Lemuel Cambridge Owen
Premier from 1873 to 1876
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LEMUEL CAMBRIDGE OWEN, A descendent of one of the most prominent families on Prince Edward
Island was born in Charlottetown on November 1, 1822. Following his education at Central
Academy (later Prince of Wales College), he joined the firm of James Peake, a company engaged
in shipbuilding and in general importing and exporting. The firm was one of the largest in the
Maritimes at that time.
Experience with the Peake firm led L.C. Owen to establish his own firm and he continued in the selling and shipbuilding business until the age of sail came to an end. This was not Owen's only business venture however, as he was a Director of Merchants Bank of Prince Edward Island, the Charlottetown Steam Navigation Company and the Marine Insurance Company. In fact, he was considered to be one of the most successful businessmen in the province at a time when the economy was booming and prosperity seemed assured.
In 1860, L.C. Owen became Postmaster-General of Prince Edward Island, leaving this post on his entry into the political life of the Province. He was elected to the Provincial Legislature in 1866 and was re-elected in 1873. When Premier J.C. Pope retired in 1873, L.C. Owen became the second premier of Prince Edward Island since Confederation.
Although closely connected with families with large land holdings in the Province, Premier Owen, during his term in office, set up the Land Commission which, with funds provided by the Federal Government in Ottawa as a result of Confederation, ended over a century of proprietary land holding and tenant farming on Prince Edward Island.
Premier Owen continued to be an active and driving force in the business life of the Province until just before his death on November 26, 1912. As a merchant and successful businessman, he must have watched with dismay, the decline of prosperity on the Island which followed the entry of Prince Edward Island into the Canadian Confederation and the loss of the traditional markets for Island goods along the east coast of the United States.
L.C. Owen is buried in the Sherwood Cemetery in Charlottetown.