Sections in this issue:
1) Attorney Delineates Between Gowen Family and Gower Family in Davidson County;
2) Dear Cousins;
3) Hangman for a day . . . William W. Gowen Plunges Two Murderers to Eternity;
4) Descendants of Pioneer James Blair Gowens Invite Foundation Members to Reunion;
5) Whence Came the Name . . . ? Gowen Field, Idaho;
6) David Smith Goins, Melungeon Ended the War at Yorktown;
7) First Atomic Veteran . . . James Madison Gowin Donates Memoirs To the Foundation Library;
8) Cornwall Advocated as the Ancestral Home of the Goyens, Gowens, Goins Etc.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 9, No. 11 July 1998
1) Attorney Delineates Between Gowen Family and Gower Family in Davidson County
By Cleve Weathers
315 Deaderick Street, Nashville, Tennessee, 37238
According to modern Gowen family tradition, William Gowen, Sr. died in January 1790 a few days after being at-tacked by Indians near Hickman’s Station in Davidson County, Tennessee. I have found “new” evidence, which I have con-solidated with all of the previously known [to me] references to this alleged event for review in this article.
In the earliest period of settlement in the Mero District [Davidson County, Tennessee], there were separate pioneer families with the surnames of Gowen and Gower. There are a couple of known instances where early records keepers con-fused the two names. The dates, the sequence of events and the newly discovered first name of a victim of an Indian attack heretofore identified only as “Mr. Gower” lead me to the con-clusion that the tradition that my ancestor, William Gowen, was killed by Indians is likely apocryphal.
The Gowers lived in the western part of the Davidson County, not far distant from Hickman’s station. The Gowens, on the other hand, lived in eastern Davidson County on the grounds of what is now the western part of Nashville Metropolitan Airport, about 5½ miles southeast of Ft. Nashboro. Ft. Nash-boro stood on a bluff above the Cumberland River, approxi-mately at the center of modern Nashville.
There are several early writers who recounted this attack on “Mr. Gower.” The earliest written account of the attack that I am aware of was in a Knoxville, Tennessee newspaper. At the time, Nashville had no papers. From the “Knoxville Gazette:”
“Knoxville, Saturday, February 9, 1793
By a gentleman who arrived in town last week from Mero district, we are informed, that about the middle of January, seven or eight Indians crossed Cumberland River to the north side near the mouth of White’s creek [seven miles from Nashville] and there fell in with …… Gower, whom they fired on and mortally wounded; he notwithstanding made his escape to Hickman’s Station, where he expired in a few days.”
The “new” evidence found in July 1998 is an obscure histori-cal narrative, which clearly appears to be a firsthand account of the same attack described in the “Knoxville Gazette.” In “Indian Battles, Murders, Sieges and Forays in the South-West–The Narrative of Col. Joseph Brown,” originally published in 1853 by Wales & Roberts at the South Western Monthly Office, Nashville, Tennessee and sold by F. Hagan, bookseller and stationer, republished by James Crutchfield  Chapter 6, page 29, it is recounted:
“Soon after this, I was mustered in for a month as a spy, at Hickman’s station. Every day it was my duty to go around the Bend, into the mouth of Marrowbone. Elijah Gower was killed there about this time, he being out also as a spy. He was shot through the body, but got into Hickman’s station, where he died in about ten hours afterwards. There was no mischief after I com-menced my tour of duty. Gower came in wounded the evening after I got there.”
[Usage of the term “spy” at that time included what we would call a patrol.] It is not absolutely clear, but I take this account as saying that Elijah Gower was wounded near the mouth of Marrowbone Creek, rather than at Hickman’s Station. [The mouth of Marrowbone Creek is located at N36°, 14.986′ and W87° 3.509′ near the community of Sulphur Springs, about 1.5 miles southeast of Ashland City, the modern county seat of Cheatham County. Half-mile-long Gower Island in the Cum-berland River is located just inside the modern Davidson County line and five miles southeast [upstream] of the mouth of Marrowbone Creek. The mouth of the Marrowbone is ap-proximately 23 miles west-by-northwest of where William Gowen lived.]
Col. Brown did not give a date for the death of Elijah Gower. However, the similarity with the story published in the Febru-ary 9, 1793 edition of the “Knoxville Gazette” does not leave any real doubt that the two stories are simply two versions of the same event and firmly places it in the middle of January 1793, about 2½ years subsequent to the death of William Gowen, Sr. [The bookseller, F. Hagan, was Francis Hagan, husband of Christine H. Merritt Hagan, the granddaughter of Capt. John Rains and Christiannah Gowen Rains.
Noted historical writer, Harriette Simpson Arnow, does not necessarily confuse William Gowen with this event at Hick-man’s Station. However, in “Seedtime on the Cumberland,” published in 1960, pp. 305 and 377, Ms. Arnow refers to “William Gower, killed in the summer of 1780” [sic, I believe a typo] and to “William Gower’s” estate sale, respectively, both citing Davidson County Will Book 1:175. The Will Book and page number she cites, DCWB 1:175, is unequivo-cally that of the estate of William Gowen, husband of Sarah Gowen. In a later book, “Flowering on the Cumberland,” published in 1963, p. 249, Ms. Arnow corrects the name to “William Gowens, killed in 1790” citing the same source as before, DCWB 1:175-76. [The name was misspelled as “Gowens” in the original will book.]
I have not determined the negative, i.e. that there was no pre-existing family tradition [prior to 1960] that William Gowen was killed by Indians. However, I do not now know of any positive contemporaneous evidence about the circumstances of his death. It is therefore possible that the confusion by Ms. Arnow is the sole source of the tradition, and that the tradition is entirely of modern origin.
