Thomas Owens moved his family from Alabama to Flippin in White River Township of Marion County, Arkansas, in 1872. He was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, May 1, 1816, son of Raymond Owens who had left North Carolina in the early 1840's for Alabama where he became a successful planter. Thomas Owens was the grandson of another Thomas Owens who had served in the Revolution from North Carolina, enlisting in Captain Bradley's Company of the 10th Regiment of the North Carolina Continental Line on June 20, 1779. After the war he served as a Major in the North Carolina Militia. He married Elizabeth McCrary of Burke County, North Carolina, in 1785. He died March 27,1836 and she died about 1850 in Rutherford County. They had six children: Elizabeth (Mrs. John Pitt DePriest); William; Raymond; Joseph; Mary; and John. Raymond Owens served in the War of 1812 from North Carolina and his son Thomas Owens served in the Civil War in Alabama as a Confederate Cavalryman.
Thomas Owens, son of Raymond, married Margaret DePriest about 1840. She was born about 1820 in North Carolina, the daughter of John DePriest. They had seven children, six of whom moved to Marion County with their father in 1872. Margaret DePriest Owens died about 1859 and Thomas Owens died June 10, 1887, and is buried in Flippin Cemetery, Marion County. Their children were: John Owens, who died during the Civil War in Alabama; Nancy Jane Owens, who married J. M. Barnett; Joseph Owens, who married Margaret J. Poynter; James Spencer Owens; Margaret Owens, who married T. P. Flippin; William T. Owens, who married Sarah E. Barnett; and Sarah E. (Sally) Owens, who married Jesse Lovelady.
James Spencer (Spence) Owens, the fourth child of Thomas Owens, was born February 19, 1851. After moving to Marion County he married Mary E. Flippin, born in 1853, the daughter of Perry Flippin. They had one son, Elmer Oscar Owens, who was born May 29, 1876, and became an attorney who practiced law in Yellville many years. He served as state representative and senator and as Chancery Judge of that section of the state. Elmer Owens died December 14, 1951 and is buried in the Flippin Cemetery. Mary Flippin Owens died in 1878. James S. Owens married Sarah Caroline (Cannie) Duren, daughter of William Carroll Duren, November 15, 1885, at her home in the Cowan Barrens. James Spencer Owens was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace in 1882 for six years in White River Township and in 1888 was elected to the office of County Judge of Marion County, which he held for four years. In 1892 he was elected as Representative of Marion County to the State Legislature. He was active in all comumunity and county activities being a member of the Democratic Party, the Christian Church and the Union Lodge of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in Yellville. He died March 16, 1914, from pneumonia which he had contracted after getting chilled while helping to dig the grave in the Pleasant Ridge Cemetery and assisting with the funeral of his brother-in-law, Edward McCarty, who was a close neighbor in the Cowan Barrens. Sarah Caroline Owens died February 22, 1926, and they are buried in the Flippin Cemetery. They were the parents of eight children, all born and reared in Marion County. They are as follows: Darthula (Dottie) Owens was born October 21, 1886, and after teaching school for a few years in Marion County married William Pace Young on June 7, 1908; Grover Thomas Owens was born November 26, 1887, and became a distinguished attorney. He was a senior member of the law firm of Owens, Ehrman and McHaney and a leader of his Little Rock Community and the state of Arkansas. He was listed in Who's Who in America. He died April 3, 1954, and is buried in Roselawn Memorial Park, Little Rock. He married Ruby Johnson on October 7, 1914, and they became the parents of a daughter, Olivia Owens Nisbet.
The third child of James Spencer and Sarah Caroline Owens was Arkie Leona Owens, who was born November 3,1889, and died in La Junta, Colorado, May 22, 1964. She married Morean Andrew Gesell on March 22, 1922, and they had six children: Carolyn Louise Gesell Anderson; Eva Corinne Gesell Painter; Arkie Lea Gesell; James Morean Gesell; Robert Philip Gesell and Morean Andrew Gesell, Jr.
The fourth child was Frank Duren Owens who was born on January 29, 1891, and died August 8, 1967. He married Ruby Stanford on March 16, 1917, and they had two children: Frank Duren Owens, Jr., and Arkie Raye Owens. He married the second time Blanche Yocum.
The fifth child was Tennie Louise Owens, who married Russell Thompson in July 1921. The sixth child was Flossie Marguerite Owens, who married Dr. Sherod Arnold Drennen on January 12, 1917, and they became the parents of two children: Eileen Arnold Drennen and Sherry Ann Drennen Bouchard. The seventh child was Addie Mildred Owens who married Dr. Aris Wellington Cox on October 4, 1934. They had one son, Dr. Aris W. Cox. The eighth child, James Brundrige Owens, married Opal Alma Hilton on December 8, 1928, and they were the parents of a son, Colonel Joseph Spencer Owens.
The Owens family is of Scotch-Irish descent, coming to America from Northern Ireland and probably earlier from Wales.
The magnificent stained-glass east window over the Altar in Christ Church, Episcopal, Little Rock, was given by Grover Thomas Owens in loving memory of his father and mother -- James Spencer Owens and Caroline Duren Owens.
This information was compiled by Helen Young Bishop of DeKalb, Illinois. The sources of information include: A REMINISCENT HISTORY OF THE OZARK REGION by Goodspeed 1894 page 533; NORTH CAROLINA STATE RECORDS: NATIONAL ARCHIVES, Washington, D. C.; Census of Rutherford County, North Carolina 1790 through 1840; Census of Marion County, Arkansas 1870-1880; and personal knowledge of Dottie Owens Young, Addie Owens Cox, Helen Young Bishop, Irene Young Harrison, Kenyon Withrow of Ellenhoro, North Carolina. Also, the Census of Cherokee County, Alabama 1850-1860-1870.
Reprinted with permission from History of Marion County edited by Earl Berry, copyright 1977.