Owen (or Owings)
Owen (Or Owings)
Richard, was the first native American Methodist preacher, though for many years he acted only as a local preacher. He was converted under the preaching of Robert Strawbridge, in Baltimore Co., Md., and is described as "a man of a respectable family, of good natural parts, and of considerable utterance, plain in his dress, plain in his manners, industrious and frugal." He was long the most effective co-laborer of Strawbridge, traveling the country in all directions, founding societies in Maryland and Virginia, and opening the way for the coming itinerants. He thus secured the pre-eminence of being the first native standard-bearer of the Methodistic movement in the Western hemisphere. Owen's temperament was congenial with that of Strawbridge, whose missionary activity he emulated, and whose funeral sermon he preached. Though burdened with the cares of a large family, he often left wife and children and a comfortable living, and went without recompense into distant parts to publish the Gospel. In 1772 he was with Strawbridge stationed in Frederick Co. His name was printed in the Minutes, but it is not said that he was received into the traveling connection until 1785. At the time of his death he had been preaching fifteen or sixteen years, and was stationed in Fairfax Co. He died at Leesburg in 1787. See Bennett, Memorials of Methodism in Virginia, p. 240; Stevens, Hist. of the M. E. Church, vol. i (see Index in vol. iv).