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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
1' LLUM 203A
INTERVIEWER: Adolph Dial
INTERVIEWEE: Reverend D.F. Lowry
DATE: August 1, 1969
D: This is August 1, 1969. Adolph Dial speaking. I am interviewing
the Reverend D.F. Lowry. This is the second of a series of in-
terviews. One was made two days ago, and today we begin by going
into the various names that have designated the present Lumbee
Indians of North Carolina. We have had several names by legislature
over the years, and Dr. Lowry is going to elaborate on the various
names and what he thought of each, and so forthL. lUh, Dr. Lowry, let's.
go back to the beginning here.
L: We were discussing White's Lost Colony, and there we said that they
we were tievv oI-f
were never lostnas lost to the historians, but we always knew where we
were. After White's colony came over in:1587,:they had to move away on
account of a storm, and theydesignated the place where they were going
by carving the word "CROATAN" on a tree. So it was understood, as they moved
they would designate the place where they would go to, so that when
White returned, he went back for supplies, and uh, food and so forth,
and when he went back to his home country, and was getting ready to
come back, he saw an invincible -arm approach,,and the question came up,
"Shall I stay and save my country?" They were going to make war against
his country. Or, "Shall I go back and save the 150 men, women, and
children?", and he decided to stay over and save the country, and then
come back so he was delayed a couple of years before he made his return
with his supplies and found that they had moved and left the word
"CROATAN" on a tree. He went down there in search for them, but he
couldn't find a thing, no sign where they had been molested, no broken
ne-brokene chests or anything. It showed that they must have mixed
with friendly Indians, and had gone out into the country. So ~
------ --- OF ULLd Stxtes writes a piece that says,
"In vain, in vain, their heartsick search, No tiding greets them more,
No record save that silent word, upon that silent shore." That's all
they had to go by, is that word "CROATAN" on the tree, but they
failed to find the people and they went back to England. So these
150 men, women, and children, intermingled with the friendly Indians
around Hatteras, and later on, they became known first as Croatan
Indians, because of that word "CROATAN". The Croatan Indians had
reference to2part-English. and rpaft ,Indian:i but. thnrriame: go tatlittle
misrepresented, and so they decided that once upon a time to change
and drop the word "croatan.' But back to the Revolutionary War, these
Indians worked along with the white people, up to 1775. Prior to the
Revolutionary War, the Indians and Whites were working and co-operating
together, and if you will find, if you will make a search in the archives
of Raleigh, you will find the names of the soldiers of the Revolutionary
War. You can go th the archives in Raleigh, and turn to the Federal Acts
of 1818 to 1832, and see uL, the Revolutionary War Pension File. No. 6732.
That's u, in the Revolutionary War Pension File in Raleigh. No. 6732.
And you'll find the names of soldiers among this Indian tribe, the Croatan
Indian tribe, as they were called. You'll find these names on the list of
the Pension File: John Brooks, James Brooks, Barry Hunt, Thomas Jacobs,
Michael / Richard Bell, Samuel Bell, Primus Jacobs, Thomas
Cummings, John Hammond, William Lowry, these are all listed in the
Pension File in the archives at Raleigh. You can look that up for
yourself. And then you will see the section,War No. 80030, and you.
will find that there was land issued to John'Brooks for his service in
I'"" '""'' ~' "`*' "" "'
Y* U. .rl Il----,,-iu-n
ru- u*lr rr ul.llur^. *r ui.l-
"-I -Y(II-LIY ^^IY_--U1
rr u-lrl -r-rc-*-
IL IY*. IY II---l-X
Townsend was talking to me a few years ago, at his office and he told me
about having the contract that Thomas Lowry and O Alforl
drew up, -. 7i P\forc( was a white man. Thomas Lowry was
fK, an Indian.
D: Where would this be at Pembroke State College?
L: This was if Pembroke State College in the room where they keep Indian--
D: Oh, yes. The'Pembroke Room s it wos K al o one L-;jire.
