Born in 1717 the son of a wealthy farmer, William Owen turned his back on the life of the gentry to pursue a more adventurous life at sea. His impatient desire to become rich soon led him into the rags-to-riches world of smuggling. He enjoyed long spells of success, but soon discovered that smuggling endeavours could also work in reverse, from riches to rags. In the years that followed, William?s adventures accumulated and his financial fortunes fluctuated wildly. Several times he found himself at the point of ruin, but William, never defeated by adversity, used his sharp wit (and not always honestly) to affect recoveries. His arrogant disregard for the law brought him before the judge?s bench on two occasions where, his resourcefulness and silver tongue achieved his release.