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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Jefferson County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Judge J. W. Owen, county and probate judge, Pine Bluff, Ark. Originally from Jefferson County, Ill., Judge Owen was born on December 29, 1840, and is the son of Edward and Sarah (Allen) Owen, natives of the Old Dominion. The parents were married in Tennessee, and subsequently moved to Illinois, locating in Jefferson County. The father was a prominent agriculturist, and this pursuit carried on until his death, which occurred in 1887, at the age of eighty-eight years. He was in the Black Hawk War. The mother died in 1846. They were the parents of seven children, three of whom are living at the present time. By his second marriage the father had two children, one now living. Judge J. W. Owen was reared on his father’s farm, and received a good practical education in the schools of Illinois. At the age of sixteen he left the parental roof and went overland with a stock train to California, where he remained until after the war. While in that State he engaged in mining at Virginia City, when the silver mines were first discovered, and this continued until the war broke out. He then joined the California Hundred, or Company A, Second Massachusetts Cavalry, at San Francisco, and went to Boston, Mass., paying his own way. Enlisting as a private, he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant of his company, and was also commissioned captain, but being wounded at the battle of Cedar Creek, Shenandoah Valley, in 1864, was never sworn in. He participated in the battles of Gettysburg, Wilderness, and was in the Army of the Potomac. He was twice wounded at Cedar Creek and once by a bayonet at Williamsburg, Va., lying in the hospital for about nine months at different points, and when the war closed he came home to Illinois. Out of his company there were but fifteen men left alive, and but one man died of disease. Mr. Owen was twice captured, but made his escape both times before he could be gotten to prison. After going home he engaged in railroading and was a contractor on grading, which he continued until 1870, when he came to Pine Bluff. He located at Corner Stone, Jefferson County, engaged in merchandising and farming, and this carried on until the fall of 1886, when he was put on the ticket for county judge, he not even knowing that such a thing was going to be. He at first refused to be nominated, but after considerable persuasion was prevailed upon to do so by his friends, and was elected by a handsome majority. Although a Republican politically, he has won a vast number of friends, who have stood by him, and at the re-election in 1888 he had no opponent. The Judge is a man whose decisions are not made without careful and painstaking study of the evidence adduced, but on the contrary all feel that his judgment can be relied upon. He is one of the most efficient officials the county has ever had. When first elected to the position of judge the county had $46,000 script out, but it is now clear of debt and has over $5,000 in the treasury, which will be increased to $30,000 at the next tax paying. He has now a move on foot for the erection of a new court house and jail, and no doubt the work will soon be begun. While living at Corner Stone he was magistrate, and filled the duties incumbent upon that office ably and well for ten years. He was married, in 1866, to Miss Nannie B. Collins, a native of the Old Dominion.

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This family biography is one of 136 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Jefferson County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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