Olivia's Genealogy Site: Indians of Roberson County before Old Main
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Indian History Detailed
By Rev. D. F. Lowry
The Robesonian Lumberton N.C.---1972
I have been asked to give some data on the Indians of Roberson County before Old Main,
.Search the archives in Raleigh and you will see that the Lumbee Indians fought along with the White soldiers to win independence from England thur and by the
Revolutionary War of 1775. John Brooks was given 160 acres ob bounty land
William Lowry was given a pension for life for being wounded while crossing a bridge during battle. You will find Locklear, Bullard, Oxendine, Brooks, Drinkwater, and others. All of whom fought in the Revolutionary War. We also fought in the war of 1812.
Before public schools were organized by the state the whites and Indians went to schools with hired teachers. We attended church together in certain places. Vince Revels lived and died a member of Saddle Tree Baptist Church. Celian Hunt died a member of White Pond Baptist. Several white churches carried Indian members between 1835 and 1885. For 50 years we were void of schools. To be more exact let’s say almost 50 years.
I was born in 1881 and entered school at six years of age at the Sarah Dile Public School about three miles from home and I had to walk to school daily. This school had been built for quite awhile. This was in 1887 and there must have been 12 or more Indian schools in Robeson County with teachers paid by the county or state.
In 1887 The Hon. Hamilton McMillan secured $500 for maintenance if the Indians would prepare a suitable building for Normal Indian School. At this time we were supplied with plenty of day schools for Indians. We were in need of a teacher training school. Rev. W. L. Moore had taken a four-year college course. Mr. Moore being equal to the task took the initiative and gave $200 in cash and quit teaching in the public schools of the county a year in order to prepare a suitable building and save the $500 for maintenance.
A lot was purchased from Rev. William Jacobs for the sum of $8 for one acre.
Thru Prof. Moore’s influence four trustees were appointed by the state: W.L. Moore Preston Locklear, James Oxendine, a former county commissioner of Roberson County and James Dial Sr. The four trustees were given authority to appoint three additional trustees and they named J.J. Oxendine, Isaac Brayboy and Ollen Oxendine. This made a total of seven trustees.
Mr. Moore, with help, soon had the building read and Prof W. L. Moore was appointed principal and teacher.
Prof. W. L. Moore opened the Croatan Normal School in fall of 1887 with 15 students. A student had to be 15 years old to enter. In 1889 the maintenance was raised from $500 to $1000. Mr. Moore held the position three years and was succeeded by Prof. Bauder followed by Prof Stewart, then a highly educated man, Rev. Dave Baldharrie Simpson, and the school was soon known for its scholarship. Dr. Simpson was followed by Prof. Hiden, then Prof. Lamb---Then Prof Jones, O.R. Sampson was called to finish Prof. Jones’ term. Mr. Sampson was followed by Prof. T.C. Henderson who was a successful worker for four years. At this time the school had no been standardized—not beingstandardized the student could take any subject they could learn. Prof. Henderson was followed by Prof. Clark. Prof Clark from Cherokee county was followed by Dr. Fuller Lowry who completed a scientific course taught at this time and had received the first college degree in the history of Croatan College as it was called at that age. Prof. Lowry was followed by Prof. Seawell then Prof. Edens under whom the school had its second graduate, John A. B. Lowry, in 1913. John A. B. Lowry went away to a medical college and graduated and served on the medical field over-sea during World War I and settled in Crew , Va.
In 1909 a new site was purchased in Pembroke and a $3000 appropriation was secured for a new building in Pembroke. A two-story new wooden building was constructed near the site Old Main. This is where John A. B. Lowry graduated. The new two story building was built on a 10 acre lot purchased from Mr. Odum. Prof. Edens moved the college from Pates to Pembroke without difficulty. Prof. O. V. Hamrick followed Mr Edens and two other students graduated in 1914—Miss Winnie Lee Bell and Miss Ruth Sampson. They went off to Carson Newman College and graduated and returned home to work for their own race. This was prior to Old Main.
Governor Locklear left Pembroke and graduated in medical college and was the practicing physician in Pembroke when Old Main was in building and even before.
Bishop Garber told me that Dr. John A. B. Lowry’s home was head-quarters for him when he was in Crew, Va. Later the bishop came to me at a conference and told me that the widow of the late Dr, J. A. B. Lowry of Crew Va., donated $150,000 to a Methodist College in the Virginia Conference.
Finally, I think of our patriarchic friends take: O. R. Sampson, A. N. Locklear, Foster Sampson, Wm D. Oxendine, Jonnie Blanks, Dr. Governor Locklear, W. L. Moore, H.H. Lowry, S.A. Hammond, Miss Lady Lowry, Miss Harriet C. Oxendine, Miss Winnie Lee Bell, Miss Ruth Sampson. These are the builders of the Indian schools over Roberson County, all of whom were made before Old Main was built. Old main was built by the state and was not opened until 1923.
Lets take a more recent look: Prof. and Dean for many years at Pembroke State, Clifton Oxendine, now retired, with Earl C. Lowry entered McKendra College as freshmen. Prof. Frank Epps- former principal at Magnolia High School for many years—entered McKendra College as a freshman and remained for four years and graduated. McKendra College is located in Lebenan, Illinois. Earl is a retired full colonel and lives in Des Moine, Iowa. There is the Late Dr. Ales Chavis who lef t Pembroke and graduated in Tennessee and held many important jobs; City school director, County Superintendent, and served on the faculty of a college for years.
None of the above are products of Old Main in Pembroke. All the boosting of Old Main as “The First and the Last” is like the story of a “Red Bug Convention”. They all gathered at night and organized and planned to outshine the sun. When the sun came up--- all the bugs vanished.