Friday, March 13, 2015

Resolving Conflicting Evidence Owens Line

I'm trying to resolve conflicting evidence without land records; which are essential to clearing them up.

I guess my primary problem with the Owens lines in West Virginia and Pennsylvania is the fact common male first names are used and there is no way to differentiate between these men. Hopefully, the Owens filed deeds so we can identify the locations where each man lived. That combined with the names of their wives would resolve many problems. It may be tricky to find the deeds? They may have been filed long after the fact, and county lines have changed so many times over the years.

Right now we have random Owens males appearing on tax lists and purchasing land from government agencies. These land records don't name wives so it's impossible connect them with a particular family.

From the scant information, we have now, we know Owens males, and Judith Owens, lived in South West Pennsylvania and what is now West Virginia. If we are to believe the accounts of John Owens II's death he died on Booth's Creek, Virginia. This land is about 30 miles from his land on the South Fork of Tenmile Creek, PA. That seems a little odd? In his will John Owens II gives "the land I now labor on" to John Owens III. He doesn't say where the land he now labors on was located? We've inferred it's the Booth's Creek land. We see a John Owens Jr. is presented with a land warrant in 1782. He would have been maybe 12 yrs. old at most? According to John II his son was supposed to inherit the land when he turned 21 years old. He was not yet 21 in 1790.

Another bit of evidence which throws a monkey wrench into the theory John II owned land on Booth's Creek is that a John Owens Sr. and John Owens Jr. sign a petition for the formation of a new county from the existing Monongalia county. They signed this petition in 1777. We had thought the Owens widow in Bedford County, PA was Judith wife of John I. That tax list was for the year 1773. Maybe that wasn't her? If so he could have signed the 1777 petition and owned the land on Booth's Creek. In that case the John Jr. and Sr. are Johns I and II. If not who are the John Sr. and Jr. listed on the 1777 petition for Monongalia? Could be John son of James and John II on the Petition? Or another John Sr. and Jr. altogether?

Debt of John Owens Sr. and Jr.
There is a suggestion that John I may have lived passed 1773 in John II's estate records. A debt owed by both John I and II to George Church is paid off by the estate in 1782.

So did John Owens II own land on Booth's Creek? In his estate records we find references to a Lower Planation. Is that the one in West Virginia? Some say "Maths" (another wife of John I) died in Harrison County. Virginia? So did John Owens I actually own land on Booth's Creek and not John II? I think that James Owens who also lived on Booth's Creek might be John I's son? Was it actually John I or John II who was killed on Booth's Creek and owned land there? William Powers 1833 Revolutionary War Pension file implies John was killed in 1781. Other accounts have the killing of John Owens as 1778 or 1783? John Owen II did in fact die in the spring of 1781. There are no details given about his death in Estate records.

Another question is which John Owens is found in the West Virginia records for Harrison and Monongalia Counties in the late 18th and early 19th century? Could be John son of James or John III son of John II? Which John is in Mapletown, Pennsylvania in 1798?

The problem that I'm basically seeing it there is only one John Owens on tax lists in West Virginia. He appears to be older than the son of John Owens II, because he appears on a Tax list in Monongalia County, Virginia in 1790 when John II would have been under 21. In 1801 we see a John Owens with 2 tithables in his household, meaning 2 males over 21, in the 1801 Tax list for Harrison County, VA. In 1789 a John Owens signs a marriage bond in Harrison County, Virginia. Too old to be John Owens II's son.

John Owens 1790 Taxlist Monongalia County
Below 1801 Tax List John Owens
We also have evidence supporting the fact John Owens III may have settled in Virginia. There is a relationship between the Ankrom family and John Owens II. John Ancrom is mentioned in his estate records. He owed him a debt. The Ankrom family married into the West Virginia John Owens family. John Owens and wife Sarah appear to have a young family, with children born between 1796 and 1816, in the latter half of the 18th and early 19th Century. This would fit the age range of John Owens II.  Also it was common for settlers of Tenmile Creek, PA to also own land in West Virginia.

What we can say for certain is that the West Virginia John Owens family did match, on the Y DNA test, the descendants of John Owens I Indian Trader. Relationships are still up in the air until land records are consulted. We will only continue to go in circles without looking at the land records.

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