THE LOWRIE HISTORY
As Acted in Part By
HENRY BERRY LOWRIE,
GREAT NORTH CAROLINA BANDIT,
With Biographical Sketch Of
With An Appendix.
Lumbee Publishing Company,
The events of a period of Robeson
county’s history in the years of 1864-74
Copywrighted by E.E. Page, 1909
The following is from the above named book under the
title THE LOWRIE HISTORY,
The writer will profile each of the persons listed using the information as
found in the book. Some may be
paraphrased and others direct quotes.
He was a tall well-proportioned, fine looking,
respectable Indian who first settled in Robeson county
about the year 1769.
This was Bladen county at that time.
On the 9th of August, 1769, James Lowrie bought a tract of
land containing one hundred acres from William Fort, to whom it was granted
by George II, in 1748. He also
entered another tract of land containing three hundred acres adjoining the
above tract, the grant being signed by George III.
On the above mentioned tracts of land, now owned by the heirs of the
Archibald McEachern, James
Lowrie first settled.
Below the residence of Col. McEachern, in a bend of the
swamp, is the place where James
Lowrie resided. McPhaul’s mills
on the same swamp are about three miles away.
The swamp became known as
Swamp because he resided
there. James Lowrie raised
stock, had a small farm, and kept a tavern during the Revolutionary War.
“James Lowrie first came to Robeson (then Bladen
county) from Bute county, from that
portion now called Franklin.
Other families came also from what is now Franklin, Warren, Nash and
Edgecombe and settled about the time Silas Atkins (Silas Atkins was a close
friend of James Lowrie.) first built
on the tract of land now owned by William H. Graham.
James Lowrie lived in
Franklin, also, before he came to
It was said that it was in Franklin County, N.C. that he was
manumitted by his father, James Lowrie, of Viriginia, who when Virginia
became one of the United States, was elected a Judge, and was ever
afterwards known as Judge Lowrie.
He was of cavalier stock and characterized by elegance and refinement
of manners, tall and commanding in personal appearance, urbane, courtly and
genteel in his whole deportment.
He married his wife in Franklin County.
Her name was Sarah Kearsey, (nicknamed Sally Kearsy,).
She was said to be part Tuscarora Indian.
James Lowrie himself was said to verify the information as given but
it was also corroborated by his friend Silas Atkins, with whom he came to
Robeson county in 1769. It was
also confirmed by Neil Brown, Esq., who lived on
Richland Swamp; by the late Mrs. Nancy Smith, mother of Rev. A.
Smith; who also lived on
Swamp; by Sampson
Bridgers, father of J.D. Bridgers, Esq., Henry Thompson, Nathan Thompson,
John Thompson, Peter Monroe and John Gilchrist, Esq. a long practicing
lawyer at the Lumberton Bar, whose father bought out James Lowrie
in 1791, at the close of the
James Lowrie had three sons, William, Thomas, and
James. William, the oldest,
fought in the Revolutionary War under the command of the Whig patriot, Col. Thomas
Robeson. Robeson County
was named for Col. Robeson.
William, while piloting Col. Wade and his men across Drowning Creek, after a
massacre at Piney Bottom , in
County received a severe
sword cut on his left hand from a Tory named James McPherson.
William had the scars from the cut for the remainder of his life and
received a pension for them until his death.
The two younger sons were not old enough to fight.
Because the Lowrie family was on the side of the Whigs,
soon after the close of the war James sold out on the Lowrie Swamp
to John Gilchrist in 1791 and moved down to Drowning Creek near his friend
Silas Atkins and settled on the “Harper
In the new location he kept a house of entertainment for the
traveling public, in connection with a grocery or drinking saloon.
He died in this location leaving
land and negroes to his children and
a good name to his posterity.
OLDEST SON WILLIAM LOWRIE
After James Lowrie died his son William married
Bettie Locklear, a part Tuscarora Indian (Locklear meaning “hold fast”).
William Lowrie had a son, Allen Lowrie who married
Pollie Cumba, a Portuguese woman.
was the father of Steve,
Thomas, Henry Berry, and other children.
He was treated somewhat like a sort of chief in the community in
which he lived. He attended
church every Sunday. The Methodist Church sent a circuit rider (His name was
Rev. Chaffin) who preached to the Indians in the area on a regular basis.
After the Civil War the Indians had their own people as preachers.
The Methodist Church’s Circuit Rider (Rev. Chaffin)
trained them. Later, Rev.
Chaffin baptized Allen’s son,
It was also said that he (Allen Lowrie) was probably
the wealthiest, most intelligent, and most respected of all of the free
people in his community. He was
tall and handsome with straight hair and looked more like an Indian than
white. His sons were said
to have looked much like him.
His house was a comfortable frame building on his farm where he made a good
living. In fact, he was
considered well-to-do. Some of
them were good mechanics, or house carpenters.
He was respected by both the whites and colored in his community.
Profile of Henry Berry, son of Allen Lowrie:
was his grandfather and
James Lowrie was his great grandfather.
He had Tuscarora Indian blood from his mother and
great grandmother, Portuguese from his mother and white blood from his
great grandfather. He
was quite handsome and his skin coloring showed a combination
of white and Indian blood.
There was a crescent shaped scar below his left eye said to have been
made by an iron pot falling on him when he was a child.
He was not much of a talker but was an excellent listener.
His language showed that he had not been educated.
He had grayish hazel eyes.
He wore a dark goatee, had straight black hair, was five feet ten
inches tall and weighed about 150 pounds.