L: Yes. And it's marked "Property of Mr. Townsend ---- ". He, he
wouldn't take that off. He said if he ever wanted it, he would call for
it, so it's marked as his property. So we find that these Indians were
cooperating with the whites through the wars, the Revolutionary and the
War of 1812, and in 1835 when the schools were established, there was
a clause in the law that said free issues couldn't attend the white
schools. They would have to go with the coloreds and it was never in-
tended for these Croatan Indians, the judge said in Lunberton, but the
local officers deceived the Indians and told them it referred to them,
and they A' we'll grow up in ignorance, and so we'll go to a school
that doesn't belong to us. So, in 1835 for fifty years we.were without
schools, unless weAgo. Some few went to white schools, and some few
to Negro schools, but the rest remained-without schools for fifty
D: From 1835-
L: From 1835 th 1885, we were without schools, going along. Then, you
know the history of Hamilton MacMlllan. He's the man who took it up
and in 1885 he established Croatan College f, near Pes
and that school is theP g, the beginning of what is now Pembrokef
State University. Come from little Croatan College, a wooden building
two-story high, with about K, four rooms downstairs, and one upstairs
*^*' .""V ** "*
for --this upstairs was the assembly room for the commencement.
That was the regular place of ,g, programs.
D: What part did Moore play in this institution?
L: Mr. Luther Moore was'a...
D: W.L. Moore was it, huh2
L: W.L. Moore, I believe his name was William Luther, was it?
D: Yes, yes.
L: William Luther Moore, the ro-I" of the late Mr. Moore, the
father of the late Mr. W.L. Moore. And u, he was the founder,..Ie
was the main man that worked with the honorable Hamilton MacMillan
in getting up this school,,and hehelped to get the acre of land,
they' purchased an acre of land for ten dollars, and he got busy
and raised the money, and bought this acre of land and established
the first school. The people came together and donated timbers lnd
labor, and put up the building, and Mr. Moore was the head of the
entire program, in establishing the school and was its .first principal.
I think he taught two or three years in i, .the school after it was
established. Now White's colony, as you know, came over in August,
1587, and they moved from, for winter quarters this colony, asIr--
stated a while ago, Governor White had to go back for supplies,
and while he was gone -for two years they moved away. In 1887, it is
said that there came a storm up on the coast, and they moved out into
the country, and they were seen by Smith and Si.c r in 1607. They
were visited by John LOe-r in 1670 on the Neuse River, and then
they were visited again by John Blair in 1703, on the Cape 'Fear River. .
This was the trip moving down towards what is now Robeson County. Then, "'. ;
they settled here in Robeson in 1710, and they fought in 1711, the-- :
D: Was that when Colonel Barnwell came in?.
L: Yes,yf, Colonel, Barnwell. William Lowry married Betty Locklear. Her
father was one-half Tuscarora and one-half colonist. The uh, Betsy
was related to Lazy Will, as we mentioned a while ago, and was a
Cherokee Indian. James Lowry wa.... James Lowry,who was born in
England, the first Lowry coming over, he was born in England, and
came to what is now I believe Hampton, Virginia, in 1690, and he
had five children, three boys and two girls, and named one of the
boys James Jr. And this James Jr. Lowry came down to Robeson in
1710. And in 1731, he was given the first grant of land from King
George the Second, and in 1732 and '38.he was given other grants.
He received two or three grants. He married a girl named Priscilla
Barry. Priscilla talked with Reverend Blair, the man of 1703 that
we spoke about, and she told him of the voyage down, having heard
her father and grandfather tell the news about the trip. She was
"able to carry this news on down, and this is straight tradition.
This James Lowry, of course, he owned slaves. Uh, James Lowry, Jr.,
the son of the judge. The man who came in 1690 was made the first
judge of Virginia when it was made a state, and he married a Tuscarora
Indian woman, of which they reared five children, and this Boy named
James is the one who came to Robeson and settled at what is now
Harper's Ferry. So, this James Lowry owned slaves, and.....
D: Now, just a minute. This James Lowry came from what is now Franklin
County. Is that correct?
L: Yes, sir. He moved from, from uh, up in Virginia down to what is
Henderson, North Carolina, now I'm not sure uh. I believe that's the
county, but you can find records of him owning property and working
in Henderson, North Carolina.
D: In other words, James Lowry of Virginia moved uh, 'James Sr, of Virginia
moved out of Virginia, did he not?
L: No, he, it was his son. You see this James...
D: James Senior never did leave Virginia.
L: No, the judge never left, but his son, James Jr. is the man came down
to Henderson, and from there to Robeson County.
D: Well, now. You wouldn't know James.Sr.'s father, would you?
L: No. He came from England. I wouldn't have any record of him...
D: And who did he marry? Would you know who he married?
L: He married Tuscarora Indian woman. Now then. I said a moment ago
that James Lowry owned slaves. You will find in the record book at
Lumberton, one of the old record books in the courthouse, where it's
recorded that James Lowry, ,, owned slaves and ha willed five slaves
to his wife. Their names was Pete, Dick, t, Fanny, Dete, D...E...T...
E... is the way it's spelled in the book, and Bob. These are listed
"in an old book in Lumberton. The courthouse was burned one time, and
the big register in the courthouse failed to burn up, and it's still
reserved, and I checked in that book, and found the names of these
five slaves that James Lowry willed to his wife. And to his daughter
he willed two slaves.
D: What was his daughter's name?
L: His daughter was named Mary. His daughter Mary received two of the
slaves. And ., you'll find that in the book at around 1810, the
Book of Wills, of Wills at Lumberton that's been burned. You'll find
all that material recorded. William, James, and Thomas, he willed each
one of them 120 acres of land. You'll find that in that Book of Wills.
And Thomas is the one who sold a slave to Z'oA /r. in 1827.
So you see that these Indians were cooperating and working nicely with
the whites until the schools was established in 1835. Now,,there was...
L: 1885. Now, there was some of these Indians that's now known as Lumbee
Indians who remained members of the white churches, till they died. Now
there's one man, Vincent Revels I spent the night at his home, on
SaIl\e. ;e!. and he's a member of a white Baptist church, Szdcl/ Tre
Church until he died. And then I used to teach school down below
Fairmont and' I roomed with a lady, Sally Anne Hunt. And she, at that
time was a member of Wh;+eP---- white Baptist Church, and she died a
member of this white church. Allan Lowry was also a member of a white
church when he was young. So we see that these Indians were working
with the whites, cooperating until after the wars, the Revolutionary
War and the War of 1812. But when time come for the Civil War, then
they wanted to enlist these Indians to go and throw up -4e- bxderies
at Wilmington along with the colored people. And they said to the
officers, "We fought and gained independence from England for our
country here through the Revolutionary War."
D: Let's see now. Of course, it's before the Civil War, 1835. Of course,
they were disfranchised, and so forth, as a result of a- new consti-
tution, were they not?
L: They were disfranchised, not exactly by law, but...
D: In other words, some felt that it meant that.
L: Yeah, they were misled by sqme of the officials, because the law was
that 1, these free issues couldn't carry guns.
D: They were free issues from '35 to '85.
L: Yeah, considered that, but really was not, because they were misled
by local people. Now, the reason why they know that, they discovered that...
S. Locklear was told that the law didn't refer to our people who
fought through the wars and freed the country. It was a misunderstanding,
-.. 4 j .
and so, he carried his gun, and he was indicted and carried to
Lumberton to court, and the judge looked up the law and said to him,
"It didn't include you Indians ie.thAt law, didMgr? You go back and
tie your gun to that back axle of your buggy, and drive all over
Robeson County if you want to, and let everybody know that Indians
can carry guns. bw, that's what the judge instructed then at the
lawsuit, and they turned Mr. Locklear loose. That ensued for carrying
a gun..From then on, it was a different situation. But after that,
they established the school, for the Croatan Indians, because
Mr. MacMillan went back to England and got the roster of John White,
and found approximately forty names on the roster of John.White, that
was, was found among this tribe of Indians.
D: Did Hamilton MacMillan actually make a trip to England?
L: He went to England himself while heAsenator, representative at Raleigh.
Getting up this school, he made a trip to England, and found on the
roster of John White forty names among these Indians that was discovered
here about 1710. So they were designated as Croatan Indians in 1885,
and they kept that name for twenty-six years, Croatan Indians. But
people would make fun of that word "Croatan'" people that didn't know
the history of it, until they kindly got the majority of the people
against the Croatan name. The fact is, if a, a stranger came in here
to see a Croatan, if a good-looking Croatan went Y, they wouldn't
say anything, but if one didn't look so good, they'd say, "Yonder
goes one of 'em." And O Lace- ^ like that until they
decided to change their name. Then, for twenty-six years they remained
Croatans, until ln 1911, from 1885 to 1911, they were designated as
Indians of Robeson County.
D: No, correction uK... 1885 they were known as Croatans to 1911.
L: Yes, through 1911, which would be twenty-six years.
