Sections in this issue:
1) Patrick Gowen, Jr, Cordwainer, Became Wealthy Man at Berwick, Maine;
2) Researchers Seeking Kinship Between KY Goings and Goins;
3) Edward Gowen Sold Interest In Bass Estate to Thomas Goin;
4) Dear Cousins;
5) Eloy J. Gallegos will describe his research into the mysterious Melungeons;
6) Thomas Mason Gowen of Manchester, TN Preserves Family History in Tin Box;
7) Whence came the name . . ? Gowen, Oklahoma;
8) Love Letters Reveal . . . Wayne Gowin, CSA Veteran Persistent, Successful Suitor;
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 10, No. 8 April 1999
1) Patrick Gowen, Jr, Cordwainer, Became Wealthy Man at Berwick, Maine
Patrick Gowen, Jr, [Patrick3, Nicholas2, William Alexander1] son of Patrick Gowen and Miriam Shackley Gowen, was born December 21, 1745 at Berwick. He was the second child of that name to be born to his parents; an earlier Patrick Gowen, Jr. died in infancy. He was also a great-grandson of William Alexander Gowen, the Scottish soldier who was captured in the Battle of Dunbar and deported to New England by Oliver Cromwell.
He was married January 1, 1771 to 16-year-old Abigail Woodsum of Berwick, according to “Saco Valley Families” by Ridlow. She was born at Berwick December 23, 1754, the oldest child of John Woodsum and Mary Brackett Woodsum. She was baptized May 18, 1755 in the First Church of Berwick. Patrick Gowen, Jr. removed from Berwick to Lebanon, some 15 miles north about 1782. There he became a cordwainer, a colonial term used to describe a leather worker and a shoemaker. The word orignally designated a man who worked with Cordovan leather which was developed in Cordova, Spain. Later the definition was broadened to include any leather worker, including tanners.
Additionally he operated a tanyard and was a partner in a sawmill located at Salmon Falls. John Libbey, one of the apprentices who was bound to him to learn the tanner’s trade, became a son-in-law.
His household appeared in the 1790 census at Lebanon, York County, Massachusetts [later Maine] as “Gowen, Patrick, 6 white males over 16 and 5 white females.”
Patrick Gowen, Jr. died April 12, 1804 at Lebanon, Maine. He was buried on the farm of Jeremiah Libbey at Little River Falls. Abigail Woodsum Gowen was appointed administratrix of his estate:
“At a court of Probate, holden at Waterborough August 27, 1804:
Abigail Gowen makes oath that the foregoing inventory contains all the estate of her said Intestate that has come to her hand, possession or knowledge, and that if any thing hereafter appears, not named therein, she will render an additional inventory thereof into this court.
Edw’d. Cutts, Judge
An Inventory of the Estate of Patrick Gowen, late of Lebanon in the County of York, Cordwainer, deceased, appraised upon oath by us, the subscribers duly appointed to that service by the Hon’ble Edward Cutts, Esq, Judge of the Probate of Wills for said county:
Real Estate: The Homestead of said deceased situate in said Lebanon [York] County, 100 acres with the buildings thereon, $600; 25 Acres of land in said Lebanon, being one-half of Lot No. 6, Range 4 & 3rd Division, $100; 6¼ Acres of land lying in Baker Grant, so called, in Shapleigh in said county with the Lumber thereon, $21; 1/24 part of a Saw Mill and Mill Privileges standing on Salmon Falls on Little River in said Lebanon distinguished by the name of the Lower Mill, $25.00; 1 Pew, No. 22 in the Baptist Meeting house at Little River Falls in said Lebanon $25. Total, $771.
Personal Estate: Muse Saddle & bridle, $25; 1 yoke oxen, $40: 6 Cows, $50; 1 two-year-old steer, $8; 1 year-old heifer, $4; 10 Sheep, @$1; 1 Plough, $4; 1 Harrow, $3.58; 4 Chains @$1.50; Sundry other implements of Husbandry, $5.25; 1 Handsaw, $1; 1/2 Mill Saw, $4; Sleigh Irons, $1; Sundry Mechanical Tools, $2; 1 Flute, 25c; Deceased’s Wearing Apparel & cloth, 5.35; 2 Beds, bedspreads, cards & bedding, 23.67; 1 Chest & drawers, $2, 1 case, 25c; 2 Looking glasses, $1; 6 Kitchen chairs, $3; 3 tables, $1, 1 Warming pan, $2; Andirons, shovel & tongs, $1.75; 1 pr. steelyards, 25c; Pewter, $3.25; Pot iron, $4, Sundry small articles, 25c; 3 Sides upper leather, 4.50; 8 Calves skins, $3.00; Loom & Spinning wheels, 3.00; 3 Swine, $8 and Sow leather, $4.45. Total $223.78; grand total $1,004.78.
