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Benjamin Owen (1787-1865) and
Mary Rebecca Day
(1787- ? )


Benjamin Owen was born in 1787 in New Jersey, believed to have been the son of John and (?) Pool Owen. Benjamin's grandparents are known to have "emigrated from Wales in the early part of the eighteenth century, and located in New Jersey, where he married, and reared a family of children" said the 1893 Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Benjamin's wife, Mary "Rebecca" Day, also was born in about 1787 in New Jersey.

As young adults, the Owenses migrated to the wilds of southwestern Pennsylvania, making their home in Morris Township, Washington County.

Their seven known offspring were Mary B. Owen, Aaron Owen, Benjamin Owen Jr., Elias Owen, Elizabeth "Betsy" Johnston, Emily Jennings and Rebecca Johnston.

Census records show Benjamin Owen living in Morris Township in 1810, with two children in the household. That year, one of his neighbors was Daniel Johnston. As their daughter Elizabeth Owen was not born until 1816, back in New Jersey, this suggests that Benjamin and Mary Rebecca traveled to and from frequently in settling in the wilderness of their new home.


Historical marker, Wind Ridge

Their whereabouts in 1820 are not yet known. The 1830 and 1840 censuses show the family in Morris Township, with three acults and three children in the household in 1830, and two children and three adults in 1840, with Aaron Owen living next door.

Benjamin's health declined steeply in the spring of 1865, and he dictated a last will and testament on May 14, 1865. His wishes were that any household goods on hand at the time of his demise were to be equally divided between his wife and eldest, unmarried daughter Mary. Mary was to keep two cows and 10 or a dozen sheep. To his son Aaron, he bequeathed "all of my share of the farming utensils and all of the stock except what my daughter Mary takes and he is to pay all my Debts and funeral charges and everything." He then gave his 100-acre farm to Mary and Aaron to share equally, and the farm to his daughter Elizabeth Johnston where she was then living in Morris Township, Greene County. After a reasonable time for Aaron to complete payments to friend Ezekiel Braden, for a farm he had purchased, Aaron was to pay his sister Emily Jennings $300.

Within a week or two, Benjamin had died, sometime by or before June 5, 1865.

At the age of 83, in 1870, the widowed Mary Rebecca made her home with her son Aaron and his wife and eight children in Wind Ridge, Richhill Township, Greene County, PA, with her married children Emily and Benjamin living in next door homes.

Just after the end of the American Revolutionary War, in 1792, Wind Ridge had been the site of a blockhouse constructed under the command of Capt. James Paul to protect local settlers agains Native Indian raids. On April 17, 1792, soldiers carrying supplies from the mill owned by Thomas Ryerson were attacked by a native war party in the area.


~ Daughter Mary B. Owen ~

Daughter Mary B. Owen (1810-1872) was born in 1810 in New Jersey and came to Morris Township as a girl.

She never married, or learned to read and write, but lived at home with her parents her entire life, on a farm in Richhill Township, Greene County, PA.


Mary's "X" signature, 1871

At age 60 in 1870, census records show that she dwelled with her aged mother and brother Aaron together in Richhill..

In May 1871, her health declining, Mary wrote a will. Under its terms, her brother Aaron was to be reimbursed for "reasonable charges ... for trouble and labor borne and done by him on account of my sickness..." She also stated that Aaron was to inherit her 50-acre farm and related buildings as conveyed by their father, as well as her cows and sheep. Aaron also was to receive her two bedsteads and large dining table.

She also bequeathed $200 each to her married sisters Elizabeth Johnston and Emily Jennings, to be paid in installments over three years, as well as the balance of her household goods, "to be divided by themselves as nearly equal as they can." Her brother Benjamin Owen Jr. and friend Stephen Winget witnessed the signing of the will.

Mary passed into eternity in 1872 at the age of 62.


Line of Owen and Johnston graves, Wind Ridge Cemetery


~ Son Aaron Owen ~

Son Aaron Owen (1821-1888) was born in 1821 or 1827 in Washington County, PA. Other sources give his birthplace as New Jersey.

He may have been named for an uncle, Aaron Owen (1800- ? ), married to Mary (1801), both natives of New Jersey who also migrated to Morris Township, Washington County.

Our Aaron was wedded twice, first to Maria Roberts (1829-1868). They were the parents of Mary Elizabeth McKean, Rebecca Owen, Asa Owen, Emily Jennings "Emma" Dinsmore, Addison Owen, Albert Owen, Ezekiel "Braden" Owen and Maria Laura Louage.

Sadly, Maria passed away on Aug. 2, 1868, at the age of 42 years, 7 months and 22 days, possibly in childbirth with their daughter Maria Laura.


Waynesburg Democrat, 1892
Cornerstone Genealogical Society

After a year or two as a widower, Aaron was wedded a second time to Mary (?) (1831- ? ), who was a decade younger. They produced a daughter, Sarah Jane "Jennie" Owen.

The Owenses appear together in the federal censuses of Richhill Township, Greene County, PA in 1870 and 1880. The family attended the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Circa 1876, when the Atlas of Greene County, Pennsylvania was published by J.A. Caldwell, the map of Richhill Township showed a cluster of Owen family farms east of Crows Mills, and north of Durbin's Mill, bounded by the Dunkard Fork of Wheeling Creek, Stone Coal Run and Crabapple Creek. Aaron was named with a farm of 325 acres, with Samuel Jennings' farm of 113 acres to the southwest, Benjamin Owen's farm of 150 acres to the southeast, and John McKean's farm of 100 acres to the northeast.

With his health failing in the summer of 1887, Aaron wrote a will. Friends Stephen Knight and Lindsey Gray were present and saw him sign the document. Aaron stated at the outset that he was "of sound mind and well disposing memory, and haveing a desire to settle my worldly affairs whilst I have a capacity to do so I make this my last will and testament...." He wrote that as long as she remained his widow, Mary was to inherit their home and all of his househood goods, and to keep two cows on the farm. He reserved that a bed and bedding should go to his son Braden ("Brady") and a setting for his daughter Jennie, as the other daughters had received before her. He also spelled out that his sons should share the balance of the estate but that they were to furnish their stepmother with "all necessary comforts of life such as provision & clothing & pay all her doctor bills & funeral expences & furnish her fuel and take good care of her in sickness & in health and furnish her feed & grass for her cows & a garden lot." He also stated that the sons should pay $500 each to their six sisters in installments over five years.


1876 Atlas of Greene County, showing the proximity of farms of Aaron and Benjamin Owen Jr., Samuel Jennings and son-in-law John McKean east of Crows Mills


Aaron passed away on May 19, 1888, at 11 a.m. His son Braden was present.

Mary died at home near Durbin's Mill, Greene County on Jan. 23, 1892, having been brought low with la grippe and pneumonia. In an obituary, the Waynesburg Democrat said that the " remains were brought to this place Saturday. Funeral services were conducted by Revs. Swain and McGarvey at the C.P. Church, after which the body was conveyed to the Jacksonville cemetery, there to await the resurrection morn."


John and Mary Elizabeth's farm north of Durbin's Mills, from the 1876 Atlas of Greene County

Daughter Mary Elizabeth Owen (1849-1923) was born on Aug. 5, 1849 in Morris Township, Washington County. She was wedded to Civil War veteran John McKean (Aug. 22, 1839-1920), the son of James and Jane (Leech) McKean, the father having emigrated from Ireland. They produced one known son, Addison A. McKean. As a soldier during the war, John served in the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company C. Suffering from wartime injuries or illnesses, John applied for a military pension on Nov. 8, 1879, and it was awarded. [Invalid App. #320.831 - Cert. #233.684] Circa 1899, their home was in West Findley, Washington County. Their residence in the late 1910s and in 1920 was at 859 Jefferson Avenue in Washington, Washington County. At the age of 80, John contracted a deadly case of influenza and pneumonia and succumbed on Feb. 11, 1920, with interment in Washington Cemetery. Mary only outlived her husband by three years and began receiving his monthly pension payments. [Widow App. #1.153.897 - Cert. #888.093] She joined him in death on Jan. 4, 1923, having suffered a stroke. B.L. McKean of Washington was the informant for the official Pennsylvania certificate of death. [Find-a-Grave]

  • Grandson Addison A. McKean was born on Jan. 17, 1885 in Deep Valley, Greene County. He wedded Pearl Lydia Headley (1885-1980). Addison passed into eternity on Aug. 19, 1951 in Washington, Washington County, PA.

Daughter Rebecca Owen (1851-1923) was born in about 1851 in Morris Township, Washington County. She was joined in marriage with Joseph S. Carroll. The Carrolls produced a daughter and perhaps more -- Elizabeth M. "Lizzie" Carroll, born in 1878. Circa 1880, their home was next door to her parents' in Richhill Township, Greene County. When Rebecca's aunt Emily (Owen) Jennings died in 1899, Rebecca -- now living in Wetzel County, WV -- was named as an heir in the estate.

  • Granddaughter Elizabeth M. "Lizzie" Carroll (1878- ? ) was born in or near Richhill Township, Greene County.

