52 Ancestors: #40 Landon S. GOWING Discovered a Fountain of Youth

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

The last quarter begins with entry #40 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #40 Landon S. GOWING Discovered a Fountain of Youth

Signature of Landon S. Gowing on document dated 28 November 1814. Chancery Records online at Library of Virginia: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1836-012

Landon S. Gowing, my 4th great-grandfather, was the son, likely the second, of Philip GOING and Judith POTTER. There are no actual documents that come right out and say this but I’m quite sure I’m on the right tract.

Philip GOING was born about 1745 or earlier as he was taxable in Goochland County, Virginia, in 1767 and 1769. [1]

The Reverend William Douglas served as a minister of the Church of England in St. James Northam Parish, Goochland County, Virginia, from 1750-1777. In 1756 he began keeping a register book in which he recorded marriages, baptisms, and burials he performed. On page 87 of his register is an entry for the “first” child of Philip GOING and his wife Judith POTTER, a daughter named Molly born 4 March 1770 and baptized 27 May 1770. In the same reference book there is a list of marriages which were not recorded by Rev. Douglas however were “indicated” by entries in the Birth Registry. The date given beside the names of the couple, unless otherwise specified, is the birth date of first child shown in Douglas’ register. Several researchers, who overlooked the notation at the top of the list of marriages, have mistakenly used Molly’s date of birth as her parents’ date of marriage.[2]

It is my belief that Philip GOING and Judith POTTER were married before 1770, most likely not in the same parish as their daughter was baptized.

December 10, 1785, Amherst, Against assessment bill. Early Virginia Religious Petitions; American Memory Home; The Library of Congress [accessed 6 Oct 2014 online http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=relpet&fileName=200%5D/254/254page.db&recNum=6&itemLink=P%3Frelpet%3A1%3A.%2Ftemp%2F~ammem_NaOS%3A%3A
It may have been during the years of the American Revolutionary War (19 April 1775-14 January 1784) that Philip moved his family to Amherst County, Virginia. His signature was found on a 1785 petition circulated in Virginia during the Revolutionary War. An image of this document can be found on the website of the Library of Congress. It is part of the “American Memory” Collection of Early Virginia Religious Petitions.

Philip GOING was also found on the tax lists of Amherst County from 1782 until 1807[3].  Amherst was formed in 1761 therefore the GOING family must have moved there from Goochland. By 1807 Nelson County was formed from about half of Amherst County. Philip is then seen on the 1810 and 1820 census of the new county. This time he didn’t move his family as he was living in the area of Amherst that became Nelson County.

Amherst County, Virginia, Personal Property Tax List 1782-1822; Library of Virginia microfilm reels 18 and 19; online http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/Amherst.htm

In the earliest tax lists Philip was the only GOING in Amherst until 1793 and 1794 when his son William is mentioned as being the second male over 16 in the household. This would suggest that William was his oldest son. The 1795 to 1798 lists continue to show 2 males over 16 in the household however the name of the second male is not listed. William is not seen again in the tax lists until 1800 which may be an indication of his having left the area for a period of time. Landon, the next son to show up on the tax lists, may be the second male in the 1795 to 1798 households.

1790 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst [online https://archive.org/stream/headsoffamiliesa00nort#page/48/mode/2up/search/going : accesed 3 OCt 2014]
Aaron appears in 1799-1800 while Samuel appears in 1801 until 1807. No further record of Aaron has been found. As no other GOING/GOWEN/GOWING families were in the area at the time I believe that William, Landon, Aaron, and Samuel are bothers and sons of Philip.

Marriages of females by the same surname during the time period were found for Polly and Milley.

  • Polly GOING married Joseph HARVEY on 18 December 1802 in Amherst County, Virginia. SW (Security/Witness): Philip GOING. Married by John Young.
  • Milley GOWING married Elijah FITZGERALD on 25 March 1806 in Amherst County, Virginia. SW: Saml. GOING (GOWING) and Saml. GARLAND.

This brings the total to 4 sons and 3 daughters, still 4 short of the total white persons (13) seen in the household of Philip GOING in the 1790 census at right.

1799 Personal Property Tax List A > VA > Amherst [online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Amherst/1799PersonalA/06.jpg : accessed 3 Oct 2014]
1799 Personal Property Tax List A
Amherst County, Virginia
Landon Going 1000
Philip Going 1002

My fourth great-grandfather Landon S. GOWING was first seen on a Personal Property Tax List in 1798 therefore I estimate his year of birth at about 1777. This estimate works for the 1820 and 1830 census but Landon stopped growing older once he reached 60! In 1830 and 1840 he was enumerated in the 50-60 age group and in 1850 he was still 60 years old! Did he find a fountain of youth?

Landon S. GOWING married Sally CRISP on 17 January 1803 in Amherst County, Virginia. Philip GOING and Samuel GARLAND were witnesses. The marriage was performed by Wm. CRAWFORD. Landon’s absence in the 1805 to 1807 Amherst tax lists and the 1810 census make me wonder if he may have left the area for a while. His father Philip was the only GOING in the area in 1810. William and Samuel were also missing in 1810 and 1820 and did not show up again in Nelson until 1830. Perhaps Landon went “somewhere” without his wife? I find it strange that Landon and Sally were married about seven years before their first child Emmeline was born, possibly just prior to the 1810 census enumeration. As Landon was not a head of household could he have been in his father’s household in 1810?