Lebanon, June 20th AD 1804
John Libbey, Daniel Woods, Isaac Hanscom, Appraisers.”
Abigail Woodsum Gowen died 32 years later, June 2, 1836.
According to the bible records of Rhoda Butler, a granddaughter, children born to Patrick Gowen, Jr. and Abigail Woodsum Gowen include:
Mary “Molly” Gowen born September 8, 1771
James Gowen born October 24, 1774
Samuel Gowen born April 23, 1777
Sarah Gowen born April 21, 1779
Abigail Gowen born September 12, 1781
James Gowen born March 5, 1784
John Gowen born June 23, 1787
Johanna Gowen born June 25, 1789
Draxey Gowen born October 9, 1791
Miriam Gowen born September 5, 1793
Benjamin Gowen born December 2, 1798
2) Researchers Seeking Kinship Between KY Goings and Goins
By Jamie Friedman Frederick
Box 361, Scobey, Montana, 59263, 406/487-2738 firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently there has been an exchange of messages on the Inter-net regarding Melungeon/Mulatto Edward Goins and others who lived in Logan County and Butler County, Kentucky in 1800. Previously he and other family members were in Indi-ana and Illinois. They and their back-tracking movements were regarded as mysterious and unexplainable. Because they appeared in the community in Livingston County where my Goins ancestors lived, my mother [Anna Going Friedman] and I decided to take a closer look at them.
Edward Goins was a co-signor on a mortgage note with my g-g-g-g-grandfather, John Levi Going in 1818 in Livingston County, Kentucky. Because Edward Goins undertook this obligation, we suspect that he was related to John Levi Going, but our research so far has not been able to document it.
Accompanying Edward Goins were Jabez Goins, William Goins and Isaac Goins. Other families in their group included the Portees, the Coles/Coals, the Byrds/Birds and the Ander-sons. They remained in the Logan-Butler County area in the early 1800s. By the mid-1820s they had relocated to Illinois, in the Crawford County-Lawrence County area.
When I contacted present-day descendants in Illinois, they told me that their family lore identified these Goins men as slaves in South Carolina who went to Vincennes, Indiana as slaves of some white pioneers. According to the legend, their owners had sent these men into Illinois Territory to see if the Indians there were hostile or if white settlers could survive there.
The group of “slaves” they sent out never returned. It was a mystery to the present-day descendants as to where their ancestors were for some 20 years, because they didn’t show up in Illinois until around 1820. I was able to show them where their families were just prior to 1820–they were living in Northern Kentucky with my family members!
These descendants gave me a document proving that their an-cestors came from South Carolina while I had already docu-mented that my family had come to Kentucky from Georgia. [Newsletter, March 1996].
Although they thought these men were slaves, my research had already revealed them to be “Free Persons of Color.” They had petitioned the courts in South Carolina for exemption from taxes because “they were as poor as slaves”. So when these men moved to Indiana, they were employees, not slaves.
If the scouts were good observers, they would have recognized danger signs; the British were stirring up the Indians. They financed the Indian Chief Tecumseh and encouraged him to make a stand against the incursion of the Americans. The flames of war flared up in the Battle of Tippecanoe fought between the Indians and the troops of Gen. Harrison in 1811. The battle, regarded by historians, as the beginning of the War of 1812, was won by the Americans, and provided a spring-board for the popular Gen. Harrison to be elected president.
My assumption is that when they finished reconnoitering the Indian situation in Illinois Territory, they simply crossed the Ohio River and settled in a safer area in Kentucky.
In addition to the previously mentioned Goins in Butler County and Logan County Kentucky, there was included William Goins, Jr, Edward Goins, Jr. and Levy/Levi Goins. Levi is also a family name in my Going family. The Portee, Byrd, Cole, and Anderson families stayed close to these Goins and intermarried among them for years. Many of these family members are buried in the Portee Cemetery in Lawrence County. This is considered a black cemetery. Earl Goins and Nancy Goins, among others, are buried there. Descendants of Isaac Goins went on north in later years into Vermillion County, Illinois.
Some 1850 and 1860 census returns, provided by Donna Gowin Johnston and the Lawrence County Illinois Genealogical Society, show all these families in Lawrence County. The older members of these family groups were shown as born in South Carolina and North Carolina. The Goins were enumerated as Mulattos, while the other families were often enumerated as Negroes.
