Samuel Gowdy was the progenitor of this family. He settled in Enfield, Conn., where the family has been numerous and influential. He was born about 1710, probably in the north of Ireland, descended from Scotch ancestry. Another Gowdy family located at the time of the Scotch-Irish immigration, 1720-50, in South Carolina. The name is not common, either in Scotland or Ireland, and it is likely that all of the name are rather nearly related. A Gowdy family came before 1756 to Abbeville, South Carolina. In 1790 there was one Gowdy family in Virginia, another in Pennsylvania. John Gowdy, of Powhatan county, Virginia, had two whites and no blacks in his family; Samuel Gowdy had two males over sixteen, two under that age and four females in his family, living in Aberdeen county, Pennsylvania, where many Scotch Presbyterians settled.
Clinton Gowdy, a prominent lawyer of Springfield, Mass. is descended from a Tennessee branch of the Virginia family mentioned.
(I) Samuel Gowdy, of Enfield, was a soldier in the French and Indian war, Third Company, First Regiment, General Phinehas Lyman, from March 9 to Dec. 1, 1757. This record may possibly belong to his son of the same name. His son Samuel administered his estate, being appointed by the probate court, Aug. 5, 1767, probably a month after his father died.
(II) Samuel (2), son of Samuel (1) Gowdy, was born in 1738 and probably came with his parents to Enfield when a young child. He died there Nov. 16, 1812, aged seventy-four years. His father was living in 1765, for the records call him "Jr." at that time. He, or his son of the same name, served in the revolution in 1779-80 in the continental army in the Second Regiment under Colonel Zebulon Butler. Alexander and John Gowdy, also in the revoltuion, appear to be his brothers. He had in his family, in 1790, according to the first federal census, two males over sixteen and three females. Robert and William also had families in Enfield; Robert was his son, William doubtless a nephew.
He married, Oct. 23, 1759, Abiah, daughter of Henry Pease, of Enfield.
Children born at Enfield:
1. Samuel, June 10, 1760, mentioned below.
2. Hill, Feb. 13, 1763; served in the revolution.
3. Robert, July 24, 1765.
4. Abiah, Jan. 8, 1768.
5. Mehitable, June 17, 1770.
6. Daniel, died in 1843, aged about eighty-three years.
7. Mehitable, May 2, 1778.
(III) Samuel (3), son of Samuel (2) Gowdy, was born in Enfield, June 10, 1760, died April 19, 1840. He was a soldier in the revoltuion in 1780 from Connecticut, and was one of the guards of Major Andre at the time of his execution. He married at Enfield, Jan. 29, 1784, Alice Gleason. The town records (p. 1193) give an account of his wages as a soldier in the revolution. He moved about 1803 to Lewis county, N.Y., and settled there in the town of Martinsburg, then a wilderness. He built his log house and cleared a farm. He owned two hundred and fifty acres of land, and in course of time his was recognized as the finest farm in that section.
(IV) Norman, youngest of seven children of Samuel (3) Gowdy, was born at Enfield, Conn., June 1801. He attended the district schools and the Academy of Martisnburg. He worked with his father on the homestead in his youth and continued with him afterward, succeeding eventually to the place. He was acknowledged to be one of the most progressive and successful farmers in the county. He was possessed of more than ordinary ability, and many of his younger and less successful neighbors came to him for advice. He came to have a large and useful influence in the town. He was of dignified bearing, but kindly manners, and won the respect and esteem of all who knew him. He was one of the founders of the Lewis County Agricultural Association and took a keen interest in its welfare. He did not lack an interest in politics and public affairs, but declined to accept public office of any kind. During the Civil War he retired from the active management of his farm and made his home in the village of Lowville, devoting his time to the management of his real estate and other investments. In politics he was originally an old line Whig, but after the Republican party was formed he supported its candidates and principles and wielded a large influence in its councils. He was a prominent member of the Prebyterian church. He gave freely of his wealth and contributed to a variety of charitable organizations. He was for many years one of the leading men of the county. He died Sept. 1, 1876. He married, in 1831, Julia (Sackett) Buell, daughter of Roland and Olive Buell. Her family came to Lewis county when she was but three years old. She died in 1890.
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