On the other hand, there is significant possibility that Ms. Arnow may have been right about William Gowen having been killed by Indians even if positive evidence may in fact be lacking. Attacks on the isolated settlers at and near Ft. Nash-boro began a few months after their arrival at Ft. Nashboro on December 25, 1779 and continued sporadically for about 15 years. Ms. Arnow, in a section dealing with Indian warfare and the role of women, places the extraordinary hardships and perils to life and limb in perspective, She writes in “Flowering of the Cumberland,” published by The Macmil-lan Company, 1963, p. 31:
“Around two-thirds of the wives of the original settlers were widowed before the ending of the Indian Wars in Middle Tennessee in 1795. Numerous others, settling later–Mesdames Anthony and Issac Bledsoe, Edwin Hickman, Jacob Castleman, John Donelson, Sr., Henry Rutherford, William Ramsey, to name only a few, were also widowed.”
However, the statistical likelihood of William’s death at the hands of Indians is not what this article is about.
Finally, William Gowen’s death in Davidson County in 1790 should also not be confused with the death by Indian attack of young David Goin, the Mulatto from South Carolina. David Goin was killed nine years earlier [along with Patrick Quigley and two other unidentified men] at Mansker’s Station in early 1781 by Indians, likely within a few days of the January 15, 1781 attack on Freeland’s Station. [“Haywood’s History of Tennessee,” page 130. Mansker’s Station was then located in what is now Sumner County, Tennessee east of the town of Goodlettsville and near the Sumner-Davidson County border. [Read more about Mansker’s Station at the Internet site:
The remaining part of this article is included to unequivocally identify Elijah Gower by various documents and legal pro-ceedings, and thereby remove any doubt of his separate iden-tify from that of William Gowen.
Elijah Gower, the person mortally wounded near Hickman’s Station in 1793, married Prudence Coon in Davidson County, Tennessee on Dec. 22, 1790, according to Davidson County Marriage Book 1, page 32. Elijah Gower and Prudence Coon Gowen had only one child, William Elijah Gower [who died in War of 1812 in New Orleans on January 16, 1815]. Prudence was remarried to John Miller March 20, 1797. DCMB 1:14. [There was no statewide law until 1837 requiring Tennessee counties even to keep marriage records. The marriage entries in Davidson County Marriage Book 1 were not contemporaneously entered into a book as the marriages occurred, and when they were finally entered as a batch [perhaps not until 1837], then the entries were only vaguely in chronological sequence.]
Prudence herself then died about 1806, leaving her child by her first husband an orphan. In Rutherford County, Tennessee Court Minutes, 1804-1810, in October 1806 term, p. 198:
“James Sharp, administrator of Prudence Miller de-ceased, rendered inventory of the chattels estate of said decedent.”
In Rutherford County, Tennessee Court Minutes, 1804-1810, in October 1806 term, p. 197, a guardian was appointed for the child of Elijah Gower and Prudence as follows:
“William Elijah Gower, an orphan child age upwards of 14 years comes into court and makes choice of William Gower as his guardian who is appointed by the court who thereupon with James Sharp and William Bowen, securities gave bond of $1,000 for his faithful guardianship.”
In Davidson County Will Book 4:397, it was recorded [after the death of the beneficiary] Nov. 21, 1815:
“Received of William Gower, administrator of the es-tate of Elijah Gower decd. the full amount of my dis-tributive share being the only child of said Elijah Gower decd.”
22 July 1813
Wm. E. Gower
Teste M. C. Dunn”
[M. C. Dunn was Michael Carnes Dunn, the Sheriff of David-son County from 1808 to 1816, and the son-in-law of Capt. John Rains and Christiannah Gowen Rains.]
Thus William Gower [born October 26, 1776, died October 11, 1851, buried on Gower Road in Davidson County, son of Able and Obedience Gower and younger brother of Elijah Gower] served as both administrator of the estate of Elijah Gower and as guardian of Elijah’s only child. In this situation under modern probate practice, the administrator would make a final accounting and turn over all assets to himself wearing the different hat as guardian. Absent complications, the estate would be closed within about a year of the death. It appears that this procedure was halfway followed by William getting himself appointed as guardian, but that he never ended the ad-ministration of the estate until the orphan child became an adult at age 21 years.
Bond was signed for the marriage of William Elijah Gower to Martha “Patsy” Gower February 10, 1812 in Davidson County, DCMB 1:32. [Martha “Patsy” Gower is regarded as the daughter of Russell Gower and the first cousin of her husband, William Elijah Gower, by the leading researcher on the Davidson County Gower family, Mary Lynn Solomon.] The record makes it fairly clear that William Elijah was only 20 years old at the time of his marriage. The original marriage bonds and license, stored at Metro Archives in Nashville, reads as follows:
“William E. Gower to Patsy Gower, issued 10 Feb. 1812”
The signatures on the bond were as follows and written in the same hand:
/s/ William E. Gower by Wm Gower
/s/ William Gower
Levi Gowen Pensioned at Age 90
For SC Revolutionary Service
Levi Gowen, Mulatto/Melungeon son of Daniel Gowen and Rebecca Gowen, was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina in June 1762. He is identified as the grandson of Alexander Gowen of Stafford County, Virginia and Orange and Rutherford Counties, North Carolina and the great-grandson of William Gowen and Catherine Gowen of Stafford County.
When his father died as a soldier in the South Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War, Levi Gowen signed up, perhaps to avenge his father’s death. “Levi Goines” enlisted “about the time of the fall of Charleston” [May 12, 1780] at age 17 from Fairfield County “where he lived” as a Revolutionary soldier in the South Carolina line, according to his pension application.
While he was away in service, his mother received word that her youngest son, David Gowen had been killed by Indians at Mansker’s Station in the Cumberland River settlement in Tennessee. David Gowen had accompanied William Gowen, regarded as his great uncle, in his move to Tennessee.
For his sacrifice, the Cumberland settlers petitioned that the estate of David Gowen be granted 640 acres for his part “in the settlement and defense” of Nashville. Levi Gowen stood to inherit the section of land and in 1792 gave his power of attorney to his kinsman, John Gowen of Davidson County to handle the matter for him.