In my contact with the present day descendants of these people, they told me that they had a mixture of Negro and Native American blood in their ancestry. I have often wondered how my family could appear so light skinned, and obviously white in photographs I have of some of my ancestors, and still be called “Mulattos.”
Obviously some of our kinsmen were noticeably darker than others. When my family moved to Kentucky from Georgia in the early 1800s, for seven years they were listed on tax rolls as “white.” Then John H. Going, a cousin moved to Kentucky from Georgia. My mother has documented him to be the son of Moses Going and Agnes Going, progenitors of our family in Georgia [Newsletter, May 1998]. John H. Going was apparently extremely dark, so dark that he had to apply to the Crittenden Circuit Court for manumission papers in 1847 to travel from Kentucky to Mississippi to administer the estate of his deceased brother, Dr. Thomas Going [Newsletter, March 1999].
When John H. Going came to Kentucky, where his cousins were, it branded our family Mulattos. When he appeared on the tax rolls there, our family went from white to Mulatto. My feeling is that when they accepted John H. Going into their family, the townspeople discovered their heritage, and we became Mulattos.
The Goins individuals in Logan County must have been lighter complexioned than the other families, and when they moved into Illinois they stuck together with these other families. Because of their darker skin color and natural gravitation to others in the area that were also considered Negro/Indian/Mulatto the Goins were considered Negro/Mulatto.
The only difference here being that they tended to stick to their community, marrying into the various darker groups generation after generation. So now they are considered African-American.
The men of my family married women that were considered white; they kept moving west, and the darker skin colors eventually were overshadowed by the lighter skin colors as they kept diluting the gene pool. Thus we became white, and many of our cousins became and are still considered black.
My ancestors must have kept in contact with these Goins in Illinois. The given name similarity is uncanny. They have an Earl, Ollie [which is a female name in both of families], Otis, Lafayette, Monroe, and of course, the Johns and Williams, which are not as uncommon. They also told me that they knew some of their Goins were “passing” [for white] long ago, and that some of them went into Oklahoma. This happens to be where my particular Going branch settled.
My g-grandfather James Lafayette Going went to Oklahoma, taking my grandfather Earl Monroe Going and his siblings, one of which was Otis Going.
In addition, there was a Nancy Goins, who was considered to be a fortune teller in Marion, Kentucky in Crittenden County. When I visited there, the older townspeople, all spoke of Nancy Goins, the fortuneteller [Newsletter, March 1996]. I was never able to find her there in any documentation though.
I did, however, find “Nancy Goins, Mulatto, born in Kentucky, laundress,” there with her children in the same community in Lawrence County, Illinois with all the other Goins and various families. She started showing there at later dates when my Going family in Crittenden County broke up heading west. Apparently instead of going west with her family, she decided to settle with the cousins in Illinois.
3) Edward Gowen Sold Interest In Bass Estate to Thomas Goin
Edward Gowen, Melungeon/Mulatto son of Edward Gowen, Jr. and grandson of Edward Gowen, was born about 1727, probably in Charles City County, Virginia. He was brought to Brunswick County, Virginia by his father about 1744. He was married shortly afterward, wife’s name unknown. He appeared in the 1753 tax list of adjoining Granville County, North Carolina in the list of Osborn Jeffreys. “Edward Gowen, mulatto” appeared on the October 8, 1754 muster roll of the Granville County militia under Capt. Osborn Jeffreys.
“Edward Gowen and wife, black” were taxable in the 1771 tax list of Philemon Hawkins in Bute County, along with his brother, Michael Gowen. Bute County was organized in 1764 with land from Granville County, and Edward Gowen found himself in the new county.
By June 3, 1778 Michael Gowen, brother of Edward Gowen, had removed to Craven County, North Carolina and had per-mitted Edward Gowen to move to his land in Bute County on Taylor’s Creek. On that date Michael Gowen deeded 80 acres on Taylor’s Creek to his son, Jenkins Gowen with the proviso that Edward Gowen and his wife be permitted to live there as long as they lived. Jenkins Gowen left for Revolutionary ser-vice about this time, and the sheriff sold the land for unpaid taxes August 3, 1779, according to Deed Book M, page 179. By 1782 Edward Gowen was back in Granville County where he was taxed on 90 acres on Ft. Creek District.
“Edward Going” was listed in the North Carolina state census of 1786, page 56:
“Going, Edward white male 21-60
white male under 21 or over 60
This enumeration was adopted by the federal government as its 1790 census of North Carolina. Edward Gowen reappeared there in the 1810 census as the head of an “other free” household composed of five people.
