Finding Your Folks: The south side Owen and Owens families

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

My sister, Kay, and I attended an estate sale in Pike County, a few weeks ago, which involved the descendants of the Owen family. This family (I learned after doing a little research) was in Meriwether County before Pike, and In Wilkes and Jasper counties before that. Since Martin Owen(s) of Upson and Meriwether was my ancestor and he has been my brick wall for years, this event held more than just a mild interest for me. I have long wondered if Martin was connected to the other Owen/Owens families in this area. My sister also was very interested since Bricy Owen, a relative of the family who was having the sale, was buried in the Hollonville Cemetery, just a few hundred yards from her home. Could he be one of our distant relatives?

Let me stop here and say that you will see the names "Owen" and "Owens" interchanged constantly, especially in the early years when not everyone could read and write. Clerks and census takers added the "s" or left it off, depending on their mood or what they heard. My Martin's estate records in Meriwether County continuously refer to him as "Owens" as do the court records in Fayette County where his wife, Martha, applied for guardianship of her children. But Martha is "Owen" in the 1860 Fayette County census and his daughter's maiden name (my great-grandmother) in the Cleburne County Heritage Book also is "Owen." Go figure.

I am certain the "estate sale" family in Pike County spelled their name "Owen" because it is written in one of the Bibles Kay and I purchased. So, I know we will at least represent that part of the family's name correctly.

In addition to the Bibles and a few other household items, Kay purchased two account ledgers from the mercantile business of James C. Owen (Sr.) which was operated in Concord in the early 1900s. I plan to transcribe these since many residents of the area are mentioned.

But the best prize was finding old obituaries tucked between the pages of the Bibles … some dated as early as 1910 - for A.H. Thompson (1927), John Milner (1910), Orall Milner (1959), Edna (Thompson) Milner (1934) and Nancy Bowland Milner (1919). These, also, will be transcribed and placed on the Internet for all to share.

Since I still have some research to do in Meriwether, I thought I would at least get started on this Owen family, hit the high spots, and take it as far as I could with research I have done in the past.

I found proof (at least to my satisfaction) of the lineage of this Owen family with the will of Uriah Owen (b. 1758 in Pittsylvania Co., Va.) recorded back in Wilkes County in 1820 where, among his children, he named his grandson Coleman Owen, son of Brice Owen. This Brice Owen was Brice Marshall Owen (who I like to call Brice the first) who married Sarah Law (or Lane) in 1812 in Jasper County and moved to Meriwether County where he appears in the 1840 and 1850 census. I couldn't find him after that. On my next trip to Greenville, I'll check the Meriwether cemeteries book.

Going back one more generation from Uriah, I was able to link these Owens to my family tree through William Owen Sr. who married Drucilla Echols. Many years ago I wrote about the Wood family of Heard County who married into this same Echols family. Drucilla was the daughter of Richard Echols and Caty Evans whose family history was covered in the diary of Milner Echols. I don't personally have proof that this William Owen was the father of Uriah but the tree I took it from (with permission) was reliable, so I am satisfied for now.

Land purchases by Brice Sr.'s son, Coleman, in 1836 and 1851 show that they lived in the 10th District of Meriwether, located in the north central area abutting Coweta County. Primary towns in the area (on a 1910 map) are Rocky Mount, Luthersville and Primrose. My guess is that they were near Rocky Mount judging by neighbors Harrison Hamrick and Wilkins Stone, known residents of that area.

I have only one child proved for Brice Sr., and that is Coleman P. Owen, named in Uriah's will. However, since Brice appears to have died in Meriwether and Meriwether's old records are pretty much intact, I can probably find some probate records listing his heirs. The 1840 census does show an older couple with younger men and women in the household (two boys and two girls) and, since Coleman left home in 1830, there probably were other children. By 1850, there are only Brice and Sarah in the home, both age 65.

Coleman P. Owen married Charlotte Allen in Walton County in 1830 and they appear in the 1840 Meriwether County census with two boys and a girl. By 1850, these children are shown to be William L. (age 16), Elizabeth (age 16), Charles C. (age 10), and a new one, Brice M. (age 6). Our main interest is in Charles C. Owen, grandfather of our estate sale family in Concord.

There were two old photos sitting on the mantel in one of the rooms where the estate sale was held. One said "C.C. Owen" and I'll bet the other was his wife, Nancy Conner. Now I wish I had purchased them. With this research, the Bibles, obits and ledgers, the photos would have added to a great "package" to give to a surviving family member, if they wanted them. Oh well. Hindsight.

With that, I'll close for this week and continue with more details next week.

Stories about your families who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send stories to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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