Claude Owens Family History
On January 27, 1885, approximately four miles east of Grapeland was born a little fellow named William Claude Owens. His father, Robert Owens (1854-1935) was born in Georgia. He progressed westward at an early age and lived in Little Rock, Arkansas until ‘grown’. He then found his way to East Texas, to Little Creek and the Denson Colony where he met his bride Caroline Denson. Caroline Denson Owens (1856-1939) was born on the same land as her son, William Claude, this land being settled by her father, O’Conner Denson in the early 1800’s. O’Conner Denson, born 1813 in North Carolina came to this area with 2 brothers, John and Joseph in the 1820’s. He married Mary Swaggard (Swaggert), born 1817 in New Baden, Germany. Mary, an orphan, came to theUnited States and Texas with relatives as a teenager. William Claude was educated in country schools of this area including Refuge, Ferguson Hill, Old Enon and the Grapeland school which was located on present College St. September 18, 1904, at the age of 19, Claude married the fair ‘Miss Jenny Brown (born May 14, 1878, who was older, 26, and a piano teacher). She, too, came from a family who had settled this area. Virginia Telitha (her real name) was the daughter of John Brown (February 22, 1837-October 24, 1921), and Mary L. (Dickey) Brown (May 9, 1849-December 21, 1924). John Brown was a Confederate veteran and earned the ‘Southern Cross of Honor’ merit badge. Claude and ‘Aunt Jenny’ (as she was called by all who knew and loved her) raised four children, 3 boys, Grady, Golden and Garland (Buster) and one daughter, Era. Grady married Annie Lea Spruill and they have 6 children, including 5 sons, Carol, Lester, Bobby, Billy and James and one daughter, Bonnie now Mrs. James Keen. Golden married Mary Baker and they had one daughter, Nelda, now Mrs. Ray Johnson. Golden died November 16, 1961. The daughter, Era, married Luther Thetford and they had 4 children, three daughters, Virginia (Mrs. W.H. McArthur), Marjorie (Mrs. Dave Myers), LaWanda (Mrs. Troy Pennington), and one son named William. Garland died on April 4, 1943 at the age of 27. He was never married. At this time there are 19 great-grandchildren. Jenny Owens died March 18, 1963 and Claude died November 26, 1973.