1763 James M. Gowen son of John Buck Gowen in Spartanburg Co, SC

James M. Gowen b. abt 1763, son of John Buck Gowen, in Spartanburg Co, SC


John “Buck” Gowen and Lettice “Letty Winn Bearden Gowen


[daughter]                    born before 1810
Nancy Gowen              born in 1814


William Gowen                  born about 1762
Lettice “Letty” Gowen       born about 1763
Elizabeth Gowen                 born about 1765
James M. Gowen             born in 1767
John B. Gowen             born about 1769
Sarah Gowen                born June 5, 1774
Mary Gowen                     born about 1776
Minerva Gowen                  born about 1780
Winn Bearden Gowen         born October 18, 1787


(See various James Goings on this page:  https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/various-james-goings/ )

James M. Gowen, son of John “Buck” Gowen and Lettice “Letty Winn Bearden Gowen, was born in 1763 in North Carolina, probably Granville County.  He was probably a namesake of his kinsman James Gowen of Combahee Ferry.  It is believed that he was married about 1786 probably in Greenville County, wife’s name unknown.  He appeared as the head of a household in the 1786 state census of Greenville County.  He did not reappear in the 1800 census of Greenville County.

“Majer Gowen,” father of James M. Gowen, was mentioned in a deed dated August 25, 1797 in which John Barnes of Greenville County South Carolina conveyed “50 acres adjacent Mager Gowens Corner” to  John Swaffer for £30 sterling.  Two decades later Mary Barnes, suggested as the widow of John Barnes by Cecille Gaziano, researcher of Min­neapolis, deeded March 28, 1819 100 acres “on a branch of the middle fork of the Saluda River whereon Mary Barnes and Henry Deen now live” to Thomas Payne, according to Greenville County Deed Book D, pages 534-535.  Witnesses to the deed were John Gowen and James Gowen.  The deed was proved February 7, 1820 by the oath of John Gowen, Junr. that he saw Molly Barnes sign the deed.”  The signatories are identified as James M. Gowen and John B. Gowen.  Cecille Gaziano raises the possibility that Mary Barnes was a Gowen relative, citing that a Mary Gowen was married to Henry Barnes in Edgefield County, South Carolina May 1, 1796.

James M. Gowen was a purchaser of several items at the estate sale of his brother William Gowen held in Greenville County June 22, 1804 and September 2, 1804.  “James Gowen” had an unpaid note, due November 25, 1802 to William Gowen.

James M. Gowen was mentioned in the will of his father written in 1809 as the recipient of “800 acres to begin at the ford of the river on the South Pacolet, now used between here and where he lives, and then a north course so to include the schoolhouse spring where Davis taught, and thence ’round to a line to be made for John Roddy; then to the beginning, as to include the Jamison fields.”

