Searching for SGT Owen's Family...

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Help us find this man's family.

In case you haven’t read my earlier reports on this search, you probably should read them first. (Part I here and Part II here) If you are short on time though, here is the short story as provided in an excellent story written by Cynthia Cather Burton of the Winchester Star.

Do you know this soldier? His name is Sgt. Richard E. Owen, and his face has launched a thousand phone calls.

He also has a connection to Winchester. Last month, at the Salvation Army thrift shop in Massena, N.Y., his military portrait and Purple Heart certificate were discovered in a box of newly donated items. The Purple Heart is awarded to those who have been killed or wounded in wartime action.

Officials there were not sure about what they had found, but after some searching on the Internet, they learned that Owen was no ordinary soldier. He was part of the “Band of Brothers” made famous in books and an HBO television series.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Owen and 16 other members of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, were killed when their aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed into a hedgerow near the village of Beuzeville-au-Plain in Normandy, France.

“When we saw that he was part of the Band of Brothers, we knew this was a very significant person in American history,” Salvation Army Capt. Ron Heimbrock said. “We knew his family would want his picture and Purple Heart certificate.”

The trouble was finding them.

No record was made of the person who left the donation, so Salvation Army officials contacted the local newspaper, which published a story about it.

Heimbrock was certain someone would read it, realize he had made a mistake, and retrieve the items.

No one called.

But plenty of other people did.

Well, we were a part of that, and our searching continues. This post will lay out what I currently have, what we are lacking, and how you can help. Part of the problem with this quest is 17 million people going in different directions, and not much coordination. So, I will lay out what I have been doing, what others I know of have been doing, and what I am searching for now.

This is the basics of what I know. The Rev. George E. Owen and Nora Bell Owen had 4 children that I can verify. The first two were George Jr and Dimple. I believe they were born in Virginia, but I do not have specific documentary evidence of this, and something else suggested that Dimple was born in Indiana. The Reverend Owen was the minister of First Christian Church of Sandborn, IN from 1909-1911. Then he moved to Winchester, where the first child[ren?] was/were born. Again, I don’t have the certificates on them.

In 1913 the Owen family returned to Sandborn, IN and once again the Reverend took over at the First Christian Church of Sandborn. This was the first year that the congregation started in their new (and current) building in the center of Sandborn. Also that year, Nora (then aged 22) gave birth to Noel Ernest Owen on August 18. I have this birth certificate in front of me. “Noel Ernest” would later change his name at some point, and become “Richard E. Owen” Sergeant of the Airborne who would die on D-Day. In January of 1915, Nora would give birth to the last of her children that I could verify, Paul Parsons Owen(s). Now, note the “S”. For some reason documents back that far shift from “Owen” to “Owens.” In fact, some of the documents are just wrong, like the one that listed Paul’s birth year as 1905, when his mom was 13. So, be careful on paying too strict adherence to certain “facts.”

At some point the family once again returned to Winchester. In 1941 Richard enlisted in the National Guard, probably “I” company of the 116th Infantry, 29th ID. (Now the 3-116 INF, the unit I served in A-stan with.) By then he had completed 2 years of college, and had become a postal clerk. His Dad had been minister of the Church of Christ in Winchester, but Richard is listed as belonging to the Disciples of Christ Church there. (Are they the same?) Also, on September 13, 1941 Richard married fellow postal employee Ruth Virginia McCann. They would have no children. They resided at 120 West Cork Street in Winchester.

What we know of Richard’s service from the files of the “Personal War Service Record of Virginia’s War Dead”:

Went to England with the 29th Division in Oct. of 1942. Transferred to 29th Div. Ranger Bn. In spring of 43. While training in Scotland his leg was broken. After several months he was back with the 29th, and [“then”, handwritten] transferred to COMPANY E, 506th Parachute Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. [“Paratroops”, handwritten.] He was serving with the paratroops when they left for France about midnight of June 5, 1944. Their [“Their” typed over that as well] plabe was last seen shortly after 1 A.M. June 6th 1944. When fo nd [sic, “found”] later, apo arentl [sic, “apparently”] it has [sic] been shot down while flying very low.

