Copyright 2004 David Owen Styles



John W. Owen, Lawyer, Toccoa, Habersham Co., son of Joshua and Drucilla Watson Owen, was born in Anderson District, South Carolina, February 3, 1843. Captain Owen's father was born in South Carolina in 1818 where he lived until 1848 when he moved to Georgia and settled in Franklin, now Banks, County. He was public spirited, substantial and popular, and served many years as a Justice of the Inferior Court. He died in Banks County in 1888 age 70 years; his widow is still living and makes her home in Harmony Grove, Jackson County, Georgia. Of the children born to them eight are now living; John W., the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Amanda Gober; Mrs. Nannie McCoy; Mrs. Marie Ritchie; Mrs. Almira Stapler; Mrs. Laura Watson; and brothers E. D. and C. H.


Captain Owen came with his family to what is now Banks County, when five years old where he was reared, and during his boyhood educated. He finished his literary studies at Jonesboro, Georgia, and then taught school at Hilliard Male Institute, at Forsyth, Georgia. In 1861, at the age of eighteen he enlisted as a private in the famous Banks County Guards, which became Company A Second Georgia Regiment, General Robert Toombs Brigade, Longstreet Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. The regiment was organized at Brunswick, Georgia, and ordered to Richmond.


The regiment was reorganized soon afterwards when he was commissioned First Lieutenant, and not long after as Captain. With his command he participated in the following bloody, as well as many less important, battles; first at Yorktown Dam #1 after which command moved to Richmond, then to Gordonsville, Virginia, and went into winter quarters. His command participated in the battle of Second Manassas, Cold Harbor, Brandy Station, Seven Days fighting around Richmond, Orange Court House, two days fighting at Gettysburg, where he was wounded, Spotsylvania Court House, Wilderness, Fredericksburg, Drury's Bluff, and Fort Harrison. He also fought throughout the siege of Petersburg, and followed Gen. Longstreet to Chickamauga, where he was seriously wounded and sent to hospital; later he was furloughed and came home. He afterwards rejoined his command, Longstreet Corps., at Morristown, East Tennessee, and after four years of active arduous service was present at the surrender at Appomatox.


Capt. Owen's record shows that of the many battles and skirmishes in which his regiment was engaged, he missed but two. Returning home from the war he was engaged in merchandising and then in farming. Three years later he was elected clerk of the Superior Court and served two years, having in the meantime studied law. He was admitted to the Bar in White County, Georgia, in 1874 and shortly afterwards located in Toccoa, where he has gained honorable distinctions and built up a good practice in the eastern and western circuits. He has also filled the office of Solicitor of Habersham County Court for two years and has also served as Mayor of Toccoa several years. He is regarded as an able lawyer, a sound and safe counselor and being enterprising and progressive and public spirited, has the confidence of the people and enjoys a popularity accorded but few. It is altogether probable his fellow citizens will demand his services in a higher and broader field.


Captain Owen was married in 1869 to Miss Lucy M., daughter of Dr. Benjamin Smith of Lumpkin County. A union blessed with three children; Alice, Charles and Nannie, of whom the first named is the only survivor. In April 1876 Mrs. Owen died and in March 1880 Capt. Owen married Miss Eliza Ward, daughter of F. J. Ward of Habersham County, who has borne him five children; Mamie, Willard, DeWitt, Annie, and Lorene.


Source: Memoirs of Georgia, published 1895 by the Southern Historical Association


Contributed by David Owen Styles

Background by Donna Brand

Copyright 2004 Jackie and Vicky