He had a straight back, and was very well proportioned in his legs
and arms. However, he was not
careful in his dress---calf-skin boots, woolen frock coat or blouse,
breeches or trousers of the same material, mostly, however, of
or Kentucky Jeans, with a wide brimmed felt hat.
He liked to drink but was not a drunk.
With a heavy load he could run, swim, stand weeks of exposure in the
swamps, walk day and night and take only short naps.
He played the banjo. He
liked the ladies. He slept
completely armed and never appeared tired and was never taken by surprise.
He never committed arson or never insulted white females.
In time the amount of $10,000 was placed on his head.
At the age of 20 he married Rhoda Strong, a sixteen year old cousin
of his whose father was John Strong alias Gorman.
Hector J. McLean, Esq. conducted the wedding at the old Lowrie
homestead, in the presence of
Alexander Cobb, a white man, a score or two of Indians, relations of the
bride and bridegroom. He built
a cabin in Back
Swamp for himself and his
bride. His cabin had two doors
on opposite sides, a plank floor, a small window on the end near the chimney
with a trap-door on the floor, leading into an underground passage some
sixty yards in length, which terminated in the swamp near by.
Profile of Steve Lowrie, son of Allen Lowrie:
Lowrie was five feet ten inches
tall, and weighed about 170 pounds; thick set, round-shouldered, heavy and
very strong. He had
thick, black, straight hair, a thin moustache,
and dark hazel eyes.
Profile of Tom Lowrie, son of Allen Lowrie:
Tom was darker than some of his brothers.
SECOND SON THOMAS LOWRIE
Thomas Lowrie married Nancy Deas, a white woman.
THIRD SON JAMES LOWRIE
James Lowrie never married
GEOGRAPHICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF SCUFFLETOWN
“ Scuffletown proper is located a little to the
north-west of the centre of Robeson county, the centre being near Pates
about 15 miles north-west of
Lumberton, on the Carolina Central Railway.
Eight miles north-westward of Lumberton,
on the Carolina Central Railway
is the station of Moss Neck.
Seven miles from Moss Neck, on the Carolina Central Railway, is the station
of Red Banks, between Moss Neck and Red Banks are Eureka and Blue’s store,
so that properly speaking the Carolina Central Railway cuts into parts the
territory of Scuffletown, which extends on both sides of the railway tracks
some three or four miles, interspersed with branches, swamps, and bays.
It is a part of the great swamp district of North Carolina below the
sand hills. Standing at
Lumberton, the county seat, and looking north-westward you see the Ten Mile
Swamp, with Dockery’s mill on it (formerly Rhode’s mill), then the Big Raft
Swamp, Richland Swamp, Burnt Swamp, Bear Swamp, all north of the railway
track, traversing the country and running into Lumber River south of the
Carolina Central Railway.
South of the railway track runs Lumber River; and parallel with Lumber River
runs Back Swamp for twenty miles, the river and swamp being at some places
two miles apart, at others three miles.”
The part of
County described above was
probably where the first settlers of the Indians (known as Lumbee today)
settled. The soil was not very
rich and when there was much rain and the Lumber River
and its tributaries rose the region was almost flooded and would remain
water-logged for long periods of time.
The wooded areas were covered with sweet gum, black gum, maple, ash,
popular, cypress, post oak, white oak, hickory and gallberry
bushes. The undergrowth
made it almost impenetrable.
This shows that Scuffletown
country had swamps, and some hills.
Among all of this were log cabins constructed in a simple and crude
fashion. Obviously, it was
difficult to reach the cabins.
There were usually foot paths leading to them through the dense swampy
THE ORIGIN OF SCUFFLETOWN
Information taken from pages 28-29
“When the Scotch first commenced settling in Robeson
county in 1747, after the disasterous battle of Cullonden, (Robeson being
then a part of Bladen County) the ancestors of the Locklears,
Revels, Cumbos and Chavis’ of today were living where their decendants now
live. After the Revolutionary
War, the Lowries moved down
into scuffletown and built on the place now know as the “Harper Ferry
place,” and kept a ferry there across Lumber River.
In process of time the Ransoms came from Halifax county and took up
their abode in this settlement.
The Woods came from Sampson; the Oxendines from Franklin, also the
Cummings’, the Goins and the Brayboys.
The Jacobs, Hunts, Morgans, Scotts and
Dials, made their way to Robeson and lived.
James Murphy lived on the farm now owned by the heirs of the late
Daniel H. McLean, near Maxton on the Carolina Central Railway.
He amassed considerable property and was the owner of slaves.
He married a Cumbo---a half-breed Tuscarora Indian woman, with a good
countenance. He left Robeson
county about 1792, with one of the Hunts, and settled on the Great Pee Dee
in South Carolina,
near Hunt’s Bluff.
The Bell family lived
on Saddle Tree Swamp, some ten or twelve miles from
on the old stage road from Lumberton to Fayetteville.
One of the family, namely: Hardy Bell, moved to
about 1840, and commenced merchandising.
He succeeded in this line of business very well until he died.
For several years he was the most prominent merchant in
Lumberton, Lumberton being called in
Robeson ”Hardy Bell’s town,” as a
They married and intermarried with each other so
often that the distinctive features of one was representative of all.
Straight black hair, high cheek bones, straight backs and great
muscular power characterized the whole race.
Traces of the Indian and Anglo-Saxon race can be discovered in the
contour of their faces and observed in their demeanor and deportment.
As a race they are remarkably superstitious.
They believe in fairies, elves, spirits, ghosts and goblins, and in
conjuration. They are as a race
very prolific. It is no uncommon
occurrence to find some among them who have born a dozen children, and some
few as many as fifteen or sixteen.
By the census of 1860, Robeson county had 1,459