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Robert Owen

OWEN: Myths and WEB Data, just plain un-supported by primary source, fraught with assumption.

LOCATION: Prince George’s County, Maryland. TIME: 1650-1850.

Most assume there was only one OWEN family represented in pre-Colonial Maryland...This is not true, and the singularity connection may only be found hundreds of years earlier in Wales, if @ all. No primary source has been given that shows ALL the Owen folk in 1700s Prince George's were even close cousins; and, primary source to the countrary abounds as one studies the Court, Land, and Will records of the courts of P.G.'s Co. Some of this court material, but not all that is available, will be shown. ***Of primary concern to me [philip edward smith, February 2011], are the errors relating to Rev. Robert Owen. I researched this man in hopes of tying my descent to him; alas, I can not.

Primary source support for Rev. Robert Owen's emigration to America is found: 31 August 1699, the records being in London, we call them the 'Money Books'[14-420]. There is also found that money was allowed him, a second time, for a return trip to America from the British Isles 13 September 1705, 'Money Books'[18-20]. This round trip in the 1704-1705 time period is said, to have been in hopes of an estate, and Robert being disappointed; per the 'Money Book' entry.

This Rev. Robert Owen was educated @ Oxford [Brasenose] as an Anglican. There is no record, yet found, that he was ever allied to any other belief. (An Anglican believes much as a Catholic does...with the exception the head of the Anglican Church was the King [Queen] of England...not, the Pope in Rome. The Anglican Church came into being over this exact point. An Anglican priest, also, is allowed to marry). Those who say that Rev. Robert Owen is the son of Edward and Hannah Baxter OWEN; have no primary source for that statement; Edward and Hannah were married in a Quaker meeting; Edward was a son, brother, and close cousin, of the Quaker Owen families located in Merion PA., Duck Creek [DE] and, eventually located in MD.'s Eastern Shore; these same folks who say Rev. Robert is the son of Edward ignore that the Quakers were followers of Calvinistic doctrines; and, some said 'cult like' in reference to the Quaker's adherence to Old Testiment Law. Why would Edward and Hannah send their son to be educated as an Anglican? Anglicans were the very people from which the Quakers sought persecution relief and religious freedom when they came from Wales to PA.; and, that come-over just a very few years previous to 1699? A close cousin to me, who also is a researcher far better, more exacting than I, says this too well to rephrase: "Was Rev. Robert Owen the son of Edward Owen (descendant of "Baron Owen")? NO, according to The Clergy of the Church of England Data Base, which shows the following information concerning the Robert Owen ordained for service in Maryland: 'Robert, s. R., of Llandrinio, co. Montgomery, pleb. Brasenose Coll., matric. 19 July, 1690, aged 18.'" [*1.]

The Quaker Owen families of Merion, PA. and [DE] and MD. came to America from Merionethshire, Wales, a known Quaker area. This location is some 30/50 miles west of where, in the records, we FIRST find [as above] the Rev. Robert Owen..."Robert Owen, son of R. Owen" [R=Richard? Robert? but not Redward!] "of Llandrinio in Montgomeryshire, 'pleb' matriculated at Brasenose College of Oxford University on 19 July 1690, age 18 [*1.]. The status of 'Pleb' [plebian] under which he was admitted, would not necessarily imply that he was poor; but, certainly, he did not come from a wealthy background. Robert became a priest in the Anglican Church, and in 1699, emigrated to the Maryland Colony in North America." [Plebian: common folk. Does not address economic state (could have wealth); Does address social status: not royalty, not titled, nor referred to as 'Gentleman']. "Robert Owen was ordained by Bishop William Lloyd at Ecceleshall on 25 September 1698. Robert is noted to have been educated at Brasenose College Oxford University and is specifically mentioned as being ordained as a curate for the Province of Maryland at the request of Dr. Gray" (sic) [Dr. Bray] "ad peragendendum diaconiofficium in provincia de maryland. There is a record of Robert Owen of Brasenose College, Oxford, being ordained as a priest by Bishop Compton of London on a day in September 1699. He would have needed to be ordained a priest to exercise all ministerial functions; this ordination could only happen in England; and, Compton was the bishop with reponsibility for the colonies." [*2.]

