Lowe Family Group Sheets
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Lowe letters and family story

My grandfather's father was possibly of the minor English aristocracy and

came from Ireland.  He discusses what he knew of his family background in

his letters below, including a family crest, which my mother, knowing

little of the rest of her ancestry, which is chalk full of nobility,

aristocratic families and crests, went to great pains to track down. I

found the English aristocratic Lowe family crest which he describes to the

letter, complete with the motto "We hope for better" very quickly with no

trouble. A number of branches of that Lowe family have this crest and

motto. However, the fact that they found a Lowe family crest does not mean

our family was of this family; Lowe comes from "Law" and meant "hill", and

there were Lowe, Low and Law families all over England.  The aristocratic

family believe themselves to be of Norman stock, but that cannot be

proven.  They seem to have jsut appeared on their little "low" or hill one


The history of Joseph Lowe's grandfather is vague and knowledge of who his

parents were or where they came from is lost.  Their attachments and interests,

though, strongly suggest an English background. They belonged to the Church of 

Ireland, and Henry Nathaniel is said to have been a Mason like his son Joseph.

According to Joseph Lowe, his grandfather, Nathaniel Lowe, worked as secretary 

or agent to "Lord Tottenham". Someone told me this Lord Tottenham was a 

powerful member of the Irish Parliament, but this person had his dates off, as 

that Lord Tottenham was a good eighty years earlier than any Nathaniel Lowe

could have been serving when he married probably around 1836 a year before the 

birth of his first child. The current descendent of this Loftus Tottenham says 

he doesn't believe Nathaniel Lowe worked for his ancestor.  Nevertheless, if 

Nathaniel Lowe did work as a secretary or agent, which many middle class young 

men did, he must have been of English family, atleast lower middle class and 

atleast fairly well educated.  

Nathaniel had brothers. Joseph Lowe writes that several went to Ballarat, 

Australia. According to people on the Australia genealogy lists, the one reason

why people went to Ballarat, Australia at the time when these people would

have gone is to look for gold. Without more information it is impossible

to pin them down because a great many people named Lowe headed for

Ballarat around that time to look for gold!  One not unlikely looking Lowe

became a grocer, as did quite alot of people, because at that time this

required only a wagon and a very small amount of capital.  

Joseph Lowe's letters are full of aristocratic pretensions, some of them

inaccurate descriptions of his own grandparents!  I have pretty well disproven

the notion that Catherine Allan was of the Scottish-Canadian Allan steamship

family.  Unless their name is mispelled, which is not even highly unlikely,

there were no wealthy and respected landowners named Allan in County Galway nor

in County Clare atleast by the 1850's when Griffin's evaluation was done.  The 

Lowe ancestors are supposed to have both been aristocratic and come from

Suffolk.  The former idea dates atleast to Joseph's father who spent quite alot

of time in one of the places where aristocratic records are kept in Great

Britain putting something together that his son had lost.  

Joseph Lowe wrote rather bitterly that his father made alot of money and

lost it and was robbed.  It appears that in the late 1970's to 1881, Joseph

Lowe was extremely ambitious.  He had his fingers into every kind of financial

pie imaginable and prospered exceedingly well.  He had begun as a law clerk in Enniskillen. He served as a "clerk of the peace" or court clerk during his 

entire career in Enniskillen.  Family records

show he married Mary Dixon from Fanet Head, Donnegal, in 1861 or 1862. (He

is supposed to have been born in 1837 or 1838, more than 13 years before

any of his siblings.)  Henry Lowe also published the Fermanagh Directory,

which was recently republished as a nineteenth century Fermanagh resource.

