2002 – 03 March Newsletter – GRF

Sections in this issue:

1) James Goen enjoyed his new job on the railroad immensely;
3) William Gowans’ Love of Books Instilled by Edgar Allen Poe.

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

Gowen Research Foundation
Electronic Newsletter

March 200203.txt
Volume 5 No. 3

1)  James Goen enjoyed his new job on the railroad immensely.

He had tried gandy-dancing, and he much preferred his new job as a brakeman. He concluded that it was better to ride the rails than to lay them. By the summer of 1887, he was a respected member of the traincrew–the engineer, the fireman, the switchman and the brakeman–and shared the pride of all the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad men in bringing their freight train in on schedule.

Time was important to the railroad, and it was Col. Cyrus K. Holliday, himself, founder of the AT&SF, who had presented a treasured railroad watch to James Goen and his fellow crewmen. It was no idle saying that “folks around these parts get the time of day from the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.”

The only thing better than being a crewman on a freight train was being assigned to a passenger train. James Goen’s older half-brother, W. A. Glaze was the conductor on a passenger train. Not only did he have “the watch,” but he carried “the flag.” It was the conductor who was in charge of the train-the man who told them when to go and when to stay.

It was necessary to start the train on schedule and to bring it in to each station on time to avoid collision with another train running on the same single line track.

On this particularly July day in 1887, James Goen was relaxing in the caboose as his train was nearing Atchison when suddenly he heard his train’s frantic whistle and felt a sudden jolt as the engineer applied the emergency brakes. When he picked himself up from the floor and recovered his balance, he mounted a freight car, And to his horror, there was his brother’s passenger train bearing down upon them at full speed.

He seized the brake wheel and began to engage his brakes in a cloud of sparks, slowing his train only negligbly. He knew there was no hope of avoiding a collision when he saw all of his fellow crewmen jumping from his speeding train.

He thought of his brother on the racing passenger train and tightened the pressure on his brakes all the more, determined to ride the train down to the end. He saw the engines collide and Rear up like a couple of fighting stallions. He saw the cars beginning to jacknife across the track.

Suddenly everytghinig stopped, and he was sliding across the top of his car. Then everything went black. . . .


James Goen was born in 1865 in Fayette County, Ohio. His father, also named James Goen, had returned from the Mexican War and was a restless man after his adventures on the Texas frontier and in Mexico. His father was married in Fayette County to Mrs. Ella Campbell Glaze, a widow with two sons. She had been born there in 1834.

In 1870, the family headed for Iowa and wound up in Leon, Iowa,.a village in Decatur County on the Missouri border.

The young James Goen admired his older half-brothers, and when W. A. Glaze got a railroad job and moved to Kansas, the youngster knew that as soon as he was old enough, he was also going into railroading.

Atchison, Kansas, on the Missouri River, was the magnet for adventuresome young men. It was the epicenter for travel to the western frontier. The Lewis & Clark Expedition spent July 4, 1804 in Atchison before setting out to discover a route to the Pacific. The famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart was born there in the northeast corner of Kansas.

The decades following the Civil War was an exciting time for railroad men. In 1859, Col. Holliday, one of the founders of Topeka, Kansas, chartered the Atchison & Topeka Railroad. In 1863, the line began to lay track over the wagon ruts of the Santa Fe trail-and at that time Santa Fe was added to the railroad’s name, Thereafter the railroad went by that popular name..

The Kansas State Legislature gave the Santa Fe 3,000,000 acres of land in alternate sections, checkerboarded in a 10 mile strip on either side of the tracks. The railroad began to sell off this largese at $5 an acre to raise construction funds for continued construction.

The romantic name Santa Fe added a mystic property to the railroad-even though it never built into the city. The rail line stopped at Lamy, New Mexico 10 miles out from the state capital. Later a spur was added to connect to Santa Fe.

In 1887, the AT&SF stretched from Kansas City to Los Angeles. In the following year, the railroad crossed the Mississippi River at Ft. Madison, Iowa and reached Chicago. This gave the railroad 195 miles of track in Illinois, 20 miles in Iowa and 3,000 miles in Kansas.