"On 08 August 1699, the Bishop of London solicited the Lords of the Treasury for payment of 20 pounds to each of the following: 'Mr. Owen going suddenly to Maryland. On September 05 Mr. Jones, Chaplain to Md., September 14 Mr. Colliere, Mr. Thursby, and Mr. Owen going over with the Governor to Maryland, et al [*3.]. This send-over was at the instigation of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Lands in order to establish the Church of England in Maryland.' Robert Owen arrived in Price George's County, Maryland in 1699 to become rector of St. Paul's Parish" [*4.] (above "..." and [*1.-*4.] furnished by cousin Paul H. Owen; his sources expect Hienton are found in the CCEd, Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King's College, London).

Recorded: September Court 1704 Prince George's County, MD; "to Rev. Robert Owen Principle Vestryman of S.Paul's Parish, and his associates & brothern the rest of the vestryman of ye said Parish.... all that tract or parcell of land called Brookefield lying in Prince George's Co... 120 acres". This would be an addition to the Parish 'glebe'. ('glebe' = land owned by the Parish, the produce of this land to furnish monies for the church budget. Cemetery plots found near the church yard often were part of the glebe) [*5.].

Robert Owen died in Maryland in 1714. His inventory is in hand [*6.]. We find a renunciation of Mary Owen, widow of Robert Owen; and, the bond of Levin Covington administrator; Sureties: John Wight, Philip Lee; Date: 25 January 1714 [*7.]. [I personally think this date is best written: 25 January 1714/15]. Rev. Robert died owing more than he held. His wife Mary is not mentioned in his accounts; no children are listed as kindred; but Mary IS shown on a mortgage, to Thomas Addison, June Court 1709, of the land called 'the Goars' [where Rev. Robert was living when he died] [*8.]. Also, recorded 30 July 1714 is the quit claim deed to Thomas Addison from Robert Owen for this same tract of land called "the Goars". Wife Mary Owen is mentioned, again [*9]. [The 'Goars' a.k.a. "Gore's"; 'Gore' is found, as a Maryland surname, in the Blackbooks, for sure]. Interesting is the fact Thomas Addison did not sell this land again, until 24 August 1719 [*10.] (Was he being gracious still to the widow of his parish priest?). ***TO DATE NO primary source RECORD of Rev. Robert and wife Mary having had any issue, has been found. Those who have such PRIMARY SOURCE about any such issue: Please, step forward! [No assumptions accepted]. There is an e-mail link at bottom of this web-page, click on my name. What is found, reguarding Rev. Robert Owen and 'children', follows: "John Burgess:-als Thomas Box a Malatta Basterd of Margery Burgess, servant to John Smith, 11 years old October next is bound by the Court to Mr. Thomas Gant... Mr. Robert Owen, by his letter to the Court, relinquisheth any Right or Title he hath as minister of St. Paul's Parrish to the said Malatta boy." It seems a Mrs. Ann Wight had experienced too much trouble with raising the young lad; and, Rev. Robert Owen did not care to assume the responsibility [*11.].

All over the internet and web, it is said that Rev. Robert Owen married Mary Haddock, the sister of James Haddock. After all, James Haddock was appointed as Rev. Robert Owen's power of attorney! [*12.] January Court 1704, [Recorded in August 1704] Prince George's Co., MD. Mr. Robert Owen, Clerke*, appointed Major Josiah Willson [1st] and James Haddock Gent [2nd] as his powers of attorney. Both Haddock[s]: James and Mary, were the issue of Benjamin and Elizabeth Middleton HADDOCK. Rev. Robert Owen was married to Mary. However, Rev. Robert Owen was NOT married to Mary Haddock, sister of the James Haddock who was found in Prince George's Co. MD. Early 1700s. Two reasons: 1. In London is found the record of a marriage that occured there, 22 March 1698, John Reynolds married Mary Haddock [the above mentioned sister of above named James Haddock] [*13.]. In other words she was married to someone else. 2. The will of James Haddock, Gent; Prince George's Co., MD. 16 September 1726; probate 02 May 1731. "...To 3 sisters Elizabeth Gibson, Sarah Newland, and Mary Reynolds, 20s. Each." Mary was STILL a Reynolds.

