Clark L. Owen, soldier and politician, son of Abraham Owen, was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, in 1808. He left a mercantile business at New Castle, Kentucky, to fight in the Texas Revolution. He left Kentucky in March 1836 and arrived in Texas before July 18, when he enlisted as a private in Capt. Joseph H. D. Rogers's company of Kentucky Volunteers. Owen served as captain of Company A, First Regiment, from October 31 until December 31, 1836. In May 1837 he joined the Army of the Republic of Texas and was commissioned a captain. He served as first lieutenant in Capt. Thomas J. Rabb's company on John H. Moore's campaign against the Comanches in the fall of 1840 and participated in the battle of Plum Creek.
Owen declined the position of secretary of the treasury in President Sam Houston's cabinet but was appointed colonel and placed in command of a troop that patrolled around Corpus Christi, an area harried by repeated border raids. Houston gave Owen the discretionary power to proclaim martial law at Corpus Christi, but he restored order without resorting to that measure. Owen served as a captain of a company on the Somervell expedition, and in 1842 he was a member of the Mier expedition but apparently was not among those taken prisoner.
After military service he settled in Texana, Jackson County, where he farmed, raised stock, and married Laura Martha McNutt Wells, the daughter of Dr. Francis F. Wells. Owen represented Jackson, Matagorda, and Victoria counties in the Senate of the Sixth Congress (1841–42) and served until his resignation during the called session of the Seventh Congress. He opposed secession, but once Texas left the Union he offered his services to the Confederacy and raised a company for the Second Texas Infantry, which became part of the Army of Tennessee. On April 6, 1862, Captain Owen fell leading Company I against federal positions at Shiloh.