He was buried at the spot, then disinterred and buried in St Louis in 1953.

His widow would remarry (to William Kyle Milhollen) and pass away on May 12, 2002. Her next of kin was a niece.
Now, everything there I know with a certain degree of assurance to be true. I have the following documents:

* First Church of Sandborn Golden Anniversary 1913-1963 booklet, provided by Minister Bryan Sanders. (Who, alas, is about 75 years too young to remember Rev. Owen.)

* Personal War Service Record of Virginia’s War Dead for Richard Ernest Owen, three pages.

* Birth Certificate Knox County Dept. of Health, Vincennes, IN, for Noel Ernest Owen, Aug 18, 1913 (with other identifying info.)

* Birth Certificate Knox County Dept. of Health, Vincennes, IN, for Robert Parsons Owen(s), Jan 17, 1915 (with other identifying info.)

* Obituary, Ruth McCann Milhollen, The Winchester Star, May 14, 2002.

* Picture of Ruth, “Winchester Postal Office Employees”, attributed to the Stewart Bell, Jr. Archives. (Above)

Now, I also have an obituary for “Nora Owen” from Terre Haute, IN. This is NOT his mother. In that obituary it states that Nora had been a local switchboard operator for 30 years prior to 1958.

Now, what I also have is various Census documents from 1910-1940. Those helped me to identify some folks, they also sent me down the wrong path on two occasions. The 1920 census in particular was rather helpful, although it says that Dimple was born in Indiana, but I couldn’t find anything. Maybe she was born in a different county than Knox County?

Lastly, I have about 400 emails from folks with other information. For instance a couple of folks have said that Paul served in the Navy. I suspect that is true, but I don’t have any documentation on that, and I am not sure on the source. It’s not that I am not reading all the emails, it is that I am absolutely blown away at how many have come in. When I got to work this morning, I had 87, and that was from about 7pm last night.

But, are we any closer to finding Sgt Owen’s family? Well, we know some routes are closed off. For instance, I see little value in pursuing Ruth’s family, as none of them are related save for marriage, and probably don’t really know much about him. (Incidentally, in one of the more heart warming things to come from this story thus far for me, Kanani of Kitchen’s Dispatch told me she is going to deliver flowers to Ruth’s gravesite to honor her for keeping Richard’s memory alive through the WWII memorial and elsewhere.)

What happened to George, Dimple and Paul? Did Paul serve in the Navy and then pass away in Iowa in 1978 as one report I saw suggested? Did Dimple marry into the “Glass” family? Honestly, I can’t figure out from all the reports exactly what is going on, and will keep searching. Where did he go to school for those 2 years? Did Richard E. Owen take in a relative prior to joining the military? It would fit the “1 dependant” listing on his enlistment papers, but I don’t have anything verifying it. When did George and Nora pass away, and where? Were they still in VA? When was George the pastor at the Christian Church of Winchester? It’s gone well beyond just finding relatives for me now. I also want to know all I can about this entire family. Like I said, I am finding a family member if it takes me years. And Robin from the Salvation Army has been wonderful and looking as hard as I am.

There are a ton of other folks involved in this, and I wanted to acknowledge some of them here. My biggest help so far has been Dave Berry of Pathfinder Historical Consultants. He’s kept me focused pretty well thus far. A personal thanks to my friend Brown Neck Gaitor who anchored my Winchester search back when we still didn’t know what was going on. (“Let’s go!” was the motto for our unit, and BNG has been as good as that.) Yankee Mom of Winchester has been helping me as well, and y’all should check out her site if you get a chance. Dan M from the Gathering of Eagles NY sent the picture to me as well, thanks to him.

There are MANY others who are helping as well, and I will include them in my next edition, I haven’t clarified whether they want anonymity, or whether they have online names.

If you find anything you want to share with me, please send it to me at MOTHAX@LEGION.ORG, and put RICHARD OWEN in the title so I don’t accidentally skim over it.