[*Clerke = the Old English spelling of our word 'clerk', used here as a noun. 'clerk' as an English word has it's origins in the year ~1000 AD; from the Latin word translated to 'cleric' today. The 5th definition, in an on-line free dictionary, of today's English noun: 'clerk' is: member of the clergy]. Note: Robert Owen was called 'clerk' in the 1705 'Money Book' entry, where monies to return the Reverend, to Maryland, were requested.

***What you have read to this point, is what I have discovered about Rev. Robert Owen in the 'primary source' records of Maryland, U.S.A. and of Great Britain. We have an accurate, short story, of his life; but, I have found no mention at all, of any issue. Therefore, I can not truthfully say that I descend from this man; and, unless someone else can produce 'primary source' records that do address his issue, they can not truthfully say he has any issue. [You may even find, made at my hand, an up-load to the World Family Tree, paid genealogy sites, et. al, early in my quest as a genealogist, that includes this Rev. Robert Owen, Mary Haddock, Edward and Hannah Owen, etc. in my line of descent. After all everyone else seemed so sure!...I can not get those myths back! they are wrong; they are out there forever. Now I know and respect what is the importance of primary source; so, these things are being shared to help you, the reader, to not make the mistakes I have made; for you, to retrieve any of these errors you can; while you can].

[*1.] Alumni Oxoniensis: The Members of the University Of Oxford, 1500-1714: by: Joseph Foster, Hon. M.A., Oxon. 1891. Vol.3, page 1101.
[*2] The Clergy of the Church of England Data base 1540-1835. Dr. Stephen J Taylor with reponsibility for the 1600-17++ history of the church... The CCEd is a collaboration between historians at Kings College London, the University of Kent, and the University of Reading, and is supported by the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King's College London.
[*3.] Maryland Historical Magazine, March 1910, Vol.5, No.1, p. 290. [Cal: State Papers--Treasury. 1697-1701/2.]
[*4.] Prince George's Heritage, by: Louise Hienton, pg. 68.
[*5.] Prince George's County, Maryland, Liber C, pg. 119a, 120, 120a. MSA [Maryland State Archives].
[*6.] Prince George's County, Maryland, Registrar of Wills, 1714 Box 3 folder 50, and Jan 1715/6 Box 3 Folder 57. MSA
[*7.] Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court of Maryland; Vol. XIII, 1712-1716. Liber 22, pg. 479. MSA
[*8.] Prince George's County, Maryland, Liber D, pg. 13. MSA
[*9.] Prince George's County, Maryland, Liber E, pg. 400-402. MSA
[*10.] Prince George's County, Maryland, Liber F, pg. 205-207. MSA
[*11.] Prince George's County, Maryland, June 1707 Court; Liber C folio 147, 149. MSA
[*12.] Prince George's County, Maryland, Liber C, pg. 122c. MSA
[*13.] St. Dunstan Parish records, London England.

***More Owen errors to come... Robert Owens w/m Rachel Hook.

When one goes to the web to search for straight information about Robert and Rachel Hook OWENS, that person will find, almost as many view points, as there are entries. A search of the historic records of Prince George’s County, especially in reference to the surname Owen: Court, Land, & Will records, associated families, etc., will immediately show that much of the Robert & Rachel material presented is material that belongs to someone else. Much was written 200 years after the fact; not eyewitness account; embellished, as is all family lore through the passage of time; AND, coupled to the author's DESIRE to move his station higher. Much of the material sited on the web belongs to some other Robert Owen; and, without checking things out at all, the compiler has grabbed that material and inserted same, in their story. Also evident, are long attachments of good primary records that no one has clearly read; or, weighed the names and families involved; or, considered the locality of the principal involved; so, as to properly assign these materials to the correct person. These are what we are referring to as Myths and Un-Supported data. What is really sad, is that these compilers, then, firmly believe their creation. The consideration of surname spelling is a 'biggie'. Just as the census records of the 19th & 20th century are fantastic 'primary source' tools for the genealogist, but, need comparison through-out the decades of an individual's life to iron out clerical glitches; these early records need study, comparison, knowledge of location & local history, dates & generations [rule of thumb: 3 generations per 100 years], personality traits, etc. to be assigned correctly. I have no interest in Robert and Rachel Hook OWENS; as, they are not related to me… I do get upset when stories that belong to my 5th great grandfather; stories that can be held secure by the listed record types above; or, by a combination of above records (what study is all about) are tied to Robert Owens w/married Rachel Hook; or their descends.

