Written by Diane Hitchcock-Owens

The Owens family traces back to the immigrant Ishmael Owens who was among the Welsh settlers who settled in the Philadelphia area. Ishmael immigrated from Wales in 1769. He resided in Chester County from 1774-1813.

It is possible Ishmael followed relatives who had preceeded him to the New World. It was the tradition in the Quaker migration for a family member to go ahead and make preparations for families to follow. Roland Ellis led a large number of Welsh clericals to Pennsylvania where they bought five thousand acres of land. This group arrived in the years 1682 and 1686. A number of Owens were among these colonists.

Ishmael served in the Chester County Light Horse Brigade during the Revolutonary War. His children and grandchildren had recollections of his fond remembrances of his experiences. His uniform was of bright blue cloth trimmed with yellow and large brass buttons. He wore a leather hat with a projection in front and plain behind. He carried a sword.

Ishmael attended the Manor Meeting House near West Chester although he later belonged to both the Episcopalian Methodist and Presbyterian Churches.

In 1813 Ishmael removed to Middletown, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania, where he resided four years, before making his final home in Lewistown. Ishmael was a "brewer of malt and hops" as well as a farmer.

Ishmael married Catharine Stam. The Stams came from Switzerland. Other families that married into the Owens line came from Switzerland, Holland, Scotland, Ireland and France.

Ishmael and Catharineís son Lewis married Katherine Bowman. The Bowmans were Mennonites from Berne, Switzerland.

Katherine was the daughter of John Bowman who married Sophia Manka in York Co., Pennsylvania about 1810. Johnís father may have been Abraham Bowman who was the familyís first immigrant. This family were among the first settlers of Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania from Berne, Switzerland.

Lewis and Katherine moved to Lewistown, Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania where they were part of the farming community. They belonged to the Methodist-Episcopal Church. Thier son, Millard Bascom Owens married Matilda Magaret Adams (Tillie) .

The Adams family goes back as far as John Adams, born in 1800 in Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania. John married Elizabeth Burkholder. They had a son, John Quincy Adams. Elizabeth died when he was less than a year old. Following his wifeís death John Sr. remarried and went to Ohio in 1830 where he raised a family. His son, John Quincy, was left with his motherís family (the Burkholders) in Pennsylvania. John Adams, Sr. was the first mayor of Findley, Ohio. I suspect this family may be related to the Robert Adams family that settled New Jersey. Descendants of this family moved to Miami County, Ohio, as well as Mifflin County and Juniata County, Pennsylvania which is where we pick up our John Adams.

Elizabeth Burkholder was the daughter of Abraham Burkholder who immigrated with his father Hans Burkholder, a Mennonite minister, in 1729. Hans Burkholder was arrested, jailed and exiled during the years of 1708-1717. His sons John, Jr., Jacob and Abraham landed in Philadelphia in 1717. The family came from Emmenthal in the Canton of Berne, Switzerland.

Abraham Burkholder eventually settled on land in what is now Chanceford Twp., York Co., Pennsylvania. He owned a ferry over the Susquehanna River at the mouth of the Pequa Creek which is one of the oldest ferries in the area. Abraham married Barbara Kendig.

Barbara Kendig was the daughter of Hans Jacob Kendig who married Susanna Wymann. Both families were from Berne, Switzerland. Hans brother, Martin Kendig has been called the "first settler of Lancaster Co., PA." He was among five other Swiss Mennonites who signed a letter from London to the Amsterdam Mennonite Church on June 27, 1710. This group arrived at Philadelphia on the ship Marie Hope on 23 Sept 1710. Over five thousand acres of a ten thousand tract of land was place in his name for distribution to new members of the colony. Martin returned in 1715 to Europe, returning with over three hundred new colonists in the fall of 1717. An additional five thousand acres were placed in his and Hans/John Herr. name. At that time they represented twenty-one new Swiss pioneers fo the land office for individual grants. Martin's distinctive mark "MK" appears on the ship lists of the Molly when it arrived in Philadelphia on 30 Sept 1727 with more setters who settled what is now Lancaster county. Among the names related to this line are Ruehti, Uelin, Peyer, Gallacian, and Hass. Their son, Henry Burkholder, married Elizabeth Bisbing.The Bisbings were Lutherans from Germany. Elizabethís father was George Bisbing who married Elizabeth Kugler, also Lutherans.

George Bisbing served in the Revolutionary War. He built a bridge known as "Rex's Bridge." This bridge played an important part in the Revolutionary War for it was at this point the "British Dragoons" were repulsed and driven back from pursuing American troops after Germantown's battle. Elizabeth Bisbing recalls George Washington spending some time at her father's house when British and American troops encamped around their farm.

John Quincy Adams grew up in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania where he married Sophia Kerr grandaughter of the immigrant Jacob and Elizabeth (Shower) Kehr/Kerr. The Kerrs were also part of the Mennonite group that originated in Berne, Switzerland. Their daughter Matilda Margaret (Tillie) married Millard Owens.

Tillie and Millard Owens were part of the farming community in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.Millard belonged to the Wesley Chapel at Lockport, Pennsylvania. He later joined the Methodist Church at Lewistown. He was a farmer in Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania until his retirement in 1920 whereupon he moved to Lewistown where he resided at 420 W. Fourth St.

Paul Raymond Owens, son of Millard and Tillie Owens, grew up on the family farm in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. He attended Penn State College where he met his future wife, Mary Emiline Allen. Paul and his wife made their first home in Cambridge, Ohio, where he worked for a nurseryman. They moved to Minot, North Dakota where their fist child was born in 1927. Paul was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where he served as an elder. He was also head of the Mariners Club, a couples group of the church. Both Paul and Mary belonged to the Eastern Star serving as Worthy Matron and Patron during the late 1940's.

Paul was also active in civic affairs serving as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Lt. Governor in Kiwanas which encompassed the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. In 1946-7 he was elected "Man of the Year" by the Chamber of Commerce.

In 1967 Paul sold his business in Grand Forks. He and Mary and daughter Sara moved to Deming, New Mexico where they built a home. Paul continued his craft by planting a garden which was no easy fete in the arid southwest desert.

Mary Emiline Allen was the daughter of Sarah Margaretta (Carothers) and Charles Allen. Charles had immigrated in the 1880ís to North Dakota from Ireland. Charles Allen was the son of Joseph Allen and Elizabeth Murphey. The Allens resided in Corry, co. Longford, Ireland. Joseph and Elizabeth had twelve children. Several of the children left Ireland and moved to America and Australia.

Sarahís family were part of the Scottish migration of the late 1770ís to Pennsylvania. The Carothers came from Scotland via Ireland.

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