Tennessee – Hancock County

From Gowen Manuscript:  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gowenrf/Gowenms111.htm


Hancock County, from its creation from Hawkins County and Claiborne County in 1844 has been the home of a number of Melungeon families. With its settlement on Newman’s Ridge is has become the most famous Melungeon center.

Anthony P. Cavender writing in “The Tennessee Anthropologist,” Volume 6, No. 1 stated:

“The anomalous physical appearance of the Melun­geons, notably their dark, tawny skin color, has stimulated numerous theories concerning their origin. It has been suggested by various observers that the Melungeons are the descendants of either Phoenician explorers, one of the “lost” tribes of Israel, gypsies, pre-Columbian Welsh explorers, Sir Walter Raleigh’s “lost” colony, or a group of shipwrecked Portuguese settlers. The very term “Melungeon” is shrouded in mystery as well.
It has been reported as being derived from the French “melange,” meaning “mixed”; from the Portuguese “melango,” meaning “shipmate”; or from the Greek “melan,” meaning “colored.” Scientific inquiries clearly show the origin of the Melungeons to be not as mystifying as the above mentioned theories suggest. Pollitzer and Brown’s [1969] genetic study of the Melungeons in Hancock County supports the theory that they, like the 200 mixed racial populations identified in the eastern United States, are the product of admixture between Indians, European Whites and Negroes.
On the basis of a thorough analysis of census records and other archival materials, Price (l95l) concludes that the ancestors of the Melungeons were persons of “free color” who migrated to Hancock County from the Piedmont area of Virginia and North Carolina during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. Some of the traditional Melungeon surnames [Bell, Collins, Goins, Gibson, and Mullins] figure prominently in the early settlement of Hancock County. Vardy Collins, for example, is believed to be the first to settle in the Newman’s Ridge area, having moved from Virginia in 1779 or 17BO. Other early Melungeon settlers include Tyra Gibson, James Collins, and Solomon Collins. These men were recipients of land grants for their service in the Revolutionary War. Another early settler, George Goins, was granted a tract of land in Hancock County by the state of Kentucky. George Goins was the son of Joseph Goins, a Revolutionary War land grant recipient from North Carolina. Joseph Goins may be related to, or one of, the three Goins listed in Colonial records as having served in a mulatto military unit in 1754 [Grohse 1979].

In Hancock County the Melungeons settled along Blackwater and Big Sycamore creeks and on Newman’s Ridge. Because of the shortage of large tracts of flat, fertile land in these areas, the Melungeons were able to do little more than practice a rudimentary form of subsistence agriculture. Through time the terms “Melungeon” and “poverty” became synonomous with the Whites in the county. Their situation was made all the worse due to the White’s disdain of their Negro ancestry. Population pressure, limitations of the physical environment, and social ostracism induced many Melungeons to migrate. In the 1880’s, some migrated to southwest Virginia to work in the coal mines, others moved to South Carolina to find employment in the cotton mills. Those who decided to remain in the county turned to alternative measures such as moonshining to improve their economic status. Some of the better known folk tales about Melungeons in Hancock County concern the moonshining exploits of Big Mehala Mullins, who supposedly made the best ‘shine’ in east Tennessee in the late 1800’s.

Hancock County has experienced a steady decline in population since 1910. Between 1940 and 1970 over 2,300 people left the county for such cities as Baltimore, Washington and Detroit, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. No doubt many Melungeons moved to cities, but some moved to other localities in Tennessee. A merchant in Sneedville sarcastically commented that several Melungeons recently moved to the Back Valley area so they could be ‘closer to the welfare office’ in Sneedville.

