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 Ernestine Marion <I>Cormier</I> Gowen

Ernestine Marion Cormier Gowen

Shediac, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
Death 7 Feb 1990 (aged 84)
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
Burial Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
Plot Group 466; Location L; Lot 274.
Memorial ID 80127748 · View Source
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Ernestine emigrated to U. S. A. in 1917
where she is recorded on the 1920 census
at Worcester, Worcester, Massachusetts
employed as a servant.

Occupation - Seamstress.

Ernestine {Age 34; Widow}
and her sons are recorded on the 1940 census
at Providence, Providence, Rhode Island.

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL - 9 February 1990:
Ernestine A. Gowen, age 84, died Wednesday in Miriam Hospital at Providence.

MEMOIRS - of granddaughter:
My grandmother, Ernestine's young years were difficult and she was embarrassed about her back-ground. She spoke about having to walk far to go to a well, and that she was accosted in the woods one night. There were too many children in her family and they were sent to the U. S. A. to board. She said her grand- mother was an Indian who had half a thumb from the time her children knew her.
John Freeman Gowen was an alcoholic and he was cruel. He would terrorize Ernestine, waking her from a deep sleep with knives to her throat. He would take the food money, without telling her, and leave her with no money to feed their two small sons. She spoke of being with his family in New York; and being fond of his sister, Lura. She told of driving to Virginia or D. C. and heating formula on the engine of the car for the babies.
John abandoned his family and Ernestine never saw him again. She was timid, afraid of him, and never looked for him.
During the next years, she struggled, and at one point both sons were placed in an orphanage because she had to have surgery; couldn't work during recovery, and had no family support. My father [John] and uncle [George] would rarely talk about that time in their lives except to say "George could eat anything, but John was starving to death, and it was George's biggest task to find food John could eat to help him stay alive".
Eventually, Ernestine had a good friend, Edward Oakes [4 June 1890-October 1971] who helped raise her sons, and me. They loved each other, but never married as Ernestine still thought she was married to John, and didn't know if he was alive or not. Edward died unmarried and left Ernestine his discharge papers with the hopes of providing her with his pension; however, his sister received all of it. Ernestine and Edward's relationship of more than 30 years was honored solely by her memories of him. I called him my grandfather and dearly loved him.

Daughter of William CORMIER
{both born in U. S. A.}

Family Members



1927 - 1998
1934 - 1993
1905 - 1990





  • Maintained by: Ralph Gowen
  • Originally Created by: Yvonne Gowen
  • Added: 9 Nov 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 80127748
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ernestine Marion Cormier Gowen (15 Sep 1905–7 Feb 1990), Find A Grave Memorial no. 80127748, citing Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by Ralph Gowen (contributor 47690237) .