The subject of this personal reference is a representative of one of the prominent families of Clay county, whose connection with the cattle industry of the county covers a period of nearly thirty years, and he is himself one of the widely known young stock farmers of his municipality. For twenty-nine years he has been a resident of the vicinity of Bellevue, where his father launched the nucleus of what proved to be one of extensive and most successful cow ranches of Clay county.
A son of Garret H. Gowan, Robert Sherwood Gowan was born in Navarro county, Texas, August 8, 1869. That county, the Creek Nation in the Indian Territory and Clay county, Texas, were the scenes of our subject’s boyhood, but the latter place has known and owned him since he was seven years of age. He grew to manhood with the “UD” ranch and watched its boundaries extend to baronial proportions and witnessed its final dissolution and distribution by its owner, our subject’s father, among his worthy children. In the northeast corner of this once famous pasture lie the possessions of Sherwood Gowan, embracing eighteen hundred and nineteen acres, surrounding an oak-crested hill upon which his modest and cozy residence stands. Since, he has built a commodious residence in the village of Bellevue.
In the rural schools and in the Methodist college at Georgetown, Texas, Mr. Gowan acquired his literary training, and Mahan’s Business College at Sherman provided him with his business education. He finished a course in the latter institution in his twenty-first year and then became a fixture on the ranch which brought him up. His parents’ home was his own until his marriage, when he set up his own establishment and took his place among men in the serious affairs of life. October 15, 1891, he married, in Bellevue, Miss Hettie Harbison, a daughter of S. B. and M. E. (Smith) Harbison, now of Hereford, Texas.
Mr. Harbison was a native of Kentucky, as was also his wife. Of their children Mrs. Gowan was the oldest, born October 17, 1872; Fannie, wife of B. H. Frazier, of Hereford, Texas, was the second, and the other was Virgil,* residing at the same place. Mr. and Mrs. Gowan’s children are: Clifton Brentz, born September 17, 1892; Robert Elmer, born March 14, 1896; Lewis Buford, born December 22, 1898; Edna May, born November 1, 1900, and Fannie Josephine, born February 23, 1904.
In his stock operations Mr. Gowan includes cattle, horses, mules and hogs, and his two hundred and fifty acres under cultivation and his large pastures provide the food necessary to equip them all for market. One hundred and fifteen head of steers are grazing for the market of 1905 and his stock cattle number nearly one hundred and fifty head. He is one of the active young Democrats of Clay county and has represented his precinct in conventions of his party.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 546-547.
*Updated 5 May 2004: Matt Harbison descends from Virgil Harbison.