^/a^-'tCf ^^CZ //lJ- d/^
July 30, 1969
INTERVIEWEE: Reverend D. F. Lowry
INTERVIEWER: Adolph Dial dib
D: ...Reverend D. F. Lowry. I'm in his home, the first or second brick
home in the town of Pembroke, a very lovely structure surrounded with
a beautiful orchard, a beautiful garden. Brother Lowry is still ac-
tive on the outside even in his late eighties. Brother Lowry is
perhaps the most outstanding Lumbee Indian alive today. I say this
because of his work, because of his contribution in the area of edu-
cation, because of his contribution in the area of church work--a
pastor for many, many years--and because of a leader in general.
Brother Lowry, how old are you?
L: I'm eighty-eight. I was born in January, 1881.
D: Well, that's certainly a ripe old age. I understand that you have
some brothers and sisters who have lived to be, well, perhaps some of
them a hundred. Would you tell us about that?
L: My second oldest brother, Billy we called him, he lived to be a hundred
years and three months. And ke oldest sister, Annabelle, she lived
to be a hundred years and eleven months. So my sister is ahead of my
brother this far. And I have another brother alive, F. R. Lowry, who
is now O.. -- DA^a.v in the Retired Ministers Home. He was a hun-
dred years old in April, and S L L and now next April, and
from a little boy I never would let my brothers and sisters out-do me,
so I expect to reach my H hundred tenth.
D: Let's see, you have a sister also alive today. How old is she?
L: She's two or three years older than I am. She's ninety-one I guess.
Right around ninety-one.
D: Now I see, and Mr. Henry, how old was he when he died?
L: I'm not sure. He was somewhere around eighty. But he didn't live
as long as Billy. Billy lived longer than any of the boys so far.
But I believe Frank is about to get ahead of him. Now from April,
May, June and July, Frank is just about even with him now.
D: Well, I have a good reason to believe that you're going to beat all
of them because you're real active at your present age and I have a
good reason to believe that you'll break the record. Brother Lowry,
will you tell us something of your early childhood days? Begin with
your education and come up through your occupation over the years
and your education, and then we'll get into some of the other stories
L: Thank you. I attended the country school when six years old I began
going to the day school about three and a half miles from home. We
had to walk this trip and the school would be from three to four
months during the winter and in the summertime six weeks. So I would
attend every summer school and the three or four months in the winter
as I grew up coming through the grades. But they built a school near-
by at Hopewell and they taught the high school course at Hopewell.
So I was going to Hopewell School when I finished high school. And
then we had an institution. At that time it was established at 9 -t
North Carolina by the honorable Hamilton McMillan. He was the man who
worked up the appropriation for a school for the Indians. And this was
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vaS known as Croatan College, because these people were first designated
as Croatan Indians because of the lost colony, which is quite a story.
But the first name was Croatan Indians, and this school was known as
Croatan College. So I entered Croatan College after I finished my
high school work at Hopewell and I came to that college for five years.
Just one teacher, the professor, and the state appropriated five hun-
dred dollars for one year. So he was only receiving sixty dollars
per month, and that was the president of the school receiving sixty
dollars per month as his wage. Of course everything was cheap then. I
guess he could get his board for about six dollars a month and everything
that he needed to buy was real cheap. So he was making money at sixty
dollars because a lot of the public school teachers that had to, required
and education up to the first grade, was receiving just fifty percent
of that salary. They were working for thirty and thirty-five dollars
per month. So I attendedpthis school until I received my college degree
in science. This school, the professor told me when I entered, "Since
you can't go off to a white college--we have three races here: the whites,
the Indians and the Negroes--so there's a school for each race and it's
against the law for one race to attend the school of the other race,
so since you can't go the white college, why cpS'll just take the full
course here." So we took our algebra and geometry and trigonometry
and on through mathematics, and took -tzUJ physical geography. We
studied about four grammars before we took up rhetoric. We studied
four different grammars and then we took Lockwood's Composition and
Rhetoric Combined and we finished that, and then we took (S'Ct r s-I-J .
College Rhetoric. So we had a good course in English. Then our
way of mathematics, there was only a few in school. I remember there
were several days I was there alone if there happened to be a funeral
anywhere in the local churches. Why, just about nine of us students
there. The rest would go to the funeral and leave the professor and
myself there alone. And we worked just like we had a housefull. We
had tQea-d the lessons while the others were away, and we went on
through our course and made the grade. So I was the first one to
finish the course at Croatan College.
D: Well, was this when you received your first diploma?
L: It was.
D: I believe I see your diploma there on the wall, Croatan College, 1905.
And that was the first diploma issued by what grew to be Pembroke State
University. Croatan College, correct?
