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William Martin Lowe

William Martin Lowe was born January 27, 1838, in the town of Williamburg, Blair County, Pennsylvania...the first child of Cornelius Lowe and his first wife Sarah Elizabeth Condron. Cornelius Lowe was born in Barrow, Derbyshire on May 26, 1812. Sarah was born on April 15, 1811, the daughter of Jacob Condron and Elizabeth (Lockhard) Condron. Sarah bore Cornelius one other child before her death in 1840.

Cornelius' second wife was Mary Ann Condron, Sarah's sister, who was born February 8, 1818. Nine children were born to this union before Mary Ann died in 1867.

In February of 1869 Cornelius married his third wife, Rebecka "Rebecca" (McCloskey) (Irwin) Lowe. Cornelius had 2 children by Rebecka. Cornelius died in Smicksburg, Pennsylvania on July 15, 1880. Rebecka lived until November 29, 1919.

When a small boy, William moved with his parents to Smicksburg, where he lived until the age of 20. In 1858 he moved to Calhoun County, Iowa with his uncle, William Condron. When the Civil War began, he enlisted in the Union Army on August 12, 1861. William served in the Second Iowa Cavalry until his discharge on October 3, 1864. That same year, he went back to Pennsylvania, living near Oil City. He later returned to Iowa where his Uncle William still lived.

On September 7, 1869 he married Lavina Kelly Jack at Yatesville, Calhoun County, Iowa. Lavina, born December 10, 1843 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, was the daughter of Leslie and Barbara (Negley) Jack. Barbara was the daughter of Felix Negley, and a cousin of Sarah Jane Negley (who became the wife of Thomas Mellon, and mother of Andrew Mellon).

William and Lavina had two children while living in Calhoun County: Cornelius Leslie (born October 10, 1870) and Vivia Luna (born May 3, 1872). The family then moved to Ida County, Iowa, where 2 more children were born: Nettie Elizabeth (born June 22, 1874) and Charles Murfin (born March 31, 1876). Later in 1876, William moved his family to Benton County, Oregon, located in the Willamette Valley. In August of that year, they lost their second born, Vivia. She died at the age of 4 and is buried in Corvallis, Oregon.

While in Corvallis, two more children were born: Margaret Celena (April 12, 1878) and Mary Arminta (July 3, 1882). The damp western Oregon climate did not agree with Lavina and they moved again, this time settling in Burns, Harney County, Oregon. We do not know the exact date of this move, but tragedy struck the Lowe family again. On March 30, 1888 Lavina died, followed by the death of their son Charles on October 28, 1888 and daughter Margaret in November 1888 (There are 2 dates recorded for Margaret's death: November 4 and 11th. The headstone erected much later at the Mt. Zion Cemetery in Winona, Idaho indicates November 4). Lavina (Jack) Lowe was a well-educated woman, and taught school to supplement their income while living in Corvallis and Burns. Her death is recorded as being from "consumption". These three family members are buried at the old Burns Cemetery in Burns, Oregon. There are no records because of a fire. It is presumed William could not afford stone grave markers at the time, as the graves were marked with wooden markers...none of which exist today. To compound matters, the City of Burns later moved many of the older graves to make way for a golf course. Since there were no records, there is no record of which graves were moved. The only records of the death of Lavina and her son, Charles, are from obituaries in the March and October issues of the Burns newspaper, which are preserved at the local library.

About now, William had had enough of Oregon, and moved what was left of his family to the little town of Winona, Idaho County, Idaho...near Grangeville. The exact date of his removal to Idaho is not known but, according to his obituary, it was in the fall of 1893. He homesteaded some land in Winona and farmed until 1908. About 1900 he donated a piece of land for a church and school to be built. The school was named "Hopewell School" and the church was named "Hopewell Presbyterian Church". It was later renamed Mt. Zion Church and Cemetery. I quote from an article written by Lillian Pethel, a correspondent for the Lewiston/Clarkston newspaper of July 19, 1964 regarding the old Mt. Zion Cemetery: "How old is the cemetery - nobody knows. There is a burial date of Aug. 5, 1876, on a shaft marking the burial site of V.L. Lowe".  In actuality, the shaft was erected by William Lowe after he came to Idaho in 1893, and had donated the land for the cemetery in 1900. The inscriptions on the shaft are the names, birth dates, and death dates of his children and his wife. The dates are NOT burial dates.

Mr. Lowe also lost his first-born, Cornelius "Neil" Lowe in a logging accident near Grangeville in 1898. Neil was first buried in the Grangeville Cemetery but in 1910, according to a Disinterment Permit issued to William Lowe, he was moved and re-buried at the Mt. Zion cemetery monument his father had erected as a memorial to his lost family. It appears the cemetery dates nearer to 1900 than to 1876. There is no evidence that William attempted to move any of the family that were buried in Oregon.

William Lowe gave up farming in Idaho in 1908 and became postmaster of the local Winona Post office, serving a total of 11 years. In the winter of 1919/1920, he came to California and spent the winter at the Soldiers home in Sawtelle (near Los Angeles), as well as in the city of Compton. In 1926 he moved to Riverside, California, where he had a small strawberry and peanut farm until 1931. At that time he sold the farm and moved to Willowbrook, California, where he lived with his youngest daughter and her family, Mrs. William Nissen, who had migrated from Winona to the Compton area in 1922. His fourth child, Nettie Elizabeth (Lowe) Huntley passed away in 1932.

At Willowbrook, he kept a few chickens. One day he went out with a bucket to feed them. Upon leaving the chicken house, he tripped and fell...landing on the bucket with his chest. Complications of this fall caused his death on January 21, 1933, six days before his 95th birthday. He was interred at the Angeles Abbey Mausoleum in Compton, California. He was one of four surviving members of Shiloh post No. 60, G.A.R, of Compton.

source -  Generously donated by S.R. Evans...who would like to hear from fellow researchers of this lineage. Thank you, Mr. Evans!
nbsp; Mr. Evans' wife, Louise M. (Nissen) Evans, is the grand-daughter of William Lowe and Lavina Jack.


This page last updated: May 4, 2003


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