1995 – 05 May Newsletter – GRF

Sections in this issue:

1) The Lives of Two James Madison Gowins Span 154 Years of American History;
2) Jason Gowen Fled to Maryland To Avoid His Indebtedness;
3) First Families of Tennessee Organized for Bicentennial;

All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters:   https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/

Volume 6, No. 5 May 1995

1)  The Lives of Two James Madison Gowins
Span 154 Years of American History

James Madison Gowin, a Civil War veteran and his son James
Madison Gowin, Jr, the “First Atomic Veteran” of World War II
of Kingston Springs, Tennessee, together saw an immense scope
of the American panorama. This month, their lives combine to
cover 154 years of American history. James Madison Gowin,
Jr, despite his exposure to radiation poisoning in Japan
following the explosion of the atomic bomb there, continues to
enjoy life in his 80th year. He may be the only surviving son of
a Civil War soldier!

James Madison Gowin, son of Drury M. Gowin and Elizabeth
B. Rash Gowin, was born May 11, 1841 in Crawford County,
Illinois. He told his daughter, Virginia Gowin that he was one
quarter Indian.

During the Civil War, he enlisted in Company B, Thirty-third
Indiana Infantry Regiment and received his baptism of fire in
the Battle of Shiloh. Before his regiment arrived, the
Confederates under Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston on April 6,
1862 defeated the Federals under Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant, fresh from his victory at Ft. Donelson, Tennessee, had
split his forces and came up against 40,000 Confederate with
22,000 Union troops at Pittsburg Landing. The forces of Grant’s
lieutenant, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman encamped at
Shiloh Church, were surprised and overrun along with several
other Union positions.

Johnston was killed during the savage fighting of the afternoon,
and Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard took command as a Confederate
drive pushed the Federals to the Tennessee River. During the
night, Gen. Don Carlos Buell arrived with 20,000 fresh Union
soldiers, including the 33rd Indiana. The reserves turned the
tide of battle against the exhausted Confederates, resulting in a
Union victory. Shiloh was one of the most brutal battles of the
war: Union casualties were more than 13,000; Confederate,
more than 10,000.

In another scene from the Civil War, James Madison Gowin told
about a night when he and 200 other Union soldiers bedded
down on the ground in Virginia. He was the first one to wake
up, and when he looked out, his regiment “was gone.” They
were covered in about six inches of snow. Soon they began to
stir, and the regiment reappeared.

During the war, he was married February 30, 1864 to Sarah Jane
Parker, according to Rutherford County Marriage Book 1804-
1872. She was the daughter of Arthasia Parker and was born at
Rucker, Tennessee in Rutherford County.

After the end of the war, James Madison Gowin remained in
Tennessee. “James Gowan” appeared as the head of a
household in the 1880 census of Rutherford County,
Enumeration District 199, Page 19, District 11, enumerated as:

“Gowan, James 36, born in IL
Sarah 39, born in TN
William 18, born in TN
Drewry 15, born in TN
Johny 13, born in TN
Leola 4, born in TN
Parker, Arthasia 53, born in TN, mother-in-law”

In 1911, at age 78, he was remarried to Mary Belle Cox, age 24,
born in 1887 to James Cox of Bowling Green, Kentucky. She
was injured at age 13 while helping her father shingle a house.

She fell from the roof and landed on her head. A bone fragment
in her skull applied pressure on her brain, causing frequent attacks
of epilepsy.

In 1914, in declining health, James Madison Gowin lived at
Murfreesboro where he operated a retail store. Because of her
epileptic condition, Mary Belle Cox Gowin required care. She
had frequent seizures in which she fell into the fire and other

Since both parents had been incapacitated, officials of Rutherford
County had attempted to take custody of the children early
in the year. James Madison Gowin, Jr. recalled that once when
he was 10-years old, an officer of the Rutherford County Court
had come to their home to get the children. A confrontation
erupted, and his father prepared to fight the officer and called
upon his son to “Give ’em hell, Jim!”

On July 10, 1925 he wrote his will and died there December 16,
1925 “of aorta insufficiency,” according to E. C. Allen, M.D.

He was buried there in Evergreen Cemetery. “Mary Gowin
Jones” believed to be Mary Belle Cox Gowin, lived at 2821
Swiss Avenue, Dallas, Texas. She assisted Janie Lee Gowin to
obtain a birth certificate at that time, according to Dallas County
Probate birth records.