L: Correct, and receiving that degree then after that, of course, I went
to other schools. I attended /.. ., I--/ Business College after
that and took a business course. And then after attending v ,v.~r-i-
Business College I taught school a few years and then I decided to be
a minister. I was licensed to preach as a local preacher in 1913, and
then I took the seminary work. I took four years of study for the ministry
and made good grades so I was put on the e. C board for four
years...had quite an extensive study. The years of study amounted to
ninety-two different books. But every year the conference course would
change and I would have to buy the new booksand prepare to examine the
young preachers at the next annual conference. So I had quite an ex-
tensive study for the ministry. And I've been successful I call it,
because I just finished my tenth church that I helped to build >yd my
pastorate service. So we have now at Collins Chapel a new educational
building that was added to a small assembly room of fifty by thirty feet,
I believe. We've added an educational building and the new building
just finished up is estimated at the value of fifty thousand dollars,
I believe is the estimate that our supervisors In Raleigh and around
has estimated the building to be worth fifty thousand dollars. So
I've been quite extensive in the ministerial work.
D: Well, you've been quite a church builder. How many churches have you
built here among the Lumbees?
L: This was number ten that I was instrumental in building.
D: Will you name those?
L: First we had bA 4d^L Grove Church. Then we, some of these ten churches
was remodeled. But fAj ~. l-4Grove was one of the educational buildings
added to the building. But Center was a new church from the
foundation. And then Sandy Plain was a new church from the foundation.
Then aw--had a church tat yu in South Carolina near
. That was a new church from the foundation. Then we
had another church at South Carolina, had some Sunday
school rooms added to that. And the biggest church of all was Prospect.
We had a building up there I suppose was seventy-five years old or more
that had just one room and had, I don't know, five or six Sunday school
classes every Sunday in a one room building. So we got busy there and
built a brick church and today that brick church has a numrLc f ep,
t- more than five hundred in t" Sunday school, maybe five hundred and
twenty. One of the biggest Sunday schools in the county' among the
Lumbee Indians of all the4deiominations. And this Prospect Church
I remember when they first talked about it taey said ehey were going
to have a box supper and raise three thousand dollars and that amused
mnz the people. Xem would drive through the country and yiwJ lirr
out, "We're going to have a box supper Friday night. We're going
to raise three thousand dollars." And the people would smile just like
it was all a joke, because of the suppers like that considered
they were doing well if they raised eighty dollars. So everybody came
to see a three thousand dollar box supper. Sure enough we, as I remem-
ber now, we raised thirty-three hundred dollars. Then we had to put on
a preaching mission. We said we was going to have preaching for one
week, eight days. It began Saturday evening and then Sunday and Sunday
night and every night through the week,and the last Sunday and Sunday
night closed it out. I believe the last offering on Sunday night was
eighteen hundred dollars. But we succeeded in raising five, more than
five thousand dollars at least, because the first offering I was pastor
of the church and I preached the first sermon on frdau night and our
offering was two hundred and fifty dollars. And Sunday the offering
went up, Sunday night it went up, Monday night, every night it went a
little higher and we closed out on Sunday night1 I believe the offering
on the last Sunday night ran around eighteen hundred dollars. But it
all totaled a little more than five thousand, and today that's one of
the most beautiful structures among all / the churches, newer churches
in Robeson County regardless .F race.
D: Well, you've certainly been quite a church builder in your day. Now
other than the ministry what have you done over the years? Oh, by
the way you didn't finish your education there. I believe you told
me you had in astrology once. How about telling us something you
L: This, I was especially interested in astronomy.
D: Oh, yes, astronomy. Yes, and not astrology.
L: I took a full course in astronomy and then after I finished that I
took up recreation in aatrnnmy. And of course we had to name all
the stars you know.
D: Can you name them now?
L: It said that there's '; million visible stars to the human eye
and these mb4ibs million stars is divided into twenty-four constella-
tions. And these twenty-four constellations are named according to
the symbols of the twenty-four letters in the Greek alphabet. And
they go as follows:
Now you knowaa couple of years ago my wife and Imade a tour of the
holy land on our trip out from Athens one day touring the countryjw
the country of Greece, we went out f Athens early in the morning and
we went over to where there was as old building# that had been destroyed.
You know, a city that had been destroyed by a volcano or something,
a earthquake or what have you. And there came a truck load of Greek
students from the high school. And the professor found out that I
was from the United States and he came to me and he says, "Mr. Lowry,
I'd like you to talk to my class. They are studying English. Now
this is the high school class from our city and they are interested in
the English language. And I'd like, you to talk with them some and
help them some on the English language." And so they gathered around
and just crowded around. And they .were askai me questions and we
talked for quite a while and my wife came up and took a picture,and
the girls and boys ran around in front of me and sat down on the ground.
