OTHA OWEN. This gentleman, familiarly known in Cheney's Grove Township as one of its prosperous and enterprising
business men and farmers, is pleasantly located on section 35, where he has been a resident since 1853. He came
to this county in September, 1834, making the journey from his native State of Ohio in a two-horse wagon and driving
two cows. He was accompanied by his uncle's family, and the journey occupied thirteen days. He was employed on
the farm of his uncle for six years following, and then worked out by the month for $8.33. After working thus for
about five years he purchased eighty acres of land, for which he paid $1.25 per acre, and afterward forty acres,
much of which was a swamp, and none had ever been cultivated; for this he paid $5 per acre. He proceeded to work
upon and improve it, meeting with success in his labors, and has since added to it until now he is the owner of
nearly 148 acres, all enclosed and improved, and under a good state of cultivation.
Mr. Owen was born in Mechanicsburg, Champaign Co., Ohio, Oct. 5, 1823, and is the son of Uriah and Keziah (Jaco) Owen, both natives of Virginia. The father was a farmer by occupation, and died in Ohio when Otha was a lad of seven or eight years. The mother died a few years later, so that our subject early in life became an orphan, and was forced practically to look out for himself. The parental household included six children, as follows: One died in infancy; Sarah died March 15, 1882; Mary became the wife of Samuel Peckham, and died in 1880; Jonathan married a Miss Hester Shepard; Otha, our subject, was the fifth child; George W. married Miss Catharine Kline.
Mr. Owen was reared to manhood in this county, and on the 20th of November, 1845, was married to Miss Susan Kline, who was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, Oct. 5, 1827. She was the daughter of George and Catherine (Miller) Kline, both natives of Maryland. George Kline was born in 1792, and was drafted into the army during the War of 1812. His brother Jacob, however, served in his place. The mother of Mrs. Owen was born in 1802, and died four years after her husband, in 1884. Both parents were members of the Presbyterian Church. Their ten children were—John, Susan, Mary, Rebecca, Harrison, Martin V., Catherine, Christina, Zarilda, who died quite young, and George.
Mr. and Mrs. Owen became the parents of eleven children, three of whom are deceased. The record is as follows: George was born Sept. 16, 1847, and died June 3, 1864, when seventeen years of age; Uriah, born Aug. 26, 1849, married Miss Annie Lips, and has one child; Elias, born July 2, 1851, married Miss Catherine Murphy, and they became the parents of three children, one of whom is deceased; Laura, now Mrs. William Lewis, has one child; Hannah became the wife of Albert Spradling; Jay died Nov. 12, 1858; Lee was born May 8, 1860, married Miss Linna Chapman, and they have one child; Charlie was born July 2, 1863; Mary, Feb. 7, 1866; Kate, April 11, 1868; Albert was born May 5, 1871, and died Feb. 9, 1872.
The homestead of our subject and his family, besides the valuable land already spoken of, includes a fine residence, a good barn and all necessary outbuildings, and in all its appointments indicates the supervision of an enterprising and intelligent business man and farmer. Mr. Owen is Democratic in politics, and has served nine years as constable in his township, and three years as Commissioner of Highways.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 614. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards