Monday, March 16, 2015

Y We Need Proven Y Trees

"Once upon a time in a land far away lived a beautiful Indian Princess who married an Indian Trader..." A great story to have in your family history. An Owens family does have a similar story in their family, and it is true to a degree. An Indian Trader, John Owens, may have married a daughter of a Native American Chief. This story has been widely told in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The appeal of this story, as you would guess, has led to many false connections being established with this family.

An Owens Y DNA project was started a number of years ago. The goal of the participants from our Owens line has been to prove our connection to John Owens I the Indian Trader. What I found out over the weekend is that a person claiming direct descent from the Indian Trader, who tested with the project, has a weak claim to a line of direct descent. I didn't know who the person claiming direct descent was until a few weeks ago. For years I've been pondering that. I didn't feel confident comparing with this person because I didn't know what line they descended from. I would love to see lines of descent, i.e,. trees attached to results at the Owens project. Without seeing a tree we can't be sure whether the line of descent is correct.

Someone in our Owens group found some great information about the Owens family of Booth's Creek, now West Virginia. According to the person who tested with the Owens Y project his family's claim to direct descent came from John I, or II?, owning land on Booth's Creek, where contemporary sources say he was killed by Indians somewhere between 1778 and 1783. This person's family lived not far from the Booth's Creek area so a relationship was assumed.

This premise that either of the John Owenses owned land on Booth's Creek, West Virginia seemed to crumble over the weekend. I was finally able to find some information coming from an Owens deed for Booth Creek. I was led to a site with Harrison County Court record abstracts through information provided by an Owens group member. This information regarded a John Owens of Harrison County (where Booth's Creek is located) and land located in Frederick County, Virginia. According to court minutes, for Harrison County, a John Owens was the rightful heir to land located in Frederick County. This was confirmed by a Janet Owens. All of this was new to me. This appeared to be an Owens family which wasn't closely related to our own. When I did a google search on some of this info a WikiTree surfaced with some research notes attached, with sources. I found a deed abstract attached to the tree. This abstract answered many questions I asked in my last blog post i.e. who owned the land on Booth's Creek, and who the second John Owens was. He was John Owens married to a Mary. So now we have a John Owens married to Mary, and a John Owens married to Sarah, living in the area at around the same time. John married to Sarah seems to show up in West Virginia after 1801. I have not found him being taxed there before that year. Beginning in 1801 John married to Mary begins selling their land off, they leave the area around 1805.

The family tree posted at Wiki Tree for this John Owens family on Booth's Creek states there was a John Owens father and son living on Booth's Creek next to James Owens, brother of the elder John. This would match what I was seeing in the records for the area. We find a John Owens Sr. and Jr. signing a petition for the establishment of a new county in 1778, and we also find a 1782 land warrant for a John Owens Junior claiming land as an heir to John Owens deceased. This was thought to be our John Owens III. Since John Owens III was only around 12 years old at the time I felt this was unlikely. I did think it possible that someone applied for him. It doesn't look like that. It looks like John Owens of Booth's Creek was transacting his own business, and receiving title to his land claims from 1784 onward according to land records for Booth's Creek.

Right now, which can change, we have John Owens of Booth's Creek as likely the son of John Owens and Ann Horn. Both John and Ann owned property in Frederick, Virginia which appears to have been inherited by the family in Harrison County. Where this line is beginning to take a wrong turn is that they are also claiming a relationship to the Indian Trader. There is absolutely no evidence they are related to the Indian Trader. According Wiki Tree James Owens was also involved in the Indian Trade but there is no evidence of this. The two Johns and James of Booth's Creek appear to be farmers. It seems both John Owens II of Tenmile Creek and John Sr. of Booth's Creek died at around the same time and their deaths are associated with violence. John II of Tenmile Creek was said to have been shot by Indians a mile from Waynesburg, PA, and John Owens Sr. of Booth's Creek, VA was said to have been hatched to death by Indians. This has added to the confusion about the identity of the men.

Taking a close look at the Tyler County John Owens family in Census records I can see where it is very possible that John Owens III is the same man. He would be the right age to be John Owens III. He is associated with the Ankrom family known to be acquainted with John I and II. There could have been a migration of Waynesburg PA residents to Wirt, Tyler county? What I'm not seeing is a naming pattern matching the PA Owens family. I've also seen a Joseph Owens born 1755 in Marion County as forebearer of this family. Another research states that a James Richard Owens killed in Clarksburg is the founder of this line. Everyone copied the Booth's Creek association which I can't find any documentation for.

John Owens 1830 Census
Tyler County, VA
I was subscribing to some of these theories based on John I  or II owning land on Booth's Creek. It doesn't appear either of them owned this land. I had been thinking one of these men owned that land, or it was another unrelated man of the same name. It looks like an unrelated family at this time. WORK, needs to be done on this line to establish John Owens of Tyler County's exact relationship to the family of John I.  Hopefully the relationship stated at the Y DNA group can be proven, and all will be well again? Even better than before because we'll have actual proof of this person's line of descent, and the DNA project will have increased credibility.

Will likely be adding to this stack


Janet Whetstone said...

I have a Vincent Calvin Owens born in 1805 in Virginia. Father(no name) from Ireland and mother (no name) was from America. Married Elizabeth Ann Davis in Virginia in 1849. Have you ran across these people?

Annette said...

I'll have to look into that. No I'm not familiar with him, but it sounds like he might be related? Vincent was a name used in our line, and not very common in America at that time. Interesting he said his father was from Ireland. We are looking for the origins of the Owens family. This may confirm Irish origins? Thank you Janet!