Due to the lack of communication, Levi was probably not aware that John Gowen’s father, William Gowen, administrator of the estate of David Gowen, had four years earlier filed suit “against the heirs of David Gowen” to clear the title. The Davidson County Court ordered the property of David Gowen to be sold. Also Levi Gowen probably did not know that William Gowen himself had been killed by the Indians two years previous to his power of attorney. It is hoped that Levi Gowen eventually received his inheritance.
“Levi Goyen” and James Scott were sued January 17, 1793 by James Craig, according to “Fairfield County, South Carolina Minutes of the County Court, 1785-1799.” The case was dismissed when the defendants paid the court costs.
It is believed that shortly after this time Levi Gowen removed to Moore County, North Carolina, perhaps to join other family members there. “Levy Goin” was enumerated as the head of a household in the 1800 census of Moore County, page 62. “Goins, —-ve, free colored,” was listed as the head of a house-hold in the 1820 census of Moore County, page 20, according to “Index to the Census of North Carolina.” Six families of Goings/Gowens/Gowins were enumerated in the 1840 census of Moore County, but Levi Gowen, approximately 78 by this time, was not recorded as the head of a household.
“Levi Goines” was a resident of Moore County April 26, 1852 when he applied for a Revolutionary pension “aged about 90.” His application read:
“Declaration in Order to Obtain the Benefit of the Acts of Congress for the Benefit of Revolutionary Soldiers.
State of North Carolina
County of Moore
On this 26th day of April AD 1852 personally appeared before the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the county and state aforesaid, Levi Goines, a resident of said County of Moore and State of North Carolina, aged about Ninety Years, who first being duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provi-sion made by the Acts of Congress for Soldiers who Served in the Revolutionary War.
That he volunteered in Fairfield County, State of South Carolina and agreed to serve until the end of the War. The time he entered the service he does not recollect, but believes it was about the time that the British took Charleston , that he served as a private in a com-pany commanded by Capt. John Gray and was attached to a Regiment which was commanded by Col. John Winn, and Gen. Richard Winn.
He continued in actual service for about the term of twelve months [he thinks nearly two years, but is deter-mined to be within bounds], though his recollection is not very distinct as to the time he served, but he was honorably discharged, as he believes, at the close of said Revolutionary War by his said Captain, having been marched back to said Fairfield County which was also the residence of his captain. He obtained no written discharge.
He was engaged in a battle near the confluence of the Congaree and Santee Rivers. Gen. Lee, he believes, was the commander though his memory to this is indistinct, says the Tories surrendered here without much fighting. His services were entirely confined to the State of South Carolina, marching from Winnsborough to the Congaree Fort and various other parts of said state under his officers.
(To Be Continued)
He recollects the names of many officers and soldiers with whom he served, but does not know many regulars. The following are some of them: Maj. John Pearson, William W. Morey, James Steel, Joseph Kennedy, John Greggs, Lt. Andrew Gray and Samuel Croslin [the latter was a Regular]. He knows of no person living whose testimony he can procure who can testify to his Service having removed from the State of South Carolina to North Carolina, Moore County soon after the close of the Revolutionary War where he has resided ever since.
He has never been positive until recently that he was entitled to a Pension. Several years since a Gentlemen informed him that he was entitled and he would procure a pension for him, but as nothing was done, he concluded that he was not entitled to anything and made no further effort until now.
He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pen-sion except the present and declares that his name is not on the Pension Roll of the agency of any State.
Sworn to and Subscribed the day and year aforesaid in open Court.
Test. Aron A. F. Leavell Levi [X] Goines”
Duncan Murchison attached an affidavit to the pension appli-cation of Levi Gowen:
“State of North Carolina
On this 19th day of February AD1852 personally ap-peared before me, a Justice of the Peace within and for the County and State aforesaid, Duncan Murchison, be-ing duly sworn according to law declared that he has been acquainted with Levi Goins for forty-five years, during which time he has resided in the county and state aforesaid, that when he came to this county, he understood and believed that he came from the State of South Carolina.
He is a man of good character whose oath can be relied upon. He is reputed to have been a soldier in the Revo-lutionary War while living in South Carolina of which there is no doubt.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 19th day of February AD1852.
John C. Jackson, J. P.”
Gen. W. D. David provided a corroborating affidavit to accompany the pension application to the Pension Department:
“State of North Carolina
On this 28th day of June AD1852 personally appeared before me, a Justice of the Peace within and for the county and state aforesaid Gen. W. D. David who being duly sworn according to law declared that he is well acquainted with Levi Goines of said county and from his general character has no hesitation in saying that he is entitled to full credit upon his oath, that he has recently been requested to examine said Goines relative to his Services as a Soldier in the Revolutionary War, that he has examined and conversed with him on that subject at various times and with great particularity and has no doubt that said Goines volunteered in the State of South Carolina for and during the War and continued in actual service in the Revolutionary War for nearly or quite two years, that he has inquired of said Goines when he entered the service.
Said that he could not tell, but it was about the time the British took Charleston, that he inquired what was his age now, he said he was Ninety Years this month, that he then discovered he must have been under twenty-one years when Charleston was surrendered to the British.
That without making a single intimation to said Goines of that fact [nor can he read a single word of history] that he inquired how old he was when he volunteered, to which he replied that he was about Nineteen years old, that he then referred to the History of the Revolution and found that the time Charleston was surrendered [May 12, 1780]. Said Goines was about Nineteen years old [actually 17].
That he then inquired what general officers he knew. He said ‘Green, Sumter, Wynn, Lee.’ That he then inquired what battles he was in. He said that he was in but one, which was at the Congaree Fort. That he again referred to the history and finds that this fort was called Moultree, near the confluence of Congaree and Santee Rivers. Gen. Lee was dispatched to this place. That from these facts, together with many other incidents of said war related by said Goines, the conclusion was irresistible that said Goines is one of those Veterans who stood up for his country in the hour of danger and has never yet received a pension.