First, I think I need to tell you this: the Maryland historical records that pertain to the Robert who married Rachel Hook most often are found under the surname of 'OWINGS'. I.E. his land called "Horseshoe" [*14.]. The next most applied spelling of his surname, found in 'primary source records', is 'Owens' [which I have used extensively below]. An example here is his estate inventory [*18.]. The record of Robert's marriage to Rachel Hook, is the sample of the surname spelling for this individual least used: 'Owen' [*17.]. Was this 'least used' surname example (Owen) shoved to the front by folks who needed this Robert w/m. Rachel Hook to appear to be the son of an assumed father who's surname is almost always spelled OWEN? On-line family tree entries including this man as Robert OWEN number in the hundreds. You can count on your fingers the number of family trees that list him as Robert OWENS and even less list him as Robert OWINGS... as he called himself. Here's someone else's take on Robert and Rachel Owings, via their eldest child: "The will of Thomas Owings/Owen says 'Owen vice Owings,' for the surname of his named brothers." (Mike Sutphin from www.). "That is, the name was OWEN, changed from OWINGS." I have found no record of Robert's parentage. I do take issue with anyone who has applied the history of Robert [w/m. Rachel Hook] to: the Robert Owings who was the said s. of Richard & Rachel OWINGS of PA.; the Robert Owings who was of the Catholic faith who married the Quaker's daughter Hannah Farquhar; the same Robert Owings who was a surveyor in Maryland, and who lived near Digges @ the most Northern edge of the Maryland Colony's frontier [*15.]. On 27 October 1762 the widow Hannah, some of the issue and other related of this Owings settled in Taneytown, after, Robert Owings the Surveyor's death [*19.]. As stated above, Robert w/m Rachel Hook lived on land called 'Horseshoe'. That land was located ~3.5 miles West/Southwest of Frederick Town; and, the Robert Owen [next generation] he and his son Robert, are most often confused with lived ~32 miles Southeast of 'Horseshoe'; and, in a different Parish, in a different Hundred, with time's passage... a different county. in 1750, that was a long way! One last item, here. MANY court records from the very early 1700s, surname Owings, are found in the Baltimore vicinity; Robert's wife Rachel was raised just west of Batimore; I SUGGEST you begin your search for this Robert's FATHER and SIBLINGS in Baltimore!

"One final resident who arrived in the Upper Potomac area before 1743 should be noted. He was Robert Owings, who in that year was appointed overseer of the road from 'Monocacy to Conocheague,' the road over Crampton's Gap. His land 'Horseshoe' lay to the west of the 'Merryland' tract between that parcel and South Mountain. It's 96 acres were surveyed for him on 08 November 1744. Robert Owings and his wife Rachel Hook were the Parents of sons Thomas, Jeremiah, Robert, John, James, Owen, and David Owings and of daughters Margaret Cherk, Lydia Pyles, and Rachel Harper. Both Robert and John Owings" (these are NOT the children listed in the previous sentence [author]) "signed the 1742 petition to divide Prince George's Parish. In his 1760 will, Robert Owings referred to 'Horseshoe' as his home plantation. He devised it to his son Thomas... Thomas Owings died... and left 'Horseshoe,' subject to his mother's dower, to his brothers." [*15.]. (This paragraph is secondary source; I omitted questionable un-supported statements; but, the authors do cite some good primary source notations for the above text). This same source tells us that Rachel Hook's family lived 1/2 way between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, near present day Laurel, Maryland; that she was the said daughter of James and Margaret Thrasher HOOK. The Hook family is also said to descend from an Englishman, Thomas Hook, a taxable freeman in Maryland in 1677. These statements, however, are not fully, primary sourced [*15.].

What happened to 'Horseshoe'? In 1802, 'Horseshoe' was purchased from the issue of Robert and Rachel Hook Owens by one, Barton Garrott [*16.]. ALSO, in 1770, a certificate #931 is issued to Rachael Owens for the survey of 35 acres of a tract of land called "Widow's Struggle". This land was in the vicinity of the 'Merryland' and 'Horseshoe' tracts; and, it is labelled as being in greater Monocacy.