They wanted to get their picture in on that. In closing out I told the
students that I had studied a little Greek. I could at least say the
Greek alphabet. So I ran -Gi- the Greek alphabet and one of the boys
looks up at tet mrrd-f4f smiles. He says, "You missed three." I
, .-":! 4.
said, "What did I miss?" "' said, ____. It's
_ ." So I learned how they call that.
That's like a lot of these professors around here at Pembroke State
University that they call Robeson County Robeson County(different
pronunciation). It looks like Robeson, and there was a Ph.D. degree,
they say Robeson County until they find out it's Robeson. If a county-4-
is named by something regarding a robe, why it would sound like Robeson
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County. But if it is named after a man named Robeson, why it would
be Robeson County. So it's not a big mistake like that because
everything has its own s-'oan- So I learned a new ring on my
Greek alphabet. :And I had to learn this, you know, to get these
twenty-four constellations together. So in this Recreation in Astronomy,
written by Bishop Warren, there was quite a scene. Somebody said the
other day they didn't believe the astronautsAwent to the moon. They
don't understand space. There's a lot of people don't understand
space, you know. And Mr. I mean Bishop Warren, when he
described space he made this statement. It says, Mr. ___
the great German philosopher in order to demonstrate space he said he
took an angel .the angel rather took a man and stripped him of his
flesh and carried him out to show him the glory of God's universe.
And so they sped on through space past the orbit of Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and they sped on and they found themselves
in the dark imperium. And they looked ahead and they saw a speck of
light and they looked back and they saw a speck of light. And the
speck of light in the rear was this solar system they had passed through
beyond the orbit of Neptune. And the decision was that the speck of
light ahead is another system of worlds and so they sped on and they
found themselves amid rushing worlds, another system. And so they went
on until they had passed system after system and the heart of the man
fell and said to the angel, "End, is there none to the universe of God?"
And the angel cheered the man and they sped on through space. They went
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on through like a trace of eternities and through pillars of immensity
until the heart of the man fell for his last time and he said, "End,
is there none to the universe of God?" And the angel said, "There is
no end to God's universe." So space goes right on. Nobody can demon-
D: Well, it seems that you have a very good background in science. Now
how about anatomy? Did you have a course in anatomy?
L: Yes, we finished a health book, different health books, but especially
SUcLR -a Physiology. I remember one time after I got to teaching
school,I began teaching, I went down to Lumberton for examination
and it happened to be all examination. The written examination was
two days in July always and when they wanted an extra examination in
the wintertime, but it would be oral. So I happened to take an oral
examination and then Captain Becket, he was state superintendent, he
came in while our county superintendent, Mr. Searles, was giving an
examination in physiology, S/ ..-, Physiology, and he was afraid that
Captain Becket, you know the state man, he said, "Captain Becket, I'm
examining this class--a class of nine from Pembroke State College--
on physiology and I would like for you to examine them on physiology."
And so Mr. Becket says, "Now listen, if you can trace a drop of blood
through the entire human system that's all I'll ask on physiology."
And I happened to be at the foot of the class. He began...one of
the girls was at the head and he pointed to her and she smiled and
shook her head and says, "Doctor, I can't do that." "Next," and he
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came on down the line,/he lost hope. But he motioned me, he looked dis-
couraged, and I paused a minute. I said, "I think I can do that. -Te-
dark blood from the veins collects in the right auricle and going
Ha Jto w-f- -tL@.t--.
through the valvesAinto the right ventricle. Then
it is driven through the semi-lunar valves through the pulmonary ar-
tery to the lungs. After circulating through the prime capillaries
of various cells it would turn through the four pulmonary veins to
the left auricle. From the left auricle the blood is forced past the
valve to the left ventricle. ThenAit is driven through
the semi-lunar valvethrough the pulmonary artery to the lungs. And
it enters the...after it circulates through the lungs and goes back
to the four pulmonary veins to the left auricle, from the left auricle
it is forced past the valves to the left ventricle.
hTeir it is driven through the semi-lunar valves into the great aorta,
the main trunk of the arterial system. Passing through the arteries,
capillaries, and veins it is returned through the vena cava ascending
and descending and gathered again into the right auricle." When I
finished that he smiled and he looked at the county superintendent
and he says, "Give him a first grade in physiology." And then I sat
there and he didn't ask me any more questions. I sat there for an hour
and listened, ase-he questioned these other eight students in physiology.
It was quite a joy to me to be able to all those questions
by being able to give the circulation.