Social engineering efforts of the Presbyterian Church’s Board of Home Missions were somewhat effective in elevating the Melungeons. In 1882 Presbyterian missionaries established a settlement school in the Vardy community. The “target group” of the Presbyterians’ benevolent work were the illiterate poor. The school recruited students from Newman’s Ridge, Blackwater, and Big Sycamore Creek, which, as previously mentioned, were Melungeon communities. The settlement school, which operated until 1959, accomplished what the local one room school house could not, or did not want to do, by providing the very poor with the skills and knowledge necessary to participate in “mainstream” American society. Some of the Melungeons who successfully completed the academic program at the settlement school were sent hy the Board of Home Missions to Presbyterian colleges in North Carolina and Kentucky. After finishing college, many of the Melungeons returned to Hancock County and ohtained employment in teaching, government, and business. Of course, some left never to return.

Over the last three decades the Melungeons have been a “hot” topic for journalists in both the northern and southern parts of the United States. As a result of this exposure, people from all over the country descended upon Hancock County to see the “mysterious” Melungeons. It became apparent to members of Sneedville’s elite [merchants, educators, and well-to-do farmers] that the Melungeons had put the county on the map. More importantly, the Melungeons were bringing money into the third most impoverished county in the state based on mean effective buying income per household, according to Tennessee Education Association. While some people were complaining about the intrusion of “outsiders,” the elite conceived of a way to maximize the commercialization of the strong and growing interest in Melungeons.

Sometime during the mid 1960s, they commissioned Dr. Kermit Hunter of Southern Methodist University to write a play about the Melungeon legend, and they built an ouldoor theater in which to perform it. In terms of basic plot, the play, ‘Walk Toward the Sunset’ is a sentimental love story about an ‘outsider,’ a lumher agent, who falls in love with a Melungeon girl. More importantly, however, the play addresses the racist attitude toward Melungeons with candor and sympathy.

The first performance of the play occurred in 1969. Initially, the play was a great success. The sympathetic treatment of Melungeons in the play and the increasing tourist interest in these ‘mysterious people’ brought about a negative to positive transformation in the identity. A Melungeon was now a good thing to be. During its peak in popularity, tourists came from virtually every state east of the Mississippi. They were greeted graciously by the sheriff and his deputies who wore, as they still do, patches on their arms inscribed with ‘”Hancock County, Home of the Melungeons.'”

The Melungeons attracted the attention of a northern magazine, “Littell’s Living Age” which reported on them in its edition of March 1848, No. 254-31. The magazine article was a reprint from a “southern newspaper.” The newspaper was not identified but, Kevin Mullins, a reporter of Knoxville, Tennessee has concluded that the newspaper was “The Knoxville Register.”

“The Melungens:

[We are sorry to have lost the name of the southern newspaper from which this is taken.]

We give today another amusing and characteristic sketch from a letter of our intelligent and sprightly correspondent, sojourning at present in one of the seldom-visited nooks hid away in our mountains. You must know that within some ten miles of this owl’s nest, there is a watering-place, known hereabouts as “Blackwater Springs.” It is situated in a narrow gorge, scarcely one half a mile wide, between Powell’s Mountain and the Copper Ridge, and is, as you may suppose, almost inaccessible. A hundred men could defend the pass against even a Xerxian army. Now this gorge and the tops and sides of the adjoining mountains are inhabited by a singular species of the human animal called Melungens.

The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this. A great many years ago, these mountains were settled by a society of Portugese adventurers, men and women–who came from the long shore parts of Virginia, that they may be freed from the restraints and drawbacks imposed upon them by any form of government. These people made themselves friendly with Indians, and freed, as they were, from any kind of social government, they uprooted all conventional forms of society, and lived in a delightful Utopia of their own creation, trampling upon the marriage relation, despising all forms of religion, and subsisting on corn [the only possible product of the soil] and the game of the woods. These intermixed with the Indians, and subse­quently their descendants [after the first advances of the whites into this part of the state] with the negroes and the whites, thus forming the present race of Melungens. They are tall, straight, well-formed people, of a dark copper color, with Circassian features, but wooly heads and similar appendages of our negro. They are priviledged voters in the state in which they live, and thus, you will percieve, are accredited citizens of the commonwealth. They are brave, but quarrelsome; and are hospitable and generous to strangers. They have no preachers among them, and are almost without knowledge of a Supreme Being. They are married by the established forms, but husband and wife separate at pleasure, without meeting with any reproach or disgrace from their friends. They are remarkably unchaste, and want of chastity on the part of the females is no bar to their marrying. They have but little association with their neighbors, carefully preserving their identity as a race, or class, or whatever you may call it; and are in every respect, save that they are under the state government, a separate and distinct people. Now this is no traveller’s story. They are really what I tell you, without abating or setting down aught in malice.

