2002 – 09 Sept Newsletter – GRF

Sections in this issue:

5) Dear Cousins

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

Gowen Research Foundation
Electronic Newsletter

September 2002
Volume 5 No. 9


By Mary Shields Criddle, Descendant


Capt. Charles Joseph Shields Gowan, alias George Gowan, a re-
tired British Army officer from India and a widower, arrived in
South Australia about 1889. He was born about 1852 to Lieuten-
ant-General John McGowan of the British Army. He was accompan-
ied by Florence Freeman who came as the nanny to his young son
who was born in India about 1886. The couple was married short-
ly after arriving in Australia. Florence Emily Freeman Gowan
was born in London in 1856.

Capt. Gowan died in the Wonga Shoal Lighthouse disaster in South
Australia at Semaphore in 1912 at age 60.

The Wonga Shoal lighthouse, which was opened on July 1 1901, was
similar in construction to that at Tipara, in Spencer’s Gulf.
The tower was of steel, and the whole structure, including the
keepers quarters, was built on screw piles driven into a strata
of stiff brown clay to a depth of 22 feet. The edifice was well
braced, and stood as firm as a rock over the water. The living
quarters comprised 10 rooms, divided into two storeys, the lowest
of which was 22 feet above high water.

All the rooms were lined with weatherboard, and the decks were
of thick jarrah, well caulked, to prevent the entrance of water.
The living quarters were as comfortable as the circumstances
would permit, and though the rooms formed shapes that would puz-
zle a student of geometry to define, they were well-kept and had
a most inviting appearance. The whole of the construction was
carried out departmentally, under the supervision of Mr. A. B.
Moncrieff [then Engineer-in-Chief], and Mr. W. E. Slade [then
assistant engineer.]

On November 17, 1912, a Sunday morning, the lighthouse on Wonga
Shoal was swept out of sight, and the two keepers met their death.
The cause of the calamity was due to the lighthouse being struck
by a sailing ship, which came into the Semaphore anchorage with-
out a pilot.

Captain T. B. Richardson who was the pilot in charge said that he
received information by telephone concerning the disaster, at 4:35
am from Signalman Luckett. When he arrived at the scene he could
see no sign of life. The “Dimsdale” was lying within a quarter of
a mile to the northward of where the light-house had stood. The
master of the vessel had said that his vessel had taken a sheer,
and had run into the lighthouse. The light had been burning
brightly, and the master had stated that he hadn’t thought he need-
ed a pilot.

Diver Salt Of the Deepening Department, was conveyed to the scene
of the casualty in the steam launch “Victoria” early on Sunday
morning, and lost no time in donning his diving dress and begin-
ning the search for the bodies.

He found the body of Mr. Franson, the head keeper, with a severe
bruise on his forehead at about 11 a.m, within the submerged
structure. About an hour later he discovered the body of Mr. Mc-
Gowan. He was found in the galley, where he was probably prepar-
ing a cup of tea at the time of the accident. He, too, was badly
knocked about. Both men were probably killed by the impact and
not by drowning.

The “Dimsdale” didn’t appear to be seriously damaged by the col-
lision. Her stern and port and starboard bows showed evidence of
the fact that she had hit something.

Both the lightkeepers were married men in their sixties with fami-
lies. Mr. Henry Franson, the headkeeper, joined the service on
December 13 1875. He was appointed headkeeper of the Wonga Shoal
Lighthouse in July 1906. Mr. Charles Joseph Shields McGowan,
[also called George Charles Gowan] the second keeper, joined the
service on May 17, 1904 and became associated with the Wonga Shoal
Lighthouse in March 1911. Only the two keepers were stationed on
the Wonga Shoal Lighthouse. Fortunately, at this station it was
not allowed for their wives and families to reside with them, oth-
erwise the death toll that night would have been far greater.

The burial of both deceased lightkeepers took place on Tuesday
November 19, 1912 at the Woodville Cemetery. The funeral cortege
of Capt. McGowan left his residence at Mead Street Largs Bay, and
Mr Franson’s left his residence of Semaphore Road Exeter.

Capt. McGowan had a military career before he joined the light-
house service. He was the son of Lt.-Gen. John McGowan of the
British Army in India and was at one time attached to the Bengal
Staff Corps.