“Edward Goen” conveyed his interest in the estate of Elizabeth Bass to his “nephew Thomas Goin” for £25 on October 14, 1788, according to Granville County Will Book 2, page 79. Elizabeth Bass is regarded as the mother of Edward Gowen who had remarried Jeremiah Bass, and Thomas Goin is re-garded as her grandson. The estate of Elizabeth Bass was administered in Greene County, North Carolina [later Tennessee] where Thomas Goin had applied for the administration.
Greene County Court Minutes reveal: “August 1788. On motion of W. Avery, Esqr. atto. for Thomas Going for obtaining letter of administration on the Estate of Elizabeth Bass, dcsd. ordered that the same be laid over until next term, for proof of sanguinity [kinship, blood relationship] & that a dedimus potestatem [a commission to take testimony] issue in favour of said Thomas Going to Anson & Richmond Counties and to the State of South Carolina . . . ”
Children born to Edward Gowen include:
Edward Gowen, born about 1745
Reeps Gowen born about 1749
Jenkins Gowen born about 1761
Jesse Gowen born about 1762
Goodrich Gowen born about 1764
David Gowen born about 1766
Isham Gowen born about 1770
Patsy Gowen born about 1772
4) Dear Cousins
I recently came across your Website, and I am interested to see if any of your researchers have records on John Goin of Gloucester, MA who was born May 2, 1780. He was married to Sally Story March 16, 1806. From a bible record contained in Gloucester Vital Records their children were: Hannah, b1806; Sally, b1808; Mary G, b1810; Adeline, b1813; Addison, b1815 and Lucy, b1817. I am descended from Hannah Goin who was m1828 to Aaron Pool. Thanks for any assistance you can give. Richard Sherman, 2 Denbow Rd, Durham, NH, 03824-3103, 603/668-3033, email@example.com.
I’m searching for information on the following Arkansas Confederate soldiers: Pvt. William Goin, Co. A, 2nd Arkansas Infantry Regiment and Pvt. William Goings, Co. C & Co. I, Cocke’s Regiment, Arkansas Infantry.
I am attempting to connect my William Thomas Goin, b1838 KY to his parents who were born in GA. Family lore indicates that William Thomas Goin was a Confederate soldier and was wounded during the war. He was mc1870 Elizabeth Ann Cannon. They had five known ch: twins, William Arthur and Willis Oscar, b1871; James Hunter, b1872, Anna Belle, b1876 [my grandmother] and Walter Lawrence, b1880.
The first known record on William Thomas Goin is his listing in cs1870 Tarrant County, TX. About 1890, he re-moved to Norman, OK Terr. About 1895 he was near Okmulgee, Creek Nation, Indian Terr. He died about 1905 in Ellis County, OK Terr. Jim Young, Route 3, Box 329-A, McAlester, OK, 74501, 928/423-4788, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am researching the Goings family of Hardy County, VA [later WV]. My gggf Martin M. Goings was b1847 in VA and m1865 Jemima Gillenwater in Madison Co, OH. Jemima died there in 1912, and he died there in 1926.
They had 10 ch: James Seymour, b1870; William Henry, bc1872; John Washington, b1874; Charles VanVert, b1876; Mahala, b1877; Noah Solomon, b1879; Cora May, b1883; Laura Belle, b1884; Nellie Mae, b1886 and Frank Ellison, b1893.
We have a photo of Martin M. Goings standing beside the tombstone of his mother which is inscribed “Mahala, widow of S. Goings, died 1861, age 60 years.”
My aunt, Betty Morett of Springfield, OH has extensive in-formation on our family which we are willing to share with any researcher. David W. Goings, 329 Lyonnaise Drive, Creve Cour, MO, 63141, 314/205-9792, email@example.com.
I have received a copy of a letter written in 1968 by Mrs. Freddie N. Tyer, daughter of J. D. Nelson, to a Mrs. Yowell stating that the William Goins family came to Louisiana from Bladen County, North Carolina before 1812. According to this information, they settled along the road somewhere be-tween Bladen County and Nashville, Tennessee.
There the Goins family met Hugh Nelson and his family. Nelson’s wife died after three children were born to them: Aaron Nelson, Robert Nelson and Charlotte Nelson. Charlotte Nelson was later married to William Moses Goins, and they moved to Opelousas, Louisiana.
This was before Louisiana was divided into parishes. Fan-nie Goins, sister to William Moses Goins, was married to Aaron Nelson. Robert Nelson was married at Johnson’s Bayou about 1832. Later he went to Orange County, Texas and fought in the Mexican War. He left his wife in Orange County. Later she returned to Louisiana and was married to Isaac Perkins. They lived on Bearhead Creek in Louisiana and raised a big family.
Joshua Goins is a son of William Moses Goins. Joshua Goins, his wife and four children were buried on State High-way 109, the road between Starks and Juanita, Louisiana. Only the six are buried there. Several members of the Goins family are buried in old Good Hope Cemetery. Joshua Goins, Jr. was Mrs. Yowell’s grandfather, according to the informa-tion included in Mrs. Tyer’s letter to Mrs. Yowell.
I would like to know if any researcher has a census record of the Goins family from Bladen County, NC before they move away. No one seems to be able to prove conclusively the names of the parents of William Moses Goins. Can anyone help? Willie Dell Weaver, 151 John Burns Rd, Leesville, LA, 71446, 318/239-6606, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel Gowen, of Fairfield County, SC and one of the five Gowen brothers who served in the American Revolution, named seven children in his will. Hugh Gowen, his eldest son from whom I descend, was married to Nancy fogg. She and Hugh had nine children, five girls and four boys. They are listed as pioneers of Butts County, GA where they lived for some 20 years. After sever way stops in Georgia, they spent their final years in Pike County, AL. I have a lot of questions for any researcher who is actively pursuing this line. William J. Wolfe, 1600 Dover Drive, Newport Beach, CA, 92660-4419, email@example.com.
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER
Volume 1, No. 4 April 25, 1998
5) Eloy J. Gallegos will describe his research into the mysterious Melungeons
Eloy J. Gallegos, eminent historian, author and research writer
of Knoxville and Santa Fe, will describe his research into the
mysterious Melungeons at the Foundation Research Conference &
Family Reunion June 23 in Salt Lake City. Gallegos, who trans-
lates four languages, investigated the 1567 expedition of Capt.
Joao Pardo who established the colony of Santa Elena on Parris
Island in South Carolina.
Capt. Pardo wrote a report in April 1569 of his findings for the
Spanish government which was deposited in Los Archivos de los
Indes in Seville. The archives holds 82,000,000 manuscript pages
of well-preserved reports on Spanish efforts in the Americas.
Duplicate copies of many of these reports were also deposited
in the archives at Guadalajara, Jalisco. It was there that Ga-
llegos examined the reports of Capt. Pardo and pieced together a
picture of the explorer’s accomplishments.
Capt. Pardo wrote in “old Spanish”, somewhat different from mod-
ern Spanish, and Gallegos, skilled in this archaic language, was
able to bring the expedition to life with his translation. Archi-
val material on the party reveals that many of the soldiers brought
their wives and families. Pardo directed the construction of four
forts in the area inhabited by the Catawba Indians, later to become
Georgia and South Carolina. The Catawbas composed the principal
tribe of the eastern division of the Sioux.
Gallegos, in his research of the expedition, discovered that the
leader of the explorers signed his name as “Joao Pardo,” revealing
him to be a native of Portugal, rather than Spain. Emperor Carlos
V of Spain had subjugated Portugal during the mid-1500s and had im-
pressed many Portuguese men into his army. Rosters of the 250-man
Pardo party show that the expedition was composed of both Spanish
Since the Melungeons have long maintained that they were “Porter-
ghee,” the possible connecton is intriguing. Melungeon character-
istics are found among many of the branches of the Gowen family,
with many spelling variations of the surname.
The speaker, who will address the Foundation dinner meeting, has de-
veloped the hypothesis that the Melungeons were Iberian “conversos,”
Christianized Moors-Jews-Spaniards-Portuguese, also called “Moriscos,”
who fled Spain in the 1500s.
Eloy J. Gallegos is a native of Santa Fe where his ancestors settled
in 1598. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee
where he met and married Anne C. Kirk of Knoxville. They have eight
children and divide their time between Knoxville and Santa Fe. He
was a research writer for the FBI and a congressional investigator
and a report writer in Washington, D.C.
Gallegos will speak on his use of six disciplines in his Melungeon
research: recorded history, archaeology/anthropology, genetics, ge-
ography, and language. He will discuss how he used each to arrive
at his conclusion. He is presently writing a series of books per-
taining to the Spanish pioneers in United States history. His pub-
lished works include: “Jacona: an Epic Story of the Spanish South-
west,” “The Melungeons: the Spanish Pioneers of the Interior South-
eastern United States,” and “Santa Elena: Spanish Settlements on
the Atlantic Seaboard from Florida to Virginia, 1513-1607.”
The Research Conference is one of the most unique research oppor-
tunities of a lifetime. The hotel is located adjacent to the
Latter Day Saints Family History Library–the world’s largest.
Researchers may arrive early or stay after the Conference to
use the Library.