Son Asa Owen (1853- ? ) was born in about 1853 in Morris Township, Washington County.

Daughter Emily Jennings "Emma" Owen (1856-1930) was born in about 1856. in Morris Township, Washington County, PA. She was wedded to Joseph Minton Dinsmore (Feb. 3, 1855-1930), the son of Henry and Lydia (McKeryan) Dinsmore of Greene County, PA. The couple produced three known children -- Owen S. Dinsmore, Louella Viola "Ella" Dinsmore and Bertha L. Dinsmore. Circa 1880, the young family lived on a farm in Aleppo Township, Greene County. They lived just a few houses away from the families of widower Thomas A. Hinerman and widow Melissa Ann (Hupp) Ullom. Their residence in 1899 was in Cameron, Marshall County, WV. By 1920, they had relocated into the city of Moundsville, Marshall County, where where Joseph earned a living as a furniture merchant. Their home was at 1010 Second Street. Joseph was burdened with senility and as he reached the age of 75 was having severe bouts of diarrhea. He succumbed on March 10, 1930. Interment was in Mount Rose Cemetery in Moundsville. Emily only survived her husband by eight months. Stricken with cancer of the uterus, she died at the age of 74 on Nov. 19, 1930 in Moundsville, Marshall County.

  • Son Owen S. Dinsmore (1875- ? ) was born in about 1875 in Greene County, PA.
  • Daughter Louella Viola "Ella" Dinsmore (1877-1946) was born on Aug. 22, 1877 (or 1880) in Greene County, PA. She never married and apparently spent her adult life living with her parents. In 1920, at the age of 43, she was employed in a Moundsville factory, making shirts for the Kleeson Company. After the deaths of both parents in 1930, she apparently moved to a new residence at 256 Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville. She suffered serious health ailments in her 60s, among them heart and kidney disease and hardening of the arteries. She died from their effect on the next-to-last day of 1946. Florence Koontz of Moundsville was the informant for the West Virginia certificate of death. Interment was in Mt. Rose Cemetery.
  • Daughter Bertha L. Dinsmore (1878-1965) was born on March 3, 1878 in Greene County, PA. At the age of 21, on Nov. 8, 1898, she was joined in wedlock with 30-year-old Irish immigrant John O'Donnell of Pittsburgh. At the time, her home was in Cameron. The nuptials took place in a Cameron hotel, officiated by S.T. Montgomery. Bertha lived a long life and survived her husband. Her final years were spent at 260 Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville, Apartment 2. As her health failed due to leukemia, she was admitted to Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, where she expired at the age of 87 on Oct. 27, 1965. Her remains were laid to rest in Cameron Cemetery, with Ruth Graham of Moundsville serving as the informant for the death certificate.

Daughter Victorene Owen (1858- ? ) was born in about 1858 in Morris Township, Washington County. She was united in holy matrimony with William Burt ( ? - ? ). Circa 1899, the Burts dwelled in Dallas, Marshall County, WV.


Wind Ridge Cemetery

Son Addison M. Owen (1863-1938) was born on July 1, 1863 in Washington County, PA. When he was age 20, in about 1884, he was wedded to Mary Frances Parsons (May 27, 1863-1940), daughter of Spencer B. and Elizabeth (Grimes) Parsons. Their seven children were Charles B. Owen, Spencer A. Owen, Oscar Owen, Ava Owen, Albert S. Owen, Lulu Owen and Earl R. Owen. The family dwelled for decades as farmers in Richhill Township, Greene County, with a postal address of West Finley. Suffering from chronic heart disease for years, added to a deadly case of lobar pneumonia at the age of 75, Addison passed away three days after Christmas in 1938. His remains were placed at rest in the Wind Ridge Cemetery. Son Earl Ray Owen of West Finley was the informant on the official Pennsylvania certificate of death. Mary survived as his widow for only a little more than a year, afflicted with anemia, kidney disease and hardening of the arteries. She followed him to the grave on the second day of the new year in 1940.