D: Yes, and then 1911--Indians of Robeson County, right?
L: Yeah, in 1911 they were named Indians of Robeson County. Well, time
passed on, you know how people are. They said, "Well, now, we're
county citizens. We don't like to be county citizens." And so, this
was before my time, u, personally, but I remember it. I was a young
boy, like, and 1911 to 1913 they were known as Indians of Robeson,
and then they put it in a bill to change them from Indians of Robeson
to Cherokee Indians of Robeson County. So they were designated then
as Cherokee Indians of Robeson County, in 1913, and they kept that
name for forty years, Cherokee Indians of Robeson County. So after
forty years, some of the nL people got to thinking about a, a better
name. They thought we could have a more historical name, because the
Cherokees in the western part of the state didn't like it, because we
had eur name. They thought when this bill was introduced that we were
trying to get their money, So the bill was to name us Cherokee Indians
of North Carolina, and the Cherokee senator got hold of it, and he
told-th. e Cherokee Indians, and they sent a delegation to Raleigh
and opposed the name Cherokee Indians of North Carolina, thinking
we just wanted their money, a share in their bounty. But they killed
the bill, and after they left,our attorney that was working for the
name Cherokee, says, "I'll tell you how we'll do. We'll change the
name from Cherokee Indians of North Carolina to Cherokee Indians of
Robeson County, and they canl1 do anything about it." And so they
passed the bill, and named us Cherokee Indians of Robeson County,
D: Now we were never known as Cherokee Indians of Nortt Carolina, were
L: Never known as that, they couldn't get tha Vill -By,- because the
Cherokees opposed it, and they cancelled the bill. So they named
us Cherokees of Robeson County.
D: Now Mr. Lowry, in between that time, before :the Lumbee bill of 1953,
there were severoA rnMv for a .5uaA bill, and the work of Mr.
Joe Brooks,and so forth. Could you say something about that?
L: Well, one would come up and they, wanted us to be named -5x ,
They come with different names and, and they would get out and collect
thousands and thousands of dollars from the people. The people would
uh, rally to it, and raise thousands and thousands of dollars thinking
they would get some kind of appropriation, you know, money.
D: Who was the leader of the SuLA bill, that was never passed?
L: Oh, I think Mr. Brooks, Mr. Brooks, aMr, Joe Brooks I Believe was
the leader of the SUCaJ- bill. There were several bills introduced
but, none of them could get by, because they didn't have any
D: Do you recall any others introduced other than the: LL1 bill,or
I mean, attempts made to a...
L: I think, ro Indian, something like. ro Indians.
D: Yeh, theaCeeo_ I think was what it was.
L: I think that they were trying to get some names, but the main thing
they were seeking there was money, a pension.
D: Now you're leading up from this period from 1913 to 1953,
L: 1953, okay.-
D: I see, in othhr words we were called Cherokee Indians of Rdbeson County
from 1913 to 1953, forty years. Is that correct?
L: Forty years.
D:. Now I believe, well, I'm quite sure, I went with you on your first
meeting working for this Lumbee Indian name, to Magnolia School. Isn't
that where you had your first meeting?
L: I think it was.
D: I remember going with you, and, of course, there was lots of opposition
in the beginning, but today everybody's quite proud of the name, so
suppose you tell us about what happened there.
L: Well, the credit.'u O ACl-O Q41, given to :.three men who debated it.
the Reverend L.W. Jacobs and uh, Judge iac la 1hi or who
was Judge of the Superior Court,some years ago, and myself, D.F.
Lowry. Us three, Y, all three of us were formally schoolteachers,
and we went up where they were having a big 'Su.A- dinner. We went up
on a car together. L.W. Jacobs, kAO r/,Jf and myself, and we said,
"Looka here. We should do something about all this raising money and
so. forth, and then get some historical facts,and.get a permanent name,
so we won't be striving so much *u(, trying to get a name. Get some-
thing that willbe permanent." So we discussed the Lumbee name. ,I, we
said that we thought the Lumbee name would be the right geographical
name that would work out and be successful.
D:. In other words, Lumber River at one time was known as Lumbee River,
was it not?