Posted in Uncategorized, the burner | 52 comments
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Years ago I adopted a beautiful baby girl, who is the light and joy of my life. However, I knew the day would come, when she would start asking questions on where she came from. Well that day is here, and my daughter wants to locate her birth mother. To cut down on time, I told her to do an online search with the words: santa cruz county california public records. She followed my advice, and within six weeks, my daughter was able to get in contact with her birth mother. They are arranging a meeting for the very first time in the next few weeks.

I really hope that this guy finds his family soon. It is tragic that this has happened to him. We are no one without family.

Wow, everyone here has done so much work! Good job! I'm glad you got to go to the church where Rev. Owen ran the parish.
It sounds like you have the interest of a lot of people whose past time is genealogy. I'm betting you'll find a great-niece or nephew at some point. With 4 kids, the chances of this are very good.

Yes, I want to work with a local American Legion (perhaps in Winchester) to see to it that flowers from Richard are placed on Ruth's grave. Their marriage was mentioned in her obituary decades after he had died. I tend to think that her first marriage meant a lot to her, if someone mentioned it. Many people would have left it out. I'm very sorry that we might never find her belongings. After all, I can't help but think that a wedding photo along with his letters might have been among of what she had kept.

She was, if even for a short while, an Army wife, and deserves a good send off from another one.
We'll wait until the winter thaw and spring has arrived. In the meanwhile, I'm looking forward to finding some of his kin.

Okay, I am talking to someone at the Dean's office at Johns Hopkins University. They had a George E. Owen there who taught and wrote books. There's a teaching award named after him. She doesn't know if the "E" stood for Ernest, nor if he was a "Jr." But if it is, I believe we might have found his (now deceased) brother. If this is so, finding kin might be possible.
I'm sending her this link so she can read up on it. She said she'd look into it.
I'm going to keep all the comments here, rather than at This Aint Hell, just because it's easier to find.

Pulling this over from the other thread started on TAH.
So many people find great info over there.

Found Ruth's photos over here. In one of them, she's identified as Ruth McCann OWEN Milhollen.

Just got this in from Johns Hopkins:
"Hi Kanani,
I did some checking and the answer is yes, the middle name is Ernest.
A. Felder
Administrative Assistant to
Dr. Gabrielle Spiegel, Dean of Faculty
Johns Hopkins University"

I'm hoping for more information about him. Whether or not he was from Indiana or Virginia. Whether his parents were in the ministry. Whether or not he was a Jr. Here's info about the George E. Owen Teaching Award At Johns Hopkins. In addition, he wrote many texts. FYI, I also found a George E. Owen III who graduated from Dartmouth with an undergraduate degree in 2005. This could be a grand nephew. Or maybe not. Maybe this is all a wash!
Mark, contact me. If this is all works out, I'll make sure to give you Ms. Felder's email.

FYI... I think this might be the

Let me finish... this might be one of the books the late George Ernest Owen wrote. The Universe of The Mind published 1971, Johns Hopkins University Press.

"Owen House was named for nuclear physicist George Ernest Owen, who came to Hopkins in 1951 as an assistant professor and was named chair of the Physics Department in 1968. He served as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences from 1972 to 1978 and as dean of the Homewood Faculties from 1978 to 1982, when he returned to research activities. He continued as University Professor until his death on Feb. 24, 1984, at the age of 62." JH Gazette, 2002

Okay, so... can someone find his death certificate, please? Does any of this match up?
This George would have been born in 1922. Hence, he wouldn't have been an older brother as originally suggested, he would have been a younger one. Also.... was "Ernest" the father (George's) middle name as well? The reason I ask is that it was Richard's and so I'm taking a stab that "Ernest" might have been shared.

