Sections in this issue:
1) Goins of Claiborne County, TN (continued);
2) Melungeon Research Team Films Documentary in Turkey;
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. 12 August 1995
1) Goins of Claiborne County, TN (continued)
By Beverly J. Ellison Nelson
3391 W. Aksarben Avenue
Littleton, Colorado 80123
Sometime around 1900, Sterling’s children made a list of themselves
and then had it printed. The following names and birthdates
of the 22 are based on that list. All were born in Claiborne
Children born to Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck Goin include:
John Goin [twin] born September 15, 1841
Annie Goin [twin] born September 15, 1841
Rachel Goin born October 7, 1843
James Knox Polk Goin born April 10, 1845
Philip Goin born September 15, 1846
Levi Goin born July 24, 1848
Jasper Goin born March 6, 1850
Sarah E. Goin born April 7, 1852
William Houston Goin born September 4, 1854
Tilman Howard Goin born January 21, 1856
Rebecca Goin born March 11, 1858
Proctor Goin born February 20, 1860
Charity Jane Goin born August 15, 1862
Catherine Goin born August 15, 1865
[son] born in 1866
Mary Goin born December 23, 1868
Children born to Sterling Goin and Dicy M. Davis Goin include:
Sherman Goin born December 3, 1872
[son] born in 1874
Dicy Manerva Goin born January 1, 1875
Children born to Sterling Goin and Melvina Needham Moyers
Vesty Goin born April 2, 1876
Edwina Goin born May 15, 1878
Oscar Sterling Goin born January 12, 1881
John Goin, twin son of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck Goin,
was born September 15, 1841. He was married October 27,
1859 to Fanny Raney. He fought in the Confederate Army during
the Civil War. He died about 1874.
Annie Goin, twin daughter of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck
Goin, was born September 15, 1841. She was married June 25,
1875 to Martin J. Edwards as his second wife. She died February
26, 1912 in Claiborne County.
Rachel Goin, daughter of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck
Goin, was born October 7, 1843 and died in childhood.
James Knox Polk Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann
Keck Goin, was born April 10, 1845. He was married
December 7, 1865 to Elizabeth Ann McVey and moved in 1869
to Nebraska. He died December 26, 1934 at Beatrice, Nebraska.
Pictured are the children of James
Knox Polk Goin about 1900. Standing
are: Josephine Goin Saddler, Phillip
Goin, William Louis Goin, Margaret Ann
Goin Heaston, Eli Goin and Etta Della
Goin Conover [author’s mother].
Seated are: Ethel Eldora Goin, Lula
Bell Goin and Eleanor “Nellie” Goin.
Photo courtesy the author.
Philip Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck Goin,
was born September 15, 1846. He was married September 22,
1866 to Elander Bolinger. They moved to Nebraska in 1869.
He died at Liberty, Nebraska September 27, 1924.
Levi Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck Goin, was
born July 24, 1848. He was married March 14, 1872 to Sarah E.
Life. They moved by wagontrain to Marshall County, Kansas.
He died May 5, 1936 in Cheney, Washington.
Jasper Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck Goin,
was born March 6, 1850.
Sarah E. Goin, daughter of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck
Goin, was born April 7, 1852. She was married March 5, 1872
to Aaron Jacob Francisco. She died February 7, 1941 in Claiborne
William Houston Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann
Keck Goin, was born September 4, 1854. He was married
November 23, 1872 in Claiborne County to Louisa Mayes. He
died at Princeton, Missouri in Mercer County.
Tilman Howard Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck
Goin, was born January 21, 1856. He was married September 9,
1880 in Marshall County, Kansas to Mary Jane Day. He died
May 23, 1931 in Maury County, Tennessee.
Rebecca Goin, daughter of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck
Goin, was born March 11, 1858. She was married to Joe Messick
Proctor Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck Goin,
was born February 20, 1860. He was married November 3,
1881 in Pawnee County, Nebraska to Emeline Ellison who was
also born in Claiborne County, Tennessee. She was the
daughter of McKindred Ellison and Nancy Lynch Ellison.
Proctor came to Nebraska in an overland wagontrain with Keck
cousins. Proctor also owned land in Canada. His descendants
still live in Gage County, Nebraska.
Charity Jane Goin, daughter of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann
Keck Goin, was born August 15, 1862. She was married December
11, 1879 to Jefferson Edmondson. She died December
9, 1937 in Bakersfield, California.
Catherine Goin. daughter of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck
Goin, was born August 15, 1865 and came to Nebraska in 1865.
She was married November 1, 1884 to William Edmondson in
Claiborne County.19 She died April 1, 1953.
An unnamed infant son was born to Sterling Goin and Mary
Ann Keck Goin in 1866. He died the same year.