D: Well, now when you graduated in 1905 what was your occupation for the
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next few years?
L: I went away to Piedmont Business College after I taught one year.
I was elected that year. I graduated and was elected principal of
the school, the college, and I taught the college for one year.
And then I went away to Virginia to Piedmont Business College in
A.-,:: ./ r. and took a business course. And then I came back
Gg ir~i ill
and was bookkeeper for two yearslincorporated business. And then
I decided to go back to the school room and became principal of
a school out at Chapel, and I taught there until I took a civil
service examination. They put on the first civil service examina-
tion for a mail route and that was a pretty big price, and having
finished the business college I decided to take an examination and
go into the postal service business where I could make a good re-
tirement. And so I took the first civil service examination down
at Lumberton. There was twenty-five applicants. There was the
principal from the high school at Fairmont and even the clerk of
the court, several college graduates on the examination. But it
happened, having finished the business college I was the first man
through. We had four hours to take the civil service examination.
So he called us twenty words to spell. Now he says, "I'll give you
arithmetic and as you finish your arithmetic, bring your paper in
and I'll give you another subject and you can go through it as quick
as you can, but if you're not through at the end of four hours then
youl out. Your papers will be sent to Washington to be graded, but
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you have to finish in four hours. In an hour and thirty minutes I
had finished the course. And I stayed around and watched them awhile
and I saw another fellow tracing me pretty good. And me, I was the
only Indian there t/'-;t.' )He kept watching me as I was doing
my work and I saw he was trying to keep up, but I beat him through
about fifteen to twenty minutes and I stood around until he got
through. I left out and started down the, this was before automo-
biles, this was horse and buggy days so I drove my horse and buggy
to Lumberton that day, and on my way down I heard somebody coming
up behind me almost out of breath. He had been running, you know.
4 ~Jtay, Vou knew I was the only Indian there.w He said, "Where are
you from?" I si ,, i" f-i ." "Where'd you go to school?"
I "sd, "I graduated Croatan College at c .cx-e and then I went
to Piedmont Business College, and then I took some courses at Duke
University." "Well," he says, "I'm a graduate, too, and I'm not
interested in driving the mail. I -nt- efarmiag -44e cotton
gin up there r iio.. and I'm not wanting a job. All the way
through school I just liked to take contests and you're the first
fellow that's ever beaten me. I just wanted to know who you are.
And IAwanted to catch up with you to find out who you are, ne where
you was from, because you are the first fellow that's ever beaten
me in a contest. In all my college work I led my class, but you licked
me today and we don't wierthe grades come out...." But it happened
when the grades came out I was the highest man from Washington on the
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D: I see. So you became the first Lumbee Indian mail carrier. Is that
L: Yes, see that was correct. Tenr talking about taking the examination,
" cLc A-/."J. 'carrier's a white man," he says, "Why, you might be
able to pass. You,;being an Indian, this is a white man's job, you
couldn't hold a job." I says, "Well, there's nothing like trying."
He couldn't discourage me. So he says, "You might pass the examina-
tion, but you couldn't get the job because it's a white man's job.
They wouldn't like Indians to have their mail." So I finally got
the job and this is.right cute. You know, there was one white man
and he took down his mail box you see.
D: I see.
L: e didn't want an Indian handling his mail. Went around that day and
brought my mail in and I told the postmaster, "Mr. so-and-so took his
box down today." "Well, he lives about six miles away, let him come
to town," the postmaster said, "Let him come to town and get his mail."
And so I went right ahead, you know. *few days, about a week or two
after that his brother was sitting down one day at the road where he
took down the box, and signed me to stop. He said, "Hey Lowry, what
you want to do about the man taking his box down?" I said, "Not a
thing in the world, because it didn't reduce my salary one penny, and
I'm saving my brakes and I'm saving gasoline. I had to stop here every
day. He got mail every day. I had to put on brakes and stop here. I
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was wearing my brakes and burning gas while I was getting his mail
out and putting his mail in the box. And I'm saving all that now.
It doesn't matter whether he puts his box back up or not." And I
laughed and went on. BReNext day I came by his box was right back
up, and he got to be one of my best friends. There's one thing about
the white race, they'll fall out with you but they'll get back in
and be your best friend right on. There's a lot of people, you know,
if they get mad they'll fft up their and stay mad with you
for ten years. But it gets that a man can get by a thing like that
and be friendly.
D: I see, so you were on the mail route for how many years did you say?
L: I served thirty years and three months.
D: I imagine you're drawing retirement now.
L: e, I'm drawing retirement and it keeps going up, you know. I'm
able to buy my fishing tackle now.
D: I believe you also draw another retirement don't you?