Florence Emily Freeman Gowan also died violently. She was struck
and killed by an automobile in Port Adelaide, South Australia in

Three children, two sons and a daughter were born to Capt. Charles
Joseph Shields Gowan including:

Charles Gowan born about 1886

Charles Gowan, son of Capt. Charles Joseph Shields Gowan, was born
about 1886. He provided some information on his father on his mar-
riage license application. He reported that he [Charles Gowan] was
a widower with no occupation, and that he lived in Perth.

He stated that the profession of his grandfather was “Lt. General
in the Army.”

Charles Gowan died at age 29 in 1913.

I have some copies of the Lighthouse Service Logs, 1904-1912
which have been written in his hand writing. He was known as
George Gowan, and signed as ‘G. F. or G. C. Gowan. His reli-
gion was ‘R. C.’ [Roman Catholic?]


James Goyne, son of Mary Goyne, was born May 30, 1755 in Lunen-
burg County, Virginia, according to the research of Velma S.
Brassell Beuerle, a descendant of Flint, Michigan. In his pen-
sion application written May 18, 1836 in Kemper County, Missis-
sippi, James Goyne stated that he was born in 1755 in “Mulen-
burg County, Virginia,” according to the copy made by the court

Col. Carroll Heard Goyne, Editorial Boardmember of Shreveport,
Louisiana, wrote in July 1995:

“This spelling is suggestive of either Mecklenburg or Lunenburg
County. Since Mecklenburg was formed from Lunenburg County in
1765, it would appear that James was born in the part of Lunen-
burg that became Mecklenburg County. In 1748 this area of Lun-
enburg County was the tax district of Capt. Lewis Delony. In
1749 it was the tax district of Capt. William Howard. In 1751
and 1752 it was the tax district of Capt. Field Jefferson. From
these tax lists it appears the senior Going/Goin/Gowin in this
district was named John. Other names appearing on these tax
lists beginning in 1751 were William; and in 1752 Joseph, ac-
cording to “Sunlight on the Southside” by Landon C. Bell.”

Other members of the Goyne family appeared in Lunenburg County
at the same time. Bryan Goyne, regarded as a son of Mary Goyne
and a brother to James Goyne, was born about 1757, probably in
Lunenburg County also. Several members of the Gowen family of
the Northern Neck of Virginia migrated southward in 1747 to Lun-
enburg County also. The southern part of Lunenburg County which
lay below the Meherrin River was organized in 1764 as Mecklen-
burg County.

The descendants of Mary Goyne spelled the name in various ways.
Generally, in Mississippi the surname became “Guynes.” In Lou-
isiana, “Goins” predominated, while in Virginia and Kentucky,
“Gowan” was generally adopted.

James Goyne removed to Camden District, South Carolina and ser-
ved there as a Revolutionary soldier in a militia company com-
manded by Capt. John Smith in the regiment of Col. John Winn,
according to “Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pen-
sion Files” abstracted by Virgil D. White.

Col. Goyne wrote:

“In his Revolutionary War Pension Application, James Goyne sta-
ted that he served in the militia of Camden District, South Car-
olina. James stated that his militia unit rendezvoused at Winns-
boro, near which place he resided. He stated that he served un-
der Col. John Winn. This proves that James lived in Fairfield
County, South Carolina.

James Goyne told where he lived prior to his arrival in Kemper
County, Mississippi. He left Camden District, South Carolina
about 1784, and went to live in Burke County, Georgia where he
lived for about five years [left in 1789]; then to Warren Coun-
ty, Georgia where he lived for about two years [left in 1791];
then to Washington County, Georgia for about five years [left
in 1796]; then to Hancock County, Georgia for about three years
[left in 1799]; then moved to St. Elena [Helena] Parish, Louis-
iana for about five years [left in 1804]; then to Lawrence Coun-
ty, Mississippi for about two years [left in 1806]; then to Co-
piah County, Mississippi where he resided until December 1834;
then moved to Kemper County, Mississippi.

Following James’ guidance, one can find him in the records of
Georgia. In 1791 and 1792 he was listed in Capt. Simmon’s Dis-
trict of Wilkes County. He was listed in the inventory of the
estate of William Minor, Jr. [undated, but between 1794 and
1804] in Hancock County. The 1802 tax returns of Hancock Coun-
ty list James and John Goyn in Capt. Williams’ District, ac-
cording to the research of Frank Parker Hudson of Atlanta.

