A Tribute to Elder Thomas H. Owen

1797 - Born June 25, 1797, in Buncombe County, North Carolina, of Welsh descent.

1812-1815 Served in the War of 1812 (exact time and place and length of service not yet determined).

1816/1817 - At age 19, moved with his parents to Frankfort, Franklin County, Illinois (which was then still a territory).

1818 - Married Mary Paine Wren, on April 18th, a daughter of Elder John Wren and his wife Elizabeth Johnson Wren.

1826 - United with East Fork Church, in Franklin County, Illinois by baptism. Liberated to preach by this church in 1829.

1830 - Moved with his family first to Schuyler County, then Hancock County, Illinois. Credited with being the first settler in Carthage township, he purchased a farm in Sec. 36, in the Middle Creek community.

1831 - Appointed to supervise the building of the first courthouse in Hancock County, which was a log structure.

1832 - Served as County Commissioner in 1832 and 1833.

1832 - Helped organize Middle Creek Church, the first church of any denomination in the county. Preached at Union Church, and other early settlements in McDonough County during this year.

1834 - Ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry on May 10, 1834, at Middle Creek Church. He preached in early settlements all over Hancock County.

1834 - Served Hancock County in the Illinois House of Representatives, for a two year term.

1836 - Served a two year term in the Illinois Senate from Hancock County.

1838 - Defeated for a second term in the Illinois Senate.

1839 - Appointed Postmaster at DeKalb (later known as Middle Creek). Carried mail by horseback to Augusta and other points.

1841 - Helped build the "Old Brick" church building on one of the earliest trails (along a stagecoach route) in the county.

1842 - Elected again to the Illinois House of Representatives.

1845 - Served as elisor in the trial of the accused assassins of Joseph and Hiram Smith.

1845 - Sold his farm near Middle Creek.

1846 - Bought property in Sonora township. Numerous land transactions.

1847 - Became the Postmaster at Nauvoo. Sold the property in Sonora township.

1849-1850 - Traveled across the plains, arriving in the Suisun Valley, in California, in the spring of 1850. Tried mining for a short time, and also operated a ferry across the Tuolumne river.

1852 - Elected to the California House of Representatives.

1854 - Established the first Primitive Baptist Church in California. Organized other churches in the same area soon afterward.

1859 - Helped establish the Old School Corresponding Meeting of California. Wrote a history of the Baptist Church, in installment form, in the Southern Baptist Messenger. It was later published in book form and is still available.

1867 - He moved to Zem Zem, in Napa County, where he resided till 1876. Here his wife died in the 79th year of her age. He then resided with his children at Santa Rosa.

1880 - Departed this life on February 27th, and was buried in Fairfield Cemetery, Fairfield, California.

A Sketch of the Life of Elder Thomas H. Owen

Copyright c. 2004. All rights reserved. The Primitive Baptist Library.

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