  • Grandson Charles B. Owen (1884- ? ) was born in December 1884. Circa 1952, he made his home with his brother Spencer in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood section located 126 Hazelwood Avenue.
  • Grandson Spencer A. Owen (1886-1952) was born on Oct. 6, 1886 in Greene County. He never married. He moved to Pittsburgh, where was a funeral director at the Fisher & Owen Funeral Home located at 126 Hazelwood Avenue, where he resided with his brother Charles. He was a member of the Hazelwood Presbyterian Church, the Joppa Lodge of the Masons, the Knights and Dames of Malta, Knights of Pythias, International Order of Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen of American and the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and National Funeral Directors Associations. At the age of 65, he was hospitalized in Pittsburgh's South Side Hospital, suffering from kidney and hypertension. Unable to recover, he was cut away by the Grim Reaper on June 10, 1952. Burial was in Wind Ridge Cemetery near the graves of his parents. A prominent obituary was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Grandson Oscar E. Owen (1890- ? ) was born in April 1890. His home in 1952 was in Claysville.
  • Granddaughter Ava Owen (1892- ? ) was born in April 1892.
  • Grandson Albert S. Owen (1894- ? ) was born in November 1894. He resided in Dayton, OH in 1952.
  • Granddaughter Lulu V. Owen (1897- ? ) was born in September 1897. She was wedded to (?) Hamill. Circa 1952, they dwelled in Bridgeville, PA.
  • Grandson Earl Ray Owen (1899- ? ) was born on Dec. 9, 1899. He married Margaret B. (Aug. 2, 1905-1985). They lived in West Finley, PA in 1938-1952, with Ray serving as informant for the death certificates of both of his parents. Ray died on Sept. 19, 1975. Interment was in Wind Ridge Cemetery. Margaret survived by a year and passed into eternity on Dec. 7, 1985.


Wind Ridge Cemetery

Son Albert Owen (1861- ? ) was born on Dec. 11, 1861 in Morris Township, Washington County. At the age of 28, in 1900, he was still single and lived under the roof of his married brother Addison Owen in Richhill Township, Greene County. He was a lifelong farmer. At some point he married, and it's only known that he outlived his wife. Suffering from chronic heart ailments, he was admitted to Dixmont Hospital for the Insane in Kilbuck Township, near Pittsburgh. There, at the age of 76, Albert was taken in death on Feb. 24, 1937. His remains were lowered into eternal repose in Wind Ridge Cemetery. His nephew Spencer A. Owen, a funeral home director in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood, signed the Pennsylvania death certificate.

Son Ezekiel Braden "Brady" Owen (1865- ? ) was born in March 1865 in Morris Township, Washington County. He was named after a family friend in Richhill Township. At the death of his father in 1888, Braden was named as an heir in the last will and testament and given the right to remain in the family homeplace as long as he desired. That same year, 1888, the 23-year-old Braden married Emma A. (Jan. 1865- ? ). They were farmers in Richhill Township, Greene County in 1900, receiving their mail at the Durbin post office. Their three known offspring were Lillian L. Owen, Stella M. Owen and Stanley E. Owen.

  • Granddaughter Lillian L. Owen (1888- ? ) was born in December 1888.
  • Granddaughter Stella M. Owen (1890- ? ) was born in November 1890.
  • Grandson Stanley E. Owen (1895- ? ) was born in August 1895.

Daughter Maria Laura Owen (1868-1942) was born on April 20, 1868 in Morris Township, Washington County. It's believed that her mother died in or after the childbirth. In about 1885, Maria married Frank Louage (April 1859- ? ), a native of New York and a farmer. The Louages resided on a farm in McConnell's Mills, Chartiers Township, Washington County circa 1899-1900. Their four known children were Mary V. Louage, George Louage, Jean Louage and Myrtle Louage plus one who died young. Maria outlived her husband. She spent her final years at 975 Allison Avenue in Washington, Washington County. Toward the end of her life, she was senile and had arthritis, and when contracting bronchial pneumonia spiraled toward death. She passed on Feb. 9, 1942, at the age of 73. Mrs. Jean McCoy of Washington signed the death certificate. Burial was in Washington Cemetery.

  • Granddaughter Mary Violet Louage (1887-1961) was born on Sept. 28, 1885 or in August 1887. She was joined in matrimony with Ralph O. Tate ( ? - ? ). She died in Washington on May 13, 1961.
  • Grandson George Louage (1888- ? ) was born in September 1888.
  • Granddaughter Jean Louage (1893- ? ) was born in September 1893. She married (?) McCoy. In 1942, her home was in Washington.
  • Granddaughter Myrtle Louage (1898- ? ) was born in May 1898.

Daughter Sarah Jane "Jennie" Owen ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was unmarried in 1892 at the time of the death of her mother.


Wind Ridge Cemetery

~ Son Benjamin Owen Jr. ~

Son Benjamin Owen Jr. (1832-1912) was born on June 11, 1832 in Washington County.

He married Julia (?) (1826-1905).

Their four known children were John Owen, Hannah Owen, Mary Owen and James Owen.

