Hon. Joseph Valentine Owen

by Edmund Starling, 1886


The subject of this sketch was born in Columbus, Kentucky, on the twenty-seventh day of July, 1851. When at the age of one year, his father removed to Paducah, and there remained up to his death, at which time young Joseph was fourteen years of age. He was then taken by his uncle, Dr. Owen, to Hopkins County, where he remained one year, when he concluded to locate in Corydon. To this end, therefore, he packed his wordly[sic] goods in a hand satchel and footed it overland. Mr. Owen inherited nothing save a strong mind and ample energy to back it. His education was limited, yet every spare moment was devoted to the improvement of his mind. Arriving at Corydon, he was soon given a situation with T. C. hart, and, during this time, attended as best he could, a private school. He soon after went to King's Mills and taught school there; then engaged in the mercantile business. In 1871 he returned to Corydon and entered into the dry goods business with H. A. Powell. In 1873 the firm changed to Thos. W. Powell and himself. During the summer of 1875, Mr. Owen sold out to Green W. Pritchett, and, at the earnest solicitation of friends, made the race for Representative, as an Independent, against Isham Cottingham, and was elected by a majority of 1,080 votes. He served during the term of 1875 and '76, and, during the time, introduced several important bills, among the number one regulating the election of constables, greatly simplifing matters and saving a large and unnecessary expense. In 1876, Mr. Owen was again a candidate, but was defeated by the Hon. M. Merritt. He then purchased the stock of H. A. Powell, May 6th, 1876 A year or two afterwards he build a large two-story business house, the second story, 35x60, being set apart for a town hall.

On the sixteenth day of October, 1877, Mr. Owen married Miss Tina Powell, daughter of H. A. Powell and granddaughter of James W. Gibson. They have had several children. On the tenth day of March, 1884, a fire swept Corydon, and Mr. Owen was one of the largest losers, his storehouse and hall being consumed. Nothing daunted, he rebuilt, providing himself with a larger and far better house. The second house was of brick and thought to be fireproof, but, on the ninth day of April, 1887, another and still larger fire swept Corydon, and Mr. Owen was again burned out, house, stock and all. For the third time he has builded[sic] again. There is no limit to his industry and enterprise.

The grandfather of Mr. Owen, Joseph Owen, was one of the first Magistrates in Union County, and, at one time, owned the Saline Salt Works in Illinois. His great uncle, Abraham Owen, was killed at the battle of Tippecanoe, and his name is inscribed upon the Soldiers' Monument at Frankfort. He was a Colonel, commanding a regiment of Kentucky troops.

Mr. Owen has served as Trustee of the town and Public School, and has been a liberal contributor to every public enterprise. He is an enterprising, thrifty merchant.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 731-32;

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