Check with 'Wild' Bill Guarnere, Easy Company, 506th. He has a record of everyone in his company: even the names of wives chlidren and grandchildren. His phone number is 215-389-30094, and his address is 1224 Winton St., Philadelphia, PA 19145

I found the family in the 1910 census. It listed a Rev George Owen and Nora Owen along with George Owen Jr age 2 which would make a date of birth around 1908. In the 1920 Census it listed a earl owen age 11, a Dimple Owen age 9, a Earnest Owen age 6 and a Paul Owen age 4 year and 11 months. Nora Bell was he daughter of Willlis Brayton Bell B: 1861 in NY and Lydia Parson b: 1859 in Indiana Nora Married George abt 1890 Nora death was 6 Sep 1935 and was buried Daviess County IN (Antioch Cemetary. George SR was registered for the WWI draft as a minister see Also Nora's Siblings were Issaac H., Benjamin H., Bell. For some strange reason i could not find the family in the 1930 census

Okay, so the guy at Johns Hopkins isn't a brother. And the spelling.... EArnest is different as well, but then I see that Richard spelled his "Ernest."
Dimple Owen is such a different name.
Nora died a lot sooner than we had thought.

I also found the 1910 census and it has the age of George Sr as 39 and Nora 19 it had them married one year but George Jr was 2 yrs and it doesn't have any # for Children had or still living so does this go that she was not George Jr mother. But in the 1920 census George Sr is 39 again and Nora is 29 yrs and all children but George Jr were born in Indiana and Dimples was a daughter. In 1920 it says that Nora's mother was from California. I also haven't found them in the 1930 census yet. Will keep looking I am with American Legion Auxiliary and working with the veterans are my biggest past time.

MOTHAX, I just got off the phone with a member of Easy Company and I left you a vm. We need to talk because this man is a wealth of intel.

Talk to ya

Old Trooper out

Henry Lee-- thank you so much for the reference to George Owen's WWI Draft card. That was very important and gave us his birth date 5 August 1879. I also tried to follow up with your reference to Nora's being buried in the Antioch cemetery in Daviess County. I did find a site that had 55 graves listed, but there was no Nora. I'd appreciate your sharing with us where you found her cemetery record.

Mary Griffin--I, too, had problems with Nora's mother's place of birth and finally decided that it said "Carolina" and then in the 1900 census, I saw that her mother, Lydia, listed her mother as being born in North Carolina!

Who is the Nora Hume written on the artifacts....How is she realted? Coul she be the one who kept the artifacts all these years. I foun lots of Hume folks in Frederick Co. VA. The first surveyor was a man named Hume.

Wow! Glad you found that Easy Company man. Seems everyone is doing what they can. Awesome...

Has anyone seen the website for "Wild"Bill Guarnare? There is going to be a dinner in April for him. Check it out...

I have been watching videos...Bill mentions that a couple of his comrades were from Tonawanda,,,Buffalo. Do you suppose there might be a connection to Owens things being found In Massena? Just a thought. The distance is roughly 250 miles, but maybe?


I appologize... bad link.... am now in the process of putting the video on you-tube..... thank you .... Randy

If you do not find the family I recommend that you place the medal and document at the Pratt Museum @ FT Campbell KY on loan until someone in the family located. There it can be on display and maybe one of the old timers or a relative of a vet will be able to help find the family. Let his Purple Heart, the certificate and portrait of SGT Owen rest at the home of his "Band Of Brothers" /home of 506th Regimental / 101st Airborne (Air Assault) the Screaming Eagles.

I found Nora on the roots.gen web site and that is where I found her death date

other source: Cemetaries of Daviess County Indiana by Barbara Sims Waggoner 1986-93, 6v. Other source WPA index to Daviess county indiana Marriage Records 1940 Book 12 page 446 Fiche 3879 It is all at it is listed under Hamer Robinson McMullen Familes contact john McMullen at :mcmullen... It also listed date of marriage as 29 July 1909 which would go along with george jr. Nora Bell Owen is listed as born in Indiana on the 1910 Census and the 1920 Census. I have found many problems withthe 1920 Census in that it listed many indiviudals with their middle name and not there first name. A lot of misspelling. also I found many Richard E. Owen Are we sure that George Was this Richard E. owen's father??

