Sections in this issue:
1) Three Gowens Sisters Married To Three Turner Brothers in Iowa;
2) Francis Henry Gowen Freighted Ice Around the Horn to India;
3) Dear Cousins.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 6, No. 4 December 1994
1) Three Gowens Sisters Married To
Three Turner Brothers in Iowa
By Walter Earl Turner
611 East 1600 South, Orem, Utah, 84058
Who would have thought that Charles Gowens, Revolutionary
War veteran of Henry County, Virginia and his wife Elizabeth
Blair Gowens would have anything in common with Edward
Turner of Lincolnshire, England and his wife Isabelle Freelove
Turner. They had a lot in common—three Turner sons were
to marry three Gowens daughters.
It is fortunate for me that they got together—else I would not
be here to write this article. To do it justice, a series of three
articles is required, to give some space to each couple and to
include some photographs.
On December 3, 1801 a son was born to Edward Turner and
Isabelle Freelove Turner in Wrangle, Lincolnshire. Isabelle
named him George Freelove Turner after her father, George
Freelove. On June 9, 1810 a son was born in Harrison
County, Kentucky to Charles Gowens and Elizabeth “Betsy”
Blair Gowens. “Betsy” named him James Blair Gowens after
her father, James Blair of Maryland. James Blair Gowens
[Newsletter, February 1993], the youngest of nine children,
became the progenitor of my many Texas cousins.
George Freelove Turner grew up in Lincolnshire as a city boy.
He was a laborer there and then became a clerk in Grimsby in
the coal-mining area of England. He was married October 19,
1823 to Elizabeth Neal who was born January 7, 1809. She
was recorded as a 14-year-old “spinster” in the parish record.
They became the parents of about 16 children.
James Blair Gowens grew up in Harrison County and nearby
Gallatin County, Kentucky. He was married September 14,
1835 to Mary An Livinia Jackson in Gallatin County. She
was born there December 11, 1816 to George Jackson and
Susannah Ray Jackson who were married there November 11,
They had six children when she died, apparently at childbirth,
because they had a total of seven. James Blair Gowens was
then married to 16-year-old Sarah Luvisa Jackson January 13,
1844. She, a younger sister of Mary An Livinia Jackson
Gowens, was born March 8, 1827 in Gallatin County. James
Blair Gowens was enumerated as the head of Household 331-
331 August 14, 1850 in Gallatin County located between his
father and his father-in-law.
When two brothers marry two sisters, their children are referred
to as double cousins. If three brothers marry three
sisters, would their children be triple cousins . . . ?
Serena Gowens Turner and Albert Wright Turner were photographed
shortly after their wedding day December 31, 1871
in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Laserprint courtesy of Walter Earl
Turner, great-grandson, Foundation member of Orem, Utah.
George Freelove Turner apparently emigrated to America
about 1850; he did not appear in the British census of 1851. A
daughter who came with him stated that she had been in this
country five years in the 1856 state census of Mills County,
Iowa. The younger children accompanied by their mother
came to the United States in March 1853 aboard the SS
They landed at New Orleans and apparently took a steamboat
up the Mississippi to where the Missouri River entered, then
up the Missouri to St. Marys, Iowa in Mills County where
George Freelove Turner was awaiting them. Apparently
Elizabeth Neal Turner did not live long after her arrival.
George Freelove Turner had a new wife, Sophia listed in the
1856 census. He died prior to February 1867.
About 1852, James Blair Gowens also moved his family to
Mills County, settling near Council Bluffs, probably influenced
there by a brother who had preceded him. The household
of James Blair Gowens which had “been in Iowa for four
years” was recorded there in the 1856 census.
Now the stage is set in Mills County, and the entire cast is assembled.
The only children of James Blair Gowens that this
series will deal with are Susannah “Susan” Gowens, Elizabeth
Ellen Gowens and Serena Gowens. The only children of
George Freelove Turner under consideration are Daniel P.
Turner, Freelove Turner and Albert Wright Turner. They are
the three brothers who married the three sisters. Act One
deals with my great-grandparents, Albert Wright Turner and
Serena Gowens Turner.
