Sketch of the Life of Elder Thomas H. Owen

While residing in [Hancock] county [Illinois], he was one of its well-known and conspicuous men. He was born in Buncombe county, N.C., June 25, 1797. His father, Mosby Owen, was a well-to-do farmer in that section. At about 19, he, with his parents, removed to Franklin county, Ill., and settled in the town of Frankfort. April 2, at the age of 21, he was married to Miss Mary Wren, a native of Kentucky. About eight years afterward he became a professor of religion, and united with the Old School Baptist Church, and soon after became an ordained minister, which position in good standing he ever afterward held. Mrs. Owen also became a member about the same time and continued faithful through life.

In 1831 he removed with his family to Hancock county and settled six miles east of Carthage - which at that time was not laid out. He soon became prominent, religiously and politically. He led in constituting the first and all the Baptist churches organized in the county while he was a resident, having sometimes the supervision of three or four, preaching alternately. He was long a member of Middle Creek Church.

He was strongly attached to the Democratic school, and was very popular with his party. He was several times elected to the Legislature, and held other offices of honor and trust, as will appear in the course of this history. His friends claim that he was a strong anti-Mormon, "held Mormon doctrines in perfect abhorrence, considering them a great nuisance and detriment to the country, and encouraged every lawful means to get rid of them; but disapproved of many of the unlawful measures taken by the party. He was a law-abiding man, and approved of the course that Governor Ford took in regard to sending troops to quell the disturbances and keep peace."

In the winter of 1846 he sold his farm to Joseph Craven, and purchased property near Nauvoo and removed there. The same year he was appointed Postmaster at Nauvoo, to succeed Almon W. Babbitt. In 1849 he sold off all his effects, and started for the gold field of California, accompanied by his two sons, L. F. and J. C. Owen, leaving his wife and younger children with his son-in-law, Newton Cauthorn. They were over a year on the way; took the southern route, and did not reach California till the spring of 1850. He settled on a farm in Suisun valley, Solano Co., 50 miles west of Sacramento, and sent for the remainder of his family. In the fall of 1852 he was elected to the California Legislature, on the Democratic ticket, and served through the term, thus terminating his official career.

Longing for the Church privileges to which he had been accustomed, he began to look about for the scattered members, and found enough to organize a Church of the Old School Baptists, at Santa Rosa, Sonoma Co., the first of that denomination ever founded in the State. In 1860, Elder Owen wrote a Church History. In 1867 he located in Napa Co., 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, broken in health of body and mind, till the 27th of February, 1880, when he quietly passed away, in the 83rd year of his age.

- History of Hancock County, by Gregg, page 737.

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