top of page

Charles R. Gowen

          Charles R. Gowen's grandfather, John Newton, came to the United States in the late 1700s. He was a British soldier who wanted to escape from the army. Some fellow Americans assisted him in sneaking off of a British naval boat at night. From there he traveled to Norfolk County, and referred to himself as John "Going" which later became Gowen. John married Mary Cook in 1786 and had four children. Their youngest, Luther, married Elvira Metcalf and had four more of their own. One of which was Charles.

            Born on December 2nd, 1819 in Franklin, Charles was the second youngest of the four boys in his family. Twenty years later, Charles married Harriet Phipps on June 10, 1841. Then in 1862 Charles and his older brother George became privates for the 14th New Hampshire Infantry in Company B. At that time, Charles was 43, making him one of the older volunteers in his company (most of the soldiers were 27).

            For the three years that he served, Gowen and his regiment served picket and provost duty in Washington for two years. Provost duty, organized under the command of General McClellan, was initially created to keep things in line and make sure nothing gets out of hand. This includes suppressing the depredation of private property, and supervising places of amusement such as saloons and hotels.

            Then, in July 1864 they were recruited to the Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. The main objective of the campaign was to remove General Jubal A. Early's army as a factor of the war, and to get rid of all resources the Confederate Army could gain from the valley. During the time they served under General Philip H. Sheridan, they fought in many significant battles such as the Battle of Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and the Battle of Cedar Creek. The latter being the most important of all these, since many considered it the turning point in the war, when the Confederacy started to collapse.

            On July 8, 1865 Charles was discharged from the army, and he returned to his family in Franklin where he continued his job as a carpenter. Years later, in 1928, Charles was celebrated on Memorial Day along with four other men living in Franklin as veterans of the Civil War.

bottom of page