Albert Wright Turner was born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire August
21, 1843. His birth was registered on the 22nd, so he
ended up celebrating his birthday on August 22, and when he
died, his headstone was erroneously engraved with 1853, the
year of his arrival in this country as the year of his birth.
Being adventurous, Albert Wright Turner joined a Mormon
[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] oxen team going
west under the command of Capt. Isaac A. Canfield in Council
Bluffs July 28, 1862. My feeling is that he must have had
relatives living in Utah. They arrived in Salt Lake City
October 16, 1862. While there he drove stages and wagons
and probably rode for the Pony Express. His stage route ran
from Salt Lake City to St. Joseph, Missouri via Denver. In the
west he became a crack shot. Descendants claim that he could
put a bullet clean through a silver dollar flipped into the air. It
would hit the ground with a hole in it.
Frances Osler of Council Bluffs, my first cousin, onceremoved,
writes that she can picture him as a “red-headed imp
driving a stagecoach across the plains, red hair flying in the
wind, his violin slung over his back, a bottle of whiskey in his
pocket and a song in his heart.”
He loved music and taught his son, my grandfather, to play the
violin also. He was possessive and hot-tempered. Once, in
later years, at a dance hall in Nebraska, a brash fellow asked
Serena for a dance. Albert laid him out.
According to the federal census, Albert Wright Turner was
back in Iowa in 1870, and Serena Gowens, who was born
March 24, 1853, had grown up. On December 31, 1871 in the
home of the bride’s parents, he took Serena to be his wife for
always. Eleven children, eight sons and three daughters, were
born to them in Mills County. Albert became a vegetable
farmer and had a small store in Council Bluffs where he sold
his produce. Serena worked diligently by his side.
They lived and died there and were buried in Mills County in
the Turner-Gowens hillside Cemetery. Albert and Serena are
not alone there. Two of their sons who died in childhood are
buried there. Their aunt, Elizabeth Ellen and her son were
buried there after succumbing to typhoid fever.
Ordinances passed long ago prohibit the type of burials that
were done there, so no family members have been buried there
for many, many years. When I was there, I saw fieldstones
apparently marking other graves inside the fenced enclosure.
Outside, cattle are grazing over other graves, some marked,
some unmarked. Our family is grateful to the Mills County
Historical Society who tend the cemetery regularly and see
that it is kept up. I believe the cemetery and the farm now
belong to Godsey family who are also descendants of Albert
Serena was a well-loved person. She was a religious woman,
reading the bible every day. She taught her children to be industrious,
and they all worked as they grew up. She died
when I was three years old and was buried beside her husband.
She has no marker, and his has the wrong birth date on it.
Children born to Albert Wright Turner and Serena Gowens
Turner include Oliver Freelove Turner, Lewis Collier Turner,
James Albert Turner, George Walter Turner, Clarence Calvin
Turner, Frederick Fletcher Turner, Alfred Cleveland Turner,
William Clyde Turner, Augusta Adella Turner, Stella Luella
Turner and Anne Elizabeth Turner.
George Walter Turner, born December 13, 1877, died in Los
Angeles. All the others lived and died in Iowa and Nebraska.
died. From James Blair Gowens and Edward Turner through
me, I can count eight generations. Their grandchildren are my
great-grandparents, and I have grandchildren, making a total
of 10 generations.
I am very proud of my heritage. All of them were honest, upright,
God-fearing people, but best of all they were good
fathers and good mothers. They were steady. They
persevered in their tasks, day in and day out, and set a good
example for us to follow. I am particularly proud of these
worthy women, these pioneer wives, because I have one
myself. I was married August 13, 1968 to Margaret Katherine
Harlan in Winterhaven, California, and through 26 good years,
she has been right with me all the way, and I am very thankful
2) Francis Henry Gowen Freighted
Ice Around the Horn to India
Francis Henry Gowen, son of Ezekiel Gowen and Hannah Pettingell
Colby Gowen, was born May 5, 1848 at West
Newbury, Massachusetts. He was fascinated by the world
around him, and the world around him was fascinated by him.