Mary Goin, daughter of Sterling Goin and Mary Ann Keck
Goin, was born December 23, 1868, the day that her mother
died. She was married November 14, 1889 to Robert Edmondson.
She died September 27, 1926 in Claiborne County.
Sherman Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Dicy M. Davis Goin,
was born December 3, 1872. He was married to Flora Hopkins.
An unnamed son was born to Sterling Goin and Dicy M. Davis
Goin in 1874 and died in the same year.
Dicy Manerva Goin, daughter of Sterling Goin and Dicy M.
Davis Goin was born January 1, 1875. She died June 20, 1911.
Vesty Goin, daughter of Sterling Goin and Melvina Needham
Moyers, was born April 2, 1876. She was married to William
Fortner. She died May 6, 1942.
Edwina Goin, daughter of Sterling Goin and Melvina Needham
Moyers, was born May 15, 1878. She was married to Nelson
Stone. She died in 1973.
Oscar Sterling Goin, son of Sterling Goin and Melvina
Needham Moyers, was born January 12, 1881. He was married
to Hattie Carlson. He died in 1965.
In 1869 James Knox Polk Goin, second son of Sterling Goin
and Mary Ann Keck Goin, joined other Claiborne County
families in the past-war exodus from East Tennessee. With his
wife Elizabeth Ann McVey, daughter of James McVey and
Nancy Killion McVey, whom he had married December 7, 1865
at Tazewell,20 and their youngest children, he transplanted to
Liberty, Gage County, Nebraska. There he homesteaded 160
acres under the Homestead Act of 1862. In 1872 he completed
the requirements to receive the patent for his land.21
In the statement of proof required by the government his witnesses
were his brother Philip Goin and fellow Claiborne
County native, Jonathan Sharp. They testified that he had built
a house of lumber 15×19 feet with three doors and 2 windows
and a shingled roof. Also noted were a stable and an acre of
trees as well as the original log cabin 9×12 feet. This couple has
been recognized by the State of Nebraska and the Nebraska
State Genealogical Society as one of the Pioneer Families of
That first home of logs stood on that land until after 1950. Its
size was prescribed by the tallest trees growing along the creek.
There was one door in the front. Polk kept the old cabin in repair
over the years and used it as a woodshed. According to his
granddaughter, Hazel Conover Ellison who took her daughter,
this writer, to visit the cabin about 1947, Polk reminded his
family to look at the cabin and remember how they started their
new lives in the West.
To claim homestead land Polk had to prove his loyalty to the
Union during the Civil War. Included in his homestead file is a
transcript furnished by the War Department at Nashville, Tennessee.
Besides acknowledging his enrollment in Company B,
First Regiment of Light Artillery, Tennessee Volunteers May 1,
1863, it lists his discharge as 20 July 1865 at Nashville, In addition
his description at age 18 was given as “five feet eight
inches high, light complexion, blue eyes, light hair and by occupation
when enrolled a farmer.”23
After Polk enlisted at Nicklesville, Kentucky, he saw action in
the Battle of Wildcat, Kentucky and the Battle of Cumberland
Gap. He told his grandson Marvin Ellison with whom he shared
his home during the last years of his life that he got up that May
1st morning and just acted as if he were heading for the fields.
Instead, he headed for Kentucky. Although he never mentioned
his older brother’s Confederate service, some family members
maintain that he joined the Northern army in response to the
forced enlistment of his brother, John Goin.
At one point the Confederacy was forcibly enrolling the oldest
son from each family in pro-Union East Tennessee. After escaping
a Confederate group intent on conscripting them into the
Confederate cause, his Keck cousins joined him in Kentucky as
did his brother, Philip. Years later they also joined him in Nebraska.
Polk’s service on behalf of the Union was rewarded
with Civil War Pension No. 39685.
In 1915 the Bureau of Pensions requested from each pensioner
personal information including data about the spouse and the
children. From that list24 and the records of the Liberty Cemetery25
and individual family members a list of the children of
Polk and Elizabeth Ann has been assembled.
During his early years at Liberty, Polk joined others of the numerous
families from Claiborne County in forming the Good
Hope Baptist Church. This large group of pioneers was linked
by blood, marriage and religion as exemplified by their bringing
their own preacher-teacher from Tennessee. Peter Bolinger, the
minister, was the brother of Eleander Bolinger, wife of Philip
Goin. Families who would continue to intermarry in Nebraska
included the Cains, Johnsons, Sharps, Lynches and this writer’s
paternal group, the Ellisons. Polk also carried on another family
tradition by serving in Gage County in 1904 as Justice of the
18 Original printed list of Children of Sterling Goin which
belonged to James K. Polk Goin. Now in Possession of author;
19 Claiborne County Historical Society, “People’s History of
Claiborne County. Tennessee 1801-1988. [Salem, WV, The
Wadsworth Press. 1988], p. 79; 20 Claiborne County Tennessee
Marriage Book 3, page 133, certified August 3, 1990 by Evelyn
M. Hill, County Clerk; 21 Homestead File; Homestead Land
Office, Beatrice, Nebraska, August 20, 1872, Application No.