I pulled a 1930 Census that says S. E. Owen and Nora B Owen as spouse located in Greenville, South Carolina, I think this is G. E. Owen when you look at the actual paper Census, he also is listed as a minister. What happened to the children . The 1930 Census listed S. E. Owen as 41 and Nora B. owen as 43. It looks like the same individuals, but are they hiding from someone or something. I believe something happened in this family. as Paul Owen would be around 14-15 and is not listed with the family neither is earnest owen who would be around 16. Does anyone know what happened to this family. Nora's parents died around 1934 and they are buried in the same cemetay as Nora who died in 1935.

Thanks so much, Henry, for your information. I just checked the DAR Library catalog and they have the cemetery records by Barbara Sims. Think I need to make a trip downtown!! As for proving George and Nora were the parents of Richard E. Owen, we are very fortunate that their marriage record is on file in the Frederick County Courthouse in Winchester. Yankee Mom got a copy of it for TSO. I also found the 1909 marriage for George and Nora in the Indiana Marriage Records collection on

We have found newspaper records on Ancestry (thanks to Robin) that show Nora was also an ordained minister in 1925. I'd love to know where she got her training!

I hit "send" too quickly!! Richard and Ruth's marriage record showed Richard's parents as George E. and Nora and his place of birth as Sandborn.

SKIP MY LAST ENTRY THIS ONE IS Correct: FOUND THEM in 1930 Census Demple Orren as listed is incorrect: Demple Married Russell S. Glass christian church minister living in Enid Garfield OK, also listed ernest orren as 16 Nora B Orren as 38 and christian church minister, George E. Owen 48 listed as christian church minister, Matthew J. Orren age 7 and Paul P. Orren listed as age 15 Orren should be owen' I will correct

That sounds awesome, Henry!! Keep up the good work. I'll pull up the original image and look at it.

See that Matthew was born ca 1923 in ILL, I'll bet he was born in Moultrie County, what do you bet? Henry, do you know who is the owner of the Ancestry tree that was created to show Richard E. Owen's family? His screen name is CMONACO2000. I wondered if he/she was one of the posters on this site? They list 2 living children of Dimple Glass which is very exciting, if true!!

Here's my extract of the 1930 Census from the website:

1930 Census, Enid City, Garfield County, OK T626 Roll 1902
10 April En 24-22, Sup 2
p. 199/ Sheet 8A
#1920 N. 20th St. Or S. Walnut [they appear to be listed between the two streets!]
Household no. 164/ visitation no. 178
Russell S. Glass rents home age 30 age 30 at time of marriage b. OH parents b. OH
occup: clergyman in Christian Church
Demple wife age 19 b. IN parents b. IN
Ernest Owen brother-in-law age 16 b. IN par b. IN
Nora B. Owen mother-in-law age 38 age 18 at time of marriage b. IN father b. NY mother b IN occupation: Clergyman in Christian Church
George E. Owen father-in-law age 48 age 28 at time of marriage b. IN parents b. ILL occupation Clergyman in Christian Church
Mathew J. Owen brother-in-law Age 7 b. ILL parents b. IN
Paul P. Owen brother-in-law age 15 b. IN parents b. IN

Henry, you have really broken a log jam here!! Finding the family in 1930 certainly has not been easy!!

Wow!! You guys have really gotten know that there may be two living children of Dimple and what a story it will make!!

Mary and Henry
Can you email and see how to get in touch with that user? Tell them why and post the links here and from Thisain'

I have read every book I can find and thought I might find a friend that the citation was bequeathed to as a result of where the citation and medal were found to no avail. I found three names that matched names of friends of mine to try and It was a long shot, but a no-go.
Keep on plugging.

I found a matthew john owen married to Ruth Evelyn Grabhorn Birth 24 Sep 22 Kansas married 17 Mar 1943 died 199? Russell s (smith )Glass lived at home in 1920 in OH and was a farmer Born 1899 Died 1935. I found a paul owen married to Ruby Estylle Bailey Married May 1938 in LA child Terry Owen 7 May 1948 Died 13 Oct 1984. I have not found where matthew j. owen died as of yet