James Goen lived about six hours after the collision, but died of his injuries on the same day. The body was brought back to Leon, Iowa where his parents continued to live. His death was announced in a news article in the “Decatur County Journal” in its July 27, 1887 edition:

“Last week the community was made sorrowful by hearing of the railroad collision in which James Goen lost his life. His half brother, Mr. Glaze, was conductor on one of the trains and James Goen was brakeman on the other.

Thinking that he might save the life of his brother on the other train, he stuck to his own train when every one else jumped off. In the collision one leg was crushed, the other broken in two places, while he sustained other injuries. He was taken home and lived about six hours.

As soon as possible, his friends brought his remains to Leon to be buried beside his father. The funeral services were held at the Methodist Episcopal Church and were conducted by his mother’s pastor, the Rev. W. C. Cort, of the Presbyterian Church, assisted by the pastors of the other churches. The house was crowded with sympathizing friends and many could not get in.

The pallbearers were six young men, who had been his associates. The Leon Band, also made up mainly of his young friends, playing appropriate melodies, preceded the hearse to the cemetery.

Thus, at the age of twenty-two, James Goen was taken from this world with but a short warning. He fell in the strength of his young manhood, when the future seemed bright and pleasant. One more warning voice speaks to us from the grave. It says prepare to meet thy God in peace, for you know not the day nor the hour when your summons will also come.”

The obituary of Ella Campbell Glaze Goen, the mother of James Goen, was carried in the January 4, 1917 edition of the “Decatur County Journal:”

“A good woman and a faithful Christian passed away when Mrs. Ella Goen, nee Ella Campbell, answered the summons of death. The end came Christmas morning, December 25, 1916. Mrs. Goen was born in Fayette County, Ohio, July 12, 1834. The end came at Atchison, Kansas, where this esteemed woman was living at that time with her daughter Mrs. Jennie Goen Logan.

Mrs. Goen was married twice. Her first marriage was to Benjamin J. Glaze. The marriage took place in Fayette County, Ohio. Three children were born to this union, namely, W. A. Glaze, of Des Moines, Iowa; A. W. Glaze, who lives in Los Angeles, California, and a daughter who died at the age of eight years. The husband died in 1863. Mrs. Glaze was again married in 1865. This time to James Goen, who also was a native of Fayette County, Ohio. This union was also blessed with the birth of three children. They are James Goen, who died in Atchison, Kansas, in 1887; G. B. Goen, who lives in Stockton, California; and Mrs. Jennie Goen Logan, of Atchison, Kansas, with whom Mrs. Goen has been making her home for the past thirty years.

Mrs. Goen came with her husband to Leon, Iowa, in 1870, where she resided until after his death, then going as already mentioned to her daughter in Atchison, Kansas.

At the age of eighteen Mrs. Goen united with the United Brethren Church of which church she was a faithful and consistent member until she came west. Not finding this church when she came to Leon, she identified herself with the Presbyterian Church. In this faith she lived and served. In this faith she answered the summons and went to her coronation.

The body of Mrs. Goen was brought back to Leon where it was tenderly laid to rest by the side of her departed husband and son. The funeral services were conducted Wednesday afternoon from the Methodist Church. Rev. Marsolf, of the local Presbyterian Church being out of town, Rev. Raoul R. Moser was asked to take charge of the services.

Beside the bereaved ones already mentioned, Mrs. Goen leaves an aged brother, Gloss Campbell, of Osborn, Missouri to mourn her death. Sympathy is extended to this esteemed family by all who knew them.”*

Children born to James Goen and Ella Campbell Glaze Goen include:

James Goen born about 1865
G. B. Goen born about 1869
Jennie Goen born about 1873

*The article was copied from the “Decatur County Journal” and provided to the Foundation by Nancee McMurtrey Seifert.


Napoleon Bonaparte Goings, “free colored person” on December 14, 1835 paid $5,000 for E. Miller’s Store in Natchez, Mississippi. Later he took bankruptcy, and the store was sold for the benefit of his creditors. He lived in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1838. Later it was reported that he removed to New Orleans, Louisiana.

In 1890, “Georgiana Goins, widow of Napoleon” was listed in the city directory of New Orleans, living at 431 Poydras. In the 1891 city directory, “Georgiana Goins, widow of Napoleon” reappeared, still living at 431½ Poydras.