In this directory he lists himself as a printer and bookseller and as

agent for several businesses.  It seems he also sold groceries, and his wife

sold shoes!  Further, he published one of County Fermanagh's two main newspapers

for a time, and a County Fermanagh business directory that has been republished

because it is a valuable historical resource.  He ran into conflicts with

several people in the town including a doctor who sued his paper for libel,

possibly for being on the wrong side of a class struggle that the two newspapers

took opposite sides on.  He financially overextended himself, and altogether,

he went bankrupt.  In the process, he embezzled money from the feudal estate

of rental properties that he managed for a committee of the town's leading

citizens.  When they went to see him about it they found him in bed, too ill,

apparently with depression, to get out of bed.  I suspect bipolar disorder in

this family, as the former behavior is classically manic, his son Joseph is

said to have cracked up, his version of his family history is as imaginative

as my cousin Joe's, and he married a woman who probably had a serious mood

disorder and whose father probably had it before her.  Her father seems to have

been an upwardly mobile if stuck as a clerk man and rather pretentious, being

listed as a "collector" in old age, and he died of alcoholism.  She herself

is described as having a violent temper that outshone her son's wife's mother's

bipolar family and his wife's notorious bipolar temperament.  She died in middle age in an insane asylum, psychotic.  People with bipolar disorder and family histories of it tend to marry each other.  


Henry Lowe's wife died in 1881, and two of his sons probably between 1877 and 

1882.  They were late teens/ age 22 at the time. It appears that they and Mary 

Lowe all died of TB. After the paper went bankrupt, HEnry Lowe went to Clonmel,

Tipperary County, where he was a clerk of the peace, and he died htere in

1904.  A clerk of the peace was basically a court clerk.  More information is in

Dundas' Enniskillen, parish and town (1912) as well as in McCanny's book.

A local committee took over the Fermanagh Times, and it lasted atleast on

an off and on basis until the 1940's.  Mary Lowe

and the two boys are buried in the Church of Ireland (Anglican)  cathedral

graveyard. The church was called the Enniskillen Parish Church and now is

called St. Macartin's Cathedral.  Since smaller Anglican churches were all

over Enniskillen, Henry clearly was also pretensious and High Anglican

about where he went to church.

Letters from Joseph Lowe to his son, Allen Lowe

April ll, 192_

Dear Allen:

The picture of your Father signed by him on the back was taken in Montreal.

He was about 20 years old at the time.  He never considered it a good

picture.  (I think my aunt may have that picture.)

The photo of your Grandfather Henry Nathaniel Lowe - It was taken at about

the same time as your Father's.  It's a very bad Photo.  

The photo of your Great Grandfather Joseph Dixon and your Great

GrandMother is about the year 1876.  (I don't know if those pictures


Your Great Grandmother's maiden name was Mary Groves. Joseph Dixon had a

farm at Fanet near Fanet Head Letterkenny - Your Great Grandmother is

buried at Fanet - They  were very strong Presbyterians and it is probable

that she is buried in that Churchyard. - Your Great Grandfather after her

death visited his daughter Elizabeth BArr at Clough Jordan Tipperary -

Died and was buried there.

Your Grandmother Mary Dixon was married to Henry N Lowe at Tempo near

Enniskillen.  (All of this was transcribed by my mother onto those family

group sheets.)  Died in Ennniskillen 1881 and is buried in the Church of

England Graveyard at Enniskillen - Your Great Uncles Nathaniel Lowe,

Richard Lowe are buried at the same place.  

Your Great Grandmother Katherine Allen Lowe wife of Nathaniel Lowe is

buried at Inch Abbey near Downpatrick. 

Your Great Grandfather Nathaniel Lowe is buried at Belfast County Antrim

Shankill Cemetery (wording of that is correctly transcribed).  About 1867

or 1868.

(This letter was hastily scrawled in cursive. The next is neatly printed.)

153 East 15(?)th st NY

March 16 1923

Note that this is written in the year he died - and it is my

guess it probably indiciates where he died, which is not in the

family records.  

My Dear Son:

I was pleased to receive the pictures of Barbara, your wife and yourself.

I think that the baby looks like both sides of her family.  But there is a

great deal of you, as an infant, in her make-up.  It seems but yesterday

that you were toddling round the home in Allston as Barbara is today.  It

is a long way back but the memory of your babyhood is very strong with me

as I look on you at the age that I was then.  