L: Yes. The Indians were supposed to call it, the Lumbee because of
black water. Lumbee means "black water." And that's why we give it
the name Lumbee Indians. Now, we got among the best citizens of the
county, we appointed K, a man to write a letter to our senators, We,
uh, we having written this.-letter, we. Vent to Mr. Harry..West Locklear,and
Reverend C,E. Locklear, and L.W. Jacobs and myself, we all signed this
letter and mailed to the senators about this Lumee bill. So we got the
thing in action by sending a nice letter to our senator and represent-
ative, signet by these men: Harry West Locklear, C.E. Locklear, L.W.
________________________________________',__________________________.' ^ *^. -a-
Jacobs, D.F. Lowry3 the four men who sighed the letter,that we would
like to have a meeting with them, and discuss this Luinbee bill. Then,
they gave us an appointment and we selected "f, a committee, what we
call a local legislative committee to meet with these senators, and
this committee was composed of D.F. Lowry, OrQnie Bullard, Linsay fcv-5/,
C.E. Locklear, Harry West Locklear, Fuller Locklear, L.W. Jacobs,
Luther Moore, Burt Locklear,E Bullard, and J.A. Wilkins. These
were the, our legislative committee to meet with the senator. and
representatives at Lumberton to get this bill in operation, So we
succeeded in getting legislative acts through the senator and
the representative. Now, this, this bill was debated.
D: Yes, I recall I was there, and you spoke for the bill.
L: Yes, we first, was ordered to have an election. Where is that little
D: There's your slip of the election, right there.
L: We were ordered to have ea, what we call an election.
D: You were ordered to have an election?
L: Yes, amd-rc, here was the rules and regulations for building an election
to determine the K, wishes of the majority of the Indians of Robeson
County relative to a permanent name for said Indians. And here was the
rules of the election: The ballot boxes will be open from 9 A.M. to
5 P.;. February 2, 1952. Rule 2: All Indians of Robeson County from
twenty-one years of age and up, will be allowed to vote in said election.
All are asked/to vote-for or against. Number 3: A polling place will be
arranged at all the Indian school buildings in Robeson County,.where
schools are now functioning, except in the town of Pembroke where we have
three Indian schools. There will be only one voting place established in
Pembroke and vicinity. Number 4: Three of the school committee at each
school are asked to volunteer their service as poll holders and
registrars. In case any member of a committee cannot attend the
meeting that thet, precinct communities may appoint an, substitute.
D: All'right, let's see. I believe a correction there. I believe it
reads, "In caseay member of a committee cannot attend, the re-
maining committee may appoint a substitute. ,
L: Yeah, the remaining committee may appoint...Pardon me, that's right.
Number 5: All eligible Indians are asked to vote at their nearest
polling plice. Number 6: The majority of votes cast in this election
shall determine the wishes of the Indians of Robeson County for a
permanent name. Number 7: The votes will be counted in every precinct
by the poll holders and registrars at the close of the election, 5 P.M.,
and the returns reported the following Monday, February 4, in the County
Commissioners of Robeson County.
D: Or, to the County Commissioners.
L: Yes, to the County Commissioners of Robeson County. Number 8: The
registrar will record the names of every voter and each. voter will be
allowed to deposit one ticket only in the ballot box.
Igap in tape occurs here]
The County Papers. I believe the election went about, about 2300 to
35. 2300 in favor of the name, and 35 votes against it in the whole
D: That wasj, February 2, 1952. 4- could pickup a Robesonian and get
that return. -
L: Get returns from every precinct.
D: I see.
L:. So the election gt over strong to about 2300 against 35, or 35.
'. *. ^ '.. *^ .^ /.C. ^ : *:'.
D: So, now you were ready for your fight in the legislature, having
the proof to show that the people of Robeson and adjoining counties
wanted the name, Lumbee Indians.
L: Yes, sir.
D: Now the adjoining counties didn't vote, but Yu you assume that they uere
also wanted this name also?
L: Yeah. They all seemed to be one-hundred percent for it, but they were
not in the election. I would like to call the attention to the fact
that the first census of 1790 gave j, just a moment here, I have got
a little .......The first census of 1790 showed that Robeson County
population was 5,356, and only twelve persons in the whole county
had ten or more slaves, and one Indian had three slaves. That was the
population of Robeson in 1790 census, 5,356, and ten people, ten whites
owned the slaves and one Indian. Wanted to call attention to that to
show that the Indians and the whites were working together. Now, we
are ready for the fight for the name. Of course, we had to appear
before the legislative committee, the senate committee in Raleigh,
and have the battle over, over that. Cut it off a minute.......