L: Yes, it's right peculiar. You know I happened to teach twenty years
even. After I taught twenty years, why, I quit teaching school then
and went into other occupation. And they passed a law two or three
years ago to pay all the old school teachers retirement. And I got
hold of that and my put in my application right at once and it went
through. So the county superintendent helped me out and my friends
and students who attended school to me during that twenty years. We
got up l letters and the thing went through slick, and I got
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a retirement of eighty-five dollars per month. Just like picking it
up in the road and that came in mighty nice. When I opened my check
two or three days ago and there was a little slip in there, and it
said, 'The General Assembly of sixty-eight and sixty-nine passed an
order that we would raise the retired men who worked several years
ago on this special retirement...give them a fifteen percent raise.'
And the enclosed check demonstrated that. So my check I got two days
ago, instead of being eighty-five dollars was $97.75, almost a hundred
dollars. And that was pretty good I thought. Just comes in mighty
D: Well, you're also a retired minister, aren't you?
L: Yes, I'm drawing retirement for forty years service, but the law in
the Methodist church you have to retire at seventy-two regardless.
From the Bishop on down retires at seventy-two. But if you're a
minister and your health -*i good and your people like you and they
want you to pastor churches, why you can preach right on. And I'm
still going. I'm still rfull-time pastor at Collins Chapel. I'm
up there every Sunday and the church is eighteen miles from home.
And by the way all through the winter, regardless of my age, we worked
three prisoners from the camp at Lumberton, which was about ten miles
from home. So I would get up at daylight dung the winter, take my
Cadillac, drive down, pick up three prisoners that was on work release
and they were all three good carpenters, and we would go out and make
eight hours, I'd take them back to the prison camp eighteen miles from
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the camp out to the church. I'd take them out to the church and work
eight hours, back to the camp, and then home. And I did that for five
months all through the winter and it didn't seem to hurt me. I was just
as rested at the end of the five months as I was when I began. Didn't
know no difference. I just kept going.
D: Well, that's certainly interesting. Did you ever do any farming?
L: Yesl I, in 1910 I farmed, taught school and preached. I had three occu-
pations at one time. I pastored as high as five churches and farmed at
the same time, and taught school some in the winter. I was,..'
D: You were the champion C^-^ o:.- ..-e*- fo a g time.
L: ...kind of a handyman. I was going to tell you, in 1910 they put out,
the bank I believe at Lumberton, put out an offer that the man that
could grow the most corn on one acre of land they would give him a
prize. I believe the first prize was maybe a hundred dollars and the
second fifty, and the third twenty-five, and the highest, the second
highest and the third highest. And when the contest was over I was
number two. I was second best. I grew a hundred and ten bushels of
shell corn on one acre of land. We hauled this corn in, had a corn
shucking and measured this corn by barrels into the barn. I had
three first grade school teachers out there mashing and checking up
the corn. We had to check it and turned in. And I re-
ceived the second prize. Some of these men had graduated at the
agricultural college in North Carolina, but I beat all of them. It
wasn't a graduate at the agricultural college that was the first man,
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but I made more than the boys who was nearby, my neighbors that had
graduated at the agricultural college at Raleigh. I beat themnin
the corn contest.
D: Well, it seems that you've been a successful student, a successful
mail carrier, a successful farmer, a successful teacher, and what
else would you say?
L: Well, I was just thinking while you was talking, I was just thinking
about I picked up the Rbesonian one day and it says the person, the
farmer that can make the best statement showing how a farmer can live
regardless of the present price of cotton--cotton was from four to
seven cents a pound then--and they said that the farmer that can make
the most concise statement how a man could make a living farming re-
gardless of the present price of cotton, bring in your statement and
there'll be a cash prize offered for the one who brings in the best
statement. So I was plowing along that day and I thought up something.
And here's the sentence I composed: "Planting up grain, forage and
vegetables for all-home consumption and have some for the market. lant
the remainder of the farm in cotton and sell only when the price is
high.'! And I wrote that down on a piece of paper, took my horse out
and hooked up to the buggy, went to Lumberton with my little slip and
carried it in. And I saw all these professors coming in and these
big farmers. They had a stack of papers and I just //^. '-*t- ..'.-'-.
I went on down the street and the county superintendent, Mr. Searles,
a graduate from Vake Forest College, was the chairman of the judges,
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and I decided I'd go back through the office when I started home and
I walked in. I says, "How about the contest?" He looked at me. He
says, "Why professor, you*ba won. You were top man." And he counted
out my money and I went and hooked up my horse and came on home with
my cash in the pocket.
D: Well, that's certainly remarkable. Brother Lowry, you said something
L: Have you pressed that?