Supplementing the information about your progenitors it is more than a

misty remembrance of a story that some of the Lowes of your

great-grandfather's generation went out to Australia and went up country

somewhere around Ballarat and thrived greatly.  If your great-granduncle

Stephen was one of these and then returned to County Monaghan I do not

know.  But it is a very dim recollection with me; a visit of his with a

daughter to us in Enniskillen.  As a matter of fact the stories of our

family centered on your great-grandmother who was as handsome a woman and

as full of race pride as an egg is full of meat.  You throw back to her

side of the family - the Allans or Allens of Arran and Galway.

In describing the crest I forgot to include the fact that the Boar's head

surmounted a castle, which was evidence of knighthood in the family.

However it is so far back that one does not worry about it.

I do not remember Grand Mere in my days of Montreal though I knew all

about the outlying points from tramping round on snow-shoes.  I presume

you are in the paper pulp industry as your Aunt Hattie once told me.

Your picture looks as though you were big and husky.  I never thought, when

you were a child that you would ever be tall [he wasn't] but all your

grandfather Lowe's folk were over six feet tall, except father.  He was a

shortest of the lot.

I would like to have a bigger picture of you and Helen if you have any to

spare.  Your wife is a most attractive looking girl and, from what I have

heard, is as good as she is pretty.  I hope some day to see her and

BArbara.  It is nearly 20 years since I have been in Montreal and in all

that time I have never heard of your second cousins Dr Jim, May and

Jennie.  Jim was then giving great promise as a surgeon.  Their mother was

one of the best friends I ever had and her sisters and brothers were also

very kind to the raw Irish lad I then was.  There were Beckie,Lizzie and

the young Bella, Bob and Tom (two of the handomest men in the Province).

I often wonder if they are living or dead - this I do know that they were

all very good to me.

When Albert was in the East last summer I saw a little of him but he

dropped out and I presume is in California.  It is strange I never saw

Murray Williams in the 35 years since he lived with us at the Cote des

Neiges home.  Well.  Well.  How time flies.  

Tell Barbara I believe she is a goo-girl and hope she will grow up better

and better every day in every way.  So as Tiny Tim said:  God bless us


Your loving


153 East 18th St New York

February 7. 1923

My dear only son:

The Lowe heirlooms were few and well distributed.  The family bible was

entrusted to Louie.  The watch I sent to you years ago.  His Masonic

regalia I sent to the trust of the Broklyn Masonic veterans, the

bloodstone chapter pin was given to Mollly and the master's seal ring I

wear and will in its turn be given to you.  The brass with the impression

of the Lowe crest and motto was most unfortunately mislid but is easil

replaced and will be as soon as I can come across the impression which is

somewhere among my papers.  It is simply a boar's head surmounted by a

spike (the head faced to the left, the tongue protruding like a dart).

The squire's base in in the usual barber pole line and the motto is "spero

meliori" which in liberal interpretation is "We hope for better."

Now as to you genealogical tree.  The Lowes were of English origin and the

first Lowe of our branch of the family traced to the main root of Lowefolk

in Suffolk.  The further we go back the less reason there seems to be for

vainglory and pride for I believe our ancestors nubmer one most despicable

villain in Sir Hudson Lowe who made the Life of Napoleon a misery. [My

family has misinterpreted this statement to mean he is saying this is a

direct ancestor, which everyone realizes is not so, and is not possible,

since Sir Hudson Lowe and Nathaniel were something like comtemporaries.

He means the family in general wasn't that honorable, in his opinion.]

Another knight of the name Sir Robert Lowe is best remembered by being the

man who drafted the corn laws, so obnoxious and oppressive to the farmers

of Great Britain.