They are behind their neighbors in the arts. They use oxen instead of horses in their agricultural attempts, and their implements of husbandry are chiefly made by themselves of wood. They are, without exception, poor and ignorant, but apparently happy.

Having thus given you a correct geographical and scientific history of the people, I will proceed with my own adventures. The doctor was, as usual, my compagnon de voyage, and we stopped at ‘Old Vardy’s’, the hostelrie of the vicinage. Old Vardy is the “chief cook and bottle-washer” of the Melungens, and is really a very clever fellow; but his hotel savors strongly of that peculiar perfume that one may find in the sleeping-rooms of our negro servants, especially on a close, warm, summer’s evening. We arrived at Vardy’s in time for supper, and, that dispatched, we went to the spring, where were assembled several rude log huts, and a small sprinkling of ‘the natives,” together with a fiddle and other preparations for a dance. Shoes, stockings, and coats were unknown luxuries among them–at least we saw them not.

The dance was engaged in with the right hearty good will, and would have put to the blush the tame steppings of our beaux. Among the participants was a very tall, raw-boned damsel, with her two garments flutttering readily in the amorous night breeze, whose black eyes were lit up with an unusual fire, either from repeated visits to the nearest hut, behind the door of which was placed an open-mouthed stone jar of new-made corn whiskey, and in which was a gourd, with a “deuce a bit” of sugar at all, and no water nearer than the spring. Nearest her on the right was a lank, lantern-jawed, high-cheeked, long-legged fellow, who seemed similarly elevated. Now these two, Jord Bilson [that was he], and Syl Varmin [that was she], were destined to afford the amusement of the evening; for Jord, in cutting the pigeon-wing, chanced to light from one of his aerial flights right upon the ponderous pedal appendage of Syl, a compliment which this amiable lady seemed in no way disposed to accept kindly.

‘Jord Bilson,’ said the tender Syl, ‘I’ll thank you to keep your darned hoofs off my feet.’

‘Oh, Jord’s feet are so tarnal big he can’t manage ’em all by hisself,’ suggested some pacificator near by. ‘He’ll have to keep ’em off me,’ suggested Syl, ‘or I’ll shorten ’em for him.’

‘Now look here, Syl Varmin,’ answered Jord, somewhat nettled at both remarks, ‘I didn’t go to tread on your feet, but I don’t want you to be cutting up any rusties about. You’re nothing but a cross-grained critter, anyhow.’

‘And you’re a darned Melungen.’

‘Well, if I am, I ain’t no nigger-Melungen, anyhow–I’m Indian-Melungen, and that is more ‘an you is.’

‘See here, Jord,’ said Syl, now highly nettled, ‘I’ll give you a dollar ef you’ll go out on the grass and right it out.’

Jord smiled faintly and demurred, adding ‘Go home, Syl, and look under your puncheons and see if you can’t fill a bed outen the hair of them hogs you stole from Vardy.’

‘And you go to Sow’s Cave, Jord Bilson, ef it comes to that, and see how many shucks you got offen that corn you tuck from Pete Jomen. Will you take the dollar?’

Jord now seemed about to consent, and Syl reduced the premium by one half, and finally came down to a quarter, and then Jord began to offer a quarter, a half and finally a dollar; but Syl’s prudence equalled his, and seeing that neither was likely to accept, we return to our hotel, and were informed by Old Vardy that the sight we had just witnessed was no ‘onusual one.’ The boys and gals was jist having a little fun’.