This Web Page is not long enough to address each point of error in the Robert & Rachel web presentations; but, I will pick out TWO that really annoy me.

Item One: My 5th great grandfather’s first wife was Keziah Harding. At one point in time, I read a compiler’s data that stated they felt Keziah Harding was the wife of Robert Owen who also was married to Rachel Hook at some juncture… 1. Let’s say we use the web’s declaration that Robert Owens and his wife Rachel Hook were both born 1710 +/- 2 years. Records show Robert & Rachel married 25 February 1731 [*17.], from assumed birth dates above: ages range 23 to 19 years. Keziah Harding, daughter of John and Elizabeth HARDING who eventually married a Robert Owen, was not yet weaned if in fact she had been born at all in 1731. 2. Prerogative Court Accounts state: “The account of Mrs. Rachel Owens Executrix of Robert Owens…. On the 2nd day of August 1767 came Rachel Owens Exec’x of Robert Owens and made oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God that the above account is just and true…” [*18.] My point is that Robert Owings had ONLY Rachel Hook as his wife all way through his adult life.

Many of the web items, stories, and records being assigned to this Robert Owens who married Rachel Hook belong to a Robert Owen of the next generation from the generation Robert and Rachel Hook OWENS belong to.

Item Two: I went to the previously mentioned data site today, and could no longer find the statement about Keziah [above, which I had printed when I first saw it] ...the paid genealogy sites, family trees, now, also publish this myth; but, I found new entries, good primary source data, which really describes Keziah accurately. Problem today is: they married her to another wrong Robert Owen… to the Robert Owen they list as the son of Robert & Rachel OWENS. [Real deal: This visited site refuses to recognize the existance of, and/or, to correctly identify and relate, in addition to these two Robert Owen, husband and son of Rachel Hook OWINGS, my 5th great-grandfather: Robert Owen, son of Edward Owen Sr.] To this other Robert Owen, the son of Rachel Hook OWINGS, they not only gave my 5th great grandmother to wife, they have given HIM the credit for producing my 4th great grandfather: Edward Owen, b. 23 November 1763 [*20.]. Alas, poor Edward, they have left you without siblings at all!

[*14.] C/S: LG E:383 (Certificate [not a patent]/Survey: ,Land Grant, liber E: pg. folio 383).
[*15.] Pioneers Of Old Monocacy The Early Settlement of Frederick County, Maryland 1721-1743. By: Grace L. Tracy and John P. Dern. pgs: 64, 95, 98, 247, 333. Some good 'primary sources' listed.
[*16.] From MSA On-line: Frederick County Court Land Records; Liber WR-23, folio 347.
[*17.] Prince George's Parrish records PGP pg. 229. Prince George's Parrish records. Indexes of Protestant (Episcopal)... by: Helen W. Brown
[*18.] Prerogative Court (Accounts) Robert Owens estate, 02 August 1767, Liber 57, ff. 35-36, MSA SM7-69, microfilm no. Roll 58-4; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD.
[*19.] From MSA On-line: Frederick County Court Land Records; Liber H, folios 159-166.
[*20.] Prince George's Parrish records PGP pg. 270. Prince George's Parrish records. Indexes of Protestant (Episcopal)... by: Helen W. Brown

Some books of NOTE and acclaim, published ~100 years ago, so terribly confuse relationships in early Maryland families that the following suggestion is seriously made. Here is a list of these books, improperly assigned to Genealogical shelves of libraries, that should be moved to the FICTION section: The TIERNAN and other Families, by: Charles B. Tiernan, 1901; Colonial Families of the United States of America by: George Norbury Mackenzie, LL.B., 1907; A History of Northwest Missouri Volume II, by: Walter Williams, 1915; Colonial Families of the United States Descended from the Immigrants...Bell...Beall, by: Lt. Col. Fielder M.M. Beall.

Here are some of my favorite websites:

OWEN: Three Brothers in 1700s Maryland (
Owen: Nancy 'Anne' of Edward, of Major Robert, of Edward Sr. (
Owen: Barbara who married William Williams (

This page belongs to philip edward smith.