The first settlers of the area were the Chickasaw Tribes, who were one of the earliest inhabitants of present-day Mississippi. Chickasaw dwellings were organized along streams and rivers rather than being clustered in villages. During the infamous “Trail of Tears,” the US government forcibly removed the Chickasaw in the 1830s. Though white settlers had been in the area since the 17th century, many pioneer families came in force to inhabit the territory in the 1830s and 1840s. A few of the Owens family ancestors originally settled the farmland in the 1830s and 1840s.
Jeff Owens moved to the area in 1902 from Alabama, whose father was a Union sympathizer during the Civil War who was nearly hanged. His Mason connections allegedly saved his life. Jeff’s son, James, married into the Johnson family and they settled on what was once the Johnson Farmland, on which they lived in an old cabin built after the Civil War. The land had a large lumber mill and large barn as well. James’ children built the cottage on the property after World War II using trees found on the property. His two children Marquis and Dovie then lived there for the rest of their lives. Although the Owens family was poor, they were better off than many families in the “Mud Creek” area, the name locals gave the area — all of the children went to college, which was very unusual.
The farm supported crops as cotton and corn and once included a sawmill that was shut down in the Great Depression. Dovie, the last family member to live on the property, was a local school teacher, inventor, and poet. Her poetry got her inducted into the Homer Honor Society of International Poets. One of her poems on immigrants still hangs in the Ellis Museum. The property is now owned by Alfredo, son of Myrtle “Catherine” Owens, daughter of James.
Alfredo and Barbara Giacometti
Special thanks to Jason!