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Owen family ancestors settled in the Pigeon Creek community

Another family which migrated to the Oakey Streak and Pigeon Creek communities of Butler County, Ala., was the Owen or Owens. It appears that members of this family traveled with those of the Crittenden, Nix and Perry relatives which migrated along the Old Federal Road to South Alabama. This passage way was created in 1805 when the Creek Indians allowed it become a “Horse Path.” It was later widened and improved in 1811 at which time it was converted into a “Federal Road.”

The earliest ancestor for this family found on Ancestry.com was Augustine Owen who was born in 1670 in Middlesex, Va. He was married to Joane “Jane” Beverly who was also born in 1670 in Middlesex. He lived until 1725, and she, until 1726 with both dying in Middlesex. They had a son whom they named Augustine Owen. He was born in 1706 in Middlesex, and he died in 1766 in Essex County, Va. He was married to Mary Clark (1720-1766). Among their children was a son also named Augustine Owen who was born in 1740 in Middlesex.

This third generation Augustine Owen was married to Elizabeth Evans who was also born in 1740. This couple began the migration south and settled in Georgia. Augustine III died fairly young in 1780, and Elizabeth lived until 1823 at which time she died in Jasper County, Ga. Among their children was a son named Philemon who was born in 1779 in Virginia. Another record identifies this son’s name as Crawford. Anyway, he moved south with his family and was married at some point to Betsey Fluker. He died in 1839 in Talbot County, Ga.

Philemon and Betsy Owen had a son born in 1819 whom they named Robert E. Owen. There is a record of Robert Owen securing permission in 1836 to build a 10-foot dam at a site on the Loblockee for operating a gristmill and sawmill, Tradition has it that the dam caused water to back up and disable another mill, so he was required to remove his dam. Some five years later he was married in 1841 in Talbot County, Ga., to Caroline Elizabeth Greenway Crittenden, daughter of Senator Robert Greene Crittenden and Nancy Ann Crowder (1788-1858). Caroline was born in Milledgeville, Ga., and died in Baldwin County, Ala.

Robert and Caroline Owen began their family during the early 1840s, and Robert supported them through farming. During the early years of their marriage, the couple moved from Georgia to Alabama. Robert has been listed as a buyer of Creek Indian land from the U.S. Government. There is a record of him purchasing 1600 acres of land in 1842 which was in Lee County, Ala., in the area of Loachapoka. He and Caroline lived there a few years during the late 1840s. A few years later they migrated to the Pigeon Creek community of Butler County where they finally settled. At their deaths, both were buried in the Ebenezer Methodist Church Cemetery in Pigeon Creek.

When the War for Southern Independence erupted, Robert volunteered for service and was assigned to Company B, 17th Alabama Infantry Regiment. He was fortunate to survive the war and returned home to resume his former life.

Robert and Caroline were the parents of the following 13 children: Maria Louisa, b. 1841, d. 1907, m. 1862 Abraham C. Van Pelt; Rowan Almaine Anna, b. 1852, d. 1913, m. 1886 Dow Perry Nix; Zula Eleanor, b. 1856, d. 1886, m. 1881 Dow Perry Nix; John C., b. 1858; Zabre, b. 1858; Elizabeth, b. 1862; Mary, b. 1865, m. Frank Gandy; Sinsy, d. during the war; Philemon; Mannie; Leruisa Lou, m. Neal Van Pelt; Ida Elizabeth, m. Tom Shell; and Emma, m. Jeff Maxey.

The oldest child, Maria Louisa Owen was married in 1862 in Butler County, Ala., to Abraham C. Van Pelt, son of Abraham Van Pelt (1786-1856) and Jane Reed (1789-1862). The Van Pelt’s were also residents of the Oakey Streak community. About the time Maria and Abraham were married, the War for Southern Independence began to occur. Abraham volunteered and served in Clanton’s Company of the Confederate Cavalry. He was later a part of an artillery unit. Abraham and Maria Louisa had their oldest son in 1863 during the war, and they then had 11 more children after the end of the war.

They were the parents of the following 12 children: Robert Cornelius “Neal,” b. 1863, d. 1887; Annie Laura, b. 1866, d. 1887, m. ? Hughes; Carrie L., b. 1868, d. 1889; Homer Terrell, b. 1874, d. 1960; C. Jennie, b. 1876; twins, Herman, b. 1879, d. 1889, and King Hiram, b. 1879, d. 1938; Oscar Osellars, b. 1881, d. 1953; Willie, b. 1883, d. 1976; E. Eula, b. 1885; Owen Infant; and another Owen Infant.

The second daughter, Rowan Almaine Anna Owen, was married in 1886 to Dow Perry Nix, son of Edward Nix (1817-1862) and Jane Perry (1820-1901). Dow Perry had previously been married to Anna’s sister, Zula Eleanor Owen, who died in 1886, leaving him with three young children. They were Clauda Herbert, b. 1882, d. 1967, m. Martha Virginia Sims; Robert Edward, b. 1883, d. 1953, m. Ludie Frances Sims; Essie Verna, b. 1884, d. 1966, m. John William Hickman; and Mary Etta, b.&d. 1886.  Dow Perry soon married Rowan Almaine Anna, and they became the parents of the following children: Oscar H., b. 1887, d. 1971, m. Eula Mae Russell, and twin, Arthur, b. 1887, d. 1888; Laura Anna, b.1889, m. Johnie Goodson; Alma A., 1891; and Cora Mae, b.&d. 1893.

A younger daughter, Leruisa Lou Owen, was married to Neal Van Pelt, of the Oakey Streak community. They were the parents of the following four children: Eula, m. Gerald Dunklin; Jenny, m. John Howard; Miriam, and Homer.

There are a number of descendants of this Owen family who currently reside in the area of Butler and Covington Counties in South Alabama. Some members of the family in several generations have added an “s” to the name to make it Owens. It is not known exactly when and why this practice was begun.

Sources for today’s story include Ancestry.com and Fern Sulphin Nix’s book, Oakey Streak—A Historic Landmark.

Anyone who may find an error in this narrative or who might have additional information on this Owen family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

HISTORICAL MEETING:

The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will not meet on the first Thursday in January, but will hold their annual meeting in honor of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan Jackson on Friday, January 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Wives of SCV members and members of the local Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy are invited as special guests. All are requested to bring a “finger food” for the refreshment period.