D: No, I don't have to press that. That's all right. You said something
once that you had a good recipe for living a long time. How do you
account for the Lowrys living so long?
L: Well, now, they all don't live so long. My sister, I was the baby boy,
there was twelve of us children and I was the baby boy, number seven,
and the baby girl, there's five girls, and the baby girl was number
five and she was younger than I was--I was the baby boy. But there
was the baby of all the family, was a girl, and she died, oh she's
been dead about fifteen years. And then my other brothers died along
aboutAseventy along from seventy to a hundred. But I always
had a technique, you know....answer that question several ways. Some-
body asked me one day how, what was my recipe, how did I manage to live
so long. I said, "Well, one of the best ways is don't never get madC.
Don't never get mad. You know, everytime you get mad you shorten your
days." And then another, I was, one time I went in *h Red Springs
and went into a store and the manage says, "Say), Brother Lowry, I've
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known you for tw$ty years, twenty-five or more, and you look young
as you ever did. How do you account for all that? How do you stay
young?" I says, "I eat plenty of raw foods I got a little orchard
at home and I eat breakfast in my orchard regular. In fruit time,
you know, I live on fruit. I go out and eat my breakfast in the or-
chard and I eat a lot of raw foods." And he laughed, you know, and
in a few days I went down the streets in Red Springs early one morning.
And he s W, "Hey, Lowry, come in here. Come have some coffee with
me." I said, "I've had breakfast. I don't care about any coffee.
I seldom drink any coffee. Maybe once a week. Sometimes my wife
will give me a cup of coffee at the table. Just put it there and if
there's any sugar on the table why I'll drink the coffee. But no
sugar, why I don't pay any attention to the coffee. I'll drink coffee
just for the sugar." And so he says, "Well, I just wanted to tell you
I'* eaten plenty of raw foods." Now/you know I saw that man the other
day and he looks fifty percent better than he did because he's eating
plenty of raw foods. f
D: I see. Well, I suppose it works. lDr. Lowry, suppose you tell us some-
thing about your family tree.
L: Nowmy family tree directly about 1690, 1690 I think, a man came from
England and settled about Roanoke, Virginia, along vt
the coast. There's where he landed. His name was James Lowry and
he married a Tuscarora Indian woman and later on when Virginia was
first made a state this James Lowry was the first judge. You know,
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the history of Virginia,it extended almost the whole eastern part of
the United States. All the way down to Florida, that was Virginia.
They kept cutting it down, you know. But he was the first judge
of Virginia and they reared five children. They had three boys and
two girls. And he named one of the boys James Junior, and they had
a little trouble up there in the courthouse. I think some of the
whites kind of slurred his boy, his boys, because they were part
Indian and they had a little __ t- _in the court building. So
James Junior, he left. He came down and settled above Raleigh right
in Henderson, North Carolina. If you'll go to the archives in Hender-
son, North Carolina, you'll find that James Lowry Jr. worked there and
he bought land and he...you'll find a big record of James Lowry Jr. at
Henderson, North Carolina. And finally he left Henderson and came
down to what is now Robeson County and he built a ferry across, he
settled up on the Lumbee River, what is now known as Harpers Ferryi-
1e settled there on the river and built a ferryboat.to ferry passengers,
tourists across the river. You used to have foreigners coming
tourists across the river. You niver used to have foreigners coming
all through this country with covered-topped vehicles, and they would
come there and he was a nice place to camp out on the sand hill, and
they would maybe spend the winter there. And they would have big times.
They would play harps and dance and sing and go on, have big time the
whole winter.- And because of the many harps and instruments they had
and played and had big picnics around there, they named it HarpersFerry,
And there's a Baptist church there now known as Harpers Ferry Baptist
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church, and that's how it got its name. These tourists with the
covered-top wagons, foreigners, Assyrians and what have you, camping
there and playing harps and dancing, it's still got the old name,
Harpers Ferry. So this James Lowry and a white manAfromwhat's called
the Red Hills, cut out a road to Fayettevgille on an old Indian
trail, and this road has still got the name of the Lowry Road. It
by-passes Red Springs. There wasn't any town at Fayettevillej /ust
a little grocery store there on the banks of the river, and these men
down here around Harpers Ferry, you know, could kill deer and turkey,
and they could get all the meat they wanted, squirrel and what have
you, but they couldn't get coffee and sugar. So they cut this high-
way out to go to Fayetteville to get coffee and sugar. But other-
wiseAthe garden vegetables and things, but they couldn't grow coffee
and sugar. So on this trip up there James Lowry got acquainted with
a girl named Bwcilla Bgrry and he married this girl and he come to
find out that she was a great-granddaughter of Henry Brry that came
over with John White. John White came over in about 1584 with a hun-
dred and fifty men, women and children. And among that group of a
hundred and fifty there was ^ one man on the vessel that happened
to be named Henry Barry. He was a Barry, and this great-granddaughter,
Priscilla BArry, was a descendent of this man that was in the, what
we call the lost colony, what people call the lost colony. The Lumbee
Indians don't call it the lost colony because we always knew where we
were at. So he married this girl, Priscilla BArry, and they had some
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children. And one of the boys was named William, and this boy William
he married a Cherokee Indian girl and they had a family, they reared
a family, and William had a son named Allan. Allan...