D: Uh, Dr. Lowry, I notice on your map here, I from which you have been
talking from, uE, a circle which designates something like a moon,
and then from this, something, another circle on top of this circle. What
does that designate?
L: Oh, if you remember in studying your astronomy, that the astronomers
say that the way Neptune was discovered, Uranus,in its circle around
the earth, when it got to a certain point, it moved out, it was drawn
out. Some centrifugal force would overcome the center al, and pull
the earth, the yi, star around Uranus. Uranus would be pulled offAthe
regular orbit, and would then come back to it, and they discovered
Neptune. So we use that circle to show that, the in 1835, for
fifty years they were nameless, and they had to work to changing names,
and so forth, and finally got back in the circle in 1953, when they
were named Lumbee Indians.
D: I see, very good.
L: Ha, ha. And that's what this circle represents. Now here's a little
D: Now, this 1953, where you, this act passed the legislature, the
North Carolina legislature. Now how about the United States Congress?
L: Now what happened, there was a few people, the thirty,-five, we'll
say, who voted against the Lumbee name, and wanted to -remain Cherokees,
they employed Judge ------ to represent their side of the bill at
Raleigh before the senate'committee. I've been told +het paid him
approximately a thousand dollars to keep us, keep the name Cherokee
and kill the Lumbee bill. And I was to represent the Lumbee bill,
and we had the speaking at Raleigh in the senate chamber and every
space was packed full; the gallery and every standing place was filled
up with whites, Indians and coloreds. Every standing place, and Judge
S--- --- came to me, and said, "Now, how do we conduct this-speak-
ing?" I told him just to anyway he wanted to I thought that, ,
he might speak thirty minutes, and I would speak thirty, and then he
would have a fifteen minutes rebuttal, and I'd have a fifteen minutes
rebuttal, and the judge says, "That's exactly how I thought we would
do," So the judge spoke his thirty minutes, and then I came behind him,
then he had his fifteen minutes rebuttal and I had my fifteen minutes
rebuttal, and so in making this speech. K, I had some historical
points that got us by pretty good. I told them that once upon a
time ujI the Methodists here had belonged to the Atlantic Mission
Conference, and we were in the Northern Conference and they sent a,.
a bishop came down to hold a conference out near olc-I and he
got off the train, that was before automobile days, he got off the
train at RcIj X and said "Is there a Cherokee church out here;
known as RSk-- or Bethel Church?" And they told him in _\__
there's a Croatan church out there named Bethel. And so they told
him the way out there, and so when we met, the pastor was my
brother-in-law, Reverend Rufus-Woodhbie. And this bishop from the
north said,"Now, Brother Woodkheee, youisa e pastor, and we're here
now to hold a conference among the Cherokee Indians. We would like
for you to say the Lordts Prayer in the Cherokee language."HehherLh
You could heard a pin fall on the floor. And uh, after a while,
the minister looked up at the bishop and said, "Bishop, I couldn't
do that. I couldn't say the Lord's Prayer in the Cherokee language."
Well, the Bishop paused a minute and then said, "Suppose you repeat
the 23rd Psalm in the Cherokee language?" And he paused a while, and
you could hear a pin fall on the floor again. I "as trying to show
why Cherokee was the wrong name!
D: In other words, you could ,*, you could repeat the 23rd Psalm in the
uh, Lumbee language, could you not?
L: That's what he wanted to know. He wanted to know after I was through
he said he'd like to heard the bishop if this was to come now to
ask somebody to repeat the 23rd Psalm in the Lumbee language. And I
tell them, the Lumbee was not a, language name, it was a historical
name, a geographical name. It had no reference to a tribal language or
a tribal, 3u different language you know, it was just geographical, just
like the Mississippi Indians, and the Catawba Indians, the Mississippi
Indians on the Mississippi River, and the Catawba Indians on the Catawba
uh, River, and the Hatteras Indians on Cape Hatteras, and so on, and
the Lumbee Indians on the Lumbee River. So I got by, the judge didA't
get anything on me,over that, but finally the bishop asked him, did
he know any of this Cherokee language? And he said, "No, bishop,
when we mixed with the whites we dropped this uh, this language. We
dropped the Indian and took up the white man's language. So I saw my
brother-in-law after that, I said, I wouldn't have let
them got by on my. with all that Congregational Church. full of people.