James can be found in the land records of Louisiana. He re-
ceived land “by settlement” in the Florida Parishes [St. Hel-
ena Parish] of Louisiana in 1810, according to “American
State Papers.” James Goyne signed his pension application in
an unsteady, yet clear, hand.”

James Goyne was married about 1775, wife’s name believed to be
Mary. After independence, James Goyne moved to Georgia, liv-
ing successively in Burke, Warren and Washington counties.
Warren County was formed in 1793 with land from Wilkes, Colum-
bia and Richmond Counties.

It is believed that James Goyne and Mary Goyne became estran-
ged about 1791 and that he was remarried to Heather O’Brien.
Mary Goyne apparently went to live with her son, John Goyne.

Following his Georgia residence, James Goyne apparently lived
in Tennessee in 1803. He removed to Louisiana and lived in
Calcasieu Parish in 1810. He received a land grant there in
neutral territory which later became Vernon Parish.

In 1817 James Goyne was living in Hinds [later Copiah] Coun-
ty, Mississippi, according to “Mississippi Revolutionary Sol-
diers.” He continued to live there in 1823 and 1825 and ap-
peared in Kemper County, Mississippi in 1834, according to
Mrs. Beuerle. She was a “double descendant” of James Goyne,
having two of his sons, John Goyne and James Goins, as her

James Goyne made a declaration regarding his Revolutionary
service in Kemper County May 18, 1836:

“On this 18th day of May, 1836, personally appeared before
me, George Coatter, Judge of Circuit Court [the same being
a court of record] now sitting in and for said county, James,
a resident of said county of Kemper and state of Mississippi.
Aged about eighty-one years. Who being first duly sworn accord-
ing to law doth on his oath make the following Declaration in
order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June
7, 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States under the fol-
lowing named officers and served as herein often stated. That
he lived in Camden District, state of South Carolina, at which
place some time in June, 1776 when he was drafted to go to Char-
leston in order to intercept the British Fleet that was expected
to land there under Col. John Wynn in Capt. John Smith’s Company
of militia, Lt. William Daugherty. And rendezvoused at Winns-
borough in said state at the time last above mentioned and
marched to Charleston and was stationed there together with said
company to guard the town and after being there about a month he
was marched back and dismissed about the last of July, 1776 hav-
ing served about six weeks but received no written discharge–
and that afterward on the last of January–as near as he can re-
collect–he was again drafted under the same officers as above
in Camden District, South Carolina where he then resided and ren-
dezvoused at Winnsborough at the same time and was moved immedi-
ately to Charleston where he was stationed some time when said
company joined General Ash [John Ashe] from North Carolina and
was then marched to Pluresburgh [Plainsburgh?] near Savannah at
which place he was stationed about eight days.

He was again dismissed or discharged and returned home about the
last of February, 1779–having served about one month during
which service he was in no engagement nor did he receive any
written discharge.

After remaining at home about four days he again entered the
service of the U, S. as a drafted soldier under Col. John Wynn
in Capt. Francis Tedwells Company of Militia Lt. William Daugh-
erty and rendezvoused at Winnsborough about the first of March
1779 near which place this declarent then resided and from where
he was marched to Savannah then near Augusta at which place he
volunteered to go to Georgia to fight the Indians and put him-
self under Capt. John Nixon and Col. Hamarm (?) and was marched
to Nightsborough[?] and from there to Falsom Fort on Abuchy[?]
River and from which place the Indians retreated and were pur-
sued by said company and overtaken and a skirmish ensued in
which seventeen Indians and two white men were killed and Maj.
Ross was killed in the part of the re______ (?).

From there he was marched to Augusta and crossing the river
they joined their former companions–at which place they re-
mained some time. From there he was marched to Augusta together
with the rest of the forces and joined Gen. Lincoln [Benjamin
Lincoln] about four miles below that plain–and marched down the
[Savannah] River and crossing at Lummertins (?) [Lumberton] fer-
ry marched to Bains Bridge[?] near the head of Ashley River
where they remained some time–and there to stones (?) at the
big rice fields to meet the British who were encamped there–at
which place he remained some time–and when his term of service
expired he was discharged some time in June, 1779–but received
no written discharge having served at this time three months and
some days–from where he returned to Camden District where he con-
tinued to live until some time in June the precise time he cannot
recollect–at which time he volunteered to go to the assistance of
General Greene at the siege of Ninety-Six put himself under Capt.
Charles Reeves in Col. Edward Lacy’s Lieut. Col. Patrick McGreffe
and Maj. John O’Lears regiment of volunteers.