And so it proved, for about midnight we were wakened by a loud noise of contending parties in fierce combat, and, rising and looking out from the chinks of our hut, we saw the whole party engaged in a grand melee; rising above the din of all which, was the harsh voice of Syl Varmin, calling out–

“Stand back here, Sal Frazer, and let me do the rest of the beaten of Jord Bilson; I hain’t forgot his hoofs yit’.

The melee closed, and we retired again, and by breakfast next morning all hands were reconciled, and the stone jar was replenished out of mutual pocket, and peace and quiet ruled where so lately all had been recriminations and blows.

After breakfast, just such as the supper had been at old Jack’s, save only that here we had a table, we started for Clinch River for a day’s fishing, where other and yet more amusing incidents awaited us. But as I have dwelt upon this early part of the journey longer than I intended, you must wait until the next letter for the concluding incidents.’

The following is taken from “Life Magazine,” June 26, 1970

The mystery of Newman’s Ridge
by John Fetterman

Mr. Fetterman is a journalist and author specializing in Appalachia.

“When the cold season comes, the wind bites and howls along Newman’s Ridge in east Tennessee, nudging the snow across silent, ancient graveyards and against sturdy cabins fashioned from monstrous hand-hewn poplar logs. Only the wind knows the origin of the dark-complexioned and handsome people who settled on the ridge, some say hundreds of years before Columbus found the New World, and the wind will not tell.

And so the swarms of historians, anthropologists, re-searchers and writers come here hoping to unravel the mystery, only to leave frustrated.

The ridge people are called Melungeons. One is Claude Collins, 35, a director of libraries for the Hancock County school board. Claude frequently walks the lonely paths atop Newman’s Ridge where he was born. On such a stroll, he turned to me and demanded: “Look at me. Do I look any different to you? Where do you think my people came from?”

The questions are old ones in east Tennessee and probably will never be answered. They are asked by all the Melun-geons. Miss Martha Collins, who is president of Sneed-ville’s only bank; Corinne Bowlin, a college student; Mon-roe Collins, a dirt farmer. One can only repeat the legend.

The handsome Melungeons, with their dark eyes and finely chiseled features, whether they live on the ridge or have moved to the foot of it in the county seat town of Sneed-ville, speak fondly of their years upon the lonely, misty height.

Graying, neat and vibrant at 74, Miss Collins relaxes in her leather chair at the bank and recalls the frustrations of the local law enforcement officials who tried vainly for years to arrest the ridge’s whisky saleswoman, Aunt Mahala Mullins. All attempts to bring Aunt Mahala to justice failed because she weighed in excess of 400 pounds and could not pass through her cabin door.

“Everyone was very fond of Aunt Mahala,” Miss Collins said. “When she died they took away a part of a wall, wrapped her in quilts and gently rolled her down the hill to be buried.”

The Melungeons have always insisted that they are Portu-guese, and their legend insists that they are descendants of those skilled seamen who sailed out of the western Medi-terranean under Phoenician aegis to the New World, per-haps 2,000 years before Columbus.

Many scholars, notably Dr, Cyrus Gordon, Brandeis Uni-versity’s noted Mediterranean researcher, do not lightly dis-miss the Melungeon legend. There is much evidence of pre-Columbian transatlantic contacts. White gods with black beards came from the east and introduced the arts of metallurgy, irrigation, weaving, counting and writing throughout Central and South America. The Aztecs called the god Quet-zalcoatle to the Mayas he was Kukulcan, to the Incas Vira-cocha. Indians in Georgia observed a har-vest festival strikingly like the Biblical Feast of taber-nacles. In east Tennessee the fair-haired, fair-skined An-glo-Saxon pioneers and hunters looked upon the dark peo-ple who lived on Newman’s Ridge with distrust.

The Melungeons do not have the copper skin, black eyes or beardless faces of the Cherokee, nor do they have the fea-tures of the Negro.

After talking with them and watching them one can only reaffirm the historic and somehow unsatisfactory appraisal: Melungeons look “Mediterranean.” Only the Melungeons. of all the people in the remote rocky foIds of Appalachia, have forgotten their own history. Elsewhere in the moun-tains, you are told proudly, My grandmother walked in from Carolina,” or “my kin was hunters from Virginny.” Not so with the Melungeons. Seventy-two year-old Ellis Stewart has lived all his life on the ridge. He scratches the stubble on his chin and answers, “I guess the folks up here been here just ’bout forever.

Some’s gone now. Where they came from I’ll never know. But someday they’ll come back up here like squirrels.”

It is a brave prophecy. Many of the Melungeons, like mountain people elsewhere, are today fleeing the poverty of the hills and seeking jobs in the cities to the north.

Others, like Claude Collins and Miss Martha Collins, have become successful in the limited economy of Sneedville. Corinne Bowlin—quiet, darkhaired and now a student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, is a puzzled child of the legend. “I’ve been fascinated by the Melungeon legend all my life.” she said.

“Bowlin, you know, is a Melungeon name.” She speaks wearily of the researchers –some scientific and some just curious, who come to Hancock County to poke through the tiny graveyards and prowl the abandoned houses on the ridge. “They come in and take skull measurements and blood samples and make skin pigmentation studies and they never get any answers,” Miss Bowlin said.

One man who has sought the answers is Henry R. Price, an attorney and a meticulous historian who lives in nearby Ro-gersville, Tennessee. Price has traced the Melungeon immi-gration back through the lush valleys of southern Virginia and North Carolina, the valleys which were to become the eastern reaches of the Wilderness Road, the route of Daniel Boone and the great migration to the West. But the trail ends at the sea.

The sheriff of Fincastle County, Virginia was looking for Daniel Boone in 1770s, according to Jack Goins of Rogers-ville, Tennessee. He was wanted for a bad debt, the sheriff wrote on the warrant “Gone to Kentucky–cannot be served.” The warrant and the old records of Fincastle County are now found in the courthouse at Christiansburgh, Virginia, county seat for Montgomery County, Virginia.

Earliest records, Price found, referred to people along the valley trails who were called, “other free persons of color.” They bore the Melungeon names which appear on Newman’s Ridge:

Collins, Mullins, Brogan, Goins, Gibson, Bowlin. They were free of the restrictive legislation aimed at slaves and former slaves during the 1700s and 1800s. Furthermore, the Melun-geons of that period were voting, paying taxes, acquiring land, making wills, owning slaves, securing marriage licenses and suing. They were successful farmers, whisky makers and tra-ders, and even produced their own gold coins.

Miss Collins recalls that her grandfather once bought a farm on the ridge and produced $700 in gold from his pocket to pay for it.

Historians have said that the word “Melungeon” may be derived from the AfroPortuguese melungo, meaning “ship-mate.” And that Melungeon names, Brogan, Goins, Collins MulIins, now so English-sounding, may be traced back to the Portuguese Braganza, Magoens, Colinso and Mollen. [A few names are shared by many families.]

Claude Collins was walking slowly along the ridge, his eyes on the now abandoned house where he was born and where he spent his boyhood.

It was a good life up here. We worked hard and our fields were clean.”

Walking along with him, hearing that familiar twang of the mountain man coming from that improbably swarthy face, I found myself going over, in my mind, the legendary course that brought that face, those dark eyes. that coal-black hair from some mediterranean shore to this ridge. To the east, a few hundred miles beyond the misty horizon that is North Carolina, lies Cape Hatteras, graveyard of ships. I pictured a great ship, such as the Phoenician’s used, long before Rome was built, to explore the African coast and what is now Brit-ain.

It was easy to imagine one of those vessels, westborne on the trade winds, dashed onto Hatteras’ rocks, its timbers, hewn from cedars o’ Lebanon that grew near Sidon and Tvre, shat-tered. It was a century and a half before Christ, when the avenging Romans had destroyed the Phoenicians’ metropolis of Carthage and were threatening their colonies on the Iberian peninsula. I saw survivors of the ruptured ship, men and wo-men. strugle ashore and head west across the flat piedmont, into the green valleys of the Great Smokies and finally south-west up the beautiful valley of the Clinch River to this lonely ridge. I even pictured their commander, a compact man with dark eyes and blackbeard. pointing to it and saying, “This will he our home.”

“When somebody was burned out we’d have an all-day work-ing,” Collins was saying.” People would come in and build a new home in a day.”

“Yes,” I said. “It does sound like a good life.” I almost called him admiral.
Alex Goins was enumerated as the head of a household in the 1900 census of Hancock County, Enumeration District 71, page 12:

“Goins, Alex 24, born in TN, May 1876
America 20, born in TN, January 1880
Alva Goins died in Tazewell at age 68, according to his obitu­ary in “Monroe Evening News.”
Mrs. Elizabeth Goins/Gowen was a resident of Hancock County about 1900, according to Teresa A. Turner. She suggested that her divorced mother, Mrs. Maletha “Letha” Anderson, “age about 65” was living with her at that time. Elizabeth Goins/Gowen had a sister, Lena McPherson, wife of Robert Vastine McPherson.
Isaac Goins and his wife, Elizabeth Goins, were residents of Powell Valley, Tennessee, according to Hila Lawson Shelton Goins, a daughter-in-law.

Children born to Isaac Goins and Elizabeth Goins include:

Garfield Goins born June 7, 1880

Garfield Goins, son of Isaac Goins and Elizabeth Goins, was born in Hancock County June 7, 1880. He was married about 1900, wife’s name unknown. He was remarried about 1905 to Susan Perkins, daughter of Richard Perkins and Cynthia Perkins. His third marriage was to Mrs. Hila Lawson Shelton about 1918. He died in Whitley County, Kentucky November 18, 1952, according to a son, Ancil Goins.

Children born to Garfield Goins and his first wife include:

Mattie Rose Goins born about 1902
Arthur Goins born about 1903

Children born to Garfield Goins and Susan Perkins Goins include:

Frank Goins born in 1906
Ancil Goins born in 1908
Jesse C. Goins born in 1916

Children born to Garfield Goins and Hila Lawson Shelton Goins include:

A. C. Goins born about 1919
Ronnie Goins born about 1921
Steve Goins born about 1923
Sue Goins born about 1926
Ida Mae Goins who was born about 1895 was married about 1912 in Hancock County to John Henry Vaughan who was born about 1891, according to Sharon Robinson in a message dated August 10, 2000.
Lambert Goins and his wife, Birdie Miles Goins, are buried in Goin Cemetery in Hancock County, according to a descendant, Cathy Martin. She described Lambert Goins as a descendant of Alexander Goins.
John Goins and his wife, Sidney Goins were residents of Thornhill, Tennessee in 1900, according to the research of Tena M. Wooten. Later they removed to Tazewell, Tennessee. It is believed that Sidney Goins was born about 1866.

“Sidney Goins” died December 2, 1947 in nearby Clay Coun-ty, Kentucky at the age of 81, according to Kentucky Death Records, Volume 52, Certificate No. 25942.

Children born to them include:

Rufus Goins born about 1887
Tip Goins born about 1889
Lundie Goins born about 1891
Esther Goins born about 1894
Grace Goins born about 1897
Liddie Manila Goins born about 1900

Liddie Manila Goins, daughter of John Goins and Sidney Goins, was born in 1900 in Thornton, Tennessee, according to Tena M. Wooten, a great-great-granddaughter. Liddie Goins was married about 1918 to William Columbus Morton who was born in Sneedville in 1876. He was a son of George Morton and Ellen Morton.