I would u, at least repeat the Greek alphabet. The Bishop would have
known what it was, but the congregation wouldn't have known,"d :
juS bowed my head and say "alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon,
zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda,mu,nu, xi,omicron,pi, rho,
sigma, tau, upsilon,phi, chi, psi, omega, amen' And the people
would have thought maybe that was. the Cherokee language, but the
bishop would have known better, and so we got by pretty good with
that. He didn't get anything on me about the language. We were
trying to demonstrate the fact that we had a name that would be
permanent, and I remember that I wound up my speech. by telling
about the calvary horse. A man that was doing delivery business
in the town, small town, went out to a sale one day, and he traded
his horse for a calvary horse, a trained horse, you know that had
been trained. But he didn't know that he was a trained horse, and he
brought him home, and bhen-he couldn't do anything with him, and the
next morning the man came down, and said,;'.'Mister, I want you to take
me to the depot, and it's six miles and we haven't got but fifteen or
twenty minutes." Well, he says, "I'm sorry, but I can't take you.I
traded horses yesterday. I traded my horse for an educated horse and
I didn't know it. A calvary horse, trained."' "Well," he says, "I
train these horses. Get him e-hater. I'll show you how it's done."
So they got out the horse, and he helped hook him up, and got up in
the buggy, aid the horse stood there, with his head dropped down, and
the man that trained horses said, "Attention!" And the horse straightened
up, and perked up his ears, and he said, "Charge!" And down the road
the horse went flying! He says, "Well, mister, you've got the very
thing to do delivery business with." "Yeah! I wouldn't take three
times what I paid for him. I'm thrilled!" And they got to the station,
the man says, "Halt!" And the horse stopped. So he got his whip, and
got out of thebuggy, and the man said, "Attention!" and the horse
perked up his ears, "Charge!" And down the road for home he went!
Got back home, rounded him up, he' says,"Halt!" He stopped. He got out
and then got his brush and he rubbed that horse down and he put him
et his table, and fed him good, he was just crazy about his horse.
The next morning a man came out there, "Say, I'd like you to take me
to the station. I you haven't got but about twenty minutes."
r qot 6e + erhe + hn'n l
"Okay, A. tke you there now. Comenon out here, and we won't,
it won't take us twenty minutes." He hdoked up his horse, and
said, "Attention!" The horse ptood up straight, and pricked up his
ears. "Chargel"3bwn the road he went! That was the next day I
understand. And that loit[ man driving the horse got to shaking
and trembling and shaking and trembling, and the passenger said,
"What's the matter with you, John?'What's the matter?" He says,
"I don't know, how we're going to stop him. I forgot that third
word. I don't know what it is to say to him to stop him. You better
get your grip and jump off, and the man got his grip, and he got
to the station and jumped off, and said that:the-last thing he saw,
that horse was going right on down the road! The man might have
A 20 pwh
thought of his word way down somewhere, but he said the last thing
he saw was that horse! And I said, "Gentlemen of the senate,. I want
you to say to this bill, 'Attention!' and then say, 'Charge!' and
forget about 'Halt!' and pass this bill here in Raleigh, and let
it go from here to Washington, and be passed as Lumbee Indians of
the United States of America!, and forget about 'Halt!4" And I
closed up and Mr. CLLler Moore was senator there, and ha walked
around to the chairman of the senate, and said "You might as well
put it to a vote right now,"and they put it to a vote and they
voted it unanimous to pass the bill.
D: Now, was the bill later introduced in Congress?
L: It was later introduced in Congress and passed, in,passed A both.
the House and the Senate. And we have the book, thje book of the
North Carolina Legislative Acts, that big, large book you'll
find that a bill, where had passed the House and the Senate at
Raleigh. And then you'll find also, the trace in \Washington where
it passed in Washington and was signed by the President.
D: That was in 1954, I suppose, when it went through. the U.S. Congress,
in 1953, the North. Carolina legislature passed it.
D: Now Mr. Lowry, as the name changed here over the years, I noticed that
the name for what is now Pembroke State University also changed.In other
words, we began with a Cherokee normal, no excuse me, a Croatan normal
college, that s what's on your diploma up there on, in the year 1905.
And then the school was called jCtd' normal, I noticed this on the-
L: After it was moved.
D: Yes, after it was moved to the present site, u., the normal.
