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Capt Charles William Owston

Capt Charles William Owston

Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 14 Feb 1910 (aged 70)
East Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Burial Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Plot Plot N, Lot 19 1/2, Grave 1
Memorial ID 32445230 · View Source
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On April 18, 1861, Charles W. Owston and several other young men from Pittsburgh founded the Pittsburgh Rifles which would become Company A, 9th Pennsylvania Reserves. Owston was mustered in as a Private on May 1, 1861.

On June 1, 1861, he was elected Third Sergeant.

He was promoted to First Sergeant on October 20, 1861.

By spring 1862, he was appointed acting Second Lieutenant and was officially promoted to this rank on April 7, 1862.

Following the Seven Days' Battles, he was promoted to Captain on August 1, 1862 to date from July 5, 1862.

At the Battle of South Mountain, he was shot in the right hand requiring amputation of the third finger.

At the Battle of Fredricksburg, he received a shrapnel wound to the hip and was captured by the Confederate Army. He was incarcerated in Libby Prison until he was paroled on February 20, 1863. He would remain at Camp Parole in Annapolis, MD until he was officially exchanged. He rejoined his company on May 18, 1863.

Following the Battle of Gettysburg, he was detached to Camp Copeland, Pittsburgh, PA. At Camp Copeland, he was detailed to conscription duty until his muster out on May 11, 1864.

He married Emma Lydia Morton Shephard on 12 OCT 1865 in Pittsburgh.

In 1865, he started an oil dealership: Owston & Wroe. By April 1866, he and his First Lieutenant (Isaac M. Sowers) formed the partnership of Owston and Sowers. The company flourished until being run out of business by John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. With little choice, Owston joined forces with Standard Oil and quickly rose in the company's ranks. At the time of his death, he was in charge of the New York sales office.

In August 1871, he formed the Oil City Greys - an independent company within the 20th Division of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He was commissioned as Captain on August 26, 1871. His troops presented him with a sword on November 29, 1871. He resigned his commission on November 13, 1873.

New York Herald
15 FEB 1910.

CAPT. OWSTON OF STANDARD OIL, DEAD. For Forty Years the Survivor of Libby Prison Was an Aid of Mr. J.D. Rockefeller. Captain Charles W. Owston, for forty years an aid of Mr. John D. Rockefeller and one of the most widely known oil men in the United States, died suddenly of heart disease yesterday in the East Orange Station of the Lackawana Railroad. He had bought a ticket for this city and had turned from the ticket window to look at a clock when he was stricken. Captain Owston lived in Curtis place, Maplewood, N. J. He had planned to start for Hot Springs, Ark. later in the day and had arranged to meet members of his family in Hoboken to bid them farewell. He left a widow, a son and four daughters. Born in Pittsburg seventy-one years ago, Captain Owston became interested in the oil business in its early days. When the civil war started, he went to the front and made an honorable record. He lost a finger in the battle of the Wilderness [actually at South Mountain, MD] and was captured at Fredericksburg, being kept a prisoner in Libby Prison. After the war, he returned to the oil fields and soon thereafter he became an associate and later a trusted employee of Mr. Rockefeller. Through the formative period of the Standard Oil Company, Captain Owston performed such hard faithful work that he was always held in high esteem at No. 26 Broadway. In recent years he had held the responsible post of superintendent of the New York sales department.

Originally buried in Plot N, Lot 35 1/2. Moved to present location on April 27, 1911.

Family Members






  • Created by: Dr. James M. Owston
  • Added: 27 Dec 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32445230
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Charles William Owston (7 Nov 1839–14 Feb 1910), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32445230, citing Rosedale Cemetery, Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Dr. James M. Owston (contributor 47059231) .