Prof. D. A. Owen, the subject of this sketch, was born in Greene County, Ind., December 11, 1852. He is the second son and third child in a family of five children, all of whom are still living. His father is Wilson Owen, also born in Indiana, son of Josiah Owen, a native of North Carolina, and grandson of Thomas Owen, who was a soldier in Cornwallis’ army, and a native of the city of London, having been wounded, previous to the surrender of Yorktown; was left in America at the close of the Revolutionary War. As was usual with the boys of his age, our subject worked upon his father’s farm during the summer, and attended district school in the winter, with no peculiarity of habit to distinguish him from his associates, unless it be the awkwardness with which he handled edged tools, some of the evidences of which are plainly visible today. At the age of eighteen, having a desire for better opportunities for obtaining an education, than was furnished by the district school, he employed a hand to take his place upon the farm, and went two terms to the Point Commerce high school. At the expiration of these two terms, he obtain­ed a license, and taught two terms, beginning at his home school. In the spring of 1873, still desirous of knowing more of the facts stored up in books and nature, he came to Franklin College and completed the classical course, graduating in 1878. After graduating, he was elected principal of the Salem high school. Before one year had been completed in this position, he was chosen instructor in the department of Natural Science in Franklin College. While holding this position, in the year 1881, he was elected superintendent of Johnson County; these positions he held for two years, teaching in the college in the forenoon and attending to the county work in the afternoon. In 1883, he was elected professor of Natural Science in Franklin College, which position he held until 1887, when the department was divided into the chairs of physics and chemistry, and geology and botany, the latter of which he occupies at the present time. He is a member of the Indiana Academy of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In June, 1880, he was united in marriage to Nettie Paynter, of Salem, Ind., from which union there has resulted one child, who bears the name of the lamented botanist, Asa Gray.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 644.