Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Clarence N. Owen

CLARENCE N. OWEN. One of the progressive business men of Dighton is Clarence N. Owen, a stockman and extensive farmer of Lane County. If there are young men in Kansas or in any other section who are bewailing the lack of business opportunity in these modern days, perhaps a glance at the story of the life of Mr. Owen may enlighten them as to the manner of finding this hidden opportunity, and may possibly arouse in some a spirit of emulation. Beginning work when little more than a child, Mr. Owen has led an industrious life. He has never depended upon some mysterious stroke of "luck" to bring him prosperity and has never awaited it, and that he now occupies a financially independent and honorable place among his fellow citizens is the result of his own efforts, both mental and physical.

Clarence N. Owen was born in Washington County, Kansas, July 29, 1879. His parents were Amos J. and Elnora (Huffman) Owen. Amos J. Owen was born in 1853, at Bellflower, Illinois. In 1878 he came to Kansas and in 1884 entered land near Bison, on which he yet lives as a farmer. He is a member of the United Brethren Church. In politics he is a republican. To his marriage with Elnora Huffman the following children were born: Clarence N.; George, who lives at Oakland, California; Minnie, who lives at home; Roy, who is a resident of Bison; Lloyd, who is in business at Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Orville, who lives in Lane County, Kansas.

Clarence N. Owen was reared on a farm in Rush County, Kansas. His father was poor and as a little boy Clarence went out to herd the cattle, and started to plow for his father almost before he could reach the plow handles. He was not discontented about these things, nor that the home was a crowded little sod house on the prairie, nor that sometimes his bare feet got a little nipped by the frost before the shoemaker could be visited, but he did wish, during advancing boyhood, that he could attend school more regularly, as he cherished the ambition of becoming a school teacher. Finally, when seventeen years of age, he succeeded in securing a teacher's certificate and immediately was tendered a position at a salary of $18 a month to teach school in the county. It was a temptation, but he realized that he needed more instruction himself, therefore he declined and took a course in the high school at LaCrosse, Kansas, subsequently securing another school in Rush County, with a salary of $25 a month attached. In order to fill this contract he had to ride a distance of six miles morning and night, which he did for seven months. He continued to teach school for eleven terms, four in Rush and seven in Lane County.

When Mr. Owen came to Lane County in search of desirable government land his visible capital consisted of three "plug" horses, but underneath was hidden the pluck and determination that made him a success here. He settled in a lonesome neighborhood, securing the northwest quarter of section 10, township 19, range 27, when there was but one "soddy" in sight in any direction. He hastened to build his own sod residence, as he was then teaching in another county and could not spare the time to make many improvements, and also because of his school duties he was not able to get in a crop of wheat in 1902, which was a banner wheat year. After he became a permanent resident he gradually accumulated cattle as he cleared up his land, adding to his acreage as he found himself able and increasing his stock, until at present he has six quarter sections in one body and land all over the county besides and has more than 500 acres under cultivation. He belongs to the great wheat farming class of Kansas. In all his undertakings he has been careful and methodical and many of his neighbor agriculturists have largely adopted his methods.

Mr. Owen has put fine improvements on his property and his two-story cut stone, commodious residence is one of the handsomest and most comfortable rural homes in Lane County. His other buildings are equally substantial, all erected of cut stone, his barn, 14 by 140 feet in length. In 1906 Mr. Owen became connected with real estate operations, and in 1914 established an office at Dighton, where he does business in this line as a broker and speculates to some degree for himself. He is one of the stockholders of the Dighton Hotel Company.

Mr. Owen was married in Lane County, August 12, 1903, to Miss Belle Donovan. Her parents were Walter and Nancy (Langley) Donovan. Mrs. Owen has two sisters and one brother: Mrs. Carrie Munson, Mrs. Bertha Pearce and Trussler Donovan. The father of Mrs. Owen was a soldier in the Union Army during the Civil war. He came to Lane County, Kansas, from Ohio, proved up a homestead in Lane County, and taught the first term of school in High Point Township, Ness County. Mr. and Mrs. Owen have three children: Estalene, Louise and Thelma. Mr. Owen and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and he is a member of the board of stewards in the Dighton Church. While Mr. Owen is a quiet, unassuming man, he gives the visitor a suggestion of inward strength. He makes no claim of having done anything unusual in building up a large fortune from nothing, in comparatively but a few years, but it is difficult to withhold admiration for one whose courage has never faltered and whose self reliance has been so dependable. He is one of Lane County's representative men, wide awake to his own interests and equally so to everything that promises to be beneficial to this section.