Nicholas Owenby was the 10th and last son of John Owenby and Nancy Porter. He may have moved to Tennesee early in his adulthood, but certainly wound up in Missouri. There he decided to go to Oregon in 1845, taking with him his five sons and two daughters plus his wife, Lucy Martin. Approximately 2,500 people went on the Oregon trail that spring. At Vale, Oregon, roughly have this number opted to accompany Stephen Meek on a "short cut" which he believed would save them time in getting to the Dalles, Oregon. The short cut proved to be a disaster as somewhere between 25 and 70 persons died of disease, illness or starvation. Nicholas Owenby had a large herd of horses, cattle and oxen as well as four-well stocked wagons. His entire family survived the trip, although his 25 year old son, John, was killed in 1852 by Indians. William Goulder was one of several young men hired by Nicholas in Missouri to tend to the animals and assist generally in the travel on the trail. Goulder, apparently well educated, wrote later: "During the long and trying journey of seven months [Owenby] had uniformly treated the young strangers traveling with him as if they had been his own sons. He was of rough demeanor, but a real gem, for all that, and a man always ready and full of resources for every emergency. On the morning that we broke camp in Tualatin Plains, he said to us: 'Well, boys, I am going away up into Polk County, wherever that may be, to see what I can find. It was agreed between us in St. Joe that you would stay with me till I found a place to settle down and help me to build cabins and get things started. You have bveen good boys, and I'm sorry to part with you, but we are all where we can take care of ourselves now, and I think it would be better for you to be hunting up your own claims, and building your own cabins.I am not trying to get rid of you. If you want to go with me up country, well and good; but I wanted to tell you that you are free from any further obligation.' We were nothing loath to take the old man at his word, and were glad to have a change from wagons, flocks and herds, cows, calves and crying babies."
Nicholas lived most of the remainder of his life in the Corvallis area.
I am interested in learning where he had lived in Cooper County, MO. Perhaps other information about his life there.
Would like to hear from anyone out there who can help. Jim Downs firstname.lastname@example.org.