Forgotten Trails

Published 4:29 am Wednesday, July 9, 2003

By Staff
Owens of Escambia County
By LYDIA GRIMES - Features Writer
As many of you know, I was very involved with working on the heritage book for Escambia County, Ala. for about three years. In fact I thought we would never get all the stories together and produce a book. We did finish and got the books back from the publisher in December. I, for one, am really proud of the book. It took a lot of work, but now that it is on my shelf, I am very proud of it. If you would like a copy of the book, let me know. I still have copies.
There were heritage books published for every county in the state. One thing that I have enjoyed is looking at the other county books and finding information about people I am interested in. One that I got for myself was the Henry County book. Henry County was like Conecuh County in that it was the mother county of Dale County and Conecuh was the mother county of Escambia.
One thing that caught my eye was the name of Owens. I knew that this family in Henry County was connected to the Owens family here in Escambia so I thought I would pass along the information in the book.
Early clues to the ancestors of the Owens in Henry and Escambia can be found in two letters written in 1891 in which the lineage is recorded by two different descendants.
Apparently the Owens name was originally Owen and was of Irish descent. The oldest ancestor of record was William M. Owen (1770) who left a last will and testament in 1839 in Decatur County, Ga. where he had resided at least since 1826. He had several brothers, including Lott, Elisha, Mathew and John. Family letters and his will verify that he and his wife were the parents of 11 children; Whitman Hill, Lucretia, William M. Jr., Etheldred, Letetia, Celia, Martha, Nancy, Mary, Lott G. and Andrew Jackson who died as a young man.
Whitman Hill Owens (abt 1794 in Spartanburg District, S.C.-3 Jan. 1873 in Henry County) married first abt. 1812, Elizabeth Ann Hare (12 Nov. 1795 in Sumter County, S.C.-9 Nov. 1854 in Barbour County, Ala.) She was the daughter of Edmund Hare and Mary Scott. Their children were; Edwin Ranson, Hasting Edgar, Eliza Ann, Thaddeus Constantine, Hickson Capers, Bennett Green, Amanda Emaline, Harriett Louise, Georgianna and Jane Adella.
Whitman Hill Owens was a large land owner in Sumter County, S.C. but he sold all of his holdings in 1818 and drew in the Land Lottery of 1827 in Decatur County, Ga. He was one of the surveyors who divided Georgia into townships and was a Justice of Inferior Court in Decatur County 1833-1835. He left Georgia and moved to Barbour County in the 1840s where he owned a plantation. In the late 1860s he moved to Henry County where he died at the home of his son, Hasting Edgar Owens. There is much information written in the heritage book about the family of Hasting Edgar Owens, including his marriage into the families of Hagood and Lovelace. Those families may be connected to families by the same name in Escambia. More research should be done in the area.
Whitman Hill Owens son who has descendants in Escambia County was Thaddeus Constantine Owens.
Thaddeus Constantine Owens (11 May 1822) married 15 June 1843 in Barbour County to Emily Elizabeth Dennard, daughter of Major Jared Dennard (12 Jan. 1791) and Jane Sledge. In 1856 the family moved to Butler County, Ala. and he served as a colonel in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, although prior to the war he was opposed to secession.
I will continue with this family next week and connect it with Escambia County.

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