Memorial Record of Western Kentucky, Volume I and Volume II, Lewis Publishing Company, 1904, pp. 57-61. Carlisle Co.
JOHN R. OWEN, M.D. For more than a quarter of a century Dr. John Reese Owen has engaged in the practice of his profession in Arlington, and his active connection with the calling dates from 1868. He has long occupied a position of prominence in the medical fraternity of western Kentucky, and receives the respect and admiration which arise not only from professional success but also from the possession of sterling traits of character. Honored and esteemed by all, there is no man more worthy of mention in the history of Carlisle county than is Dr. Owen. He was born in what is now Carlisle county, but was then a part of Ballard county, his natal day being September 15, 1839. His paternal grandparents were Rev. John H. and Elizabeth (Humphreys) Owen. The former was a native of Halifax county, Virginia, and from the age of twenty-one years until his death devoted his life to the work of the Christian ministry as a preacher of the Missionary Baptist Church. He became one of the pioneer preachers of the denomination in Kentucky, to which state he removed from the Old Dominion when a young man. Who can say what good has resulted from the seeds of truth which he sowed. His influence was widely felt, and the localities in which he lived owed their early moral development in large measure to his efforts. He also followed agricultural pursuits, rearing his family upon his farm. He possessed sterling qualities of heart and mind, and left a deep impress for good upon his generation. His wife was a native of Caswell county, North Carolina, and to them were born several sons and daughters, who were reared amid the refined influences of a cultured Christian home. Thomas Jefferson Owen, the father of Dr. Owen, was born in Warren county, Kentucky, June 8, 1808, spent his youth under the parental roof and when a young man of twenty-two years removed to Calloway county, Kentucky, settling upon a tract of land which he occupied for about two years. He then sold that property and removed to Ballard county, taking up his abode near the village of Cunningham, but later removed to a farm near Spring Hill, and here he spent many years, devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits with creditable and gratifying success. He married Miss Garthena Willingham, who was usually known by the given name of Gettie. Her father, Jarrett Willingham, was one of the pioneer settlers of Hickman county. Mrs. Owen died in 1844, leaving three children: Margaret Elizabeth, who became the wife of Joel B. Reese and died in 1902; John Reese, whose name introduces this record; and James Thomas, who died in 1851, aged nine years and some months. The father, long surviving his wife, died at the home of the Doctor in Arlington, on the 22d of December, 1888, having passed the eightieth milestone on the journey of life. Both were laid to rest in the family graveyard upon the old home farm near Spring Hill. They were ardent and faithful members of the Missionary Baptist church, and for many years the father was a notable and prominent citizen of this region. He engaged in merchandising for some time, and also served as postmaster at Obion, a post office now extinct. In his political views he was a Democrat of the Jeffersonian school. A man of strong convictions, of marked courage and of fearless loyalty to whatever he believed to be right, he was regarded as one of the influential citizens of the county, and largely aided in molding public thought and feeling. Dr. John Reese Owen was reared on the home farm, and began his education in the country schools nearby, while later he attended Milburn Academy. Determining to devote his life to the practice of medicine, he entered upon his preparation in the month of September, 1865, with Dr. George Beeler, for years one of the most eminent physicians of western Kentucky, as his preceptor. After studying for two years under the guidance of Dr. Beeler, Mr. Owen attended a course of medical lectures at the University of Louisville, where he completed the regular course and was graduated on the 1st of March, 1872. Following his graduation he then returned to his country home, and resided and practiced there for five years more. In December, 1876, Dr. Owen located in Arlington, where he has since continued his residence, and throughout the years which have since elapsed his practice has been both extensive and lucrative. He is a member of the Carlisle County Medical Society, of which he has served as president, and he also belongs to the Southwestern Kentucky Medical Society and the International Association of Railway Surgeons. Since 1878 he has been the local surgeon for the Illinois Central Railroad at Arlington. Concentration of purpose and persistently applied energy rarely fail of success in the accomplishment of any task, however great, and in tracing the career of Dr. Owen, it is plainly seen that these elements have been the secret to his rise to a position of prominence. He possesses a genuine love for his work and for scientific investigation and research, and he has kept fully in touch with the advance which is continually being made by the medical fraternity in methods of practice. In his political views the Doctor is a Democrat, and during President Cleveland's second administration he served as postmaster of Arlington. Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is a Master Mason and has served for several terms as the chief officer of the blue lodge. Dr. Owen also has a creditable military record. When twenty-one years of age he left the farm, and in June, 1861, volunteered for service in the Confederate army, becoming a member of Company A, Second Kentucky Infantry. He was soon promoted from private to second sergeant, and participated in the battles of Fort Donelson, Hartsville, the sieges of Jackson and Vicksburg, the battle of Chickamauga and many skirmishes. At Hartsville he was wounded in the body, on the 7th of December, 1862, and was disabled for service for three months. At Chickamauga, September 20, 1863, he was wounded in the arm, just above the wrist, but he never faltered in the performance of his soldierly duty, no matter how much hardship it entailed. In March, 1864, he was detailed for service in the quartermaster's department, and continued to act in that capacity until the close of the war. He is now a member of James W. Moss Camp No. 1287, United Confederate Veterans, and is assistant surgeon of that organization for his brigade. On the 7th of January, 1866, Dr. Owen was married to Miss Fannie J. Wray, a daughter of James H. and Celia Horn (Ward) Wray. She was born in Calloway county, Kentucky, October 27, 1844, and died in Arlington, October 4, 1897. By this marriage nine children were born: James T., now living in St. Louis, Missouri; Lenna Buckner, a druggist of Arlington; Ada Fannie, the wife of Tom C. Pettit, of Bardwell, Kentucky; John William, of Morehouse, Missouri; Ernest Holt, also living in Morehouse; Robert Emmett, a physician of St. Louis, Missouri; Elbert Brit, a bookkeeper in St. Louis; Errett Lee and Verna Ann, at home. In addition to his residence in Arlington, Dr. Owen owns the old family homestead, and is engaged in farming and in the culture of bees, having a fine apiary. He gives his personal supervision to these business interests, but his attention is chiefly devoted to his practice, which has steadily increased in volume and importance as the years have gone by. He votes with the Democratic party and is an active member of the Missionary Baptist church, to which he has contributed liberally of his time and means. In manner he is agreeable and courteous, sympathetic and kindly, and in public affairs is generous and progressive.