Monday, March 23, 2009
Kenneth Ervin and Frances Hamm Owen
On September 1, 1918 Kenneth Ervin Owen was born to Samuel J. Owen and Vera Edna Sedgwick Owen on a farm 1/4 mile west of Jerome in Lincoln Township. It was on this farm he and his brothers and sister, Thomas, Hobart, Richard, Donald, and Dorothy, were raised. Kenneth attended school in Jerome and completed his last two years of high school in Centerville in 1935. He attended Centerville Junior College after high school.It was while he attended Jerome school he met his future wife, Frances Jeanette Hamm.
Frances Jeanette Hamm was born in Mystic, Iowa August 9, 1919, the oldest child of Carl Earnest Hamm and Dessie Belle Shaeffer Hamm. She has three sisters, Margaret, Dorothy, Phyllis and a brother, Carl. Carl Hamm was a coal miner and the family lived in several mining communities in West Virginia, Indiana, and Iowa while the children were growing up. In 1931 the family moved to Jerome where she has lived since then.
On October 7, 1937 Kenneth Owen and Frances Hamm were married in Cincinnati, Iowa by Sanford Buck. Their attendants were Jessie Fox and Willis Warren. They lived with Kenneth's parents where he farmed with his father until they bought their first farm west of Jerome. The house on this farm was originally a log cabin with only a fireplace for cooking and heating. After the death of Samuel in 1940 they moved back to the family farm with Vera and Kenneth's youngest brother, Donald. On August 28, 1943 their first child was born, Keith Earnest. A daughter, Diana Lynn, was born December 21, 1950. This farm has been their home since then.
Besides farming, Kenneth served from 1955-1961 in the 56th, 57th and 58th General Assemblies of the Iowa State Legislature. He served as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture from 1964 to 1966. He has been a member of the Jerome School Board, a Lincoln Township clerk, and chairman of the Appanoose County Democratic Party. In 1953 he was named a Master Swine Producer. In December of 1968, he became active in the development of a rural water system for this area. In 1973 Rathbun Regional Water was established and he was named executive director, a position he holds today.
Besides raising two children and being an active farm wife, Frances has been an assistant 4-H leader and a member of the Appanoose County Extension Council. Her love of antiques helped her establish the Jerome Trading Post, and antique store, in the old Jerome School house.
Kenneth and Frances are presently living in the same house they've lived in since 1940. They are loving grandparents to four grandchildren, Sonja Lynn Owen, Mark Stephen Owen, Whitney Elizabeth Glenn and John Roy Glenn, all who live in Appanoose County.
Text transcribed with permission from the Appanoose County Historical Society from Appanoose County Iowa, written by the people of Appanoose County, compiled in 1984-1985 by the Appanoose County Historical Society, and printed by Taylor Publishing Co., Dallas, Texas (1986).