When the 1870 United States Census was enumerated, the Owens lived in Richhill Township, Greene County, PA, and employed 25-year-old Sarah Day as a servant in the household. Living in adjacent dwellings were his brother Aaron and sisters Emily Jennings and Elizabeth Johnston and their families. They remained in Richhill for decades.

The Waynesburg Republican once noted that he "was for many years an elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian church and was highly respected."

In May 1871, as his eldest sister Mary was in her last illness, and dictated a last will and testament, Benjamin witnessed her making her mark as a signature, as did friend Stephen Winget.


Benjamin's signature, 1871

Suffering from a blockage of the bowels, leading to deadly peritonitis, Benjamin Jr. passed awayat the age of 79 on Jan. 27, 1912. Burial was in the Jacksonville Cemetery. Daughter Mary, living in Wind Ridge, provided details for the death certificate, and erroneously gave her grandfather's name as "Aaron Owen" instead of "Benjamin Owen." An obituary in the Republican noted that his death had occurred "after an illness of two weeks."

Son John Owen ( ? - ? ) made his home in Pittsburgh in 1912.

Daughter Hannah Owen ( ? - ? ) appears to have been deceased by 1912.

Daughter Mary Owen ( ? - ? ) was unmarried in 1912 and resided at home.

Son James Owen ( ? - ? ) lived "in the west" in 1912, reported the Waynesburg Republican.


~ Son Elias Owen ~

Son Elias Owen (1821- ? ) was born in about 1821 in Washington County.

He married Sarah ( ? - ? ).

They were the parents of Caroline Owen, Mary Ann Owen and John Owen.

Their home in 1870 was in Morris Township.


Wind Ridge Cemetery

~ Daughter Emily (Owen) Jennings ~

Daughter Emily Owen (1827- ? ) was born in about 1827 in Washington County, PA.

She was joined in holy wedlock with Samuel M. Jennings (1819-1882).

They spent their lives as farmers but did not reproduce.

The federal census of 1870 shows the couple living in Richhill Township, Greene County, PA, with Emily's brother Benjamin Jr. and Aaron and their families next door.

Circa 1876, when the Atlas of Greene County, Pennsylvania was published by J.A. Caldwell, the map of Richhill Township showed a cluster of Owen family farms east of Crows Mills, and north of Durbin's Mill, bounded by the Dunkard Fork of Wheeling Creek, Stone Coal Run and Crabapple Creek. Samuel's farm was shown as well as his brother-in-law Aaron Owen ( 325 acres), brother-in-law Benjamin Owen Jr. (150 acres) and nephew John McKean (100 acres).

Sadly, Aaron died on Nov. 18, 1882 at the age of 63 years, 6 months and 29 days. The cause of his early passing is not known. His remains were interred in the Wind Ridge Cemetery, with a large upright grave marker still standing circa 2015, when photographed by the founder of this website.

By the 1890s, she owned two town lots along Main Street in Jacksonville, Greene County.

Emily passed away sometime in 1899. As she did not leave a last will and testament, and had no children, the law called for her assets to be equally divided among her 26 nephews and nieces and their spouses. In a power of attorney document still on file today at the Greene County Courthouse in Waynesburg, George Jennings (relationship unknown) of Richhill Township was named to manage the liquidation of the estate. (See Greene County Deed Book 78, pages 518-522.)


1876 Atlas of Greene County, showing Samuel's farm of 113 acres, between Crow's Mills and Durbins Mills, and near his wife's brothers Aaron and Benjamin



~ Daughter Rebecca (Owen) Johnston ~

Daughter Rebecca Owen ( ? - ? ) was born in (?).

She was united in matrimony with (?) Johnston ( ? - ? ).

They had one known son, William Johnston, who also may have gone by the name "Frank W." He made his home in 1899 in Albany County, WYY.

He is believed to be the same "Frank W. Johnston" (1873- ? ) was born in 1873 Pennsylvania. He lived with his uncle Addison in Wyoming in 1900. He later move to Colorado, to Garfield County, next-door to his uncles Add and Clay Johnston. Who were his parents? Frank married Cora (?) Giddings in about 1907 -- it was his first marriage, and her second. The census of 1910 shows daughter Alice M. Johnston and Eunice V. Johnston in their household, along with eight-year-old stepson George "Kenneth" Giddings, who may later have been adopted and took the Johnston surname. The 1920 census of Garfield County, CO shows Frank and Cora and their six children -- Kenneth G. Johnston, Alice M. Johnston, Eunice Johnston, Mary Johnston, and twins Edith and Ethel Johnston. That year, Frank's occupation was farmer.



Copyright 2017 Mark A. Miner