D: What was William's wife's name?
L: I don't remember William's wife, but she was a Locklear, but she was
a Cherokee. Some called her Leekl*e4 or what have you.
D: Do you think that the Locklears were Cherokee do you?
L: Yes, sir. We're sure about that because we can point them out if we
visit the Cherokee Reservation we can come back and find the same
specimen that we had in the reservation. That's also true with the
Brooks,-because I was up there with Kermit one day and they had a
clinic in the Cherokee Reservation and they were marching in a line,
you know, and we would name--there goes so-and-so, fa~^S-'^ Locklear
and on down, there goes Henry Brooks--and we were just there naming
them e ourselves and we could pick out a dozen or two Indians here
and take them up to the Cherokee Reservation and have a stranger come
and he couldn't pick them out. We'd have to close, you know, to
do that. But back to Allan Lowry. He had a son named Calvin and Calvin
had twelve children, him and ...he married, by the way, a Sampson.
Now there was a man came over with John White's colony named John
Sampson and there was a little boy in the same colony named John
Sampson. So my, one of my uncles was named John Sampson. They kept
that word John Sampson all the way down from White's colony on down
to my Uncle John Sampson. )/ou can trace them all the way back to the
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colony. So Calivin Lowry had seven boys and the seventh boy in the
family was named D. F. Lowry, the one that's speaking.
D: I see. Now what relation are you to Henry Brry Lowry?
L: Now Henry B(rry Lowry was my father's brother. I think he was the
baby boy. There was about eleven of those boys. My father, Allen
Lowry's family I think was eleven boys and possibly two girls.
D: Can you name some of them?
L: here was Steve and Murdpck and Birdie and PatricK and...
L: ...Tom, all the way down. You have to kind of look them up.
D: Yes, there was three of those boys who were with the Lowry gang,
Steve, Henry Byrry and Tom. I've often wondered why some of the
other boys didn't go with the Lowry gang. But we won't get into
the Lowry gang tonight. We'll save that for Nipen Tate. Now/so
actually you can trace your family tree back to how many generations?
L: We trace them back to possibly five generations at least.
D: I see.
L: Another connection you mentioned just now, one of the men with
the Lowry gang was Steve. Well, I had the two men painting with
me. By the way, they are white men from Maxton. They were painting
my church out at Collins Chapel last week, and they asked me about
a Lowry down below Whiteville, and they used to live down there many
years ago, they were sort of aged men, and they/named a man down there
and said, '7ow he was Steve Lowry's son, because he told me about his
Page 25. dib
father getting killed. He said that his father came in one night
and was lying down in the house playing with the baby, and there was
what they call a cat-hole in the door, a little hole cut in the cor-
ner of the door so the cat could go in and out--about everybody knows
about a cat-hole in olden times--and some man slips up there while
he was lying flat on his back playing with the baby, and shot him
through the cat-hole and killed his father. Well, he left and came
down here to Whiteville and he raised a family below Whiteville,
and they're still down there but they don't visit up in Robeson County.'T--
He says_..they went to the same church he went to and was great neigh-
bors. He says he thought a lot of this man, Steve Lowry's son, and
he had a nice family of boys and they were making good on the farm,
they're farmers. And I told him I was going, when I got through work
I was going down there and visit my kinfolks some day.
D: Well, Mr. Lowry, from what you've said here it seems to me that your
family tree includes English blood from White's lost colony, it also
includeA Cherokee blood and also Tuscarora blood. Is this correct?
L: Yes, sir. That's correct. The fact is there's about five different
Indian bloods here among the Lumbee Indians. You know personally I
think the Lumbee Indians is the greatest people in the world.
D: Yes, I do too. I believe you were responsible for that legislation
and the name Lumbee, but we don't want to get on that at this particu-
lar time. out we will later, Ahd we want to go through the various
names that have designated what is now the Lumbee Indians over the years.
We want to record that. How about Hatteras blood? Do we have any
Hatteras blood here?