That said Goines with his aged companion are living along in a very humble condition in life, barely able to afford themselves the comforts which their advanced age require. That it is the universal opinion of all who converse with him that he was a faithful soldier in the Revolutionary War.
W. D. David”
“By reference to history, I find that the Battle of Kings Mountain was fought October 7, 1780 after which Lord Cornwallis left Charlotte and fell back to Winnsboro, the very place and year that Mr. Goines mentions in his declaration. –W. C. Thagard.”.
W. C. Thagard provided an affidavit to accompany the pension application:
“State of North Carolina
Pension Office Department
The declaration of Levi Goines, a Revolutionary Soldier with proof of his Services, hereunto annexed, is respectfully submitted for your Consideration. It is believed, that under the Several Acts of Congress, he is entitled to a Pension for life from the 4th of March 1831, to back pay since that time and to Bounty Lands, having volunteered during the War and served, as he believes, until its close or until discharged by his Officers, which several claims he respectfully asks the Department to allow him.
He has no living nor documentary evidence of his Ser-vices, but has transmitted a correct statement, under oath, showing as near as frail memory will allow, the time, place and manner of his Services, the Officers un-der whom he served and with whom he was acquainted.
He also produces the Certificates of three of the most respectable and intelligent men in his County who establish beyond doubt his good character and general reputation as a Soldier, and I imagine there are but few of those Veterans who have been mercifully spared until this day that would swear falsely.
This proof I trust will be sufficient to establish his claim. Time has so reduced the number of these Veter-ans and of the witnesses of their services and sufferings that to require of them positive proof, independently of their own statement, would be to deprive them of the benefit of the Acts. An early investigation of this claim is respectfully Solicited, if consistent with the Regulations of the Department.
His humble condition in life and very feeble health re-quire it. All of which is respectfully submitted. My address is Carthage, N. C.
W. C. Thagard”
An additional certificate was provided by Duncan M. R. McIntosh, Esquire:
“State of North Carolina
On this 16th day of July AD1852 personally appeared before me, a Justice of the Peace within and for the county and State aforesaid Duncan M. R. McIntosh, Esq. who being duly sworn according to law declares that he has been acquainted with Levi Goines for about Twenty-five years, that he is a man of good character for truth and veracity. There are but few men more to be relied upon, on their oath, than he is.
He is reputed to have served as a Soldier in the Revolu-tionary War in the State of South Carolina, that he has no doubt of that fact. He is a man of about Ninety years of age.
D. M. R. McIntosh
Sworn to and Subscribed before me the day and year above written.
Wm. Barrett, J. P.”
Alexander C. Curry, clerk of Moore County Court attached his own certificate:
“State of North Carolina
I, Alexander C. Curry, Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in an for the County and State afore-said, do hereby certify that the declaration of Levi Goines hereunto annexed was duly executed and sworn to in open court by the identical Levi Goines named in said declaration who is reputed and believed to have been a Revolutionary soldier.
I further certify that Duncan Murchison, Esq, D. M. R. McIntosh, Esq. and Gen’l W. D. David whose names appear to the annexed certificates are citizens of said county of high standing whose regard for truth cannot be doubted. Said Murchison is a Prominent Elder in the Presbyterian Church, and each of them has been promoted to distinguished places of trust in their county and state. Said signatures being in their own proper hand writing.
I further certify that John C. Jackson, William Barret and Donald Street whose names appear to the annexed certificates of Duncan Murchison, D. M. B. McIntosh and W. D. David were at the time of signing the same acting Justices of the Peace in an for the county afore-said, duly commissioned and qualified according to law and that their signatures to the same are genuine.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto affixed my Seal of Office and subscribed my name the 6th day of August AD1852.
Alexander C. Curry, Clerk
Moore County Court”
The pension application of Levi Gowen and accompanying af-fidavits were mailed to Hon. W. Dockery, House of Represen-tatives with the request that his pension check be mailed to Dockery’s Store, N. C.
After a year had passed, W. C. Thaghard wrote a letter on the behalf of the application of Levi Gowen:
“Carthage, N.C, April 8, 1853
Some months since I presented through Gen. Dockery to the Department the declaration of Levi Goines, a Soldier in the War of the Revolution, asking to be allowed a pension for his services in said war. I stated in my letter that the advanced age and feeble health of the old Veteran present Strong claims to the Department for an early investigation. I have waited with great patience, and as yet the Department has not seen fit to address me on the subject.
If there is any informality in the declaration or any lack of testimony that prevents the claim being allowed, will the Department please to inform me or if it has not yet been investigated or has been allowed and no informa-tion given, I ask respectfully to be informed thereof.
W. C. Thagard”
Levi Gowen received Pension No. R3865 approved August 4, 1852. It is unknown how long Levi Gowen and his wife received the pension. Of Levi Gowen and descendants nothing more is known.
Mention of the “Goings families” in Moore County appeared in “Ancient Records of Moore County, North Carolina:”
“By strange coincidence, there were two Goings fami-lies in Moore County in 1790, one being white; the other listed under the heading of “all other free per-sons,” that is free negro, mulatto or Indian. Both families were headed by William Goings. One William, of course the white one, was later made a justice of the peace for the county. Within the writer’s recollection, some of those families held themselves above association with negroes, and their white neigh-bors accepted them as several notches above their black brethren.
An examination of the 1850 census will show the in-crease in this clan, all of whom are there listed as mu-latto. Briefly, the Goings were classed exactly as were the so-called “Lumbee” Indians of Robeson County. In later years, certain of these families intermarried with negroes, and their descendants now living in Moore County are as black as the pot. Others, however, have maintained the complexion and characteristics of their more ancient ancestors. The free family lived on or about Pocket Creek, in Lee County [organized from Moore County and Chatham County in 1907] or between there and Lemon Springs.
