Web Site Author

IInterests of Today

Photo of Lumbees



As Acted in Part By




With Biographical Sketch Of



With An Appendix.

Published by:  Lumbee Publishing Company,

Lumberton, N.C.

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, 
Genealogy.  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 late Col. 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 Lowrie 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 Robeson County.  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 Richland 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 Revolutionary War.

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 Cumberland 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 Ferry Place.”  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.




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.  Allen  Lowrie  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, Abner  Lowry. 


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:

William 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 Salem 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:

Steve  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.



Thomas Lowrie married Nancy Deas, a white woman.



 James Lowrie never married





“ 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 Robeson 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 areas.



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 Lumberton on the old stage road from Lumberton to Fayetteville.  One of the family, namely: Hardy Bell, moved to Lumberton 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 burlesque.


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 Indian folk.




Web Site Author

IInterests of Today

Photo of Lumbees