L: Yes, I was going to say that this Priscilla Barry could tell about
the Indians all the way back. She had from her parents, you know,
she had heard them talking. She could tell about the Indians living
around Cape Hatteras 'and how they moved from Cape Hatteras on down
to what we call the Neuse River, and I went...by the way I went to
the Neuse River fishing one time and they was telling me about the
Indians test lived there. These Indians, these Lumbee Indians lived
on the Neuse River a long time. They was not known as Lumbee Indians
then. But they moved on down and lived on the Cape Fear River, and you
know, I have a letter dated in 1710 where a missionary found them
at Fayetteville and he wrote this letter back to England and he come
across a big colony of people mixed with whites, Indians and whites
mixed together and living together. Several thousand of them and a
lot of them had gone back towards the Great Lakes and others were still
moving down south about the LumberRiver. And we are the crowd that
moved on down to the Lumbe9 River, because when we were first discovered
here we were practicing the arts and crafts of European civilization
which made the visitors, the colonists that came in later and came
among us, knew that we were descendents of White's colony, because we
had these traits of the English and could speak the English language,--
4che only tribe that was found in the United States that could talk
English and practiceAthe arts and crafts of European civilization.
Page 27. dib
That's why we know that we are White's colony, not lost colony but
D: In other words as far as you're concerned the colony is not lost...
D: ...it is here.
L: Yes, right.
D: I see. What was your remark about the lost colony.
L: The lost colony, 'ser we've never been lost. We've always known where
we were. That just reminds me of the story. They said ta- bishop
and one or two bishops and district superintendents many years ago
was traveling down south and they came to where there was several
roads, not a cross-road but several prongs, you know. Five or six
prongs, and they stopped there and there was a little boy standing
there and they said, "Say, little boy, do you know the way to a cer-
tain town?" hey named the townr ye says, "No, I never heard of it."
"Well, where does this road here go?" "Well, I wouldn't know. Just
keeps going I reckon." "Where does this one go?" They asked him
several questions and one of them says, "Well, I bet you don't know
anything, do you?" He laughs and says, "I'm not lost." And so we
are here and we're not lost. We know all the way down from the time
Governor White left us to go back to get supplies. We went on down
and mixed with the Hatteras Indians and married among the Hatteras
Indians and came on down till we traced ourselves all the way down
to the Lumbee River. And this is a mixture of not just Whites' colony,
Page 28. dib
but other colonies who came over after White. They came and got in
contact with this same company until it grew up into several thou-
sand, as I stated the missionary's letter said. So we have a mixture
of other men coming in other tours coming after White, mixing with
this colony. So we know where we are.
D: When do you think the first Locklear settled in this area or is the
name Locklear an Indian name and was here when the Lowrys came, or
what do you have to say on this?
L: When James Lowry moved down here in about 1710 or '11, the Locklears
were here then. They were some of the oldest Indians. They can be
traced back -the Locklears and the BrooksOare among the oldest In-
D: What tribe are the Locklears?
L: The Locklears is mostly Cherokee. They got other mixtures. They
might have some Catawba Indian blood. There's about five Indian
bloods among them. The Brooks come near being f full-blood. You
could come here finding a full-blood Indian among the Brooks aIthink,
and Locklears would be second as a full-blood. And most full-bloods
are found among the Locklears and Brooks and on down the line.
D: Do you know of a Sam Locklear. That was ( (rd/o/1 Locklear. He's
still living today. Preston Locklear, Zach Locklear and Sam Locklear.
Did you ever...
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SIDE II/TAPE I
D: ...hear of Sam Locklear?
L: I'm not sure about Sam, but Gaston is related to me because Preston
Locklear married my Uncle Patrick's daughter, I think. They're
part Lowry, you know. That's one. You take Mr. Preston Locklear,
he would pass for a full-blood Cherokee if he was living, because
he had black nice hair and he had the features of a full-blood
Cherokee, Preston did. But his mother was my uncle's close rela-
tive, you know, to me.
D: I understand that he was, he wanted the name Croatan in 1885, be-
cause he was afraid if they named us Cherokees they would move us
to the West.
L: Yes, there was a whole lot of opposition to Cherokee. They liked
the word Croatan. The fact is there was Indians among our tribe
here that lived and died and still claimed Croatan. They never did
want .they wanted the name.Croatan.
D: Of course this name Croatan later was used in a way that the Indian
didn't like. Is that correct?
L: Yes, the real historical name, because White's colony moved down to
what was know as Croatan Sound. That's in _. United
States History says that they moved down to what was known as Croatan
Sound, and before they moved John White had told them if they had to
move to carve the name of the place where they/going on a tree so
he could trace them. And they carved the word Croatan on a tree,
meaning SIB they had moved down to Croatan Sound.