[There was a Lowe family in Suffolk; if ours were of that family

they were not of the aristocratic family. The name came from

a Saxon or Celtic word for "hill" (law), and from a German

word for wolf. Lowe is not uncommon a name in either England or


My own knowledge of our family was of your great grandfather Nathaniel

Lowe, who must have died before I was born but of whom anyway, I have no

personal recollection.  He was a scretary or agent for Lord Loftus

Tottentram (I called his descendant, no recollection or mention of

Nathaniel Lowe in his papers, I THINK he checked)  and settled in a town

called Manorhamilton in County Leitrim, one of the component parts of the

western province of Connaught.  His duties carried him to Galway and there

he met a noted and ratehr self willed young lady named CAtherine Allen,

who at a tender age (about 16 married handsome Nat Lowe and thus founded

the Irish Lowe family).

As issue of the union came Henry Nathaniel Lowe, your grandfather, Kate

(later married in Ireland to an inspector in the Royal Irish Constbulary

named Clingen and after his death to Frank H. Pierce of Hyde park, near

Boston, Mass).  William who emigrated to Newark, N.J. in the early

seventies and who is survived by children - how many.  I do not know.  I

only saw him once in this country.  Elizabeth who married and survives

Samuel Rea but whom I have never had a line from nor seen since her

marriage in about 1878 or 79. An aunt of mine named Alice who must have

died befroe I was born.  Nathaniel Edward who died at the age of 22 or

therabouts and Richard Stephen who died before reaching his majority.  

There was a brother - maybe more - of a family of your great grandfather

known as Stephen Lowe of Tyrell's Pass (which I believe is in one of the

northern counties of Leinster)  My ideas of him are very hazy and in fact

beyond your grandfather I know very little as I was too young when I left

Ireland to bother about ancestors.

You have two Aunts in Ireland.  Henrietta Elizabaeth Lowe, spinster, who

lives with Louise Maud (Lowe) Quinlan (her married name) the wife of

Robert Quinlan of Cavan, County CAvan, Ireland.  Your other two Aunts are

Kathleen and Mary Helen.  The latter married to Thomas H Brennan and

living at 47 West Cedar St. Boston Mass.

Now the Allens from which we descend were freeholders and most respected

people who owned lands and rights on the coast of Galway. They were

originally of French extraction (the name spelled Alleyne) and Grandma

often told me went ti Ireland at the time of the Papist persecution in the

time of Mary or some of the James dynasty.  The Allens were of the first

families of Galway and from them sprung the famous Allan steamship

organization throught Hugh and Andrew who left Ireland and settled in

Glasgow in Scotland.  

When your grandfather had made a lot of money, which he afterwards lost

and was robbed of, he spent considerable money in the college of heraldry

in research into our antecedants, I don't know what ever ahppened to the

papers and to tell you the truth I never gave them a thought till I got

your letter.

On the maternal side our great grandfather was Joseph Dixon who was of

purely Scotch descent, the family, I believe, coming from Paisley, just

outside of Glasgow. He married Mary Groves, of English Extraction.  They

lived in Coutny Donegal - bon the Banks of famous Lough Swilly, an ____ of

the sea which was, during the war, the base of the Allied navy.

Their issue was James, Robert, Elizabeth, Mary (your grandmother) Joseph,

John and Baptist.  The first two lived and died bachlors.  Elizabeth left

at least a son and daughter in Ireland, where I do not know.  Joseph went

to Montreal and all his life was in the BAnk of Montreal being survived by

May, James and Jenny.  John and Baptist were in Dublin and what the family

that survives them I do not know but your aunts do.

None of the family that I know of, on either side have ____ records though

probably deserving of them.  

I am glad Barbara Anne - a beautiful name - shows her Irish breeding and I

am hopeful taht a second Allen Arthur may come to grow up with her.

Your Autn Hattie, the last time I saw her - over two years ago, spoke very

highly of the sweet girl you married.  At that time she promised to get me

a photograph of you in your uniform but I have never heard from her since;

probably because she had not my address.

I hope I have given you the information you asked for and that your wife

and all my own flesh and blood in the family will have health and

prosperity.       Things have not been well with me for some time but I

have faith in the motto of the family "Spero Melliori."

Your loving


(Last sentence and signature increasingly smudged).  

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