Grayson County TXGenWeb

Owenby-Taylor Family


Dallas Morning News
12 January 1930

(Special to The News)

Van Alstyne, Texas, Jan. 11 - The eighty-eighty milestone in the life of J.P. Owenby of Orangeville, near Whitewright, was passed Friday.  Mr. Owenby was born Jan. 19, 1842, in Marshall County, Tennessee.  He was one of eleven children of Mr. and Mrs. Elie Gerald Owenby. His mother died in 1862, leaving a group of young children to be taken care of.  Mrs. J.L. Taylor of Pilot Grove, a sister of Mr. Owneby, was then 11 years old, and she being the oldest girl, it became her lot to look after the five younger children.
Although Mr. Owenby is now growing feeble and his eyesight is dim and his hearing almost gone, he is still able to tell many interesting facts concerning his early life and war time experiences.  Mr. Owenby enlisted in the Tennessee Western Division of the Confederate Army in the beginning of the war. He served under Generals Johnson, Acord and Bragg and was several times taken prisoner.
"I carried in my vest pocket a small testament which I often read," Mr.  Owenby said. "I promised the Lord that if I lived, was spared, and reached home again, I would served the Lord the rest of my life.  When I returned home my mother was dead and I helped my father reconstruct a shattered home and provide food and clothing for younger brothers and sisters.  We had to work at anything we could to get food and clothing. 
After I returned from the war I united with the Methodist Church and have endeavored since that time to be faithful to my promise."
Mr. Owenby was married Oct. 16, 1873, to Miss Martha Jane Taylor.  It was a double wedding, his sister marrying J.L. Taylor, the brother of Mr. Owenby's wife.  The wedding ceremony took place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson Taylor in Tennessee.
"In 1882 we came to Texas, making the trip by train." Mr. Owenby said.  "We rode on the train as far as Sherman, then got in a wagon and drove some twenty miles south and east to where the community of Pilot Grove is located, ten miles east of Van Alstyne.  I arrived at Pilot Grove with $14 in cash, a wife and four children.  The first two or three years at Pilot Grove were hard ones.  Cotton went as low as 4c and everything else we had to sell was low in proportion.  But this depression did not last. Later on I bought a farm located just north of Pilot Groave, and still later bought a larger farm, four miles north of Pilot Grove.  I lived on the last farm until about a year ago, when I moved over to Orangeville, a few miles out of Whitewright, where I am making my home with my son, J.P. Owenby."
On Sept. 25, 1927, a family reunion of the six living brothers and sisters was held at the home of Dave Taylor, son of Mrs. Taylor, this being the first time some of them had met in half a century.  The average age of the brothers and sisters at that time was 77 years.  Mr. Owenby and Mrs. Taylor have each lived to see four generations of their respective families and each has a comfortable home with his or her descendants.



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