History of Owen Owens
(as dictated by him to his grandson, Willlam W. Owens, December 30, 1912)
Owen Owens was born in Marionethshire, North Wales, December 21, 1836. This was a farming and a state quarrying district. William Owens was a farmer and rented a large tract of land for which he paid ninety pounds per year. He was allowed to keep his own livestock on the farm and he usually had from one thousand to two thousand head of sheep and twenty milk cows, necessitating a small dairy. The family were Baptist, the father not being very religious.
When grandfather was about the age of eleven the family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and he was also baptized. Arrangements were shortly made for emigrating to America. Before leaving England, however, four of the eleven children died, including grandfather's twin sister, who died at the age of twelve. The family of nine left Liverpool in the spring of 1849 and sailed seven weeks and one day in reaching New Orleans.
From New Orleans they came up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to St. Joseph. Enroute the cholera attacked them, resulting in the death of his father, mother, and two sisters, and two brothers, leaving only grandfather, (a lad of thirteen), a twenty year old sister, and a twenty-four year old brother.
From St. Joseph they proceeded by wagon to Council Bluff, Iowa, and there they fitted themselves out with one yoke of cows and two of oxen and started for the Salt Lake Valley. George A. Smith was in their company, which arrived in Salt Lake about the time of the Fall conference in 1849.
Grandfather and his older brother and sister spent the first winter in a dugout across the Jordon River with a Welch family. The two older ones soon married and grandfather was left to shift for himself. In the Spring of 1850 he hired out to John Mercer for eight months at eight dollars per month for general farm work. In the Fall of 1850 he hired out to Captain Dan Jones as a farm laborer and went with him to Sampete for one year.
In the Winter of 1851 he stayed with his married sister in Salt Lake City and attended school. He had only attended school a few months out of each year while in Wales. The Summer of 1852 was spent in Salt Lake in the employ of John Bauch as a farm laborer.
In February of 1853 he went to American Fork and made his home at Mercers and worked wherever he could.
On October 2, 1857, he married Jane Parsons. In April 1859 they moved to Willard, her parents coming along. He, together with his father-in-law, William Parsons, bought Ira Parks farm, which consisted of twenty-eight acres in block eighteen of Willard Survey. Soon thereafter he purchased the lot where he now lives and commenced building a log house. Nails cost one dollar a pound, so the floor was put down with wooden pegs. A wooden roof was put on, the first and only one of its kind in Willard at the time, 1860.
He married Martha Ann Waite in March 6, 1871. From his first wife he had nine children, and from his second wife he had eight children. At present, December 30, 1912, eleven children are living. He has had sixty-one grandchildren, fifty-one are living, and five great grandchildren, three of whom are living.
He worked as a farmer all his life, always being able to support his family. For seven years he ran a milk wagon from Willard to Pleasant View. He retired at the age of 68. He took much part in politics and was a Republican. He served as Assistant Superintendent in the Sunday School and as a Bishops Counselor in the Willard Ward.
Death and Funeral
After being confined to his bed but four days, grandfather passed away at 11:15 P.M., Friday, June 13th, 1913.
The funeral was held in the Willard ward chapel at 3:OOP.M. Sunday, June 15th, followed by interment in the Willard Cemetery. The funeral was conducted by Bishop Joseph Hubbard. The choir, under the direction of Robert B. Baird, sang "Come, Come Ye Saints", Prayer was offered by Joseph Waite. Victor E. Madsen sang the solo, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives". Bishop Hubbard spoke of the deceased as having given him a start in the gospel when they were working together as ward teachers.
Upon request of grandfather and John D. Peters, who had known the Owens family from childhood, William W. Owens read the above sketch of grandfather's life. John D. Peters gave some of the early history of the Owens family.
Willard Neihe accompanied by John J. McClelland rendered a violin solo. E. P. Gordon, whose acquaintance with grandfather commenced in 1858, and who had been his ward teacher for the past year, gave a good account of him. Music again by Neihe and McClelland. William J. Facer spoke from the text "By Their Fruits Shall Ye Know Them". President Olsen N. Stohi spoke. The choir sang "I Know My Heavenly Father Knows". Benediction was offered by Bishop Thomas Blackburn.
The grave was dedicated by Ephriam White.
So many friends attended the funeral that the chapel could not accommodate them all.