Owings House

Owings House Photo

Owings HouseFrom 1804 until 1814, the year that the new Owings mansion in Owingsville was completed, the T. D. Owings family lived in a stone house. The new 3-story brick building took 3 years to complete. The mansion was involved in a competition between Owings and Richard Menefee to see which man could complete his home the quickest, and thus has the town of Owingsville named after him. However, other sources state that the town was named much earlier for Owings' father.

The new Owings home was indeed pleasing in appearance, and included kitchen, servants' quarters, and basement. He hired Benjamin Latrobe of Washington to design and build the residence, using hand-carved woodwork and mantels, made from black walnut wood. There was a wide hall in the center of the building from whence a spiral staircase, made of mahogany, was built up to the third floor. The stairway was built in Baltimore, and its parts were hauled across the mountains to Owingsville in ox carts. In 1813 the staircase had cost $10,000, and the entire mansion had cost $60,000, a magnificent sum in that age. Owings invited everyone to the house warming, and afterward all the political elite of Kentucky passed through its portals.

Owings House StaircaseToday the "Col. Owings House," the Owings House, or Owingsville Banking Company is occupied by a banking institution, a lawyer, and others. It is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. The surviving stones of the Bourbon furnace are also listed, being now within a highway roadside park, an effort successfully completed jointly by the Owingsville Jaycees and the state Highway Department. The park and iron furnace ruins were dedicated on July 1, 1969.

Thomas Deye Owings exhibited his patriotism during the War of 1812. He raised a regiment of 377 soldiers, and on April 1, 1813, he received a commission as colonel of the 28th U. S. Infantry. He immediately attached his Kentucky regiment to General Selby's army, which in Sept. 1813 became a part of General W. H. Harrison's army of the Northwest. The latter's troops captured Detroit on Sept. 29th. Gens. Harrison, Selby and about 3,500 soldiers under their command continued to press British General Proctor and his Shawnee Indian allies. Eventually they defeated them at the Battle of the Thames, northwest of Detroit, during which time the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh was killed.

Col. Owings distinguished himself once more in battle when he and 28 others from his regiment joined Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's fleet as sharpshooters in the rigging of the ships. After Perry lost his flagship Lawrence, he continued the fight aboard the Niagara until he defeated the British fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie, fought on Sept. 10, 1813.