He became a mechanical engineer and was employed by a
construction company in Cleveland, Ohio—briefly.
There were many things to attract the attention of an adventurous
young man in the 1870s, and he signed aboard a sailing
vessel to have a wider access to the world. On a voyage to
France, he heard of the discoveries of Louis Pasteur in
microbiology. He bought a microscope and delved into the
science enthusiastically. While there, he became fascinated by
the language, bought a grammar and taught himself to speak
French fluently. Aboard ship, he learned dead reckoning
navigation, and then, self-taught, advanced into celestial
navigation and spherical trigonometry. He bought a telescope
and delved into astronomy.
His ship contracted to deliver ice to India by the shipload, and
as purser, he arranged with New England farmers to cut pond
ice in the wintertime for the cargo. No insurance was needed
on the voyage because “a ship laden with ice was unsinkable.”
Since the Panama Canal had not yet been constructed, the
lengthy voyages required a passage around Cape Horn.
He heard about the success of Guglielmo Marconi and began
to study wireless telegraphy and experiment with crystal radio
receivers. Shortly before the turn of the century, he left the
sea and returned to New England to become a farmer. He
made a study of horticulture and became the first farmer in the
area to produce 400 bushels of grain to the acre. He
concerned himself with fruit farming and specialized in the
development of apple varieties. In all his undertakings he
showed a fierce independence, self-reliance, perseverance,
ingenuity and integrity.
He was married April 30, 1895, at the age of 46, to Emma
Webster, age 47 who was born June 21, 1847 in Manchester,
New Hampshire. She was the oldest child of George B.
Webster and Martha Thayer Rowe Webster.
She had attended Kingston Academy, Kimball Union
Academy and Appleton Academy. She had taught school at
Newton, East Kingston, Kinsington, Hampton Falls, Dearborn
Academy, Kingston Academy and West Newbury,
She began a diary on the day after her wedding and recorded
events, household expenses along with the singular successes
of her husband. She died February 21, 1924, according to
Francis Thorsell whose father lived in the home of Francis
Henry Gowen who was appointed his guardian after his
Francis Thorsell in an interview taped by Margaret Pearson
Tate June 9, 1989 remarked that Francis Henry Gowen was a
purser on a vessel out of Newburyport. Of him, Thorsell declared:
“He taught himself French, and once he wrote a poem about
birds in French. He asked me to take it to my French teacher
for her appraisal. She was amazed at the structure of it. When
he had an outstanding grain crop, the dealer mentioned that he
had used Armour Fertilizer, and the Armour plant sent a
representative out to buy a testimonial for their advertising.
Gowen said the fertilizer didn’t make any difference and
refused their offer. He grew every variety of apples he could
He had King, Astrakan, Gravenstines, Green, Baldwin, etc.
When Henry Ford was putting in Dearborn Village, he tried to
buy the wainscoting from the Gowen home, but Frank
wouldn’t sell it to him.”
Francis Thorsell died four months after the interview on October
5, 1989 at Exeter. He was a son of Russell Thorsell and
Susan Fieldsend Thorsell.
The New Hampshire Historical Society purchased the diary in
1988 from an antique dealer. Francis Henry Gowen died
September 5, 1941, at age 93 in East Kingston, New
Hampshire. No children were born to them. His obituary
published in the “Exeter News-Letter” revealed, “Mr. Gowen
was a mechanical engineer and had worked in Cleveland,
Ohio. He had been a member of the Star of the East Masonic
Lodge for 64 years. He was buried beside his wife in Union
3) Dear Cousins
Wow! I am impressed! Before I even knew that you
had published my letter of inquiry in the Newsletter, I began
to receive responses. Now I have found yet other cousins with
whom I can share. And now we can pool our energies and
perhaps meet with lots of success. Enclosed is my
membership application. I am looking forward to future
Newsletters. Diane M. Howard, 18201 E. Park Dr, Cleveland,
I read your story of the John F. Gowen farm
[Newsletter, October 1994] with keen interest. Having done
extensive research in this line, I was familiar with most of the
documents mentioned, but I have not found any documents
that reveal the middle initial of William, John or Mary Keife
The only member of this family who signed his name
in Stafford County, VA was Ambrose Gowen. Each of the
others made his mark using the initial letter of his first name
with the exception of John who used the initial letter of his
first and last names joined together.