3162, Certificate No. 699, issued by Hiram W. Parker,
Registrar, National Archives. Washington D.C; 22 Certificate
No. 814 issued September 30, 1990 by Nebraska State
Genealogical Society, Lincoln, NE; 23 Ibid, Homestead file;
24 National Archives, Washington, DC, Civil War Pension File
for James K. Goin, No 739685; 25 Internment, Lot, and Index
Books of Liberty Cemetery Association, Liberty, NE.
Transcribed by F. R. “Bob” Nelson and Beverly J. Ellison
Nelson, privately printed. Littleton, CO, 1991; 26 “Annual
Statistical Report of the Board of Supervisors~. Gage County,
NE, J. R. Plasters, County Clerk. Original in Vertical
Files, Nebraska State Historical Society. Lincoln, NE.
2) Melungeon Research Team Films
Documentary in Turkey
By N. Brent Kennedy, Ph.D.
My guide’s brother has sarcoidosis, the same illness that spurred
me to do my family research in the first place. And throughout
Turkey the people needed no translation for “Melungeon,”
immediately understanding it to mean “one whose luck has run
out [i.e., spelled in Turkish “melun can”, but pronounced
identically].” And as a result of their understanding, I received
quite a few hugs – and lots of cay [tea] – from sympathetic Turks
who were saddened by the story of our people. In fact, every
where I went in Turkey, the Turks assumed I was one of them.
Everyone spoke to me in Turkish, and typically were surprised
to learn I was an American with an Irish surname. Alp Kamoy,
an officer of the Ministry of Tourism who oversaw our itinerary
and served as an interpreter, was particularly delighted when
such “mistakes” occurred. Alp’s position was that these
instances were not cases of mistaken identity.
He felt that I was indeed a Turk and recognized physically by
the people as one. He regarded it simply as a language barrier
brought on by 400 years of forced separation! And, to be
honest, they looked like us, too. The physical phenotypes —
especially in the Cesme area [Anatolia] — are amazingly
identical, something I had not expected.
Importantly, a five-person research committee has been set up
by Dr. Kursun at theUniversity of Marmara in Istanbul and is
already at work. The committee includes historians and
anthropologists, several of whom have for years been
investigating the mysterious connections between Southeastern
Native Americans and Turkish culture. As Dr. Kursun
explained to me, “These recent findings finally may offer an
explanation as to how so many amazing coincidences could
In a related area, I have a copy of Dr. James H. Guill’s book,
“The Azores: A History,” Vol. 5 [Golden Shield Publications,
PO Box 1860, Tulare, CA 93275 – $28, which includes p&h],
and it’s fascinating. Guill, a historian with a keen interest in his
wife’s native Azores, asserts that the “Portuguese” settlers in the
Azores [beginning in the late 1400s with approximately 2,000
people] were a varied ethnic population, including Portuguese,
Berbers, and Turks, and even some Flemish, French and Irish.
He paints a picture of a “Middle Eastern” looking people claiming
to be Portuguese, but occasionally sporting blue eyes and
Anglo surnames! And the Azores serves as a major source for
New World Portuguese settlers. There are undoubtedly
countless ways that “Turks” and other Middle
Eastern/Mediterranean people could have arrived early on in the
New World, either by design or otherwise. I could go on and
on, but it was a remarkable trip and we’ve only seen the tip of
the iceberg. Our research committee continues to work hard,
bolstered further by the medical and genetic assistance being
offered by Portuguese geneticists at McGill University [Canada]
and the University of Porto [Portugal]. Virginia resident Robert
Gilmer, M.D., will be coordinating the research from
One final important statement for the record. I want to acknowledge
here that long before I entertained the possibility of a
Turkish connection, research team member Evelyn McKinley
Orr had suggested that such might be possible, or even likely.
While I was initially too consumed with other research areas to
follow up on Evelyn’s hypothesis, time and truth appear to be
winning out. The history of our people should record that Evelyn
McKinley Orr first brought the possibility of a Turkish influence
to my attention, and for this — I and other Melungeons –
will always be grateful.
Conclusion What is becoming increasingly clear is that the evidence
for the true origins of the Melungeons has always been
easily available, right on the surface. The greatest obstacle to
our having solved this mystery long ago has been, simply, our
inability to take seriously what the people themselves have consistently
told us. Much of this probably stems from our
believing the old Anglo edict that no one preceded the English
to these shores. Another barrier to truth has been our tendency
to narrow-mindedly confuse our present ethnic characteristics
[however they may vary with each population] with those of our
ancestors. All of us change over time, with inter-ethnic and interracial
marriages bending and shaping us in one direction or
the other. All races carry the heritage of the first Melungeons.