Children born to William Columbus Morton and Liddle Manila Goins Morton include:

Charles Morton born about 1920
Bonnie Morton born about 1922
Paul Morton born about 1925
Raymond Morton born about 1928
The obituary of Michael Goins was published in the “Knoxville News-Sentinel” March 5, 2003:
“Michael “Little Crow” Goins,” age 36, of Sneedville, passed away Sunday, March 2, 2003. He was a mem-ber of Liberty Missionary Baptist Church. He was pre-ceded in death by his grandparents, Brownlow Goins and Cora Goins and Bill Swiney and Sarah Swiney.
His survivors include his children, Anthony Goins and Ashley Goins of Sneedville; his wife, Darlene Goins of Sneedville; his parents, Woodrow ‘Crow’ Goins and Gladys Goins of Sneedville; his sisters and brothers-in-law, Kathy Goins Dalton and Roger Dalton of Bean Station, Christie Goins Dyer and Darrell Dyer of Pow-der Springs, Kendra Goins Spradling and Travis Sprad-ling of Bean Station.

The funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, March 7, 2003 at McNeil Funeral Home Chapel, Rev. Curtis Reed, Rev. Roger Dalton, Rev. Kyle Gregory, Jr. and Rev. Larry McNally officiating. Interment will be in the Goins Cemetery.”
Nelly Goins, age 74, was enumerated as the head of a household of one person in the 1880 census of Hancock County. She was white, a housekeeper, and was born about 1806 in North Carolina to parents who were also born in North Carolina.
Ramon Virgil Goins was born at Sneedville in 1933. He was married about 1953 to Vergie Mae Helton who was born in 1936 at Rogersville, Tennessee. In 1954 Ramon Virgil Goins, a welder’s helper in oilfield construction, and Vergie Mae Helton Goins, lived at Hermleigh, Texas.

Children born to Ramon Virgil Goins and Vergie Mae Helton Goins include:

Andry Ann Goins born February 14, 1954

Andry Ann Goins, first child of Ramon Virgil Goins and Vergie Mae Helton Goins was born February 14, 1954 at Lorraine, Texas according to Mitchell County Texas Birth Book 21, page 70.
Sarah “Sally” Goins was born about 1844 in Tennessee, possibly Hancock County, of parents unknown, according to Christine Royster. She was married about 1863 to John Wilburn who was born about 1841 to Lewis Wilburn and Mila Millicent Wilburn. A child was born to them about 1864.

John Wilburn was enumerated as the head of a household in the 1850 census of Hancock County. They removed to Greenup County, Kentucky where they were enumerated in the 1880 census. They were recorded in adjoining Carter County, Kentucky in 1900 and 1910.
Tom Goins who was born about 1878 was married about 1901 in Hancock County to Orlena Trent who was born about 1875, according to Sharon Robinson in a message dated August 10, 2000. Orlena Trent was the daughter of Wiley Trent, a carpenter of Trent Valley and Elizabeth Seal Trent. Children born to Tom Goins and Orlena Trent Goins are unknown.
Susan Gowen was born in Morristown, Tennessee [now in Hamben County, Tennesee] September 22, 1800 of parents unknown, according to the research of Pat Melton. When Susan Gowen died May 9, 1893, she was living in Macomb County, Illinois in the home of her son-in-law and daughter, Tolbert Jaggard and Susan “Fanny” Jaggard.
Sarah E. Gowens was born in 1866 in Hancock County, ac­cording to “Tennessee Confederate Widows and Their Families” abstracted by Edna Weifering. She was married there in 1889 to Solomon Gardner who was born in 1839 in Washington County, Tennessee. He died in 1917 in Hawkins County, Tennessee, and she applied for Confederate Widows Pension No. 10185.
Isaac Gowines was recorded as the head of Household 34-57 in the 1850 census of Hancock County:

“Gowines, Isaac 46, born in NC
Mary 35, born in KY
Taff, Melvina 19,
John 1,
Vannoy, William 21,”
Eliza Gowins was enumerated as the head of Household No. 83-64 in the 1850 census of Hancock County:

“Gowins, Eliza 33, born in Virginia
Sarah 56, born in Virginia”


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