The writer’s father once pointed out to him their lo-cation and casually remarked, ‘they were not negroes, but probably Indians.’ What became of the white family of Williams Goings, the writer has been unable to determine. A few years ago, a writer in the “Saturday Evening Post” wrote a story on the ‘Melungeons’ [maybe from the French ‘melange,’ a mixture] who had a colony on the Clinch River in North Central Tennessee, and among whose members were Goings.”
2) Dear Cousins
I would like some assistance on my grandfather, Grant Goins who was born in Whitley County, KY September 10, 1879. He was married there to Elizabeth “Betty” Rains c1899. He died there May 14, 1954 at age 74. Can anyone assist me with his ancestry? Charles Goins, Jr. and Anita Goins, 12125 W. Coldwater Rd, Flushing, MI, 48433, SunShine@iavbbs.com
Prof. Brian G. Gowenlock faxed the following from England:
“You asked a question concerning the surname “Gowenlock” and its origins. I have seen a book which said that it was a diminutive of Gowen, but the geo-graphical concentration of the surname in its various spellings suggests that it is a place name probably from Roxburghshire or Selkirkshire. That is the view of the massive dictionary of Scottish surnames, “The Sur-names of Scotland, Their Origin, Meaning, and His-tory” published in New York some 50 years ago.
The name is concentrated in those counties together with eastern Dumfriesshire, Peeblesshire and Edin-burgh. It think it is most likely to be a Borders name. Were it to be a diminutive of Gowan or Smith I would expect it to be more widespread in Scotland and this is not the case for the period before 1800.”
In our 1993 interview, Prof. Gowenlock discussed variant spellings: the “w” could be “v”, the “e” could be “a” or ‘i’, and the “ck” could be “ch”. He commented that Gownlock and Gouinlock were archaic forms. There are lots of possible spellings. In sum, I believe that Gowenlock [and variants] is a distinct surname, not a variant of Gowen. Yours aye [as they say in Scotland] Capt. Paul R. Peak, 6251 Old Dominion Drive, #306, McLean, VA, 22101-0340, email@example.com.
Three Gorin boys were born in Fairfax County, VA: John, b1763; Henry b1768 and Gladin b1771. No knowledge of parents other than a letter from Henry to his grandson saying they were of Welsh descent and that the family came first to NC.
John fought [at age 13] in the Revolutionary War, md. Elizabeth Franklin, d/o John and Pamela Dawson Franklin somewhere in VA. John lost his Revolutionary War papers, so I don’t know the early spelling of his surname. John stated in his application for pension that he lived near Alexandria, VA and that he was called on twice by George Washington while on furlough, once to supply horses and once to guard Washington’s house.
Henry fought at that age also, md. in Fairfax County to Sarah Pell. Henry’s name was also rendered as Gorham and Goram.
The three Gorins came to KY after the war, settling first in Fayette County, thence to Barren and Warren Counties. Both John and Henry had a fine stable of horses in Kentucky for many years. The surname has been pretty pure here–Gorin and Goren with a few clerks spelling it Goran.
In the Northern Neck of VA, there are Gowen and Goins families who lived as neighbors to my Gorins. The same sur-names popped up later in KY and some married into our Gorin line. The family in some generations has definite mulungeon characteristics. The Gorins are supposed to have Huguenot ties, but the Huguenot Society doesn’t claim them. Do you suppose they were beamed down by Scottie?
I’ve just got to find their family after 25 years of searching! Sandi Gorin, 205 Clements Ave, Glasgow, KY, 42141, 502/651-9114, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER
Volume 1, No. 7 July 30, 1998
3) Hangman for a day . . . William W. Gowen Plunges Two Murderers to Eternity
When William W. Gowen settled in Charlton County, Georgia
in 1853, little did he dream that the community would request
him to participate in a hanging. But it did, and he and 106
other men willingly pulled the trip-rope that dropped two
condemned murderers to death. Family members later reported
that he regretted the necessity of the execution of two renegade
slaves, but suffered no remorse for his part in the grisly affair.
William W. Gowen, son of William Keating Gowen and Mary
Harrison Gowen was born in 1803 in Beaufort District, South
Carolina at Combahee Ferry. In 1820, when he was 17, his
parents died–both on the same day!
About 1828 William W. Gowen was married to Rebecca
Townsend Greene. The household of William W. Gowen appeared
in the 1830 census of Beaufort District, page 289. The family
reappeared in the 1840 census of Beaufort District, Prince
William Parish, page 247. In the following year, William W.
Gowen was the high bidder at $650 for “Frank, a slave for life”
in a sale held June 7, 1841 by the sheriff of Colleton District,
according to the bill of sale retained in 1960 by Gertrude Godley
Durden, a great-granddaughter.
Rebecca Townsend Greene Gowen died about 1846 after the
birth of her ninth child, and William W. Gowen was remarried
about 1850 to Elizabeth Chevalier, a widow of Beaufort
District. Following the birth of one child, the second wife died,
probably in the winter of 1851.
William W. Gowen removed to Charlton County and located
near his brother, James Gowen who had preceded him to
Georgia by some 35 years. James Vernon Gowen, a grandson,
still owned his 1,200-acre tract in 1932.
It was in 1858 that William W. Gowen participated in
Georgia’s largest hanging party. An extra 100 feet of rope was
tied to the trip line on the gallows, and 107 men took hold of
the rope and, all pulling simultaneously, carried out their
execution. Alex S. McQueen described the event in “History
of Charlton County, Georgia.” To avoid being branded a
lynch mob, they wrote a declaration to justify their action:
“To the Public: The undersigned citizens of Charlton
County and surrounding country, being about to resume
for a moment their delegated rights and do execution
upon two acknowledged murderers, publish to a candid
world their reasons for the same.
Whereas, in the month of April last an atrocious
murder was committed upon one Henry Jones, a white
man by two negroes named Peter and George, slaves of
Dr. C. E. Ballard in this county, and said negroes on
being arrested did voluntarily confess the same and
pointed out the place of their victim’s burial, disinter his
body and acknowledge all the circumstances of his
death, thus leaving no doubt in the mind of any one of
those present of their guilt. And whereas, they have
since their arrest broken from two prisons and have been
recaptured after great trouble and much expense and are
now in our hands under guard.