Donna Johnston, Conference Accommodations Chairman, advises
that because of its location, the Salt Lake Plaza in 1998 is
booked solid six months ahead of time. The hotel has agreed
to hold a block of rooms for the Foundation until the May 1
deadline. After that date, all remaining rooms will be re-
released and offered at rack rates [$129 per night.]
The Foundation has contracted for the rooms at $85 per night
[plus tax] until the deadline. Two queen-size beds are
offered in each room, and the rate is the same for one, two,
three or four occupants. A limited number of in-room
refrigerators are available at no charge. Members may make
reservations by dialing 800/366-3684 and must mention that
they are with the Foundation, Group 191516, to receive the
The hotel offers a free shuttle to and from the airport and
a covered parking garage for members driving in. Public
parking is available one block west of the hotel at $2 per
day and one block north of the hotel at $3 per day. Self-
contained recreational vehicles may park on the lot west of
the hotel at $4 per day.
Additional information may be obtained from the hotel at its
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing Salt
Lake Plaza Hotel, 122 West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT,
84101. Information on area attractions and brochures may be
obtained from Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, 180 S.
West Temple, 84101, 801/521-2822.
Early registration fee for the Foundation Conference, by May
25, for members and guests is $50. After that date, the
registration fee is $60 per person. Registrants may clip or
reproduce the coupon below and attach their checks. The
registration fee pays for the Foundation Dinner, coffee
break refreshments, speaker honoraria, audio visual
equipment rental and other hotel expenses.
6) Thomas Mason Gowen of Manchester, TN Preserves Family History in Tin Box
The only lines that Ursula Rains Gowen left for posterity when
she died in 1844 at Nashville was her grocery list:
“Get me a loaf of shuger, a bits worth of pensels, get 25c
of celseigen magneibha [calcium magnesium?l, 25c of
Pels horehound candy [cough drops?], 25c of honey, 25c
of indigo [bluing], get some paper, get some selry.
Since her kinsman, John Gowen was going to town to pay his
taxes, she handed her list to him. Fortunately John Gowen was
a “packrat.” He meticulously preserved all of his tax receipts,
invoices, notes, paid bills, letters and a variety of documents.
Because of this, researchers almost a century and a half later
were able, from these scraps of paper, to document several
family relationships among the Davidson County Gowens.
After picking up the groceries, he accidently folded her grocery
list inside his tax receipt and filed it away in his tin box.
Today the contents of his box is being preserved by his grandson,
Thomas Mason Gowen, a member of the Foundation’s Editorial
Board of Manchester, Tennessee.
One of the prized documents of John Gowen is an invoice from
J. McNichol, clothier of Nashville, covering his wedding attire
purchased just before he was married February 3, 1848 to 16-year-
old Martha Rebecca Ferguson. On January 22 he picked up “a
blue-black coat, $11; 2 yds. of black cassimere $3; trimmings
for pants, 37c; 1 pr. boots, $3;1 black cravat, $1.25 1 satin
vest, $5 and 1 silk handkerchief, $1.25. On January 31 he re-
turned to the store to buy “1 pr. white silk gloves, $1.”
In contrast, very little has been learned about Ursula Rains
Gowen. All that is known, despite an intense research effort is
that she was married July 26, 1826 to Wilfred Burleson Gowen
in Davidson County and that she died there July 28, 1844. Wil-
fred Burleson Gowen, was a great-grandson of William Gowen, pre-
emptor land owner in Davidson County who arrived there in 1779.
A grandson of Wilfred Burleson Gowen and Ursula Rains Gowen,
Dr. John Whittemore Gowen who was born in 1893, spent many
years in a search for information about his grandparents.
A very accomplished researcher, he was a genealogist for 50
years, a Phi Beta Kappa and an outstanding geneticist.
He was a member of Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research,
National Institute of Health, Biometric Society, American Ge-
netic Association, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Ge-
netics Society of America and the Gerontological Society.
Even with all his abilities and credentials, when he died in
1967, he had found very little on his grandmother–not even
her grocery list!
He did, however, find a lot of data on other members of the
family in the middle Tennessee area–and did a complete
abstract of the familia in tota from the 1790 census of the
United States. His research papers and correspondence files
have been deposited with Gowen Research Foundation, and
other researchers can build on his efforts.
Family lore is sought on all the various surnames in the
Soundex versions, regardless of spelling or whether pronounced
with a long “o’ or a short “o.” Data on over 50 different
spelling variations of the surname has been gleaned from the
public records from all over the world.
The Foundation would like to receive a biography and an
ancestor chart from each member, along with whatever family
research he is willing to share.
