Note: ate is the 8th - recorded 11th . DEATH: Obituary from Nonperial, Council Bluffs, Iowa - 18 May 1933 - "Thomas R. Owen is dead on birthday, Pioneer of Pottawattamie County had lived here since 1848, ill for three months... He was born in England, but was brought to the United States by his parents when only 1 year old.... The trip to St Louis was made by boat up the Mississippi River. From there the party came overland in a horse cart to the city. As a youth he was a freight driver and made several trips across the plains with government supplies for a contractor. On one occasion he missed an Indian massacre by being just a few hours late to a rendezvous. The Indians annihilated a wagon train of which he was a member, but he was behind the party and escaped.. (Julesburg, Colorado)..." . WILL: Dated 20 July 1925 - Codicil dated 11 Apr 1933 - recorded 5 Jun 1933 in Will Record O, pg. 480. . 1870 Census: Kane Twp, Pottawattamie, Iowa (age 27-born in Eng) 1885 Census: Garner Twp, Pottawattamie, Iowa 1895 Census: Garner Twp, Pottawattamie, Iowa 1920 Census: Garner Twp, Pott, Iowa (widower living with g-dau Jessie) Immigrated to U.S. in 1844 1925 Census: Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa (age 82) names parents 1879 Council Bluffs City Directory: Pg.119 & 120 Owens & Winchester 1880/81 Council Bluffs City Directory: Pg 23 T.R. Owen & S.A. Winchester Blacksmiths, wagonmakers, carriage painters, and dealers in wool. . OBITUARY: SURVIVOR OF MASSACRE DIES Thomas R. Owen, Bluffs Pioneer Who Escapes at Julesburg, Dead on 90th Birthday. Thomas R. Owen, who helped ferry Mormon emigrants across the river to Florence, and was one of the two survivors of the Julesburg, Colorada Indian Massacre, died on his ninetieth birthday today at Jennie Edmundson Hospital. His health had been declining for several months.
He arrived in this territory 85 years ago with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Owen. they traded the ox team and cart which had brought them from St. Louis for 80 acres of timberland in what is now known as Hazel Dell. Council Bluffs was then still a name of the future, the stockade and surrounding cabins being called Kanesville, near the site of Pierce School. He was helper on the ferry to Florence when the Mormon bands crossed.
At 16 Owens became a mule driver for a trader named West, who transported supplies for the federal government to Colorado and Wyoming. Before marrying in 1866 he made 11 trips. On the fourth trip, Owen and his partner fell behind the main caravan of 66 men and camped for the night near Julesburg. A party of Indians in war paint, accompanied by three evil-looking white men, galloped up. they didn't molest the two after being notified that the main party had gone ahead. Next morning, the two found the scalped bodies of their comrades amid heaps of dead animals and burned wagons.
Owen served as bridge and roads trustee for Garner Township, Pottawattamie County, for many years. He is survived by his sons, Thomas Jr., with whom he had lived, and Fred A., who farms nearby. The body was taken to the Woodring funeral home. (published, Omaha World-Herald on 18 May 1933 an Omaha, Nebraska paper)
OBITUARY: "The Good Old Days" The death in Council Bluffs, at the age of 90, of Thomas R. Owen, reminds us how few are left, of the men and women who conquered the west. He had experienced, perhaps, more than his share of the hazards and hardships of that conquest, and in his life epitomized, in a way, the lives of the many who cut loose from the security of the older civilization of the Atlantic seaboard, to dare the perils of colonizing the country west of the Mississippi.
When one read that Thomas Owen ferried the Mormon emigrants across the Missouri at Florence, the mind envisions the trek of those religious devotees over the plains, and their remarkable success in their new land of Cannan near the Great Salt Lake. From here Mr. Owen went to Colorado, and there survived a massacre by the Indians of a company of whites at Julesburg. He freighted back and forth across the plains in the days before the railroads, and knew the long days and nights of the toilsome journey. He must have enjoyed the declining years of his life, when he could see the thriving cities on the plains where he knew only coyote, buffalo and when the fertile farms of peacful civilization fulfilled the hope of the venturesome homesteaders who first set plow to virgin grassland.
Most of those early pioneers are gone; even their children are no longer numerous, and the third generation, with its own trials and troubles, is often forgetful of the past. Yet all must find courage and inspiration and hope today in the knowledge that in an earlier day men risked their all for a hope much less bright, and found the courage to dare greatly in an adventure whose outcome no man could foresee. (published World-Herald, 27 May 1933 in Omaha, Nebraska.)
Note: MARR: Pottawattamie Co, Iowa Marr 1848-1869: Botna Valley Gen Soc 1988 D
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