James Nathan OWEN, a leading representative of one of the most prominent pioneer families of Marshall county, was born in Richland township, north of Wilburn, on the 13th of February, 1852. His father, Walter OWEN, was a native of Kentucky and came to Illinois with his father, Nathan OWEN, the family home being established west of Wilburn in Richland township in the early '50s. The grandfather had served as a soldier of the war of 1812. Walter OWEN is still living, his home being in Chenoa, McLean county, Illinois, while his wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary GLASS, died at the age of twenty-eight years. She was a native of Virginia and they were married in this state. In their family were three children who are yet living, the daughters being Elizabeth Mildred, now Mrs. Harrison IRELAND; and Cora, who is living with her father.
In his early boyhood days James Nathan OWEN accompanied his father on his removal to Kankakee, Illinois, where he acquired his education in the public schools. After he had attained his majority he returned to Richland township and worked upon the home farm. In the spring of 1882 he came to his present place of residence and has since resided here, covering a period of almost a quarter of a century. He has a well developed farm property, equipped with all modern conveniences and accessories and supplied with substantial and commodious buildings for the shelter of grain and stock. He has one hundred and sixty acres of land, of which one hundred acres is under a high state of cultivation, while in addition to tilling the fields he is engaged quite extensively and successfully in the raising of sheep, hogs and cattle.
In 1875 Mr. OWEN was united in marriage to Miss Alice Louisa YORK, a daughter of John YORK, who follows farming near Wenona, Illinois. Unto them were born two children: Harry, who was born in 1881 and died at the age of nine years; and Frank Eugene, who was born February 12, 1886, and is now upon the home place.
Mr. OWEN is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America, his membership being in Washburn camp, No. 1821. He votes with the republican party and for many years has served as school director, the cause of education finding in him a warm and stalwart friend. He belongs to the Christian church and has lived a life in harmony with the family record, which has ever been most creditable. No name is more closely associated with the history of Marshall county and its development from pioneer conditions than the name of OWEN, and later generations have been equally loyal to public interests and have continued the work of improvement and progress that was begun by ancestors in an early epoch in the history of this county.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.