We met together on the road about fourteen miles from Winnsborough
at the time last mentioned we then marched to Congaree River there
we rested and endeavored to intercept [Francis] Lord Rawdon on his
march from Ninety-Six to Charleston. He retreated to Orangeburg
and encamped there. We had joined General Greene’s army before we
got to Orangeburg. We then marched to the Eutaw Springs. We then
[joined] General Sumters Army [Thomas “Gamecock” Sumter] and march-
ed to a church about thirty miles from Charleston at which place we
were attacked by a British troop of horse. We had a skirmish in
which they were defeated; we killed one and took seven prisoners
who that night set fire to the church and fled; we pursued them to
—–(?). We there had a fight in which we lost about forty killed
and wounded. They retained possession of the houses; we were not
able to dislodge them.

We then marched to Santee, crossed and then to Sumters ponds. We
lay there some time and were then discharged about the first of
September, 1781. He got no written discharge. He served at that
time ___ months and a half. He continued to live at the same place
till about the first of June, 1782 at which time he was drafted to
keep the Tories in Edisto in subjection. They met at Owensborough
at the time last mentioned; he was under the command of Lieut.
Charles Picket and Maj. O’Dear. They then marched to Edisto at
Youngs Cowpens and were there stationed. They took some Tory women
and sent them to Charleston. They lay there one month and was there
discharged. He got no written discharge. He served at that time
one month.

He served in the whole nine months and ten days for which he claims
pension. He has no testamentary evidence, and he knows of no person
whose testimony he can procure who can testify to his service. He
knows no clergyman whose testimony he can procure who could testify
to the report of his service. He hereby relinquishes every claim to
a pension or annuity except the present and declared that his name
is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state. He was born
in Mecklenburgh County, Virginia, on the 30th of May 1755. He has a
record of his age at home in his bible. He has lived since the Rev-
olutionary War in the following places. He lived in Camden District
till about 1784 and then moved to Burke County, Georgia, lived there
about five years then to Warren County, Georgia, lived there about
two years then to Washington County, Georgia, lived there about five
years then to Hancock County, lived there about three years, moved
to Louisiana in St. Helena parish, lived there about five years then
to Lawrence lived there about two years and from there to Copiah
County, Mississippi where he resided until December, 1824 when he
removed to Kemper County aforesaid where he now resides.

He was called into service in the name of the aforesaid and never
served as a substitute. He was acquainted with Col. Bratens Regi-
ment of Militia, Col. Wade Hamptons troop of Cavalry, also with Maj.
Boykins Troops of Cavalry and with Col. Lee and Washingtons Troops
of Cavalry that he never received a commission or written discharge
during the Revolutionary war. He also states that there is no
clergyman in his neighborhood to whom he is known but that Hugh Mc-
Donald, William Herbert, William Brister and Ridings Sessums are
well acquainted with him in his present neighborhood and can tes-
tify as to his reputation and character for truth.

Sworn to and subscribed in open Court May 18, 1836.

Lewis Stovall, Clerk
James Goyne [signature]

Also, Hugh McDonald, William Herbert, Ridings Sessums and Wil-
liam Brister, residents of County of Kemper and State of Mis-
sissippi hereby certify that we are well acquainted with James
Goyne who has subscribed and sworn to the above Declaration
that we believe him to be 80 years of age that he is reputed
and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been
a soldier of the Revolution and that we concur in that opinion.

Subscribed in open court May 18, 1836.

Hugh McDonald
William Herbert
William Brister

And the said George Coatter declares it as his opinion after
the investigation of the matter and after putting the interro-
gations prescribed by the War Department that the above named
applicant was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states
and said court further certifies that it appears to him that
Hugh McDonald, William Herbert and William Brister who are
signed to the foregoing certificate are residents of the said
county and that they are credible persons and that these state-
ments are entitled to credit.
George Coatter now presiding in the sixth Judicial District Mississippi in-
cluding the County of Kemper.”

