James A. Gowdy, who resides on the Upper Bellbrook road in Greene county, was born March 25, 1852, on this farm, which has been in the family for about one hundred years. In early pioneer times when Greene county was just emerging from its wild condition into the light of civilizalion, the Gowdy family came to Ohio. John Gowdy was born in Connecticut in 1747 and was of Scotch-Irish parentage. He married Abigail Ryan, who was of Welsh descent, and about 1782 emigrated westward, locating first at the north bend of the Ohio river. Later owing to military troubles, he was compelled to remove to the military station at the falls of the Ohio and from there went to a settlement which afterward became Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. There the family lived until about 1809, when they came to Greene county, settling on a farm two miles west of Xenia on the upper Bellbrook pike. John Gowdy died about five years later, passing away November 7. 1814. His ,wife survived him for about twenty-four years and departed this life on the 6th of May, 1838. They had eleven children. The eldest, James Gowdy, was married three times, his first wife being Joanna Townsley, his second Sarah Brown, and his third Jane Purdy. His children were John. James. George. Joanna, who became the wife of William L. Finley. Samuel and Philander. Samuel Gowdy, the second of the family, married. Isabelie Cowley and their children were John Ryan, Abigail, Martha, Samuel, Frank, Robert Williamson and Diana Melvina. Jane, the third member of the Gowdy family, became the wife of Joseph Kyle and unto them were born the following named: Mary, Joseph Addison, Abigail, Catherine, John, James, Samuel, William and Martha. Martha Gowdy married John Jolly and their only child was James Gowdy Jolly. The next members of the family were Mary and Robert. John Gowdy, who followed in the order of birth, married Prudence Foglesong and their children were George Foglesong, Catherine, John, James, Charles, Sarah, Margaret, Albert and Thomas. Alexander married Eleanor Fitzgerreld and their children were John Ryan, Ellen, Abigail, Sarah, Cyrus and Mary. Abigail, the next member of the Gowdy family, became the wife of Robert Stevenson, and their children were John, Thomas, Rachel and Abigail. Ryan Gowdv was twice married, his wives being sisters—Diana and Nancy Morgan, and his children were John, Mary. Ryan, Adelaide and Nancy. Sarah, the youngest of this family, became the wife of Peter Jacoby and their children were Abigail, Mary, Jane, John, Ann, Henry, Rachel and Susanna.
Robert Gowdy. the grandfather of our subject, married Nancy Mackey, the fifth child of Alexander and Jane Mackey. who were married in Scotland and on coming to the United States settled near Lexington, Kentucky. Mrs. Gowdy was born January 1. 1785, amd their marriage occurred August 26. 1806. On coming to Xenia they first lived in a stone house which stood on the southwest corner of Detroit and Third streets, where the coal yard of Eavey & Cozad is now Iocated. Robert Gowdy was a tanner by trade and conducted his business at the place of his residence, on the west side of Detroit street, between Water street and Shawnee creek. He served as captain and major in the war of 1812 and afterward held the commission as colonel in the state militia. Their children were Ariminta, Jane
Ryan, John Alexander. Martha, Mary, Eliza. Abigail, Robert, Nancy Ann, Sarah, James Marion and Isabella. Of this number Ariminta died in 1831, and Martha, Nancy and James Marion died in infancy. Jane became the wife of Amaziah Pilcher; John married Sarah M. Bradford; Mary became the wife of John McBride; and Eliza of William V. Rhoades; while Robert married Emily Manor; and Sarah became the wife of John Lawrence Jolly; and Isabella of Jacob Fishell. Abigail was married to William Twiss. Robert Gowdy, the father of this family, died December 16, 1831, and his wife died during the cholera epidemic in 1849 on the 3d of August.
The parents of James A. Gowdy were Robert and Emily (Manor) Gowdy. He was born on the Cincinnati pike and spent his entire life in Greene county, where he passed away in October, 1894. at the age of seventy-five years, his remains being interred in Woodland cemetery. His wife died in June. 1883. at the age of fifty-eight years. Mr. Gowdy voted with the Whig party in early life and afterward became a stanch Republican. He served for two terms as infirmary director and in all matters pertaining to the general welfare he took a deep and active interest. Both he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church, in which he served as a leader for many years. In their family were eight children: George E., a minister of the Presbyterian church, now living in Lebanon, Ohio; Elizabeth, the deceased wife of William Anderson, a United Presbyterian minister; James .V.. whose name introduces this record; William F., a Presbyterian minister living at Pleasant Ridge; Charles B., who for many years was secretary and treasurer of the Xenia Shoe Company, and died in March, 1902; Luella, the wife of R. D. Williamson, of Cedarville township; Robert L., an attorney of Xenia; and Emily,
who died at the age of six weeks.
From History of Greene County, Ohio, by George F. Robinson (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1902)