1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
Following the 1810 census two more daughters were born: Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING about 1812 [in Nelson County per 1911 death certificate of a daughter] and my 3rd great-grandmother Clementine M. GOWING about 1814. Before the 1820 census was enumerated Landon went bond on the marriage of his sister-in-law Betsy CRISP to Thomas HARRISON on 10 April 1820.

1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Landon S. Gowing
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Clementine and Martissa)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Emmeline)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Sally)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 3
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 5
Note: No sons listed. Sally and Landon were married 17 yrs at the time of census.

Towards the end of the 1820s Landon’s daughters were courting and marrying:

  • Emmeline GOWING married William Dison LAWHORNE (1811-1880) on 16 June 1828 in Amherst County, Virginia
  • Clementine M. GOWING married Seaton Y. DEMPSEY (1803-1880) on 3 January 1829 in Amherst County, Virginia
1829 Marriage Bond (photocopy courtesy of Geraldine Dempsey Workman)

Landon went bond with Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and signed the 1829 document (above). The signature here is the same as the one seen in the 1814 chancery records (at top).

1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst [ancestry.com]
In 1830 Landon, his middle daughter Martissa and his wife Sally were living in Amherst County near his son-in-law Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. Landon was in the 50 & under 60, Martissa in the 15 & under 20, and Sally was in the 60 & under 70 age group. As in 1820 the listing is consistent in showing that Sally was older than Landon.

Landon and Sally’s middle daughter Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING married Wyatt F. LILLY (1811-aft. 1880) on 29 May 1833 in Amherst County, Virginia. They moved to Caldwell County, Kentucky, after the births of their three oldest sons and before the 1840 census.

Several batches of chancery records were found concerning the estate of Landon’s father-in-law William CRISP. In one batch it appears that Landon’s wife Sally died before October 1838 [125_1839_006_0019].

In 1840 Landon has a younger woman with three children in his household. His daughters are all accounted for, being with their husbands in their respective households. Did Landon marry again? No marriage record was found and I suspect that the woman was living with him.

1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Name: Landon Going
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (poss. son)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (poss. Celia’s son Shelton Preston Ramsey)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (poss. Celia’s daughter Sophia Ramsey)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (poss. Celia seen in 1850)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Sheet 267A
HH #702-702
Landon Going M 60 Virginia (sic, age should be abt. 73)
Celia Going F 50 Virginia
Sophia Going F 17 (sic) Virginia

Landon must have stopped drinking and bathing in his fountain of youth as he aged rapidly between 1850 and 1853. Wayne B. Smith wrote in an e-mail dated 19 August 2003, “In the book Amherst County in the Revolution, Landon Gowing is mentioned in the pension application of John Massey. Landon is listed as 87 years old, the application is dated 1853.” His source[4].

A page from the Revolutionary War package of John Massey and his wife Susannah Wright [accessed 8 Sep 2007 on HeritageQuest]
On 8 Sep 2007 I located the Revolutionary War papers of John MASSEY, husband of Susannah WRIGHT. In these papers Landon S. GOWING gives affidavit that children named are children of John Massey, deceased, who was a Cornett in the United States service in the Revolutionary War. Sophy RAMSEY was a witness to the document at left. Sophy was also a witness to the declaration made by Thomas MASSEY, son of John and Susannah.

Landon S. GOWING was not enumerated in the 1860 census which leads to the conclusion that he died after making the above declaration on 24 September 1853 and before 1860. His daughters were living at the time of the 1880 census and most likely all died during the two decades before 1900.

What happened to the woman living with Landon in 1840 and 1850? Was Sophy RAMSEY who witnessed his declaration the same person as Sophia GOING seen with him in 1850? Could she have been his daughter?

The 1850 census shed a little more light on the woman with Landon in 1840 but questions remained. I pulled some tricks to identify “Celia.” In 1850 John F. CAMDEN was Landon’s neighbor. I checked for him in 1860 and found him living next door to Celia RAMSEY. This got the ball rolling!

1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1860 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Massies Mill
Celia Ramsey 71 F 0 20 b. Nelson Co., VA cannot read & write

ramseyAt RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project I found Lilly Martin’s gedcom file with this note (left). From this I know that Celia RAMSEY had two children out of wedlock: 1. Shelton Preston Ramsey born in 1830 and 2. Sophy (Sophia) Ramsey born in 1837. This is documented in her family bible.

To wrap things up, Sophia RAMSEY married James N. BRYANT in 1854, her mother Celia RAMSEY died in May 1870. Sophia’s age in the 1860 and 1870 census indicates that the bible entry of 1837 as her year of birth is reliable. The question remains, was Landon her father?

[1] Goochland County List of Tithables 1767-1780, Library of Virginia microfilm nos. 83, frames 18, 52, 109; transcription accessed 4 Oct 2014 online http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/goochcolonial.htm
[2] William Douglas, The Douglas Register, Genealogical Publishing Co. 1966, originally published in Richmond in 1929; pgs. 106, 141, 201; accessed 4 Oct 2014 online http://books.google.lu/books?id=U_xpc2k0N8kC&hl=de&source=gbs_navlinks_s
[3] Amherst County Personal Property Tax List 1782-1822; Library of Virginia microfilm reels 18 and 19; online http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/Amherst.htm
[4] Lenora Higginbotham Sweeny, Amherst County, Virginia In the Revolution: Including Extracts from the “”Lost Order Book”” 1773-1782, Southern Historical Press, 1998

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey