DR. BENJAMIN F. OWEN was a native of
Kentucky, having been born in that State May 20, 1835, and was reared on a
farm. His parents were natives of the Old Dominion, having emigrated from Virginia
in an early day to Kentucky. His mother dying when
he was quite young, our subject left home and began life for himself.
He first engaged in carpentering and
in such work as pertained to outdoor construction labor; afterward he worked at cabinet-making, but having a desire
for the study of medicine and surgery, he subjected himself to the most rigid economy until he had saved money
from his hard earnings sufficient to enable him to attend the University of Medicine at Louisville, Ky. He was graduated
with honors from that institution March 1, 1860.
On commencing his professional career,
Dr. Owen at once became associated in partnership with Dr. Yarndell, one of the professors of the university. Beginning
his practice of medicine in Louisville,
he continued there for six years, having all the advantages arising from the general work of the dispensary practice,
of which Dr. Yarndell had charge.
The manner of Dr. Owen's coming to Illinois
was somewhat curious, and it was most certainly providential for many whose lives he saved. Prof. Yarndell had
been sent for to visit Mrs. Robert Davis, of Hillsboro,
She was of a very wealthy and prominent family, and bad been suffering from a chronic disease for several years,
a disease which had baffled the skill of physicians far and near. She had been to New
York City and other places, but had found no one who could cure her.
Prof. Yarndell, relying on the ability
of Dr. Owen, sent him in his place. So great was the confidence of the husband in Dr. Owen, that he offered to
give him $1,000 if be would stay until she was either better or worse. Though our subject and his partner had made
all arrangements to enter the Southern army as surgeons, having even purchased their surgical instruments, Dr.
Owen consented to remain, and after two weeks the lady was able to walk to the dinner table, and the treatment
resulted in her complete restoration to health.
The husband gladly paid the $1,000, and
the Doctor returned to Louisville,
expecting to enter the army, as Prof. Yarndell had already gone and had written him to follow. Petitions had been
circulated among the citizens of Hillsboro
to have Dr. Owen remain among them, but he felt bound by his agreement and partnership. On reaching Louisville
he found that be could not get through the lines, and be therefore at once returned to Hillsboro.
The Doctor continued his practice for
some time alone in Hillsboro, having his office there,
and then formed a partnership with Dr. F. M. Stratton, who had his office at Litchfield.
At the time of the gold excitement in Montana,
both parties were influenced to enter the list as gold-hunters. While on the way, Dr. Stratton was severely bitten
by a bear, which disabled him so that be could not walk. This made a double burden for our subject, but, nothing
daunted, he nursed his partner and kept up the journey until Dr. Stratton recovered.
After returning from the West, our subject
found what gold cannot buy, an estimable and congenial helpmate and wife. Meeting first on the cars they were attracted
to each other, and not long afterward the lady, who was well and favorably known as Miss Addie Dunn, became the
happy wife of our subject. The wedding ceremony was celebrated on the 27th of September, 1870. Five children were
born of their union: Delia, on November 14, 1874; Laila, February 14, 1877; Fairy, October 16, 1878; Browder Gail,
March 25, 1883; and Benjamin F., February 5, 1888.
After an illness of only three days Dr.
Owen passed from this weary life unto the care of the Great Physician, who had healed his soul from the malady
and sting of sin, and who now called him to rest. His work was well done, and he could gladly answer the call.
He died on the 24th of October, 1888, in Morrisonville. Some years before, his health had failed, and he was compelled to quit practicing for two years.
Had it not been for the skillful attention and sympathetic helpfulness of his faithful wife, who was at once physician,
nurse and companion to him while traveling in search of health, he would not have recovered, but having fully regained
his health he returned to Litchfield, thence went to Illiopolis, and finally to Morrisonville.
Few physicians find such sweet fellowship
in Christ and Christian work as did Dr. Owen, whose faithfulness and knowledge of the Scriptures caused him to
be chosen as an Elder in the Church of Christ at Litchfield,
where he labored; and the genial nature and spiritual culture of his wife caused her to be chosen the teacher for
the advanced class in the Sunday school. Their home was the preacher's home, and the generosity they displayed
will be richly rewarded in the future as surely as it has developed such beautiful characters in this life.