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Harry Z. Owen, father and prospector

"I was born Nov. 10, 1861, a few months after my father George Andrew Jackson left to serve in the Civil War. He became deeply involved in the war and failed to write home to my mother. Two years went by and my mother, Belle Kendrick, thinking my father must have been killed in the war, became involved with a man by the name of Owen. She married him and they were living together in Bonham, Texas, and raising me when the war ended.

"My father had the rank of colonel during much of the war but became a captain at the war's end. During my teenage years the two of us become very close. I traveled with him some but when he ended up in Ouray in 1887 with my mother, I had pretty much forgotten about my stepfather.

"In 1991, I was part of Captain Jackson's prospecting group at Golconda. It started out as less than a dozen men but by the summer of 1893 it had grown to nearly 20 men, partly because of the addition called Jackson City two miles east of Golconda. In September of 1894. my father had to kill a man in self-defense who came into camp threatening to kill him.

"In March of 1897, my father was heading for Denver from the Blues out close to Monticello. He had been leading a team of horses to pack the snow down for them and was glad when it came his turn to ride on the rails of the snow sled. The jerk of the sled caused his shotgun to slip and when he grabbed it a blast from the barrel of the shotgun hit him in the face. A blanket had become lodged in the trigger resulting in his immediate death.

"In December of 1894, I married Leta Welborn. For the last 20 years of my life I suffered because of an injury."

Harry passed away on Dec. 24, 1939. His wife lived another two 22 years and passed away in 1961.

A daughter, Peri Owen Knisley, was born in March 1900. She began her teaching career in 1919. She was one of my favorite teachers while attending Mancos High. She married Charley Knisley in 1929. During WWII she was a riveter. After the war, she resumed her teaching duties in Mancos. She retired from teaching in 1969. I went to school with her son Johnny. He passed away 1978 at the age of 45.

Gertrude Owen Noland, a daughter of Harry and Leta, was born in 1903 and came with her family by covered wagon from southern Texas to the May Day Mine north of Hesperus when she was five years old.

She married Oen Noland in 1924. She worked as a painter for the Pennington studios in Durango and made many beautiful paintings.

Harry and Leta had a son, Roger, and two more daughters, Nina Walker and Dorothy Rogers.

Local historian Darrel Ellis can be contacted by email at dnrls@q.com.

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