JAMES P. OWENS, one of the progressive business men of Scottdale, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, was born in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, March 19, 1855 a son of Jonathan and Sarah A. (Donohoe) Owens, both natives of Bedford county, and grandson of William Owens, who was also a native of Bedford county, Pennsylvania, where his entire life was spent; he engaged in agricultural pursuits and was an excellent farmer. His wife was Elizabeth McVicker, and they reared a family of eleven children, eight sons and three daughters, all of whom removed to the west. James Donohoe, the maternal grandfather of James P. Owens, was a native of Ireland, who emigrated to the United States, locating in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, and engaged for many years in the conduct of a tannery.
Jonathan Owens, son of William Owens, and father of James P. Owens, was a wagon and carriage manufacturer at Centerville, Bedford county, a business which he conducted successfully for many years. Politically he was a sound Democrat, and a public-spirited, exemplary citizen. In church relations he affiliated with the Roman Catholic faith. He married Sarah A. Donohoe, and the following named children were born to them: Mary J., wife of W. J. Miller, of Scottdale; Alexander, deceased; Elizabeth A.; James P., mentioned hereafter; Margaret F., wife of Martin Ames, of Scottdale; William T., deceased; Ella K., deceased; and Emily, deceased. The death of Jonathan Owens occurred in 1866, and in his demise the community lost a useful, industrious citizen. His wife passed away in 1874, in Cumberland, Maryland.
James P. Owens was reared in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, and received his educational training in the common schools of that county. He worked the home farm for his mother until he attained his majority, when he became a worker in the iron industry, being variously employed as a peddler. In 1880 he removed to Scottdale, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, and in 1886 was appointed by President Cleveland postmaster at Scottdale, taking charge of the office on September 1 of that year. He was thus engaged for four years, discharging his duties with great credit to himself and to the satisfaction of the community. In 1890 he engaged in the livery business and stock dealing, and three years later was appointed United States revenue gauger of the Twenty-third Pennsylvania district, which position he resigned in 1898. He took a course in embalming in the Pennsylvania College of Embalming, and entered into the livery and undertaking business. In August, 1900, he entered into partnership with William Ferguson, and together they formed their furniture and undertaking business, which they have since conducted with the most gratifying success.
Mr. Owens is a prominent active worker in the Democratic party, and has held various elective offices in his borough, among them being that of chief burgess, to which he was elected in the spring of 1900. He has also served as member of the borough council, and for years has been a member of the Democratic county committee. He holds membership in the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, No. 777, Scottdale Lodge, of which he was the first exalted ruler and is the present treasurer. He is a member of the St. John the Baptist's Catholic church. In 1880 Mr. Owens was married to Eva, daughter of Casper Gloss of Cumberland, Maryland. Her death occurred in 1897. They were the parents of the following named children: J. Raymond, a plumber at Elkins, West Virginia; Lulu M., Maud A., Ralph T., Joseph V., and Clarence E.
Source: Page(s) 168-169, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed May 2007 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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