Owen Family

by Mary Ellen Purkey Horner

The OWEN family is of Welsh origin and descends from King LLewelyn of Wales also from Hwfa of Cyndelw, Lord of Llys, in Angelses, Contemporary with Owen Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales.

Sire Hugh Owen (father of Griffith Owen who immigrated to the state of Pennsylvania) was a member of Parliament in several parliaments, from Pembroke 1620-60.  He was first baronet of Orielton, so created Aug. 11, 1641.
His Coat of Arms derived from the Llewlyn arms are:
Shield gules, a chevron between three lions rampant, or 
Crest, a lion rampant, or
Motto: Honesty is the best policy.  --Created 1050 A.D.

Griffith Owen:
Griffith Owen arrived with his wife on the ship Vine of Liverpool (William Presson, Captain) on the 17th day of the seventh month (July 17) 1682 at Phildelphia, from Dalyserne, near Dolgules in Marionthshire.  Griffith Owen and his Sarah, their sons Robert and two daughters, Sarah and Eleanor and Seven servants named 1) Thomas Armer, 2) John Bull, 4 years, 3) Robert Lowe, 8 years, 4) Alex Edwards, Jane Bridgett and Elizabeth Watts, 3 years.  He also brought his brother, Nicholas Owen, with him.
(The servants with no. of years beside their names referred to indentured servants who served so many years and then were freed, usually to pay for their passage over.)
Griffith Owen was a member of the Colonial Council 1685 - 1707.  His will is recorded in Hilltown Township, PA, March 11, 1762.  His children were:  Dr. Griffith Owen, surgeon, Owen Owen, Eleanor and Robert.

Owen Owen:
Owen Owen married Katherine Lewis in Christ's Church, Philadelphia on Oct. 24, 1722.  He was sheriff of Philadelphia County 1728 and Coroner in 1730.  After this he came to Saucon Township and it seems, lived here at least part of the time.  They had three children:  Margaret who married a Mr. Nash; Thomas who became a Colonel in the Revolutionary War and David who married Sarah Schmetzer in 1740.

David Owen:
David Owen married Sarah Schmetzer in 1740.  Their children were:  Thomas; David who married Margaret _______ (name unknown); Jonathan; Nathan; Joseph (ancestor of the Owens in Sullivan County, TN) and who married Susannah K. Hartzell; Rachel who married Samuel Bachman, and who was the ancestress of the Bachman family of Sullivan County, TN; Mary who married William Grothous; Sarah who married Jonathan Scott; Abigail who married Jacob Ziegenfuss; and Lydia who died unmarried.
David Owen, who was our Revolutionary ancestor, and his family lived in Upper Saucon Township, Northampton County, PA.  He was a man of prominence and standing in his community and was wealthy by the standards of the times.  The earliest authentic account we find of David Owen (except the date of his birth and mention of his marriage) is contained in a will which is on record at Easton, Northampton County, PA.  It is a lengthy document, too long to be given in extenso here, but the extract there-from which appears below, contains all the facts important to this record.

I applied to the Adjutant General's Office, United States War Department for the transcript of the military record of David Owen.  It was promptly furnished and here is quoted verbatim:

"War Department
The Adjutant General's Office
19944705, Washington
Jan 9, 1910

Respectfully returned to Miss Hattie Owen
No. 621 Locust Street,
Bristol, TN

The records of this office show that one David Owen served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Captain Humphrey's Company, 6th Penn. Regiment commanded by Colonel Joseph Harmer.  He appears to have enlisted May 8, 1777, to serve during the was and is shown to have received 33 dollars 30 90ths as balance of settlement between the United States and him for pay to Jan. 1, 1781.  Nothing further relative to this soldier has been found of record.

(signed) George Andrews
The Adjutant General."

The old limestone house still stands containing old furniture belonging to David Owen and is owned by a descendant, Mr. Frank Heller of Easton, PA.

The will of David Owen was made July 26, 1786 and it was probated June 29, 1790, he having died on the fifteenth of that month.  He speaks of feebleness of health but sound of mind (1786) and terms himself a yoeman (a gentleman farmer).

The Owen family were Quakers, but became Presbyterians when Joseph Owen, son of David, moved to southwest Virginia (now Sullivan County, TN) just after the Revolutionary War.  The Owens belongs to the Fighting Quakers who were not conscientious objectors when it came to a "scrap".

The above information was given by Miss Hattie Owen June 4, 1915, and she [then] lived on Solar Street, Bristol, VA, and she will be glad to give information about the other Owens and their descendants as I am under the impression she has all of the Owens and families and their records.

copied by Eleanor Seneker Sherfey (Mrs.)
August 6, 1944, Greeneville, Tenn.

This information was given to me by Mrs. Kittie Reaves Lamons of Greeneville, TN, Mar. 20, 1946.  She was a daughter of Hannah Morelock Reaves for whom the United Brethren Church of this town is named.  Copied by Mary Ellen Purkey Horner, March 20, 1946.

(retyped verbatim and in the same format by
Roger W. Swartz
Bethesda, MD on Sept. 7, 1980
whose wife, Mary Esther Horner Swartz, is the daughter of Mary Ellen Purkey Horner, deceased.)

(retyped and uploaded to http://pages.xtn.net/~carolet on September 29, 2003 by Carole Thomason.)

 

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