Now, therefore, we, after quiet mature deliberation,
resolve that to give peace and quiet to an excited
neighborhood and do an act of justice which none can
condemn and which involves the principle that self
preservation is the first law of nature, we do therefore
condemn the said Peter and George to be hung by the
neck until they are dead, and the execution shall be at
Trader’s Hill between the hours of 12 and 1 p.m. on
The document, dated September 6, 1858 had 107 signatures,
including William W. Gowen’s. In 1932 McQueen, interviewed
eye witnesses of the event and recorded his findings:
“The writer, upon examining this old paper, became
curious about the large number of signers and went to
interview three old men yet living in the county who
remember quite distinctly the hanging of the two slaves.
It was found that this bold statement ‘to a candid world’
was signed by nearly every adult male in the entire
county, and it was also revealed, actually participated in
the hanging later. This information was gleaned by
interviews with Jesse Grooms and John Vickery, the
only two ex-Confederate soldiers now living in Charlton
County and from James Robinson, a boy at the time of
this incident, but who remembers it well.
A gallows was erected at Traders Hill, both negroes
were placed on the scaffold at the same time, and a
noose around the neck of each one was tied by Daniel R.
Dedge, ex-sheriff, who was also a member of the
vigilance court; a long rope was then procured and
fastened to the ‘trigger’ and every man of the 107 who
had condemned the negroes to death placed a hand on
the rope, and, at a given signal pulled the rope,
springing the trap that plunged the murderers to their
William W. Gowen was married for the third time about 1860
to Mrs. Emily Nunguyer, a widow some 27 years his junior. On
July 5, 1860 he was enumerated in the federal census of
Charlton County residing in Centrovillage District as House-
hold 195-178, page 28. A slave, Donas Gowen was included in
the household. He was born March 4, 1832 and died May 5,
1915, according to the inscription on his tombstone as copied
by Barney Alexander Gowen of Woodbine, Georgia, grandson of
William W. Gowen.
Agnes Dean Gowen, a great granddaughter reported in a letter
dated May 10, 1961 that William W. Gowen died at age 95 in
1898. He was buried in Union Church Cemetery near
Colesburg, Georgia at the side of his brother, Barney B.
There were perhaps 14 children born to William W. Gowen
and his three wives, but only 12 have been identified to date:
William Washington Gowen born May 15, 1829
Ann Elizabeth Gowen born Dec. 29, 1831
Mary R. Gowen born April 15, 1833
James Glenn “Buck” Gowen born Nov. 18, 1835
Barney Glenn Gowen born September 1, 1837
Andrew Greene Gowen born February 13, 1839
Barney James Gowen born December 4, 1841
Elizabeth Jane Gowen born March 22, 1844
Rebecca Glenn Gowen born July 17, 1846
Madison Amanda Reed Gowen born June 27, 1851
Secession “Cess” Gowen born about 1861
Mintie Gowen born about 1863
4) Descendants of Pioneer James Blair Gowens Invite Foundation Members to Reunion
By Patricia Gowens Ward
619 W. Taos, Hobbs, NM, 88240, 505/392-2748
James Blair Gowens, youngest son of Charles Gowens, Revolutionary sol-
dier and Elizabeth “Betsy” Blair Gowens [Electronic Newsletter, June
1998], was born in Kentucky in 1810 and came to Texas to pioneer in a
new land. His descendants invite Foundation members and their friends
to join with them in honoring their pioneer ancestors in a reunion Octo-
ber 10, 1998.
The festivities will take place in Graham, Texas City Park located on
Seventh Street and U.S. Highway 67 at the Agricultural Activity Center.
Registration begins at 11:00 a.m. with a covered dish luncheon at 12:30.
At 5:00 p.m. that evening, we will have sandwiches, chips, dips, etc.
Bring your favorite dishes and cold cuts.
Kitchen and bathroom facilities are available at the Activity Center.
Motel reservations can be made at Gateway Inn, 940/549-0222 or the
Plantation Inn, 940/540-8320. Both are located on Highway 16 South.
We hope to see everyone there.
5) Whence Came the Name . . . ? Gowen Field, Idaho
Gowen Field was named July 23, 1941 in honor of 1st Lt. Paul
R. Gowen of Caldwell, Idaho who was killed July 11, 1938 in
Panama in the crash of his twin-engine Army Air Corps
bomber, according to the July 23,1941 edition of “Idaho Daily
Statesman.” The War Department announced its decision to
honor Lt. Gowen, chosen from names of three Idaho Army
pilots who had met death in the line of duty, after several weeks
His plane crashed in flames on the Paitilla Point military
reservation shortly after taking off from Albrook Field near
Panama City. His navigator and radioman crawled from the
wreckage severely burned. They reported that smoke began
pouring out of right engine shortly before it went dead. Lt.
Gowen was unable to gain altitude with only one engine and
attempted to glide to the ocean less than two miles away. A
few hundred yards from the water the plane was impacted by
tree tops and plunged into the jungle. He was killed instantly.
He was 29. The accident was witnessed by a group of coast
artillery soldiers working in the vicinity. They sent a rescue
party and brought the survivors to a hospital.
Lt. Gowen was survived by his wife, the former Betty Wilson of
Twin Falls, Idaho and a small daughter, Stephanie who had
lived with him in the Canal Zone for the previous year. Other
survivors include his parents of Caldwell [unnamed], two
sisters. Mrs. Robert Walker of Caldwell and Miss Daphne
Gowen of Lewiston and three brothers, William B. Gowen of
Boise, Ralph B. Gowen of Twin Falls and Justin B. Gowen
“who is on a leave of absence from Katowice Poland where he
is employed by Anaconda Mining Co.”
Lt. Gowen was a graduate of Caldwell High School and the
University of Idaho at Moscow where he was graduated with
honors. Following college he was appointed to the U. S.
