OWEN, SPENCER, WILDEY, CLIFTON, STORY, SUNBERG, FRYE, WILSON, CARTER, HIGGINS, SMITH
Posted By: Earl Hoffman (email)
Date: 7/22/2012 at 14:13:58
Agriculture has been an honored vocation from the earliest ages, and as a usual thing men of honorable and humane impulses, as well as of energy and thrift, have been patrons of husbandry. The free out-of-door life of the farm has a decided tendency to foster and develop that independence of mind and self-reliance which characterizes true manhood. No truer blessing can befall a boy than to be reared in close touch with nature in the healthful life and inspiring labor of the fields. It has always been the fruitful soil from which have sprung the moral bone and sinew of the country, and the majority of the nation's great warriors, renowned statesmen and distinguished men of letters were born on the farm and were indebted largely to its influence for the distinction which they have attained.
William Owen, one of the well-known farmers of this county, who is now living retired, was born in Lincolnshire, England, on May 1, 1841, the son of Richard and Isabelle (Spencer) Owen, who emigrated to America about 1869, coming to Iowa and settling on a farm in Melville township, Audubon county. They remained there for one year, at the end of which time they removed to a farm on the Botna, where they remained two years, subsequently moving to a farm at Lucketts Grove, where they remained for one year. They then moved to a farm in Viola township, later purchasing land in section 26, near Williams, in Leroy township. Richard Owen and wife improved this latter farm and in 1889 sold it, after which they made a visit to England. Upon their return to this county they located at Exira, where Richard Owen died at the home of his son, William, in August, 1895, his widow surviving for three years, her death not occurring until 1898. Richard and Isabelle (Spencer) Owen were the parents of the following children: William, the subject of this sketch; George, deceased; Thomas, who lives in Oklahoma, and Mary, the widow of William Wildey, who now lives in the West.
William Owen was educated in the English schools. He married in 1866, and in October of that year he and his wife set sail for America, landing in New York City, whence they went to Cleveland, where they remained until 1870, in April of which year they came to Audubon county, a few months later purchasing land in section 26, Leroy township. This farm, consisting of eighty acres, was purchased at five dollars and fifty cents an acre. William Owen erected a small house on this farm, and for a time he and his wife experienced some pretty hard times. Atlantic was the nearest market, and at Ft. Dodge there were nothing but trails. Jefferson was another market, but it required three days to make the trip and blizzards sometimes intervened. Mr. Owen prospered, however, and presently added eighty acres to his first eighty-acre farm, gradually increasing his holdings until now he owns two hundred and forty acres. Besides this, he has given to his four elder sons forty acres each, together with teams, wagons, harness and feed to give them a start. Mr. Owen's eldest son, Robert, owns two hundred and forty acres adjoining the old home place. The second son, William S., owns a half section in Viola township, which is worth two hundred dollars an acre. The third son, Richard, owns one hundred and eighty acres in Hamlin township and two hundred and eleven acres in Exira township. The fourth son, George, now deceased, owned eighty acres.
On February 3, 1866, William Owen was married to Mary Ann Clifton, who was born in Lincolnshire, England, on April 18, 1844, the daughter of George and Jane (Spencer) Clifton, to which union were born the following children: Robert J. F., William S., Richard, George Edward, Charles Clark, Worthy Earl, Carrie C., Lillie, Nancy A., Ethel M., and Jane Elizabeth and George Washington, twins, the two latter of whom are deceased. Robert J. F. Owen married Frances Story and they have two children, Lela and Floyd. William S. married Minnie Sunberg and they have three children, Henry, Grace and Helen. Richard married Myrtle Frye and they have two children, Leland and Ellawene. George Edward (now deceased) married Josephine Wilson, to which union two children were born, Lucille and Bernard. Charles Clark, who lives on the home farm, married Lula Carter and they have two children, Virgil and Donald. Worthy Earl lives on the home place with Charles. Mrs. Carrie C. Frye lives in Melville township and has three children, Marie, Harry and Lillie. Mrs. Lillie Higgins lives in Hamlin. Mrs. Nancy A. Sunberg lives in Hamlin township and has two children, Leverne and Merle. Mrs. Ethel M. Smith has one child, Mary Ann.
William Owen is a Republican and has held several township offices with credit. The Owen family are all members of the Presbyterian church and are active in the work of the church and the Sunday school, all being held in high esteem throughout the section of the country in which they reside.
From "History of Audubon County, Iowa," ed. by Henry F. Andrews. B. F. Bowen, 1915
Transcribed by Earl W. Hoffman (2007)
Audubon Biographies maintained by Cheryl Siebrass.
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