McGowins have reputable heritage

Published 11:58 pm Friday, January 28, 2011

In the previous three columns, the McGowin family of Covington and surrounding counties has been featured. The majority of the lineage was of the descendants of Samuel McGowin. In last week’s column, his brother, James McGowin I, was introduced. Today’s writing will be a further review of James and some of his descendants.

James appears to be the son of William and Elizabeth McGowin. William and his brother, John whose wife was Nancy, were the sons of David and Mary McGowin. It also appears that they had a brother named Joseph who was a veteran of the Revolu-tionary War and who was married to Lydia Baker in 1774.

James’s grandfather, David McGowin was granted 200 acres of land in Georgia’s St. George Parrish in December 1771 by King George III. There was a will made in September 1796 for a David McGowin, and it was proven and probated in March 1798 in Jefferson County, Ga. This David appears to be the same as James’s ancestor.

James McGowin was born circa 1770 and died fairly young in 1813 in Georgia. His widow, Mary (Lewis) McGowin, was then married to Thomas “Tom” Floyd. Her son, John McGowin, died a few years later in 1817. A few years later circa 1830, Mary and Tom Floyd left Georgia and moved to South Alabama where they settled in Conecuh County. His two daughters, Cherry Ann and Mary Floyd, and two of her sons, Samuel and James McGowin, came with them, but her son, Anthony McGowin, waited a while before he moved to this area as well. The older three children, Jacob, Sarah Ann and Alexander McGowin, chose to remain in Georgia.

When Anthony arrived in Alabama, he settled at Parker Springs along the Old Three-Notch Road. He was born in 1801 and died circa 1852. The name of his first wife is not known, but they had two children, Sarah Jane and Albert. He was married second to the Widow Watts, who had one daughter, Lauramie Watts, and they reared four additional children: Sarah Ann, m. Harris Calloway; Thomas; Joseph; and Charles, b. 1851, d. 1929, m. Martha White. (Additional data on this family were included in last week’s column.)

For clarification, the children of James McGowin I and Mary (Lewis) are presented: Sarah Ann, b. 1796; Alexander, b. 1798; Jacob, b. 1800; Anthony, b. 1802, m. (1) ? (2) Widow Watts; Samuel, b. 1805, d. 1892, m. Martha Moore (ca 1807-1892); James II, b. 1807, d. ca 1874, m. (1) Eliza Straughn (2) Virginia Sanks; and John, d. 1817.

The fourth son, Samuel McGowin, and his wife, Martha “Patsy” Mason, were both buried in the McGowin Cemetery. They reared the following 13 children: Mary Ann, Peter, Alexander Sr. “Alex,” Samuel, James, Josephine, Anthony Lewis, Thomas, John Charnic, Sarah Jane, Martha Elizabeth, Ann Eliza, and Matilda Catherine.

The remainder of this writing will focus on the family and descendants of James I’s son, James McGowin II and his three wives. He and his first wife, Eliza Straughn, a native of North Carolina, had the following children: Jacob Lewis, b. 1836, d. 1899, m. (1) Rebecca Francis Moore (2) Sarah “Sally” Douglas (3) Donnie Sowell; Sam; James Travis, m. Amanda Moore; George; William; John; Martha Jane “Missie;” Mary; Margaret Elizabeth; Sallie; and Susan E.

James II was married second to Virginia Sanks who was born in Brooklyn, Ala. Community folks called her “Jenny Buster,” because she used her nursing skills to treat and help her neighbors. She was the daughter of John Sanks who lost his life while serving in the Confederate Army. James II and Virginia reared the following four children: John William “Buck,” b. 1865, d. 1939, m. (1) Missie Moore (1876-1905) (2) 1908 Lunar Clyde Acree; Lula Virginia, b. 1866, m. James Levi Moore (1855-1929); Callie, m. J.B. “Tobe” Mancill (1863-1930); and Augusta, b. 1872, m. William “Billy” Clements (1861-1905).

The oldest son, Jacob Lewis McGowin, was born and lived most of his life in Dixie of Escambia County. In his later life he moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he died in 1899. He was brought back and buried in the Old Mason Cemetery near Dixie. His first wife, Rebecca Francis Moore, daughter of John S. Moore, a Methodist preacher from North Carolina, and Abigail (Williams), was a sister to his brother, James Travis McGowin’s, wife, Amanda Moore. Jacob and Rebecca had the following children: James L., b. 1860, m. 1881 Loula G. Roberson; Emma V., b. 1863, d. 1904, m. 1878 James Frank Douglas (1858-1936); Alice Eliza, 1864, m. 1881 Augustus C. Parker (1855-1935); Ida; and Ernest Lenwood, b. 1869, d. 1920, 1896 Lula Belle Graham (1871-1966).

Jacob Lewis and his second wife, Sally Douglas, had the following eight children: William L. b. 1873, m. 1901 Agnes Padgett; John R., b. 1876, d. 1934, m. 1906 Ethel S. Moore (1890-1939); Jacob F., b. 1877, m. 1898 Mollie Clements; Walter G., b. 1882, d. 1966, m. 1908 Rebecka Harvey Armstrong; (1887-1939); Maye Emaline, b. 1884, d. 1963, m. 1907 Hugh White, b.&d. 1887; Maggie Lou; David, b. 1888, d. 1897; and twin, Stacey, b. 1888.

Jacob Lewis was married third to Donnie Sowell in 1889. They had the following three children: Wallace, b. 1890, d. 1922, m. Helen Warner; Philip, b. 1895, d. 1896; and Ethel, b. 1896, m. 1934 Michael Alto.

Jacob Lewis’s oldest son by Sally, William L. McGowin, was married to Sarah Agnes Padgett, daughter of William H. “Bud” and Nancy C. (Hart) Padgett. They resided in the Conecuh River and Pleasant Home communities. They had two children, Jacob “Little Jakie,” b. 1902, d. 1904, buried at Pleasant Home; and Jackson Lewis “Jack,” b. 1910, d. 1980, m. 1932 Aria Ethel Lovelace, daughter of James Wesley Lovelace. Before Jack and Aria were divorced, they had two sons, William Jackson, b. 1934; and Jerry Hamner, b. 1936. Sometime later Aria was married to Claude Elliott McMillan, and her sons began to use the McMillan name. They are both married and live with their families in Van, Texas.

Jocob Lewis’s brother, James Travis McGowin, and his wife, Amanda (Moore), reared the following children: George Edward, b. 1866, m. 1898 Maggie E. Terry; John Leonard, b. 1869, m. 1897 Pearl Baker; Carrie Lee, b. 1872, m. 1892 George Humphries; William Travis, b. 1874, d. 1951, m. (1) 1900 Frances Oliver (2) 1905 Genevieve Brewer; Samuel James or James T. Jr., b. 1876, m. Ida Edmonson; Annie Bell, b. 1879, m. 1904 John L. Roe; Jack William, b. 1883, d. 1905; and Lena Gertrude, b. 1885.

Once again, the book entitled McGowan Family was the source for this writing. The many McGowin descendants may be grateful to the person who compiled this genealogical treasure. While the book contains much more data, this will conclude the review of the McGowin family at this time. Also, appreciation is expressed to Wade McMillan, son of the above Jerry Hamner (McGowin) McMillan, for sharing his McGowin family records.

Anyone who might have any correction to the above or additional data on the McGowin family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or E-mail:

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Rifles Camp of SCV will hold its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 3, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Anyone interested in Confederate heritage is welcome to attend.