James Goyne received a Revolutionary War pension, No. 30770
July 22, 1836. An abstract of his pension record appeared in
“Mississippi Genealogical Exchange,” Volume 3, published in

An interview was held in 1905 with Susan Goynes Dickerson of
Live Oak County, Texas at age 80. She was a great-granddaugh-
ter of John Goyne. In the newspaper account she stated that
she knew her great-grandfather and that he and his four bro-
thers had served in the Revolutionary War.

Children born to James Goyne and Mary Goyne include:

John Goyne born July 5, 1776
Sarah Goyne born about 1789

Children born to James Goyne and Heather O’Brien Goyne are
believed to include:

James Goins born about 1793
Wiley Williamson Goynes born December 2, 1799


James Presley “Pres” Goen began as a 14-year-old orphan with
“one dollar and one pony” and built one of the most successful
ranching operations in West Texas. He was born in Johnson
County, Texas September 6, 1870 of parents unknown, according
to Dickens County, Texas Death Book 7. “Preston Goen, age 9”
was enumerated in the 1880 census of Johnson County in the
household of J. F. Goen, a cousin.

He was brought to Wise County, Texas in 1883 by J. F. Goen
who shortly began making plans to move north to Indian Territory.
“Pres” decided that he would “stay with Texas” and prepared to
head west declaring that he “thought he could make it on his own
the rest of the way.”

One hundred eighty miles later he wound up on the newly created
Pitchfork Ranch, and the young teenager was hired because he was
“handy with a rope.” He appeared in the 1900 census of Dickens
County, Texas as a “boarder” with A. R. Dillard in Enumeration
District 54. He may also have been enumerated a second time in
the 1900 census in adjoining King County, Enumeration District 21
as “J. P. Goen, born in Texas in July 1874.”

Both counties had been created in 1876 by the Texas legislature
who named them for William P. King and J. Dickens, Texas heroes
who fell at the Alamo. The legislature also specified that a
new county must have a minimum of 75 citizens before a county
government could be organized. Neither county could muster
that many voters, so each borrowed from the other to get enough
signatures on the petitions. Many early West Texas men had “cit-
izenship” in several counties.

“Pres” Goen became a pioneer West Texas ranch owner when he
organized the Goen Ranch in Dickens County. He was married May
10, 1903 to Ora Aseniath Blackwell, according to King County
Marriage Book 1. Ora Aseniath Blackwell was born in Bosque
County, Texas in 1875.

“Pres” Goen was the patentee to 72 acres of land located “twelve
miles west of the county seat” January 14, 1902, according to King
County Deed Book 2. He purchased land from the Southern Pacific
and other railroads December 3, 1903 for $1,476.45, according to
King County Deed Book 2. The land was located 16.5 miles south-
west of the county seat which had not been named at that time.
The town subsequently became Guthrie, Texas.

“Pres” Goen received a patent from the State of Texas May 3, 1909
to an additional 652.2 acres. He and Ora Aseniath Blackwell Goen
gave a warranty deed to the patented land to W. C. Presley March 18,
1911 for $4,000. Apparently James Presley “Pres” Goen regained
title to the land because on November 11, 1912 he resold the patent
to G. B. Martin for $8,202.50, according to King County Deed Book 3.

“Pres” Goen bought a section of land on White River in 1909 and
another in 1910. In that year he moved to his new home north of
Dickens, Texas and the Goen family ranched there for the next 57 years.

In 1911 he paid an inflated price of $3.12 an acre for more ranchland.
When he got an opportunity to sell that land for $5.50 an acre the
following year, he sold it. His passion for grassland had not overrid-
den his good judgement.

In 1912, he bought six tracts of land from Erie P. Swenson and Swen A.
Swenson of Manhattan, New York. They were the owners of the sprawling
Swenson Ranch which spread into several West Texas counties. He paid
$6.37 per acre for the 1,621 acres. He received additional land from
Matador Land & Cattle Company in 1917, greatly increasing his holdings.

In 1939, “Pres” Goen began passing land along to his son. On June 13,
1939 he deeded to 4,926.35 acres to Guy Goen.

