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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Polk County, Arkansas published by Southern Publishing Company in 1891.  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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James M. Owens is classed among the successful tillers of the soil and stock raisers of Gourd Neck Township, Polk County, Ark., but was born in Van Buren County in 1844, to William Jackson and Fannie (Davis) Owens, the former born in Missouri, and the latter in Middle Tennessee. When young both went to Van Buren County, Ark., where they met, married and lived until about 1855, after which they spent a short time residing in different counties, and about 1862 settled in Polk County, Ark. In 1862 they started for Texas, but Mr. Owens died before they located, and after the war the family returned to Polk County, Ark., where Mrs. Owens and four of her children still reside. Mr. Owens was a farmer and teacher, and was justice of the peace for some years. He was, as is his wife, a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and was a soldier in one of the early Indian wars. His father, Horner Owens, died in Missouri, of Scotch-Irish origin, and his wife’s father, Jesse Davis, was one of the early settlers of Van Buren County, Ark., where he died, a farmer. James M. Owens is the eldest of three sons and five daughters, his brothers and sisters, that are living being as follows: Mary, Sarah C. (wife of William Reed), William Pinckney, Martha (wife of James Barlow), and Huldah F. (wife of Frank Werber of Hot Springs). Although James M. was reared on the farm, he was given rather more meager educational advantages than is usually given the farmer’s boy, but being naturally intelligent and a quick observer, he is an exceptionally well informed man. He resided on the Texas frontier during the war, and for three years served in the Home Guards in Burnett County. His marriage, which took place in Polk County, Ark., was to Miss Angelana, daughter of Raleigh M. and Louisa L. (Bearberry) White, both of whom died in Polk County, Ark., when Mrs. Owens was a little child, her father having been a farmer throughout life. They were among the early settlers in this section, and on the farm on which they first settled, the subject of this sketch and his family are now residing. Mrs. Owens was born in Mississippi, and has borne her husband eleven children, seven of whom are living. They have been occupants of their present farm since 1868, it being situated seven miles north of Dallas on the Ouachita River, and comprising about 400 acres, with 100 acres cleared. He is a well-known and prosperous farmer of this section, and as a neighbor and citizen, too much cannot be said in his praise. His land is well improved, and excellent buildings are the rule and not the exception, his fences and orchard being also of the best. Nearly all his land that is under cultivation he has cleared himself, and all his property has been obtained by his own industry and with the aid of his wife, who has proved a true helpmate to him. He belongs to Dallas Lodge of the A. F. & A. M., Owens Chapel Lodge of the Farmers’ Alliance, and has been steward in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for a number of years, his wife being a member of the Missionary Baptist Church.

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This family biography is one of 32 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Polk County, Arkansas published in 1891.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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