Date Event
1879, 5 Aug George E. Owen born in Indiana.According to the 1910 census, George’s parents were born in Indiana and in the 1920 census, they were from Ilinois.
1890, Oct Nora Bell born in Indiana according to the 1910 census.
1908 George E. Owen, Jr. born in Virginia, place unknown. See 1910 and 1920 census. Mother born Virginia, name unknown.
1909 George E. Owen became the pastor of the Christian Church in Sandborn, IN.
1909, 29 Jul George E. Owen m. Nora Bell, Daviess Co., IN
1910, 16 Apr Sandborn, Knox County, IN census, Rev. George Owen 31 b. IN, Nora 19 b. IN, married 1 year, son George Jr. 2 b. Va father b. IN mother b. VA.
1911 George Owen ended his ministry at Christian Church in Sandborn.
1910, Dimple Owen, dau of George E. & Nora born in IN. See the 1920 census.
1913, 18 Aug Noel Earnest Owen son of George E. And Nora born Knox County, IN.
1915, 15 Jan Paul Parsons Owen, son of George E. And Nora born Knox county, IN.
1911-1915 What was George E. Owen doing during these years? Where was his ministry?
1918 George E. Owen registered for the draft while living at 741 S. 9th St. Vincennes, Knox Co., IN. He stated that he was a minister in the Christian Church. His nearest relative was his wife Nora.
1920, 5 Jan 1920 census, Lovington, Moultrie Co., IL. George E. Owen 39 minister in church, Nora wife 29, son Earl 11 b. Va, dau Dimple 9, son Earnest 6 b. IN, son Paul 11/12 b. IN
ca 1923 Mathew J., son of George and Nora, born in IL. Could they still have been in Lovington, Moultrie County?
1924, 11 Sep First reference to Rev. George E. Owen, pastor of the Central Christian Church, New Castle, Lawrence Co., PA.1924, 18 Sep Rev. Nora Bell Owen, wife of Rev. George Owen, pastor of the Central Christian Church and an ordained minister will give sermon. There is a picture with this article.
1925, 25 Mar Mrs. George E. Ofen [sic] was in charge and splendid talks were made by Mrs. John Evans, Rev. George Owen and Mr. McMillen...solo number was sung by Earnest Owen. P. 8 col. 4
1925, 14 May The children participated in YWCA program.
1925, 21 Jul Mrs. George Owen to conduct services in Tuxico, Mo.
1925, 22 Jul Earnest, 11 yr old son of Rev. George Owen shot in the knee.
1925, 31 Aug Nora and children return from Missouri.
1925, 17 Sep Son Earl ill with typhoid fever. Although the newspaper stated that he was expected to recover, perhaps he died? This is the last reference found for him.
1925, 12 Jun Earnest and Dimple Owen were honorees at farewell luncheon.
1926, 17 Jun Earnest and Paul Owen were flower bearers at a funeral in New Castle, PA.
1930, April Dimple Owen married Russell S. Glass and was living in Enid, OK. In the 1930 census, her family, minus Earl, was living with the Glasses.
1935, 6 Sept Nora Bell Owen supposed to have died and buried in the Antioch Christian Church Cemetery, Barr Township, Daviess County, IN.
1936 Rev. George E. Owen, Pastor of Church of Christ, Winchester, Va. Gave the invocation...
1940 Richard Owen, George Owen and a Paul Glass listed together in the Winchester, VA phone directory.
1941, Feb In 1941 Richard enlisted in the National Guard, probably ”company of the 116th Infantry, 29th ID.
1941, 13 Sep Richard E. Owen, age 28, single, b. Sandborn, IN, occupation “soldier” son of Rev. George Owen & Nora Bell m. Ruth V. McCann, 32 single, resides Stephenson, Va, married by Ronald S. Wilson, Presbyterian Church.
1942, Oct He went to England with the 29th Division.
1943, Spring He transferred to the 29th Division, Ranger Battalion. While training in Scotland his leg was broken. After several months he was back with the 29th, and transferred to Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.
1944, 5 Jun Easy company moved to Uppottery Field, the marshalling area for Operation Overlord
1944, 6 Jun Richard, with 17 fellow members of Easy Co. along with four crew of plane #42-93095 crashed over Beuzeville, France on D-Day.


