Mr. and Mrs. Owens, of Middle Village, Have Sixteen Children
TO BE GUESTS ON SUNDAY At Parents Day Exercises–Four Receiving First Hoy Communion That Day

Mrs. Robert Owens, mother of 16 children, whose family was adjudged the largest in the city and will be honored at the Parents Day exercises in Central Park on Sunday, said Wednesday, while preparing luncheon for the family in their cottage in Middle Village, Queens, that it would be impossible for all members of the family to be present at the exercises. Mrs. Owens was quite sure she would not be there, but said a committee of eight or nine children, headed by Mr. Owens, would represent the family.

Mrs. Owens pointed out that four of the children would be receiving Communion at St. Margaret’s Church that day. Furthermore, she said, there would be the question of clothes. It’s a problem under ordinary conditions, but with special Church ceremonies and “honor family” presentations all coming on the same day,

“Well, it’s just too much, that’s all; it’s just too much.”

Mrs. Owens did not want anyone to think that she and Mr. Owens were not pleased by the honor that had been conferred on them, but she made it clear that a family of 18 persons, none with steady jobs, has its limitations.

Mr. Owens, a temporary employee of the Queens Parks Department, which pays him $45 for ten days’ work a month as tree climber and pruner, is the principal provider. There are 12 boys but only three are old enough to work. They make dally attempts to get odd jobs. The two oldest children are married. They are Robert, 38 years old, who lives at 897 Grand St, Brooklyn, and Anna, 25, who is now Mrs. Christopher Lampman and lives at 69-27 62nd St, not far from the family home, at 66-02 74th St. Middle Village. Robert has a 16-month-oId son, the only grandchild. If it were not for Anna, who leaves her own home each day to help her mother, and Catherine, 17, Mrs. Owens said, she would not be able to carry on.

The family is so large that each meal becomes an event in itself. There is only one table, with a seating capacity of six, making it necessary to serve meals in three shifts. As for the food, Mrs. Owens does all her own baking, and she is proud that, her children “are not picky.” There is no particular dish they crave and there are never any complaints. Mrs. Owens summed it up like this: “Those who don’t want, leave, and those who do, eat.”

The daily schedule runs this way:
6 A.M. Breakfast starts.
10 A.M. Breakfast ends.
10:30 A. M. Cleaning
11 A.M. Lunch starts.
2 P.M. Lunch ends.
3 P.M. Preparation for dinner.
4 P.M. Dinner starts.
6 P.M. Dinner ends.
8 P.M. Sewing
9 P.M. first contingent to bed.

Mrs. Owens carries a small notebook with her at all times. It contains the vital statistics of the family and often saves embarrassment when neighbors or others ask questions regarding the names and ages of the children. Although John, 9, Ruth, 10, George, 11, Elmer, 13, and Louis, 15, attend public school, Mrs. Owens neglected to record in the notebook which of them went to Public School 74 and which to Public School 128.

“I don’t pay much attention to them in that line,” she said. “I have all I can do to feed and clothe them. They help each other.” By working together at home at their school lessons, the children have achieved a general average of B plus.

Mr. and Mrs. Owens, each 44, were married when they were 19. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary Dec 7. Mr. Owens was getting $14 a week as a chauffeur when they were married. He was one of six children and Mrs. Owens was one of five. The Owens children and the dates of their births are: Anna, 1908; Robert, 1910; William, 1911; Charles, 1915; Catherine, 1917; Louis, 1918; Elmer, 1920; George, 1922; Ruth, 1923; John, 1924; Dorothy, 1926; Wilbur; 1927; Thomas, 1928; Walter 1929; Arthur, 1930, and Christopher; 1932.