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September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

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September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Sylcec » Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:33 am

Have been reviewing the question of what became of John Govan b. 21 May 1725, and have further information to add. The following came from Hodson's "List of Officers of the Bengal Army"
John GOWEN or GOVIN
Major Infantry 1758, transferred from the Bombay establishment in 1758. Promoted Major by Lord Clive and appointed second in command of the Bengal Army & commander of the Bengal European Regiment. Eight captains on the Bengal establishment being thereby superseded by him resigned their commissions on 31 August 1758.
He was re-transferred to Bombay in 1761 and appointed to command the Bombay European Regiment.

He was clearly still alive in early 1768, as correspondence to and from him is included in
SELECTIONS FROM THE LETTERS, DESPATCHES, AND OTHER STATE PAPERS PRESERVED IN THE BOMBAY SECRETARIAT
which has been digitised and available on http://www.archive.org .
In this document Major John Govin's name is often shown as Gouin.

In 1768 he is having success being in charge of troops at Mangelore in the conflict with Hyder Ali. Val Van Raay will find detailed information about John Govin's exploits during this action if she reads some of these selections.

No doubt there will be far more information about this man in the India Office Records at the British Library.
Sylvia
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Re: September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Editor » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:57 am

Thanks Sylvia, we'll pass that one to the reader.

Sarah
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Re: September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Val » Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:26 am

Hi Sylvia,
Firstly, a very big apology that I am only just replying to your post from October! I haven't actually ever used the forum, despite registering quite a while ago. I actually came across this post of yours my chance on the internet (after googling my name for some reason) and was both amazed and mortified that it had been there for so long without me knowing and replying to you. Also, despite there being a comment from the editor in January that it would be passed on, it never was. So I am really sorry, but also very grateful for your extra research into the subject of John Govan.

Your comments had me scrambling to follow up your suggestions!
I had tried various spellings of "Govan", e.g. "Govin", "Gowen", etc., but not "Gouin", so your finding him being named as both in the letters and dispatches was great. As well as reading some of those letters, I also found an entry in Town & Country Magazine for the death in 1770 of "Major Gouin of Kensington Square, late commander of the hon. East India Company's troops in Bengal". Since finding that I then went on to find a Will on Ancestry for him, and also one for his wife Elizabeth in 1784.
I would have loved one of those to really confirm that he was "my man", but they have at least provided more possible leads to follow up. So you really do think this is one and the same man, and also the same as the entry from the Merchant Taylors' School Register?

I did also find an entry for a John Robinson on National Archives mentioning his first mother-in-law Elizabeth Gouin (or Govin), which also confirmed the use of both spellings, so that was good too.

I had read previously about the 8 captains resigning over John Govin's appointment, but have now also started looking at some of the entries in the letters and dispatches you had found. Lots more reading and searching to do!

Anyway, I'm sure there will be more to find, but I wanted to acknowledge your post and thank you for it, before looking further. It certainly pointed me in a new direction which I am very grateful for. Thanks again.
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Re: September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Sylcec » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:21 am

Val: I'm so glad that you eventually found my reported information on John Govan/Gouin.

I'm not able to offer any comment about whether or not he went to Merchant Taylor's. However, I would expect that you have identified the correct deaths and wills for John and his wife.

There may well be additional information available in the India Office Collection held at the British Library.
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Re: September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Val » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:44 am

Sylvia, I'm pleased that you found my (very overdue) response. Since posting that I have been following up some of the leads from the Wills. I will let you know in a while where it all takes me. There will be quite a bit of reading and follow-ups from these, the letters and dispatches, etc.
Thanks again for your help and advice.
Val. (Melbourne, Australia.)
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Re: September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Jon Bauckham » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:50 am

Hi Val (and Sylvia!)

Sorry about the miscommunication with this. Sarah's away at the moment, but it looks like she may have forgotten to pass the message on (she's a busy lady!) We'll make sure we're better at this next time.

All the best,
Jon
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Re: September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Val » Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:51 am

Hi Sylvia,
I followed up on the John Gouin name and made good progress. I mentioned before, finding what seems to be his Will and that of his wife Elizabeth on Ancestry. Elizabeth's named a lot of family, especially grandchildren. From that I also found the Will of her daughter, naming the same children, being hers, and went on to find various marriages of them by the names she mentioned. It was all very exciting, but then I came down to earth with a bump, because I also found the marriage of a John Gouin to Elizabeth Houseman in Bombay, but realised it was too early to be "my" John. They were married in 1733 - John Govan was only born in 1725, and was at the Merchant Taylors' School in 1738. I did check the actual entry to make sure there wasn't an error in the transcription date, but it was right. Their daughter Ann's first marriage was also too early - 1750, so not my man after all.
There is plenty written about a John Govin being promoted by Lord Clive, etc., and the subsequent resignation of other officers, but now I don't know whether it would have been this one, or mine. As I said in my original question in the mag, the school stated that in their register, but now I wonder if it was true or whether they thought it was him because of the name, and it seemed like a good claim to fame for the school.
I will continue to search, but not sure if there will be an answer. :(
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Re: September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Sylcec » Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:53 am

Val - I have sent you a PM. Sylvia
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Re: September 2014 issue: John Govan "The Big Question"

Postby Val » Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:50 am

Thanks Sylvia. I have emailed. Val.
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