7) Whence came the name . . ? Gowen, Oklahoma
Gowen, Oklahoma formally came into existence January 13,
1894, however an unincorporated community composed of a
few coalminer’s shacks on a railroad siding had existed there
since the beginning of the intense coal mining activity in
Because Franklin Benjamin Gowen, attorney and president of
Philadelphia & Reading Railroad sought in 1870 to have the
railroad buy up a controlling interest in some anthracite coal
fields, the Oklahoma town’s name was destined. His unwise
policy eventually resulted in bankrupting the Reading Railroad,
but it provided a mindset for railroad management for years to
come that dictated that a railroad must own a coal field.
Because of Gowen’s mistake, he was eventually deposed from
the presidency. Later, on a trip to Washington to appear before
the Interstate Commerce Commission on an anti-trust hearing,
he committed suicide by firing a bullet into his brain.
Marvin W. Schlegel who wrote “Gowen, Ruler of the
Reading–the Life of Franklin Benjamin Gowen, 1836-1889″
concluded that his suicide was not the result of any dread of the
Commission, but merely a mental aberration that resulted from
an intense, single-minded, constant dedication to rails and coal.
Francis Innes Gowen, nephew and law-partner of Franklin
Benjamin Gowen, moved into railroad and coal mining
management, after the suicide of his uncle. Following the
panic of 1893, the Choctaw Coal & Railroad Company was
reorganized by its Philadelphia owners as Choctaw, Oklahoma
& Gulf Railroad with Francis Innes Gowen as president.
Prior to that time, he was appointed, along with James W.
Throckmorton, former governor of Texas as receivers to
operate the defunct CC&RC. At the time of this reorganization,
Gowen, Indian Territory came into being, named for Francis
The fortunes of the hamlet were intertwined with the coal
industry, and when the market for anthracite hit bottom,
Gowen, Oklahoma went with it. However, the town refused to
die, and a handful of people still remained there March 13,
1922 when a devastating tornado struck. In less than 60
seconds 11 residents were killed, 20 others injured and Gowen
almost totally destroyed.
E. H. Smallwood, a survivor of the tornado, recalled that 17
homes, including his, were totally destroyed. He was returning
from his coalbin with a scuttle full of coal when the twister hit.
As he entered the house, the chimney was lifted, disintegrated
and dropped through the roof. Simultaneously the house
exploded, and he and his wife were burned with hot coals and
ashes flying from the fire.
Our iron bed was so twisted you couldn’t tell it was a bed, but
my daughter had her little wooden wagon under the bed, and it
didn’t get a scratch,” related Smallwood.
“We were having a meeting that night in the Baptist Church.
Uncle Bill Lewis was doing the preaching, and I was handling
the singing, but we never got there for church. When we
finally were able to investigate, the church roof and walls were
gone, but the pulpit was still there, and the bible on it was still
open at the 15th chapter of Luke–and still dripping from all the
There was no FEMA in those days, but Gowen’s homeless
survivors were assisted with provisions, clothing and shelter.
Dr. R. K. Pemberton, mayor of neighboring McAlester,
Oklahoma made a plea through letters and area newspapers for
donations to help the homeless. Farmers and miners from
McAlester, Hartshorne and Wilburton communities appeared
with their teams and “fresnos” to scrape away the rubble and
help in the rebuilding of Gowen.
“A lot of storm cellars were dug at that time,” stated Finas
Sandlin who was a student in a small country school near
Gowen at that time. The twister destroyed his family’s home
and blew him 100 yards through the air, depositing him in a
big pile of rubble.
Gowen survived the tornado and the depression which followed
and retained its place on the Oklahoma map. Claud Franklin
Gowen of Lamesa, Texas, noting the name, speculated that
Gowen, Oklahoma must have been named for a pioneer family
of that area, perhaps who arrived while the county was still
called Choctaw Nation–maybe some of his kinsmen.
Finally, in the 1940s, he had an opportunity to go to Gowen
and begin his genealogical inquiry. He came up empty; the
postmaster did not know how the town got its name, and even
the old timers he visited were no help. He wrote home on a
postcard, “Located Gowen, Oklahoma, but if the Gowens were
ever here, they’re not here now.”
After the death of Claud Franklin Gowen, his son, Arlee
Gowen solved the mystery while researching the family in
Pennsylvania. “Dad would never have dreamed that the town
was named for a Philadelphia lawyer,” he reported.