His son, Guy Goen, in an interview with Gerry Burton of the “Lubbock
Avalanche-Journal” in May 1986 stated, “Pres Goen was hired by the
Pitchfork at age 14 because he was the best roper on the place. He
wound up manager of the massive ranch. “Back then there were no fences
on the Pitchfork which had been put together a couple of years earlier
in 1882. The wagons pulled out the first of April and stayed out until
Christmas. Wherever the wagons stopped was home for the cowboys working

“There was a chuck wagon with the bedrolls and chuck. And there was the
hoodlum wagon that carried a barrel of water and kept the chuck wagon
supplied with firewood,” he said. In winter, cattle drifted south, so
in the spring “seven or eight outfits” sent their wagons and cowboys to
round them up, brand them and head them back north. Each outfit cut out
its own cattle and branded the calves following the cows.

The Pitchfork let his father run his own cattle on the range, Goen said,
and when he realized that he had 1,000 cattle on the ranch, he decided
it was time to “quit imposing on the Pitchfork.” He sold his cattle,
got his own range and became one of the largest landowners in the country.

“Pres” Goen wrote his will June 30, 1951. In it were named his wife,
Ora Aseniath Blackwell Goen and his son, Guy Goen, executors, and his
grandsons, Guy Hugh Goen and John Preston Goen.

James Presley “Pres” Goen died June 12, 1952 at age 81 at his residence
two miles north of Spur, Texas, and he was buried in Spur Cemetery.

Ora Aseniath Blackwell Goen gave a warranty deed to her son, Guy Goen to
19 additional tracts of land in Dickens County, according to Dickens
County Deed Book 113, page 379. The Goen Ranch was passed intact to the

Guy Goen, son of James Presley “Pres” Goen and Ora Aseniath Blackwell
Goen, was born May 20, 1906, according to Dickens County Birth Book 1.
Following graduation from Texas Technological College at the bottom of
the depression, he began to build his own ranch, buying up land which
his father had sold to neighbors earlier. He was married December 29,
1931 in Crosbyton, Texas to Verna Beechly.

Like his father, he also applied a half century of hard work and savvy
and also became eminently successful. In later years he turned most of
the cow-punchin’ over to others and began to devote time to other

He was an elder in the Church of Christ, active in Christian education
in West Texas, a great promoter of 4-H clubwork and a ranch cook par

Guy Goen became famous in West Texas for his ranch cooking. He lived in
Spur and drove out to the ranch to cook for the ranch hands when a large
group gathered.

“I had a chuck box on my pickup,” he related. “I’d hoist it on, go to
the ranch. They’d do the work, and I’d cook, have dinner ready for
them. Then, I would unhoist it and hang it in the barn.

I cooked steak, gravy, red beans and cobbler. I’ve got six dutch ovens,
once cooked 18 gallons of peach cobbler, three fillings in each.” Peach
cobbler was his favorite, but ‘hen butter’ ran close as a desert. ‘You
take syrup, molasses and sugar, mix and boil it a while.

You add about 15 eggs and boil it again and then let it cool down.
It’s got another name, but the punchers at the Pitchfork named it ‘hen

It wasn’t long until he was hoisting the chuckbox more and more to cook
barbecue for 4-H and other groups. He started barbecuing for Lubbock
Christian College events in 1963 when he became a member of the board
of directors. And he always made the White River children’s camp dur-
ing summers to cook up a barbecue for each of the four sessions.

In 1985, LCC agriculture students built him a barbecue trailer that
looks like a butane tank with a firebox on one end and a smokestack on
the other. Goen first thought it was a train the ag boys had built for
him to drive around the campus. ‘It was the best deal I ever got into.
I put 34 briskets on it and cooked them 26 hours.'”

Thus “Pres” Goen and Guy Goen between them invested 108 years in devel-
oping West Texas and its young people. Guy Goen died April 2, 1991
and was buried in Spur Memorial Cemetery.

Children born to Guy Goen and Verna Beechly Goen include:

Guy Hugh Goen born October 29, 1940
John Preston Goen born about 1943


John Gowen had a hard time adjusting to Army life. His Massa-
chusetts State Regiment of Train of Artillery consisted of 10
companies raised for the defense of Boston in April 1776 under
the command of Lt. Col. Paul Revere. The regiment took part in
the Battle of Tiverton, Rhode Island shortly after the beginn-
ing of the Revolutionary War, and John Gowen thrived on that
kind of action.

But the regiment was back on Castle Island in Boston Harbor in
1777 doing garrison duty—and he hated every minute of it. It
was nothing but marching, close order drill and standing guard
duty in disagreeable weather. And to make matters worse his
company had Sgt. Griffith, a spit-and-polish, by-the-book regu-
lar army man. Foot-slogging around a parade ground was no way
to win a war, and John Gowen dropped out whenever possible.