Leola Gowin Skidmore took her father’s younger children into
her home for about one year. and then they were placed in foster

Children born to James Madison Gowin and Sarah Jane Parker
Gowin include:

William Parker Gowin born in 1862
Drury W. Gowin born October 31, 1864
Johnny Gowin born in 1867
Leola Gowin born January 19, 1875

Children born to James Madison Gowin and Mary Belle Cox
Gowin include:

Janie Lee Gowin born May 14, 1912
Virginia Gowin born July 3, 1913
James Madison Gowin, Jr. born August 25, 1915
Mary Elizabeth Gowin born January 15, 1917

James Madison Gowin, Jr, son of James Madison Gowin and
Mary Belle Cox Gowin, was born August 25, 1915 in Rutherford
County. After the death of his father and the removal of his
mother to Texas, young Jimmy Gowin was taken to the Thomas
Fresh Air Camp, an orphanage in nearby Kingston Springs, operated
by Bro. Frank Houser and Nannie Lou Hatcher Houser.

He immediately ran away, headed for Murphreesboro, but
kindly Bro. Houser intercepted him and finally persuaded him to
give the Fresh Air Camp a trial.

The place he dreaded, in a few days, became the most pleasant
spot of his entire life. He enjoyed the Fresh Air Camp so much
that in his retirement, he went back to that spot and bought
property at Craggie Hope, a mile away from Thomas Fresh Air

The next four years with the Housers and the other children in
the orphanage brought joyous days to young Jimmy. He recalls
fondly those happy days under the tutelage and influence of Bro.
Houser who gave great attention to each child and used every
day and every event to instill in them a love for life and for their
creator. He recalls:

“One day he took five of us 12-year-old boys in the
wagon to gather apples. On the way, he cautioned us not
to eat a single apple until we had finished gathering. He
showed us the difference between a good apple and a bad
apple and had us put only the good apples in the baskets.
The bad apples with the rotten spots we piled up on the

After we had gathered about a dozen bushel basketsful
and loaded them on the wagon, Bro. Houser had us all sit
down at the sorry apple pile. Then Bro. Houser gave
thanks to God “for the bounty we are about to receive.” I
marvelled at this and impertinently challenged with,
‘Why do we give thanks for a bunch of rotten apples?’

‘Because there’s some good in every bad apple–all we
have to do is look for it,’ replied Bro. Houser. Then he
took his pocketknife, trimmed a wormy spot off an apple
and began to eat. He passed the knife around to each of
us, and each learned to remove the bad and savor the

On our way home, with the wagon loaded with baskets
of apples and the boys dangling their feet over the sides,
Brother Houser spotted a dead tree which he wanted to
remove. I was riding on the coupling pole which extended
out behind the wagon. Bro. Houser had me climb
the tree and fasten the chain from the coupling pole
around the trunk, high above the ground.

With everyone back aboard, Bro. Houser said ‘Giddup’
and slapped the mules’ rumps with the lines. The startled
mules, Mary and Sarah, pulled with a will, the tree didn’t
budge, and the wagon flew high into the air, like a button
on a string!

Boys and apples sailed out of the wagon, landing on the
grass, scattered and disheveled. When Bro. Houser determined
that no one was hurt, he had us all kneel down
on the spot and gave thanks for our safe deliverance.”

The fall of 1929 brought another change to the life of young
Jimmy Gowin. The Great Depression struck, and he moved to
nearby Willowbrook Farm to live with his third set of parents,
the John B. Treanors. The farm consisted of 10,000 acres of
crops, grass and trees. It produced horses, cattle, sheep, hogs
and chickens. And, even better, 14-year-old Fannie Kranz,
whom he dearly loved, made the move to Willowbrook with
him. That year, the became a cowboy and fell in love with Fannie.
It doesn’t get any better than this!

After a few years, Jimmy Gowin saw the need to go out on his
own and enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public
works camp which performed construction projects for the
community and worked under a military discipline. After
learning the rudiments of the construction trade, he began work
at the sprawling Oak Ridge defense plant at the beginning of
World War II. There he worked on the building which
produced the prototype of the first atomic bomb. He was
married about 1935 to Ethel Capps who was born April 1, 1915.

They were divorced about 1946.

He had enlisted in the U.S. Army in the early days of the war
and served in the 731st Combat Engineers as a steel rigger. He
went overseas June 6, 1945 and was stationed on Okinawa
where his unit prepared for the coming invasion of Japan.

Shortly before the planned invasion, the Enola Gay dropped the
first atomic bomb on Hiroshima August 6, 1945. Three days
later, a second bomb fell on Nagasaki, and the war was over.