8) Love Letters Reveal . . . Wayne Gowin, CSA Veteran Persistent, Successful Suitor
By Col. Michael O. Beck
On June 13, 1865, Wayne Gowin took the Oath of Allegiance
to the United States, while a prisoner of Federal soldiers at
Point Lookout, Maryland. He had been a prisoner of war less
than two months then, having been captured along with 250
other men of his unit, the Sixteenth Mississippi Volunteer
Infantry Regiment at Battery Gregg in the gallant defense of
Petersburg, Virginia. There he had fought his last battle of the
war to buy Robert E. Lee and his shadow of an army, 28,000
men, precious time in their final withdrawal toward a meeting
with destiny at Appomatox Courthouse April 9, 1865.
His military service was distinguished by many of the greatest
battles of that tragic civil war–Bull Run, Antietam, Chancel-
lorsville and Gettysburg, to name a few. His record shows he
served his cause continuously over four years, except for one
brief furlough. The fact that he survived continuous battle for
that long is remarkable. On June 23 he was released from
prison for “Transportation to Jackson, Mississippi.”
Wayne’s first priority after the war was to resume a relationship
with Cornelia Agee, 24 years old and new to the community
when he joined the Confederate army.
In the first of 10 love letters of Wayne and Cornelia that
survive, he wrote from his home in Smith County in October
“I respectfully ask for an interview next Saturday morn-
ing. In justice to you and alsow [sic] to my self wee [sic]
should come to a tacit understanding owing to the im-
presion [sic] that is prevalent in the county that we will
marry. I hope you will grant the desired interview when I
hope to know my fate.”
Seven months later, May 19, 1867, Wayne wrote again to his
sweetheart, a student at Sylvarena Female Institute in Syl-
varena, Mississippi reiterating an earlier marriage proposal:
After compliments the undersigned would respectfully
ask the pleasure of an interview for next Saturday, the
26th at 5 pm.
Miss Cornie, I hope you have given my interrogatories
sufficient thought to give me an answer or at least to give
me some data from which I may form some idea of your
intentions. This I assure you is no matter of secondary
importance but one that has caused great anxiety. Indeed
my future happiness depends on it to a greater or less
extent. And I hope you will weigh the matter well in all
of its lights and shades, and if I should be the happy
recipient of your love, I will excert [sic] my humble ability
to make you happy in the position.
Yours as ever,
Cornelia was graduated from the Institute and delivered the
valedictorian address there in July of 1867. In December 1867,
Wayne wrote from Shubuta, Mississippi:
“My Dear Miss Cornie,
I write you a few lines this morning to inform you that I
have reached home in good health and with whole bones.
Times were very dull here during Christmas. Nothing but
egg nogs and turkey dinners though we are anticipating
quite a nice time here New Years night. The Shubuta
Cowbellions are all gowing [sic] to turne [sic] out in mask
or disquise [sic] and march all over town with a band of
music and transparent lights. At twelve o’clock they will
throw off their masks and welcome New Year in and have
a nice supper to which every body is invited. After supper
is over they will spend the night in dancing or any other
way they see right and proper. I wish you could be here to
May Heaven’s blessing attend you. Come, come, soon.
Your devoted Wayne”
Wayne was still courting Cornelia in March of 1868, but the re-
lationship was upon rocky shoals at his writing on the 19th:
Your letter notifying me of your change of mind was re-
ceived on the return of Mr. and Mrs. Welch [sister of Cor-
nelia] from Smith.
In reply I will say your will bee don [sic]. I have lived
for a different state of things but it has bin [sic] to no
purpose. In the future we will meet only as friends. I
think I understand the whole. In conclusion, I will say if
you love mee [sic] you will marry and risk the
consequence. May the lamp of heaven guide you through
this life and finally bring you safely to the Haven of
Eternal Rest is the prare [sic] of a friend.
The relationship was patched up by the start of the New Year
for they were married shortly afterward. Their first child,
Charlie V. Gowin was born December 11, 1869 in Shubuta. A
second son was born to them July 25, 1872, according to the
Wayne Gowin died January 2, 1873 at age 32. The second son
died shortly afterward while Cornelia was living with her par-
ents, Hurcules Joseph Agee and Elizabeth Kate McRae Agee.
They were from Montgomery County, South Carolina. Cor-
nelia and Charlie continued with her father when he removed
to Arkansas about 1875 seeking to escape the carpetbaggers
who had bankrupted his lumber business. The move was made
by steamboat up the Arkansas River to Little Rock and then by
wagontrain to Logan County where they bought land. Later
Cornelia and Charlie removed with family members to Haskell,
Texas where she died in 1887. Charlie V. Gowin went on to
marry and father 10 children. His surviving children now live
in the Texas towns of Kyle, Sealy, Shamrock and Andrews.
Thanks to Edna Gowin of Kyle, daughter of Charlie V. Gowin,
for preserving the love letters and giving them to a fourth-
generation descendant of Wayne Gowin, patriot and star-
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.