And then later Cherokee Normal, and later Pembroke State College for
Indians, and then Pembroke State College, and then Pembroke State
University here in 1969. ,, is this correct?
L: Yes, that represents the changes as the names were changed along.
D: Yeah, the names were changed along, if, of course, the college changed
its name also. We'll have to look into the dates of all this, of
course, but this won't be a difficult task.
L: I have a little clipping I would like for you to read, yourself, that
I clipped out of a paper, uh showing 1/4 of the Indians, uh, 1/4 of
the people in Robeson County.at one time were Indians. Please read
D: "The most conspicuous oddity to a visitor, and one which immediately
sets it off from every other county anywhere is the fact that a
fourth of its population is comprised of Indians. Not the expected
Indians, either, with feather and beads, but white Indians, who
were living like whites when first discovered, yet preserve their
racial integrity, and so mysterious in origin that they do not
even have a name. Some believe they are descended from Sir Walter
Raleigh's Lost Colony. In Robeson, are more Indians than in any
other county in eastern America."
L: Yeh, that was a clipping I clipped out of some. historical paper,
D: That was prior to the Lumbee name.
L: Yeah, prior to the Lumbee name,yes. Since the Lumbee name, we hadn't
had much, much clipping. My daughter, she--sh was a graduate of the
University of Iowa, in Des Moines, Iowa. She got hex-master's
degree; and. she. was.'comingihome one time, and she picked -up a magazine,
and this was way prior to the name Lumbee. And the magazine said that
if you're visiting south, go to North Carolina, and uh, if you're
going down, in the, if you're going from the western part, stop
at uh, Chimney Rock, and look around, and go on down towards Char-
lotte, and view the mountains, and when you get down to about
Lumberton, North Carolina in Robeson County, come back up to Pem-
broke, and you'll find a colony- of people there that don't seem
to know who they are. Thea.people don't seem to know, they know who
they are, I imagine, but the people don't seem to know who they are,
and where they are from, and qeCd -LOika c they are fine
looking people but6 they don't seem to have a name. These are
the things that cause us to desire and proceed to get a permanent
name as Lumbee Indians, so that we could have a good background,
and not have these issues like that printed in magazines.
D: It seems today that 100% of the people go along withthe name
Lumbee, and of course, this name was given ,p, well, due to the
clan rally in when, 1958, I believe? Somewhere in January, 1958?
This name Lumbee went all over the world, and telegrams came in
from all over the world, supporting the Lumbee Indians, putting
Catfish Coje on the rung, when we had the clan rally, and
actually the group was never widely known, i, all over'the-United
States, until this clan rally. Don't you feel this did a lot to make
the people really known and the Lumbee name known?
L: Why, sure. Prior to the Lumbee name we, we didn't have white students
Attending the college, but after we got'a permanent name, the legislators
didn't mind making arrangements for the whites to enter the schools, but
prior to the Lumbee name, you didn't have white people coming. The school
was only about 150 on enrollment each year. But after we got the Lumbee
name, the legislators passed an act admitting the white people to
come. And so people is afraid of a crowd that hasn't got a name, you
know. VC if a man is selling shoes, or hats, or anything, and )h, they
ask him, "What brand of shoes or hat is that?" He don't know,
"This shoe hasn't got any name," he couldn't sell it, so we couldn't
sell the school o-thea, we got a permanent name, and now, about cf,
I don't know, ni---, werLe up yonder towards ninety percent of the
enrollment r, Mr. Dial would know aboutApercentage of white today,
since the name.
D: Oh, I suppose uh, out of a total enrollment of, during the regular
session it's 1500, there's probably less than 200 Indians.
L: Well you see,;that this big change came around and now we got a way
above a million dollar pla- out there, one of the wonderfullest
schools in all the country. It' uh, it's supposed to be the fastest
growing school in North Carolina, andf, we think the Lumbee name
had a lot to do with that because it.............
ITape had to be turned over]
...it gave us some status; 'some permanency '
D: Well, thatk you, Mr. Lowry. We will continue this conversation l or
this interview later on other tapes. We will go into the third, tape and
maybe the fourth one. We certainly want to do something on the church,
and also something on the Lowry aq This is Adolph Dial, winding up
his interview with the Rev. D.F. Lowry, a well-known Lum3aee. Indian leader
for many years, and a very successful educator and also a successful
minister, and we'll see you later on another tape, A signing off,