Biographical Sketch of Nicholas W. Ownbey

The esteemed gentleman whose name is at the head of this article is one of Wallowa’s best and most substantial citizens, having gained a prestige here by his faithfulness and uprightness, while he has also wrought for the advancement of the interests of the county in all ways and at all times, demonstrating him to be one of the public minded and progressive men of the section, and it is with pleasure that we accord to him a representation in this volume since also his life has been a bright example in manifestation of moral qualities of worth.

In Benton county, Oregon, on February 19, 1858, our subject first saw the light, being the son of William and Martha J. (Langston) Ownbey. The parents came across the plains to this state in the early days of 1849, utilizing ox teams for the purpose. The Indians were savage and fierce and one child of this worthy couple was killed by the redskins. They came on with sad hearts and settled in Benton County and wrought to build a home. There our subject was born and he received the education that was to be had from the schools of the place and was reared on a farm. In 1873 his parents came to Union county, settling near Cove, our subject accompanying them. Two years later they removed thence to the vicinity of Elgin. When our subject became of age he entered a homestead and was numbered with the prosperous farmers of that section until 888, when he sold his land there and removed to his present place, two miles southeast from Leap, which he purchased. it was one-half section at first but he has added one-quarter section more since. His farm is well improved, with comfortable house, good barn, substantial outbuildings, and fine orchard.

On July 1, 1883, occurred the marriage of Mr. Ownbey and Mary S., daughter of Andrew and Priscilla (Harris) Knight, residents of the vicinity of Elgin. To Mr. and Mrs. Ownbey there have been born five children. ora B., Hattie F., Iva M., Clifford A. and Alta M. In political matters Mr. Ownbey is a Democrat and he takes the part of the intelligent citizen in these affairs as well as in educational matters, and the district has profited by his faithfulness and wisdom for twelve years, having kept him in the office of director all of that time. Mr. and Mrs. Ownbey are members of the church and are active in the promulgation of their faith, both by exemplary lives of Christian walk and in substantial support of the gospel, while also throughout the entire community they have the esteem and admiration of all.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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