1809 – John Gowen – Will:
Probate Court Minutes:
Index 1809:
Will Proven:
Inventory of Appraisement:
Pay Debts:
Index 1810
Sale Return:
Sale Return:
Sale Return:
Sale Return:
Spartanburg Co, SC
(Note: In 1809 – John “Buck” Gowen names “Atlantic and Dorindas, daughters or Polly Sanders” as beneficiaries – leaving them a “deed of gift”. John “Buck” Gowen 3 (three) years earlier had made a “deed of gift” to Thany Sanders as the “daughter of a woman by the name of Polly Sanders at her birth, but who now bears the name of Polly Gentry”. )
(- Is Polly possibly a sister? – married at first to a Sanders, then remarried later to a Gentry)
(HERE: James Sanders Sr – is a purchaser at Alexander Going’s estate in 1775, Orange Co, NC. – maybe the husb?)
On August 20, 1809 John “Buck” Gowen being in ill health, wrote his will. It was recorded in Spartanburg County Will Book A, pages 2-3 November 10, 1809. Apparently he died shortly after writing his will and was probably buried in Spartanburg District.  The will reads:
“In the name of God, Amen.  I, John Gowen, being afflicted by the hand of Almighty God and knowing it is once ordained for all men to die, do ordain, constitute and appoint this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all other Wills by me made, excepting such property, this is, viz: as I have already bestowed to my children.
I pray God who gave it to take my soul, my body to return from whence it came and be buried in a Christian manner, by direction of my executors to be hereinafter named
First: I bequeath unto my son, Winn B. Gowen, a tract of land lying and being in Greenville District on both sides of middle Tygar River, the line to begin at the mouth of a Branch emptying into the said river on the north side below the mill–thence a direct line to the up­per end of the big cove and to the line of land–then my line to the opposite, to the beginning.  Also two negroes called Zed and Spence, together with a stock of cattle and hogs now on the premises before mentioned, one bed and furniture; also my part of a bay gelding that he rides.
Second: I bequeath unto my daughter, Lettie, a plantation by Ann Easley’s place, three negroe girls known by the names of Vina, Ede and Harriot; one bed and furniture and two cows and calves.
Third: I bequeath unto my Daughter, Minerva, a tract of land lying on the south side of Saluda where my son, James Gowen, attended; Two Negroes, names Cresa and Asa, one bed and furniture, One Hundred Dollars to purchase a horse­beast, two cows and calves and her mother’s sattle [saddle].
Fourth: I bequeath unto my daughter, Elizabeth Wood­son, a tract of land on Tyger River called Sulsias place.
Fifth: I bequeath unto my son, James Gowen, 800 acres to begin at the ford of the river on the South Pacolet, now used between here and where he lives, and thence a North course so to include the school house spring where Davis taught, and then ’round to a line to be made for John Roddy; thence, to the beginning so as to include the Jamison fields.
Sixth: I give and bequeath to my Grandson, John Gowen, son of William, deceased, all the land between what I have given Winn and Letty that I own, also one Girl named Hannah; to my granddaughter, Mahulda, a negro boy called Buck; unto Matilda, a negroe boy called Sip; a negroe boy named Ben unto Letty, my granddaughter.
If any of these legatees died without lawful issue, the property to be returned and equally divided between my children the living.  I hereby appoint John and Winn Gowen, my sons, and James Blassingame and Street Thurston, my sons-in-law to be the executors of this, my last will and testament: to sell on a credit of twelve months all the real and personal property that I have not before bequeathed, except two hundred acres of land to be laid off, agreeable to deed of gift made to Atlantic and Dorindas, Daughters of Polly Sanders.  My debts to be paid and, if any balance left, to be equally divided between all of my children living, borne of my wife, Lettie, deceased.  In witness whereof I have set my hand this 20th day of August, Anno Domini, 1809.                                John Gowen, In the presence of: Theron Earle, C. W. McVay, Willus G. Brown”
Spartanburg Co, SC

James M. Gowen appeared as the head of a household in the 1810 census of Spartanburg County:

Gowen, James                        white male            26-45
white female                  26-45
white female                    0-10″

James M. Gowen and his brother John B. Gowen witnessed a deed in Greenville County March 28, 1819 in which Mary Barnes conveyed 100 acres on the Saluda River to Thomas Payne, according to Greenville County Deed Book L, page 79.  He did not reappear in the 1820 census of Spartanburg County.  The only Gowen individual enumerated there in that year was “Charles Gowen, a single man 26-45, living alone.”

In 1833 James M. Gowen deeded land to William Love in Spartanburg County, according to Spartanburg County Deed Book 1, page 167.  It is assumed that he removed from South Carolina about that time probably to Talledega or St. Clair County, Alabama to join his brother Winn Bearden Gowen.

He apparently continued in Alabama until he joined his son-in-law and daughter in a move to Texas about 1839 and lived with them in Cherokee County, Texas on their property located on the Neches River about 12 miles northwest of Rusk, Texas.

James M. Gowen, “age 83, born in North Carolina,” appeared in the 1850 census of Cherokee County.  He was recorded on page 850, November 24, 1850 living in Household No. 306-306, believed to be that of his son-in-law James Hogan Dendy.  The census enumeration rendered the name as “Dandy,” but a multitude of legal records in the Cherokee County courthouse show the name as “Dendy.”  The name of John Hogan Dendy appears in “Dendy Family Register” written by Jennie McCormack Dendy, Leslie Mac Dendy and Roland Ray Dendy.  In 1987 Leslie Mac Dendy lived in Hobbs, New Mexico and Roland Ray Dendy was principal of Benson Schools, Benson, Arizona.