At first glance, this ligature resembles an “F.” Mary’s
“M” on one document resembles a “W,” but on closer
inspection, it is an “M.” These unique marks prove that they
were the same people later in Lunenburg County, VA who
sold their land in Fairfax County. Photostats of the signature
marks are enclosed.
I regard “William, Ambrose and Thomas Goings”
recorded in the records of Granville County, NC to be sons of
William & Catherine Gowen of Stafford County, VA. I also
believe “David Goins” of Henry County, VA was the son of
Ambrose Gowen. “John Goins” who was born on the Flatt
River in Granville County, NC in 1750 had a long, close
relationship with John Riddle. Both appear in Fincastle
County, VA and Montgomery County, VA records during
1777-1780s. They are living next to each other in Stokes
County, NC during the 1790s. One researcher suggested they
were brothers-in-law. Jack Goins, Rt, 2, Box 275,
Rogersville, TN, 37857. Thanks, Jack for catching our “initial
errors.” Researchers note corrections.
I am seeking information on my great-grandparents,
Alex Clark and Mary Ann Goin Clark who were married
January 15, 1860 in Hamilton County, TN. Can anyone
supply the names of their parents and their places and dates of
birth. Elroy Kirkpatrick, Box 983, Diamond Springs, CA,
After several years of research [and much frustration],
I have finally completed my search to prove that I am a
direct descendant of William Alexander Gowen of York
County, ME [Newsletter, April 1990]. This came from a
handwritten manuscript, un- published, by Angevine Wesley
Gowen [Newsletter, March 1992] entitled “Cider Hill Annals.”
I live within five miles of the old Gowen homestead
and visited the Gowen Cemetery last year. The last time I saw
Angevine in the early twenties; he was surveying in York
Beach, and I was on a school bus coming home. As a child, I
was taken by my mother by horse-and-buggy to visit Angie
and my Great Aunt Julia. While there, Angie played his violin
for me. Memories, memories! Flora Woodford, 1324 US Rt.
1, Cape Neddick, ME, 03702,
My g-gm was named Margaret Robertson Gowans
and was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland November 24, 1856.
She was married to John Cross who brought his family to the
U.S. about 1878. She died October 3, 1907 in Allegheny
County, MD. She was the daughter of James Gowans and
Janet Robertson. James Gowans parents were Alexander
Gowans and Elizabeth Gilmore. Does the Foundation or
anyone have anything helpful on this family? Joseph Shirley,
RD3, Box 31, Meyersdale, PA, 15552.
Thanks for the large package of Newsletter back
issues . . . I think. I sat up until 6:20 a.m. and read every last
one of them!
I have just returned from a 7,500-mile research trip,
trying to re-trace the steps of my ancestors–Goins, Perkins,
Willis, Sweat and Johnston as they headed west. I have
covered courthouses in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee,
South Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama,
Mississippi and Louisiana.
It seems that my 5th g-gf Jacob Willis may have been
the leader of the trek into Spanish Louisiana. He was the first
Protestant minister west of the Mississippi and planted the
early Baptist churches in southwestern Louisiana. He, a half-
Cherokee, spoke several Indian dialects and was known as the
“Apostle to the Opelousas.”
I gathered much Goins data in the 8-state sojourn
which I will pass along to the Foundation as soon as I have
had time to process it. I learned of a Spanish census of the
Choctaw Nation taken long before the Louisiana Purchase. At
the first opportunity, I will scan it for Goins individuals among
the tribesmen for the Foundation. Sandra M. Loridans,
Apartado Postal 844, 45900 Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico.
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.