation’s efforts and to enjoy finally
meeting face-to-face with fellow researchers they had only
known previously by correspondence.
Gauging the enthusiasm of the attendees, the Foundation
Board of Directors in its annual meeting, also held in Houston,
unanimously elected to accept the invitation of National
Genealogical Society to come to San Diego in 1995. The San
Diego Conference, hosted by the San Diego Genealogical
Society, will be held May 3-4-5-6, 1995 at the Town &
Country Hotel & Convention Center. Foundation members
will want to mark their calendars immediately.
San Diego Genealogical Society has also sent an invitation to
Foundation members and is providing brochures on the
Conference and the vacation attractions there. The 1996
Conference is scheduled to be in Nashville, Tennessee.
3) Members Offered Participation
In mtDNA Matrilineal Research
By Thomas H. Roderick, Ph.D.
Through our matrilineal lines [dubbed “umbilical lines” by
some genealogists] we, both males and females inherit a
singular type of DNA called mitochondrial DNA [mtDNA].
Most of the time this kind of DNA is inherited purely in the
matrilineal line with no contributions from males. In an
ancestor table, this type of DNA would therefore be inherited
by us through individuals numbered 3,7,15,31,63,127, etc.
Thus for example, in the 4th generation back I inherit my
mtDNA from only individual No. 31, my mother’s mother’s
mother’s mother, and she from her mother and so on back.
Further, for example, I, as well as all my full siblings, along
with everyone else who has a matrilineal line that intersects
my matrilineal line will share the same mtDNA.
To be sure, as we go much farther back we would encounter
mutational changes that took place in the mtDNA. Molecular
geneticists find a change in certain regions of the mtDNA
about one in 4,000 years [about 120 generations.] This means
that most of the time when two matrilineal lines go back and
intersect no more than 50 generations or so, they will exhibit
the same mtDNA. If five or six of us have independent
matrilineal lines back to a common immigrant ancestor, say 10
generations ago, we will probably all exhibit the same
mtDNA. If one of us has a slightly different mtDNA, the reason
could be a mutation in that line, or it could be due to
genealogical error in compiling the pedigree There are other
parts of the mtDNA that can distinguish between these two
The specific characteristics of our own mtDNA can be
determined from a small sample of blood. And the particular
type of mtDNA that is found in my blood, for example, will
usually be identical to the mtDNA found in all individuals in
my maternal line. And it will be identical to the mtDNA in
those individuals who have matrilineal lines that intersect
This type of analysis therefore will be particularly useful to
the genealogist in verifying matrilineal lines and in
discovering possible connections among matrilineal lines
farther back than the historical record reveals.
Matrilineal lines extending back into colonial North America
or farther back are of particular interest. Today these will be
at least 10 generations or more. Lines extending farther back
than colonial times into Europe or Great Britain could be
especially valuable. It is these longer lines that have the best
opportunity for further genealogical and genetic analysis.
However, any matrilineal lines of eight or more generations
will be useful.
Genealogists interested in collaborating in this study should
assemble their matrilineal lines with full documentation.
Good secondary sources fully cited will often suffice if
primary sources are not available. When pedigrees have been
assembled and collated, some, perhaps a sizable number, will
be chosen for mtDNA analysis.
The choice will depend on the length of the line and how
many other matrilineal lines have the same origin. At that
time, participants will be asked to provide a small sample of
blood. For more details and application blank, write, T. H.
Roderick, Ph.D, Center for Human Genetics, P.O. Box 770,
Bar Harbor, ME, 04609-0770.
4) DEAR COUSINS
I wanted to thank you and all Foundation members
for making my trip to Houston so enjoyable. The presentation
of our archaeological research on the Gowen farm at the
Metropolitan Nashville Airport was well received and
apparently provided some helpful ideas to the genealogists
I spoke this week with Dr. Emanuel Breitburg,
Tennessee Division of Archaeology who told me that the
Smithsonian is still interested in conducting the DNA analysis.
They will need several weeks prior notice and may want to
have one of their staff present during the excavation. Again
thank you for everything. Guy G. Weaver, Senior
Archaeologist, Garrow & Associates, 510 S. Main St, Memphis,
There is a mountain story of a peddler named Goins
that relates to my Boggs family. Goins, a trader, used to pass
through the present Big Stone Gap-Appalachia section of
southwest Virginia. He was murdered near Stonegap,
Virginia, and supposedly my g-g-grandfather, Ely Boggs
played a part in the matter. An old mountain ballad entitled
“Poor Goins” was written about the incident. “Poor Goins”
was buried on the Boggs farm near Stonega. I have searched
for the grave, but I am uncertain that I found it. If I turn up
more, I will advise you. V. N. “Bud” Phillips, 214 Johnson St,
Bristol, VA, 24201.