The household appeared in 1850 as:

“Dandy,               James H.             46, born in SC, farmer,
$2,000 real estate
Nancy                 36, born in South Carolina
William T.          16, born in Alabama
James M.            12, born in Alabama
Gowen,               James M.             83, born in North Carolina”

Two grants of land were patented to both James Gowen and James Hogan Dendy.  The grants were adjoining, according to Brenda Dendy Davis.  They were recorded as:

Surveyed for:                              Grantee:            League Section        Abstract No.

James McGowan                          J. McGowan                192                                 614
James McGowan                          J. McGowan                191                                 613
James H. Dendy                          J. Dendy                      24                                 1091
James H. Dendy                          J. Dendy                      23                                 219

It is believed that James M. Gowen died shortly after 1850 and was buried in Cherokee County.

The Texas State Railroad traversed the Gowen-Dendy land when it was constructed in 1893.

Texas State Railroad State Historical Park, 499 acres, is located in Anderson and Cherokee Counties, between the cities of Palestine and Rusk.  The railroad was acquired by Legislative Act in 1971 and was restored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, with help from the Texas Department of Corrections, and was opened to the public in 1976.

The State Prison System began construction of the Texas State Railroad in 1893.  Inmates built the line to transport native iron ore and wood products to prison-operated iron smelting furnaces located in the East Texas State Penitentiary at Rusk.  The furnace supplied the State of Texas with iron products, including the columns and dome structure for the Capitol building in Austin.

In 1906, prison crews extended the rail line to Maydelle, and in 1909 the Texas State Railroad reached its final destination of Palestine.  The prisoners were paid 50 cents a day and worked from sunrise to sundown.  The total cost to construct the original 32 miles of the Texas State Railroad was $573,724.

Prison crews made up the train crew, except for the engineer. When passenger service was extended to Palestine, a full-time staff of nine was employed.  With the exception of the superintendent and engineer, staff members were paid $1.01 for each day they worked.

In 1913, the prison iron furnace was dismantled, and later the East Texas State Penitentiary converted into a state mental hospital. On May 1, 1921, all regular train service by the state was discontinued and the line was leased to the Texas & New Orleans [Southern Pacific Railroad Co.]  The Texas Southeastern Railroad leased the line in the early 1960s and continued operation of the line until December 31, 1969.

The railroad was conveyed to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in February of 1972 for the creation of a state historical park.  Reminiscent of its earliest days, state inmates were again brought in to work on the railroad.  State offenders rebuilt the line; clearing brush, building bridges and replacing ties and rails. The Texas State Railroad State Historical Park was opened to the public on July 4, 1976, as part of the nation’s Bicentennial Celebration.  Today the Texas State Railroad is dedicated to the Education, Interpretation and Preservation of the Golden Age of Steam.

Its track crew maintains over 25 miles of track and 24 bridges.  Passengers may board the historic trains at either Rusk or Palestine.  Both ends of the line have turn-of-the-century style train stations.  The trip takes 1 1/2 hours to reach the opposite station.  The State Park’s 50-mile, round-trip steam engine excursions take 4 hours.  The TSRR is known as one of the nation’s largest and most unique steam train operations. The TSRR is one of the only steam railroads in the United States that runs two steam trains simultaneously on days of operation.  The East Bound and West Bound trains meet twice daily at the mid point of the run.  This gives rail enthusiasts a rare chance to see two historic steam engines switch and pass. The track length is 25.5 miles; the longest trestle measures 1042 feet and crosses the Neches River.  All 24 trestles are concrete.

Children born to James M. Gowen include:

[daughter]                      born before 1810
Nancy Gowen                  born in 1814

A daughter, believed to be the first child of James M. Gowen was born before 1810.  She appeared as a “white female, 0-10” in the 1810 census of Spartanburg County.

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