3)  William Gowans’ Love of Books Instilled by Edgar Allen Poe

William Gowans, bibliophile and publisher, was born March 29, 1803 in Lanarkshire. He was a product of vigorous Scotch peasantry and lived on a farm near the Falls of the Clyde, where he attended school. His family emigrated to the United States in 1823. A short residence in Philadelphia was followed by some five years in Crawford County Indiana.

When William Gowans was about 25 years old, he went to New York City and tried his hand at various occupations, including gardening, news vending and stone cutting. In 1830 he played a minor part with Edwin Forrest at the Bowery Theatre.

Later he set up a bookstall on Chatham Street, consisting simply of a row of shelves, protected with wooden shutters, an iron bar, and a padlock. He also recounted that he was a boarder for several months about 1837 in the household of Edgar Allen Poe, according to “New York Evening Mail,” December 10, 1870. For the rest of his life he was ever identified with books. He was not as much concerned with books with uncut pages and luxurious bindings as he was with second-hand and rare volumes, and “unconsidered tribles and remnants.”

His locations were many, and for a brief period he sat up shop as a book auctioneer. From 1863 to the end of his life, he was the “Antiquarian of Nassau Street” with his shop at No. 115 on that thoroughfare. He was more a book collector than a book salesman. When a customer complained that a book was “too high,” he would reply, “Well, we’ll make it higher,” at the same time placing it on a tall shelf out of reach.

His books filled the store, floor, basement and sub-cellar, the treasures in the depths discovered only with the aid of a small tin sperm-oil lamp.

“Books lay everywhere in seemingly dire confusion, piled upon tables and on the floor, until they finally toppled over, and the few narrow aisles which had originally been left between the rows became well-nigh impassable,” according to the “The New York Post.” His executors sold at auction some 250,000 bound volumes after eight tons of pamphlets had been sold as waste paper.

William Gowans did some publishing from time to time, his earliest production being a reprint of the English edition in 1701 of Dacier’s translation of “Plato’s Phacedo” in 1833. Between 1842 and 1870, he issued 28 catalogues of his books. These catalogues are full of “his antiquarian reminiscences, his quaint and shrewd opinions, and curious speculations.”

Other worthwhile publications were the historical reprints known as “Gowans’ Bibliotheca Americana” [5 volumes, 1845-1860.] Additional self-revelation is included in a sketch he wrote of a fellow bibliophile, “Reminiscences of Hon. Gabriel Furman,” “Notes, Geographical and Historical, Relating to the Town of Brooklyn on Long Island,” 1865. He was married in middle age to Susan Bradley of New York who died in 1866, leaving no children to William Gowans and Susan Bradley Gowans. William Gowans died November 27, 1870 in New York City, according to Scribner’s “Dictionary of American Biography,” Volume VII, page 459.

Additional information on the life of William Gowans is contained in W. L. Andrews’ “The Old Booksellers of New York and Other Papers,” [1895], obituaries in “New York Evening Mail,” December 1, 1870, “New York Evening Post,” November 29, 1870, “Nation,” December 1, 1870 and “Catalogue of the Books Belonging to the Estate of the late William Gowans” [1871]. His portrait appears in Gowans’ “Bibliotheca Americana.”




NOTE:  The above information produced by the Gowen Research Foundation (GRF), and parts of the “Gowen Manuscript” they worked on producing.  It has tons of information – much of it is correct, but be careful, some of it is not correct – so check their sources and logic.  I’ve copied some of their information in the past researching my own family, only to find out there were some clear mistakes.   So be sure to check the information to verify if it is right before citing the source and believing the person who researched it before was 100% correct.  Most of the information I found there seems to be correct, but some is not.

Their website is:  Internet: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gowenrf

There does not seem to be anyone “manning the ship” at the Gowen Research Foundation, or Gowen Manuscript site any longer, and there is no way to contact anyone about any errors.   The pages themselves don’t have a mechanism to leave a note for others to see any “new information” that you may have that shows when you find info that shows something is wrong, or when something has been verified.

Feel free to leave messages about any new information found, or errors in these pages, or information that has been verified that those who wrote these pages may not have known about.

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