In a nation bent on preserving the myth that only white Anglo
Saxons could have conquered and settled the New World [and
thus were the only ones who deserved to enjoy it], thousands
upon thousands — if not millions — of Americans were forced
into denying, and then forgetting, their true ethnic, racial, and
religious origins. The only way to prevent such a tragedy from
happening again [not an impossibility in a world consumed with
“ethnic cleansing” and the myth of “racial purity”] is to learn
the truth, accept it, and fight for the right to tell it.
To all my Melungeon brothers and sisters – black, white, yellow,
red, and any beautiful combination thereof – take pride in your
heritage. Those who came before you – whatever their color –
loved their children and struggled to give each new generation a
better life. Never, ever deny the existence of any of them! I
proudly carry the blood and the genes of all of God’s peoples,
and every morning upon awakening, I praise Him for letting me
be born a Melungeon!
3) Dear Cousins
I have just received my first copy of the Newsletter which I
have read from cover to cover. I am delighted. Since I am most
anxious to locate the history of my branch of the family, I would
like to receive all of the available back issues of the Newsletter.
It is so hard to find information here in Hawaii. As a member
and officer of our Hawaii County Genealogical Society, any
material sent to me will be placed on the Library shelves.
Emma Gowan Bogue, Box 253, Kurtistown, Hawaii. 96760.
I am searching for parents/ancestors of George Goings and
William Zechariah Goings. George Goings was married March
13, 1872 in Lawrence County, MS, wife’s name Anne E. Anne
E. Goins was later remarried to William Zechariah Goings,
regarded as a brother of George Goings. He was born
December 13, 1854. William Zechariah Goings was
enumerated as the head of a household in the 1880 census of
Logan County, Arkansas. He was recorded at age 25 and she at
age 22 with three children in their family, ages five, three and
one. William Zechariah, a Methodist circuit rider, died in 1899.
Can you help? Shirley A. Goings-Lindsey, 6933 Galemeadow
Circle, Dallas, TX, 75214, 214/826-6933.
We have had several patrons inquiring about the
Melungeons, and they are very happy to find your Newsletter on
our shelves. We have also purchased other books on
Melungeon history. We are a private library housed in the same
building as the West Palm Beach Public Library which does not
have a genealogical section. We are open to the public and
invite your researchers to use our facilities at any time. We are
a non-profit, all-volunteer society with holdings of over 11,000
volumes. Lorraine M. Lentsch, Palm Beach County
Genealogical Society, Inc, Box 1746, West Palm Beach, FL,
My father’s first cousin, Edna Pearl Gowin Slayton had
already been researching the Gowin family about 30 years when
I became interested in 1958. Her home was just south of
Indianapolis and was too far away for me to meet her, but we
corresponded regularly over the years. In the summer of ’79 she
said her eyes were becoming too bad to continue research, and if
I could make a trip to Indianapolis, she would give me all of her
“collection” since she didn’t have any children to leave it to. My
four children were all still at home and we were always
“strapped” for money, so I knew I probably wouldn’t get to go.
In April 1980, I mentioned to my dad, “If I were rich, I’d buy
me a plane ticket and go see Edna!” And much to my
amazement, he said, “No problem. I can buy your ticket.” I got
there June 7, and Edna and I visited for four days, almost
non-stop, until long after midnight each night. I took an extra
empty suitcase [large!] and brought it home completely full.
She introduced me to the word “Melungeon.” We had an
unforgettable time! Ten days after I returned home, she had a
massive heart attack and died. It was VERY unexpected and a
tremendous shock. This taught me to try not to put things off
for too long. Just think, how close I came to loosing all of her
many years of research notes! Donna V. Gowin Johnson, 1513
Westridge Terrace, Casper, WY, 82604.
We were truly lucky that our first edition of the Newsletter
featured our ancestors, Thomas Goin and family. This new
information filled a lot of “holes” in our records, and we look
forward to learning more in the future. Along with our
membership, we are enclosing a packet of ancestor charts for the
Foundation Library and will gladly share all of our research
with everyone. We are very much interested in your Melungeon
reports. Harold & Eileen Wasson, 104 Lochleven Rd,
Severna Park, MD, 21146, 410/647-5387
What can you tell me about Wiley W. Goynes, b1824 who
was married to Elizabeth Dykes, b1828. She died in 1880 in St.
Helena Parish, LA, and he died there in 1897. Was he the son
of Daniel C. Goins who was married  to Milberry “Milly”
Bryant Lee and  to Louisiana Kenady? Virginia R. Kerr,
5098 Gibson Rd, McComb, MS, 39648.
Gowen Research Foundation 806/795-8758
5708 Gary Avenue
Lubbock, Texas, 79413 Electronic
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.