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William Owens (1750-1836)

Alma Owens Tibbals, History of Pulaski County, Kentucky
(Bagdad KY: Grace Owens Moore, 1952), pages 47-48

William Owens came here from Virginia before Pulaski County was formed. He was of Welsh descent, the son of William Owens and his wife, Jude, whose maiden name is not known. William was born November 10, 1750 in Virginia and married Nancy Owens, his cousin, September 20 or 30, 1773, in the Shenandoah Valley. Nancy was the daughter of Vincent Owens, whose wife was Winifred Le Hue (Lehew), the daughter of Peter Le Hue and his wife, Frances Allen.

Peter Le Hue, a Huguenot, was born in 1692 in France. He came to America before 1707-12, settling at Front Royal, Virginia. "In 1760 Peter Le Hue was the leading citizen with the best house applied for, and was granted a license to keep an ordinary." A family legend, handed down from one generation to the next, says, "Peter Le Hue was shipped out of France at the time of the Revolution in a ventilated wine cask."

William Owens, the subject of this sketch, was a Revolutionary soldier who served as first sergeant in Captain James Newell's Company, Colonel Preston's Regiment. He and his wife, with several of their children, came here and settled on the bluff overlooking Pitman Creek, near the present town of Elihu. He built a one-room log cabin, which is now the living room of the house where Mrs. Lum Allen and her son Edwin are living. He died in the same house in 1836. He and his wife Nancy are buried in the old Baptist Cemetery in Somerset. They were the parents of six boys and six girls. Of their children who married into the family of Samuel Newell were William, who married Margaret Newell, and Nancy, who married Samuel Newell, the brother of Margaret.

The remaining children were: Judah; Reuben, married Sally Lockhart, moved to Clinton County; Jane, married Samuel Tate, lived in Pulaski County; Sarah, married Hansford Price, lived in Pulaski County; Rebecca, married Wesley Short, moved to Indiana; Avy, married John Short, moved to Indiana; Lavina, married Reuben Short, moved to Indiana; John, married Ann Chesney, lived in Pulaski County; and Martin, married Polly Chesney, moved to Rockcastle County.

Two of these sons Samuel and Martin, were Baptist preachers, Martin being one of the early ministers of the Flat Lick Baptist Church.

The Shorts and Samuel Owens emigrated to Indiana. Their descendants are living near Bedford and Bloomington, Indiana, today.

There are many descendants of those who remained in Pulaski. One of them was Samuel Tate, a great-grandson who, at the age of eighty-four, wrote a history of the Owens family, from which the following quotation is taken:

Grandfather Owens was quite wealthy when he died. He had fifteen Negro servants and several likely young men (Negroes) and women who were bought at his sale and taken south by traders. Grandfather lived with his daughter Jane and her husband [Samuel Tate] until her death. She kept one Negro man and woman to wait on her. When Grandfather went to housekeeping the family bedding was made of bearskins.