My family is descended from William Gowen [1705-
1759] subject of article in the May 1994 Newsletter “William
Gowen, Scout at 17, Fought the French & Indians, through his
son, James. I believe there were some errors in the article.
Based on information in “Gowen Family Genealogy,”
compiled by Yvonne Gowen in 1986, William Gowen married
Mary Davis Chick June 26, 1723 after the death of his first
wife, Jane. Contrary to your article, William had two children
with Mary: James, born February 18, 1753 and Elizabeth, born
August 8, 1755. There is also no record of William having a
daughter named Sarah.
There was a great deal of confusion about this
generation when the genealogy was put together, however we
feel that the above information is correct. If you have any
information to the contrary, please send it along. David
Gowen, 907 Duck Pond Road, Westbrook, ME, 04092.
I wanted to write that I logged on to your Electronic
Library and left a message regarding my g-grandmother
Mariah/Maria Goins/Goens born November 4, 1856 in Illinois.
She was married about 1875 to William Jennings Dial in
Leavenworth Co, KS. She died January 8, 1917. possibly in
state hospital at Osowatomie, KS, and burial was in Leavenworth, KS.
In 1870 census “Mariah Goins, 19” was shown as a
housekeeper in the household of Mary Lempesley/Joseph
Walter in Leavenworth County. In 1900 and 1910 census
returns Mariah Goins reported that her father was born in
Kentucky and her mother in Ohio. Most grateful for any help
on Mariah Goins.
Thanks for providing this genealogy service. My
Foundation membership is enclosed. If any members need
research done in Miami County, OH, I’ll be glad to assist.
Terry D. Wright, 645 W. North St, Piqua, OH, 45356,
Thank you for your prompt response following our
phone conversation and for the packet of Newsletters and
family history you sent. I’m fortunate to be able to access the
complete University Library System and its holdings right
from my desk via the modem. You can imagine my surprise
when, as a whim, I typed in the computer: “GOWEN” and the
“GOWEN FAMILY PERIODICALS, Newsletter,
Gowen Research Foundation, Lubbock, TX, 1989–
Center for American History, Read in Library Only.”
After staring at the computer screen in disbelief, I
announced to my staff that they could reach me at the Center
for American History. After reading as many of the
Newsletters as I could, I returned to my office and called your
phone number to see if you really existed. And sure enough,
you do . . . . we do.
My check for membership is enclosed along with
copies of Revolutionary enlistments of Gowen men from
Pennsylvania [my home state] in “The Irish Contribution to
American Independence” by Thomas Hobbs Maginniss, Jr.
If I can serve as your contact here at the University of
Texas at Austin, I hereby offer my services to the Gowen
family. Thank you for your excellent work in behalf of the
Gowen family. You have devoted yourselves to something
very special to all of us. Richard F. Gowen, The Texas Union,
University of Texas, Box 7338, Austin, TX, 78713.
I enjoyed the lecture and documentary film presented
by Dr. Brent Kennedy at the Houston conference very much. I
had heard the term “Melungeon” and had read about the work
of your research team, but I had no idea of the immensity of
the subject. My Riddle/Ridley family intermarried with the
Gowen/Going/Goins family in the Rockingham, North Carolina.
Jesse Gowen paid oe50 to Thomas Crawley of
adjoining Stokes County for land located “on Dalton’s Creek
and on Hickory Creek and on the Stokes County Line”
October 27, 1797, according to Rockingham Deed Book E,
page 209. On the same day, John Riddle/Ridley paid Crawley
oe25 for land adjoining Jesse Gowen. I regard the men as
brothers-in-law, Jesse having married the sister of John in
adjoining Henry County, Virginia, I believe.
Nancy L. Going was married c1839 to William Riley
Ridley, “mulatto,” according to Rockingham County records.
They were last found there in the 1860 census of Rockingham
County, page 99. Children born to William Riley Ridley and
Nancy L. Going Ridley include William Ridley, bc1840; Mary
Ann Ridley, bc1842 and James Pinkney Ridley, bc1844.
Mary Ann Ridley was married February 22, 1863 to William
Henrietta Goins was married October 26, 1856 to
James Austin Ridley, “mulatto,” according to Rockingham
County records. He was the twelfth child of Randolph Ridley
and Elizabeth Gibson Ridley, bc1835. Later they removed to
Hawkins County, Tennessee to join members of the family.
I would like to hear from researchers who can
provide some details about any of the above. Edward M.
Riddle, 5419 Imogene, Houston, TX, 77096.
Gowen Research Foundation Phone: 806/795-8758 or
5708 Gary Avenue E-mail: email@example.com
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.