Michael was born on the 6th of February, 1837 in Manhattan, New York, and it was his actions as a Private in the US Marine Corps that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
On board the U.S.S. Colorado during the capture of Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Fighting courageously in hand-to-hand combat, Owens was badly wounded by the enemy during this action.
Michael Owens died on the 8th of December, 1890 at the age of 53 and is buried in the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia; Naval Asylum Plot, section 2, Row 22, Site 14.