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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company.  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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JOSEPH OWEN, the subject of this sketch, has been a resident of the territory now comprising Buffalo county, since the summer of 1863. He was born in Manchester, England, February 16, 1849, and is the son of David and Elizabeth (Lloyd) Owen. His father, who was of Welsh descent, was a blacksmith by trade, and came to the United States with his family in 1863. The voyage was safely made on the steamer Adriatic, which arrived in the New York harbor after a wearisome journey of seven long weeks. Soon after landing in the metropolis of the new world, the family came west as far as Omaha by rail. They then joined a Mormon train bound for the famous city of Salt Lake. The journey from this point was made with ox teams, a somewhat slow, but sure way of traveling. The senior Owen had relations living on the “Overland Route,” near where the thriving little city of Shelton now stands, who had preceded him a year or so, and he determined to drop out of the train and remain at this point. A log house was provided for the family, who were soon snugly quartered on the cheerful banks of Wood river, almost in the heart of what was once considered as the “Great American Desert.” The country presented a wild and forlorn appearance, and was only inhabited by Indians, buffalo, elk, deer and antelope. Immense herds of these wild animals could be seen in almost any direction. The Indians, however, were regarded as peaceable, and as long as they were well treated and closely watched, there was not much danger of being harmed by them. Reports of Indian massacres, however, were frequently circulated, and at one time every settler left the country to escape the reported vengeance of the red men.

The father of the subject of this notice worked at his trade as a blacksmith at Shelton until 1864, when he died. His faithful wife followed him to the mysterious realm in 1874.

Joseph Owen spent his boyhood days in raising vegetables and disposing of them to immigrants as they journeyed westward in great trains. Ready sale was found for corn at $3 a bushel, flour brought $11 per sack and hay $40 per ton. Old Fort Kearney, located up the Platte river a few miles, also afforded a ready market for all kinds of produce raised by the few squatters along Wood river. Mr. Owen is, therefore, familiar with every phase of pioneer life on the Western frontier. He has been identified with the settlement, growth and development of this locality, and has done as much as any man toward accomplishing these great results. Mr. Owen was married, in 1872, to Miss Sarah A. Oliver, a native of England, and who accompanied her parents to America in 1860. The Olivers settled in this same locality three years before the arrival of the Owen family. The following children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Owen, viz. — Edward H. (deceased), Elizabeth J., Alice, Josie, Ida, and Annie.

Mr. Owen was deputy sheriff of Buffalo county under Mr. John Oliver, and has also been justice of the peace two terms. He is a prominent member of the I. O. O. F. and K. of P. fraternities, and has always affiliated with the republican party in political matters. He owns two hundred and forty acres of choice land near the town of Shelton, and he enjoys the confidence and esteem of all who know him.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company. 

View additional Buffalo County, Nebraska family biographies here: Buffalo County, Nebraska Biographies

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