Military Academy at West Point where he was also an honor
graduate. He requested the Air Corps and, after flight training,
was stationed in Louisiana, Oklahoma and the Canal Zone.
In a ceremony held April 9, 1942, the name of Gowen Field
was formally adopted by the U. S. Army. Col. Charles B.
Oldfield, commanding officer invited members of Lt. Gowen’s
family as guests of honor for the dedication. Representing the
family were Miss Daphne Gowen, sister, Lewiston; Mrs.
William B. Gowen, sister-in-law, Boise and Justin B. Gowen,
brother, Butte, Montana, according to the “Idaho Daily
Miss Gowen is secretary to the president of Lewiston Normal
School. James B. Gowen, a geologist for Anaconda Copper
Company, was working in Poland just before Germany invaded
that country. While most Americans were having great
difficulty leaving Poland in opposite directions, he passed
through Germany unchallenged and into freedom in Holland.”
Serving Three Hitches . . .
6) David Smith Goins, Melungeon Ended the War at Yorktown
Prepared from research developed
By Louise Goins Richardson
2207 E. Lake Street, Paragould, AR, 72450, 501/239-4763
David Smith Goins, probably a Melungeon, was born in Hanover
County, Virginia November 21, 1757, according to his Revo-
lutionary War pension application abstracted in “Tennessee
Heroes of the Revolution” by Zella Armstrong.
During his life he was sometimes enumerated as “white” and
sometimes as “free colored.” Apparently his family removed to
Halifax County, Virginia prior to the Revolution. He enlisted
there in a militia company commanded by “Capt. Rogers,” ac-
cording to his pension application dated February 27, 1834:
“David Goins, a resident of Hamilton County and State
of Tennessee, aged 76 years doth appear in open court
before the Worshipful Justices of the Court of Pleas &
Quarter Sessions of Hamilton County now sitting and on
his oath make the following Declaration:
That he entered the service of the United States as a vol-
unteer under Capt. Rogers in Halifax County, State of
Virginia and was mustered into service under Col.
William Terry at Halifax Courthouse, to Williamsburg,
from Williamsburg to Norfolk, and from Norfolk to
Portsmouth where he was discharged, having served
“Six or eight months after his return home, he was
drafted, according to his memory under Capt. Bates and
joined the regiment at Bibb’s Ferry under Maj. Jones.
He was marched from there to Cabbin Point below
Petersburg, Virginia and was stationed there until his
term of service expired, having served three months this
tour and was discharged by Capt. Bates and returned
About two years after the last mentioned service, this ap-
plicant was again drafted, according to his memory un-
der Capt. Pregmore in Halifax County. They marched
to join Gen. Washington’s army at Portsmouth where
this applicant remained about two months before the
surrender of Corn Wallis. About three days afterward,
his term of service expired, and he was discharged by
Capt. Pregmore and returned home, having served three
months this tour.
Four or five years after the termination of the
Revolutionary War [October 1781], he moved from
Halifax County to Grayson County, Virginia where he
resided three years. From there he moved to Wythe
County, Virginia and resided there for 10 years. From
there he moved to Grainger County and resided there for
14 years. From there he moved to Hamilton County,
Tennessee and has resided here twelve months the last
day of this month and still resides here.”
Apparently David Smith Goins was married shortly after his return
home. “David Going” was listed in the state census of Virginia
of 1782 as the head of a household of two people in Halifax
County, according to “Heads of Households, Virginia, 1790,”
page 24. He reappeared in the 1785 state census of Halifax
County as the head of a household of “four white souls,” ac-
cording to the same volume. In 1787 in Halifax County “David
Gowin” rendered for taxes “two horses and five head of cattle.”
About 1788 he removed to Grayson County and from there he
relocated in adjoining Wythe County about 1791.
“David Gowin” was listed as the head of a household in the
1810 census of Wythe County, according to “Index to 1810
Virginia Census” by Madeline W. Crickard. About 1811 he
moved again to Grainger County “where he had a brother, La-
ban Goin,” according to his pension application.
The 1820 census of Grainger County [and all but 10 counties of
Tennessee] was destroyed by a fire in Washington, and no copy
remains. “David S. Going, free negro” appeared in the 1821
tax list of Grainger County and paid a tax on “one free poll.”
“David Goan” reappeared in the 1830 census of Grainger
County, page 359, heading a household of “free colored per-
“David Goins, age 76” was listed as Revolutionary War Pen-
sioner S3406 in Hamilton County in 1834, according to
“Twenty Four Hundred Tennessee Pensioners” by Zella
David Smith Goins died in 1840 in Hamilton County, “his pension
then being paid to his children” [unnamed], according to pen-
sion records. He did not appear in the 1840 census of Hamilton
County. Children born to David Smith Goins are unknown.
Laban Goins, identified as a younger brother of David Smith Goins,
was born in 1764 in Virginia, probably Hanover County. He
lived in Halifax County during the Revolutionary War, but was
too young to serve in the militia with his brother. About 1800
Laban Goins removed, apparently with several families of rela-
tives, to Grainger County, Tennessee. The 1805 tax list of
Grainger County included “Laborn Going, Claborn Goins,
Daniel Going, Caleb Going, James Goins and John Goins. A
second version of the “Taxable Inhabitants for the Year
1805” listed “Laban Going, Claiborne Going, Daniel Goin,
Shadrack Goin, James Going, John Going and Calib Going.”
Although the spelling varies from the first list to the second, it
is obvious that the two lists refer to the same individuals. Of
the second group only Shadrack Goin does not appear in the
first list. “Laborn Going” was rendered as “one free poll, ne-
gro” in the tax list.
Laban Goins preceded his brother in the move to Hamilton
County. He appeared in the 1830 census of that county, page
75, as the head of a “free colored” household. The enumerator
obviously had no way to properly record a Melungeon house-
hold. Although he did not record the “free colored”
individuals, he did enumerate in the household “one white fe-
male, 5-10” and “one white female, 0-5.”
