genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893, p264.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

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, Montgomery County, Ill. 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.




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