I somehow get ahead of myself on this site and find that I've hit "Submit" before I intend to!! Anyway, I put together this timeline of the information that I have compiled from this site and mine and other folks' research. I do hope I have not ommitted anything!

The Salvation army in Messena NY found the purple heart cert, am I correct. If correct messena Ny only listed 8 owen or owens why not telephone each one??

Hi everyone!

I just want to let you know that I am still working on this. I have not been able to get the new messages on here until tonight. I am going through and reading them all and looking into things myself. I just want to thank everyone who has been working on this. I do believe we will find someone soon!

Hi all! Remember when I asked if anyone knew who cmonaco2000 was? Well, I talked to him yesterday and he is a cracker jack researcher!! He contacted the public library in Washington, IN where Dimple Glass died, and they found an obit for Nora Bell Owen. Apparently Nora, her son-in-law, Russell Glass, and her grandson, Russell Glass, were all killed in the same train-car collision in 1935. This is a major breakthrough, and Cynthia Burton of the Winchester Star wrote about it on Wednesday. A BRAVO ZULU to cmonaco2000!!!

I will have some more thoughts on all this later!

Purple Heart medal found

Owen’s great-niece in S.C. possesses it
By Cynthia Cather Burton
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Army Sgt. Richard E. “Dick” Owen’s Purple Heart certificate could soon be reunited with his Purple Heart medal.
Owen, who lived in Winchester in the years leading up to World War II, was killed on D-Day — June 6, 1944 — when the aircraft in which he was a passenger was hit by enemy fire over France and crashed.

Sgt. Richard E. Owen
(Photo provided by McCann family)
He died with 16 other members of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The unit was made famous in a book — “Band of Brothers” — and in an HBO miniseries of the same name.
Owen left behind his widow Ruth McCann Owen and his nephew Paul Glass, who made his home with his aunt and uncle on Cork Street in Winchester.

Glass lost most of his family in 1935 in Indiana when the car they were traveling in was hit by a train.
Last month, Owen’s Purple Heart certificate and military portrait were found in a box of items donated anonymously to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop in Massena, N.Y., a small town near the Canadian border. Salvation Army officials researched Owen online, discovered his significance, and launched a search to find his relatives so they could return the Purple Heart certificate and picture to them.

Since then, dozens of professional and amateur genealogists across the country have been trying to find Owen’s family.
Owen’s widow, who later remarried, died in Winchester in 2002. Her second husband William Kyle Millholen died in 1980. The whereabouts of Paul Glass are unknown.

All the searching, however, has led to the discovery of Owen’s Purple Heart medal, which is in the possession of a great-niece near Charleston, S.C.

Another great-niece, Judy McCann-Slaughter, who lives on the family farm in Frederick County where Ruth grew up, made the discovery this week.

“I feel so relieved to know his Purple Heart medal is in the right hands,” she said.
Like McCann-Slaughter, the great-niece near Charleston, S.C., is a grandchild of one of Ruth McCann Owen Millholen’s siblings. The great-niece could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

If a relative cannot be found on Owen’s side of the family, McCann-Slaughter said her side of the family would be honored to have their great-uncle Dick’s Purple Heart certificate and picture.

“I know how much of a patriot great-aunt Ruth was and how much she loved her country,” McCann-Slaughter said. “She would want these things to be in a place and with people who appreciated them.”

Salvation Army officials in Massena could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

I rather liked this webpage post, it helped a lot! Thanks!

Things are really getting exciting, but I want to correct sevral errors on my part and to add some information to our search!!

I was wrong in thinking that it was Richard's father who was living in Winchester in 1936. It was actually GEORGE E. OWEN, JR who was also a minister in the Christian Church!! Yankee Mom has agreed to go to the Frederick County Court House to check for a marriage record of George. If he married in Winchester, his wife's family may be another source for information on whether or not he had children.

After cmonaco2000 receives the actual documentation from the library about the train wreck, I will go back and update the timeline.