On February 7, 1834 Laban Goins submitted his affidavit to the
Hamilton County Court attesting to his brother’s Revolutionary
7) First Atomic Veteran . . . James Madison Gowin Donates Memoirs To the Foundation Library
I am enclosing for the shelves of the Foundation library a
copy of ‘Memoirs of James M. Gowin, First Atomic Veteran.’ In
addition to this 214-page book, I am sending a cassette tape re-
cording which provides additional information about my life and
my philosophy. I would like the Foundation to have these and to
preserve them forever.
I greatly appreciate receiving the Newsletter and applaud all
the efforts being made to preserve our heritage. I am certain
when we go back far enough the Gowins, Gowens, Goins etc.
all have some common ancestors. My great-grandfather,
Shadrack Gowin was born April 17, 1791 in Virginia, and my
grandfather, Drury Gowin, was born May 26, 1819 in Wilson
County, Tennessee. My father, James Madison Gowin was
born May 11, 1841 in Crawford County, Illinois. My cousin,
Donna Gowin Johnston of Casper, Wyoming has done an out-
standing job in writing the history of our family.
I was born August 25, 1915 in Rutherford County, Ten-
nessee when my father was 74. My father was a Civil War veteran,
having served in the Thirty-third Indiana Infantry Regiment. I
served in the 442nd Infantry in World War II and did occupation
duty in Japan.
We arrived there immediately after the second atomic bomb
was dropped, and five of us requisitioned a truck and drove the
30 miles to Hiroshima. We were appalled at this devastated
city. We could not drive through, so we parked the truck and
walked through. We were the first Americans to arrive there
and had received no warning about radiation sickness. There
were some mighty dirty, sick-looking people there digging
around in the rubble. They paid us no mind nor we them. We
were about four hours walking across Hiroshima and about four
hours coming back through. We were amazed at the power of
this bomb. It had severed 3-foot reinforced columns just as
smooth as a knife cuts cheese. We ate there twice, laying our
food on the tops of these severed columns.
On December 1, 1945 I was hospitalized with an “unknown
sickness” and on March 31, 1946 I was evacuated on a hospital
ship for home. During the next 44 years I have fought a con-
stant [losing] battle for my health. I hope that America will
never forget the horror and suffering that has been unleashed.
James M. Gowin, 7347 Charlotte Place, Nashville, TN, 37209.
8) Cornwall Advocated as the Ancestral Home of the Goyens, Gowens, Goins Etc.
By Robert J. Goyen
523 Sutton Street, Sebastopol 3357, Victoria, Australia
Taking into account that the only areas of Britain that were
not conquered by the Romans and later the Vikings were Scot-
land, Wales and Cornwall. There they continued to use the
Gaelic language, and so Gowens would be found in only those
This being so, then we were always Cornish. In 1936, my
mother asked a genealogist of the time to find for her the origin
of the name “Goyen.” His story was that in 1066 among the
followers of William the Conqueror was a Norman nobleman,
Sir Hugh de Goy. His followers were known as
Goyens/Goynes. Goy, Goyen and Goyne are place names de-
riving from a place on the River Seine in Lower Normandy
which is now spelt “Guyon.” Sir Hugh de Goy was granted
land in Cornwall. There the Goyen name was pronounced
Gowen as the old Cornish language did not use the letter “Y.”
I am enclosing [below] a copy of a newspaper account of a
collision at sea involving my g-g-grandmother and her children
while they were coming out in 1859 to join my g-g-grandfather
already here. Robert J. Goyen, 523 Sutton St, Sebastopol
3357, Victoria, Australia.
“Collision at Sea–Loss of the Elizabeth Walker
The White Star ship Red Jacket arrived at Port Phillip Heads at sundown on
Saturday and reached Hobson’s Bay late yesterday evening. Her passage to the
Equator occupied 28 days; thence to the Cape light and baffling winds. Capt.
Kirby reports the loss of the Elizabeth Walker from collision with the Red Jacket.
The following particulars were extracted from the log:
June 13, lat. 30.40 S, lon. 36.40 W at 1 a.m, clear moonlight, ship’s
course SE 1/2 S, rate of sailing 9 knots, all plain sail set and the port
foretopmast studding-sail, the man on the look-out reported a ship on the port
bow. Orders were given by Mr. Robertson, officer of the watch, to show the port
light. On ascertaining the tack and position of the ship the officer of the
watch gave orders for the helm to be put to port, as the strange vessel was
nearly on a parallel on the opposite tack to ourselves. The strange vessel
then showed a flaming torchlight. At the same time, it was discovered that
she had put her helm to starboard, and was keeping off the same as ourselves.
The officer of the watch seeing, by the two vessels continuing on the same
course, that a collision would be inevitable, ordered the helm of the Red Star
to be put to starboard, with the view of passing under the stern of the
strange vessel, and almost simultaneously, the helm on board of the strange
vessel was put to port, which luffed her across our bows, and a collision
Orders were immediately given to throw all aback. To describe the confusion
among the passengers at the first shock is unnecessary; suffice it to say that
the Red Jacket had cut into the main-hatch combings of the other vessel, carry-
ing away her mainmast, mizen topmast, yards, etc, the Red Jacket losing fore
topmast-studsail-boom, and some of the head gear being carried away. On looking
over the bows of our own vessel, I immediately saw the dangerous position of
the other one, as she was evidently filling very rapidly with water, and called
out to them on board to leave her at once. With much difficulty the crew got on
board the Red Jacket, and in less that eight minutes from the first shock the
strange vessel went down under the bottom of the Red Jacket. At the earliest
opportunity the crew of the strange vessel was mustered. They were all on board,
and with the exception of the man that was at the wheel, they were all uninjured.
The ship proved to be the Elizabeth Walker, of Glasgow, from Buenos Ayres, with
a general cargo. When repair was completed, sail was made with the intention to
proceed on the voyage and to put the crew on board the first ship we found home-
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.