John E. Owens (1824-86) was taken to the United States when just a toddler. He was born in what is now Liverpool, in Aigburth, when it was outside the Liverpool city limits. His parents were Welsh. His aunt and uncle, surname Orme, ran the parish school for St. Anne's church in Aigburth.

Owens made a career for himself on the American stage playing comic character roles. The actor appeared in Liverpool one time after he had made his fame, in 1865 at The Prince of Wales Theatre in Clayton Square for a short run following a longer engagement in London. With his success, he bought an estate in Towson, Maryland, north of Baltimore and built a mansion known as "Aigburth Vale" which still stands and was recently converted for housing for seniors.

See Essay: 19th Century American Theater for a photograph of Owens in the role of country lawyer Solon Shingle, one of the successful roles of his career.