I have it on good authority that the Winchester Star published an article after D-Day about the death of Richard E. Owen and it referred to his brother, Rev. George E. Owen being in South America on D-Day and his other brothers were also in the service: Paul was in the Navy and John was in the Army. The article referred to Richard's parents as "Late." We know that his mother Nora was killed in 1935, but we still do not know where George Owen Sr. died.

The search goes on! Now we know that George E. Owen Jr., Paul and John Owen may have left survivors, but where are they??

I have also been told that Nora went to MEXICO, not Missiour as I interpreted the news article on her trip!!

Everyone, here is the link to an article published today in The Washington Post that says that the Salvation Army Captain is going to return Richard's photo and Purple Heart Certificate to members of Ruth McCann's family. They are also going to honor him on Memorial Day and you'll be interested in reading the entire article at Right now you can click on the story easily from the Post's main website.

This has been a wonderful collaboration with everyone, but it looks like we won't continue the search for Richard Owen's family.

The Winchester Star published a front page story about owen's family today Sat Mar 6 2010. Look's as if we are finished I live about 45 miles from Winchester Va

Henry, I feel a regret that we weren't able to "finish" the quest to find a survivor of Rev. George E. Owen and wife Nora Bell; however, it has been a real pleasure to work with you and all the other fine folk who have been involved in this project. I feel that we are so close to the end if we could only find the heirs of the other brothers George, Paul P., and Matthew J. An interesting little sidenote is that the Washington Post article mentioned Richard attended Bethany College in West Virginia. Guess what their affiliation is?!! "Religious Affiliation: The College is related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a denomination with ecumenical tradition of welcoming persons of all faiths and denominations." Wonder if this is where George and Nora were ordained?? They have ordination services at graduation each year.

Anyway, I'm delighted to learn that you live so close to Winchester and I hope you are going to attend the wreath laying at Ruth's grave.

There is a Betty Marshall (Age 85) in McLean, VA married to Daniel V. Marshall (Age 87). Three children: Ellen L. Marshall (Age 55), Nichael K. Marshall (Age 52) snf Daniel V. Marshall Jr/, who is a CAPT, USN. If you go to, for a small fee you can get telephone numbers.

I talked to Ellen Marshall on the phone. She supplied great pictures of Richard, Ruth and her sisters. I also received an e mail from a niece of Richard Owen. She saw the Washington Post Article and contacted me. I sent both Ellen and Richard's niece a copy of an incomplete family tree for them to fill in the blanks. As soon as the relative gives me permission, I will forward on her letter to me. Do not give up the search. The picture of Richard's life needs to be completed by May 15

American Legion and Capt. Ron, what great news that you all tracked down more of the McCann family and a niece of Richard Owen!!! Out of curiousity, how did she know how to contact you? I agree with you that we should have as much of the family tree completed as possible by May 15th. I have been entering our data on Roots Magic. What program do you use??

Either the Washington Post Reporter gave her my phone number and e mail address or she looked it up. Her name is Mary Devon Owen O’Brien she is the daughter of George Earle Owen, Richard's brother.

I have been to your site several times now, and this time I am adding it to my bookmarks :) Your posts are always relevant, unlike the same-old stuff on other sites (which are coming off my bookmarks!) Rock on!

I hope all of you who posted on this site to find the family of Sgt. Richard Owen will find this message! This was one of the most interesting projects I have ever been involved with and so I wrote an article about what the folks on The Burn Pit did, and also the other folks who were researching on their own at the same time. Without our newspaper colleagues, Cynthia Burton of The Winchester Star and Brigid Schulte of The Washington Post, we would not have been able to find everything we needed!

The article is up on The Sandgram, I hope you will read it!

BRAVO ZULU to all of you!

Mary Bell

I didn't include all that in the article since it more or less stopped when Mary Devon Owen was found.

I have it on good authority that the Winchester Star published an article after D-Day about the death of Richard E. Owen and it referred to his brother, Rev. George E. Owen being in South America on D-Day and his other brothers were also in the service: Paul was in the Navy and John was in the Army. The article referred to Richard’s parents as “Late.” We know that his mother Nora was killed in 1935, but we still do not know where George Owen Sr. died.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.