Jimmy Gowin’s unit was assigned to occupation duty at the Osaka
submarine base, 30 miles from Hiroshima. He and some
comrades took a Jeep and drove into the ruins of the city, not
having been warned about the hazards of the deadly radiation
lingering there. They even spread their lunch on the tops of
marble columns “that had been sheared off like a stick of

The life of James Madison Gowin, Jr. was changed forever. He
was plagued with radiation sickness for the next 50 years. He
was in and out of Army hospitals in Japan. Once, in a dizzy
spell he fell off a dock in Tokyo Bay and severely injured his
leg. The Army doctors had not been briefed on how to diagnose
and to treat radiation sickness. It was a new field of medicine,
and the curriculum of the pre-war medical school had not
prepared them for it.

Most of the physicians played it safe and entered nothing about
radiation sickness in James Madison Gowin’s medical record.
He was returned to the United States April 11, 1946. He was
honorably discharged at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina August 27,
1946, according to Cheatham County, Tennessee Discharge
Book 2, page 504.

James Madison Gowin, Jr. was remarried April 24, 1947 to
Lucille “Lucy” Tudor, daughter of L. C. Tudor and Carrie
Cathey Tudor. She was born October 10, 1931 at Craggie
Hope, Tennessee.

Despite the debilitating effects of radiation sickness and frequent
work interruptions it precipitated, James Madison Gowin,
Jr. was employed as an ironworker until his retirement. He has
conducted a 50-year battle with the Veterans Administration in
an effort to secure proper medical treatment. To complicate
matters, his medical record was lost from the Army’s records,
making it even more difficult to prove that his illness was
service connected.

Now in retirement, he has returned to Craggie Hope with his
memories of the nearby Thomas Fresh Air Camp and
Willowbrook Farm and their happy days. There the “First
Atomic Veteran” has built a memorial garden in honor of all
atomic veterans.

Children born to James Madison Gowin, Jr. and Ethel Capps
Gowin include:

Dan Sheridan Gowin born June 1, 1937
James Madison Gowin III born December 31, 1940,

Children born to James Madison Gowin, Jr. and Lucille “Lucy”
Tutor Gowin include:

Carolyn Constance Gowin born July 18, 1949
Marion Gowin born December 9, 1950
Julie Gowin born July 14, 1951
Frank Houser Gowin born December 4, 1952
James Madison Gowin, III born August 24, 1958

In May 1990 James Madison Gowin, Jr. donated his papers to
the Foundation Library for the use of family researchers and for
preservation. Included in the collection were his memoirs,
photographs dating back to 1915, family correspondence dating
back to 1911, newspapers clippings and prize-winning poems
written by the donor. The collection has been catalogued and
bound by the Foundation.

Ten-year-old Jimmy Gowin, standing in the back of the buggy,
has fond memories of his days at Thomas Fresh Air Camp at
Craggie Hope, TN. Other children in the photo, taken in 1925,
are unidentified. The mules are identified as Mary and Sarah.

2)  Jason Gowen Fled to Maryland
To Avoid His Indebtedness

Jason [Eason?] Gowen, son of the slave Mihil Gowen, was born
about 1660, probably in James City County. It is believed that
he joined his brother Thomas Gowen about 1696 in a move to
Westmoreland County, Virginia.

When he became indebted there to Gowin Corbin, he apparently
“skipped the country.” It is believed that he removed across the
Potomac River to Maryland.

“Gowin Corbin, Gentleman, obtained an attachment
against the estate of Jashen Goeing for 815 pounds of tobacco,
and the sheriff made return that he had attached
one gray horse branded on both buttocks with obscure
brands which horse he had in custody and a bridle and
saddle in the hands of Abraham Smith. Jashen Goeing
having absented himself out this county, and for that it
appeared by the oath of Mr. James Ellis that Jashen
Goeing stands indebted to Gowin Corbin, judgment is
granted him for the debt, the horse being appraised at
800 pounds of tobacco. Ordered the sheriff doe deliver
him to Mr. Corbin in part of the satisfaction of the debt.”

When Thomas Gowen, brother to Jason Gowen, was challenged
as to whether he was a “free man” or an escaped slave, he made
a trip to Maryland perhaps to obtain documents from Jason
Gowen proving that he was born free.