To add misery to the matter, Sgt. Griffith had confiscated his
bottle of whiskey during a surprise inspection! That was the
last straw!

Once, at the end of a particularly galling day, when Sgt. Grif-
fith was bent over a camp table, intently polishing his musket,
a chunk of firewood came whistling out of the shadows and hit
him in the back with a thud. Despite the pain, he turned just
in time to see a shadowy figure disappear in the darkness.

The next morning John Gowen was on report. “Pvt. John Gowin”
was charged in a court martial “for being drunk, deserting a
file of men and abusing Sgt. Griffith.”

Lt. Col. Paul Revere who made the “midnight ride” presided
over the trial. He raced his horse on the night of April 18,
1775 to warn the Boston area that “the British are coming.”
His feat was immortalized in a ballad written by Henry Wads-
worth Longfellow. The next morning on Lexington Green “the
embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard ‘round the

Two years earlier, Paul Revere had donned Indian regalia and
joined 50 other patriots in the Boston Tea Party. The “In-
dians” boarded a ship in the harbor and threw its cargo of
tea overboard to protest Parliament’s policy of “taxation
without representation.”

Later during the war, the British captured and occupied New-
port, Rhode Island. Col. Revere’s artillery was attached to
a land force under Gen. John Sullivan to drive the British
out of Newport in August 1778. The French Navy under the
Comte d’Estaing was to combine with Gen. Sullivan to dis-
lodge the English.

Before the French troops could be landed, however a British
Fleet appeared in the Bay, and d’Estaing halted the landing
and set out in pursuit. Two days later, before the fleets
actually engaged, a powerful storm erupted and dispersed the

The American ground forces, now lacking French assistance,
were forced to retreat from the island. At Butt’s Hill
they fought a strong rear guard action that became known
as the Battle of Rhode Island. It was in this battle that
a battalion of freed Negro slaves distinguished itself with
the support of Pvt. John Gowen’s artillery company.

After a long, frustrating march, Col. Revere’s artillery
was back on Castle Island in Boston Harbor in March 1779,
and Pvt. John Gowen was again being oppressed by Sgt. Grif-

At the end of the war, the artillery regiment was disbanded,
and Pvt. John Gowen, returned to civilian life and got mar-

John Gowen was enumerated in Franklin, Massachusetts in Suf-
folk County as the head of a household in the 1790 census:

“Gowen, John one male over 16
one female
one male under 16”

The Court Martial . . . ?

At the end of the trial on September 6, 1777, Col. Revere
announced that there was “insufficient evidence to convict
Pvt. Gowin,” and he was returned to duty [and in agitating
Sgt. Griffith.]

5)  Dear Cousins

One of the most interesting aspects of genealogy is to study the
words used and their meaning — from which can come a lot of in-
formation about the heritage. It also helps to pinpoint the par-
ticular geographic area of the person speaking, i.e. using “Spa-
atze” to mean “sparrow.” This word alone gave me a clue as to
where my great-grandfather was from — Germany, of course.

However, I have one word puzzle that I am unable to solve and
that is pronouncing the word HELP as HOPE. My grandfather lived
in Johnson County, Illinois and constantly used the word HOPE
when he meant HELP. He was born in Illinois, his father was
from Mississippi and his mother was from Waynesboro [Wayne Coun-
ty], Tennessee. I’ve never heard anyone else use this particular
pronunciation, and have checked quite extensively into various
semantic publications and questioned semanticists, but none has
been able to identify the area or sub-culture where this word
may be found.

I wonder if any of the Newsletter readers have heard the word
HELP pronounced as HOPE? If so, I’d love to know where it was,
and what the ancestry of the person using that pronunciation

Al Cassell

==Dear Cousins==

I am looking for information on William Monroe Goins, born March
18, 1870 in Virginia. He was married about 1893 to Lona Virginia
Silcox, daughter of William Monroe Silcox, as her second husband.
She was born in Virginia December 6, 1896. William Monroe Goins
died October 16, 1962, and Lona Virginia SilCox Goins died Novem-
ber 17, 1971. Six children were born to them.

Theodore R. VonBartheld
10121 Owls Hollow Rd.
Gadsden, AL 35901-6731



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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