Owen County is located in the Outer Bluegrass (Northern Brush) region of the state and named for Colonel Abraham Owen (soldier, member of the constitution, aide-de-camp to General Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe where he was killed on November 7, 1811). The elevations of the county range from 425 to 1000 feet above sea level. In 1998 the county population was 10,264 (down from the 17,500 tops of 1880-1900) in a land area of 352 square miles, an average of 29 people per square mile. The current population is about the same as the average of 1840-50. The county seat is Owenton.
Owen County is bounded on the west by the Kentucky River and to the north by Eagle Creek. The other borders are not naturally defined. The county has always been agrarian with only limited bottomlands and some table areas. Generally, wrestling with the land has been a struggle since pioneer days. Hills, pasture, and woodlands comprise the majority acreage. Only in the past 20 years, and especially the last 10, has Owen County begun a strong move forward with increasing construction of new and destruction of old. Genealogists have a passing opportunity in Owen County to see the land pretty much as it was a century ago. But time, acid rain on marble tombstones, the heartless, and the careless are quickly erasing a partially recorded legacy. We must hurry.
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As a boy (WWII to Korea), I spent summer days at my grandparent's farm in Owen County. Usually the trip was by Greyhound bus and the last stop was Warsaw. There I would be met by a tall man, wearing a straw hat and bib overalls, who would load me and my bag into a Model T. We'd take a long, jerky ride to Glencoe, cross the then-busy railroad tracks, south passed Poland's store, onto a steel bridge with the scariest wood planking I've ever seen. Then west down a long lane into Eagle Creek bottom, across two washes only a Model T and a mule drawn wagon could cross. I would strain for the sight of the two story, red brick farm house with lots of "presses" and dogs and chickens galore. No electricity. No running water. No bathroom. No telephone. An ICE box, rain barrels, feather beds, coal oil lamps, and evenings laying in the grass watching the stars and talking. Two old people who had weathered pioneer Oklahoma and returned, raised their eight children into the Great Depression and World War, and cried more than they would ever let me know. So now, everything I do here, is for them. I wish they knew.