3)  First Families of Tennessee
Organized for Bicentennial

In honor of Tennessee’s Bicentennial in 1996, the East Tennessee
Historical Society is sponsoring a new heritage program
titled “First Families of Tennessee.” The purpose of the project
is to identify and recognize all descendants of the first residents
of the state of Tennessee. Anyone who is directly descended
from a person living in Tennessee when the state was admitted
to the Union in 1796, or before, is eligible for membership in
this permanent remembrance of his family history and the Tennessee

To qualify for membership in the First Families of Tennessee,
the applicant must directly descend from an ancestor who settled
in Tennessee prior to June 1, 1796. The applicant must be able
to prove descent from the ancestor [male or female] by an acceptable
record or records for each generation, including proof
for the applicant. Current Tennessee residence is not required.

Applicants who qualify and are admitted to membership in First
Families of Tennessee will receive a handsomely designed certificate
issued by the East Tennessee Historical Society
featuring the applicant’s name and the name of the applicant’s
ancestor. In addition, members of First Families of Tennessee
will receive invitations to members-only events and will have an
opportunity to contribute to ETHS activities connected with the
Bicentennial celebration in 1996.

The information furnished by applicants as proof of lineage will
be placed in the McClung Historical Collection. There, as a resource
for other researchers and genealogists, it will serve as a
valuable addition to the history of Tennessee and a source of information
and pride for future generations. For more information
or for an application form, contact the East Tennessee Historical
Society, P.O. Box 1629, Knoxville, TN, 37901-1629 or call 615-544-5732.


I descend from Shadrach Goings bc1796 VA dc1885 Hardy
Co, WV. Shadrach married twice: 1st to a Hester and 2nd c1855
to Mary Webster in Hardy Co. Known children of Shadrach and
Hester were Hannah C, Mary Ann, Washington, Abraham,
William H, Shadrach Jr, George, Isaac, and Jacob [there are
probable others judging from the gap in ages of the known children].

Issue by Mary Webster were: Susan T. Anna B. and Ella A.
Shadrach Sr. owned and operated the only ferry across the Potomac
River outside of Moorefield, WV. I am interested in any
information the Foundation may have concerning this family
and their ancestors. Also, I would like to hear from anyone researching
this family. Can you help? If I can be of help in any
way, please let me know. Joyce Hardy Cates 4900 Pleasant
Ave, Fairfield, OH, 45014, 513/896-7897.

==Dear Cousins==

I am saddened to report the deaths of two more Gowen
cousins. I attended the funeral of Hazel Gowen Stapleton,
daughter of James Vernon Gowen and Agnes Dean Gowen, who
was born November 23, 1912 and died February 8, 1995. She
had eight brothers, but is survived only by one, Harold Sidney
Gowen. She was buried in Folkston Cemetery. Sheppard Andrew
Gowen, son of Andrew Greene Gowen, Jr. and Bertha
Sheppard Grooms Gowen, died January 29, 1995 at Waycross.
He was buried at Traders Hill near the graves of his parents and
his grandparents. Hazel Dean Overstreet, 5175 Odum Highway,
Odum, GA, 31555.

==Dear Cousins==

I am searching for three brothers, Abner Goins, Absalom
Goins and Hirum Goins, all born in Georgia c1800, perhaps
Houston County. They reportedly removed to Missouri c1860.
I regard them as uncles of my James Elijah Goins. Would be
pleased to hear from any researcher with a lead. Jaymie Frederick,
Box 361, Scobey, MT, 59063, 406/487-2738.

==Dear Cousins==

I recently had a visit from Sherry Chitty. I was quite excited
to meet her. My husband is a descendant of Thomas D. Goins
and Nancy Johnson Goins [Newsletter, February 1995]. His
lineage is through their daughter Sarah Goins. Sherry did not
have any of the material that I had. I will be happy to share
what information I have with the Foundation or any member. I
am enclosing two memberships in the Foundation. One is for
Bell Cain Morrow of Houston, also a descendant of Thomas D.
Goins, and one is for me. Suzy Cain, 310 Commander Creek,
Rt. 2, Galveston, TX, 77554, 409/935-8914.

==Dear Cousins==

Foundation members need to be advised that the Foundation
has no connection with the publication “Three Centuries of
Gowens” currently being offered for sale from Denver by
“Gowen Family News.” The Editor.

Gowen Research Foundation 806/795-8758
or 795-9694
5708 Gary Avenue
Lubbock, Texas, 79413 Electronic
Library/BBS 806/795-2005

James Madison Gowin, Sr. & Jr.
Have Experienced 154 Years
Of American History
See Page 1 . . .


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.

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