Excerpted from History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1883.
Lazarus Lowry came from the north of Ireland and settled in Donegal in 1729. He took up three hundred and thirty-three acres of land, now owned by the Hon. J. D. Cameron, about two miles from Marietta. He established a trading-post, and in 1730 took out a license to trade and also to sell liquor "by the small." His dwelling is still standing. He was remarkable for his energy, industry, and courage. He made frequent trips to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, taking his sons, James, John, Daniel, and Alexander, with him. He owned several small farms adjoining his first purchase. His second marriage was to the widow of Thomas Edwards. He died in Philadelphia in 1755, leaving Lazarus, Thomas, Benjamin, William, and Martha, children by her.
John Lowry traded with his father, Lazarus, among the Indians west of the mountains before 1740. He owned four hundred acres of land along the Susquehanna, which now embraces the farms owned by Col. James Duffy and Benjamin F. Hiestand, the upper part of Marietta, and the land north of the Maytown turnpike. He also owned in connection with his father the land extending from Maytown to the Colebrook road. In 1750 he purchased from David Magaw some three hundred acres of land at Carlisle, where he intended to remove to and establish a store. This purchase was made while he was on his way to the Ohio to trade with the Indians. When he arrived at his destination he found that the Shawanese and Delaware Indians were inclined to adhere to the French interest and were clearly hostile to the English. While he was seated near a keg of powder an Indian applied a match, and an explosion followed which killed him. He left a wife, Elizabeth, but no children. A curious incident grew out of this affair. On the 18th of August, 1750, Capt. William Trent wrote a letter to the Lieutenant-Governor, dated at Lancaster, in which he says, "A few days ago some of Lowry's traders came in from the woods. They had a Frenchman in company who says he was a French trader, and was put in irons and confined for disobeying the orders of the commander of the fort where he traded. He made his escape to the Picts, who were friends of the English. Some wanted to put him to death for a spy, others wanted him delivered to James Lowry, to be kept till the man that killed his brother John was given up. He's in Lowry's possession now." He was held as a hostage by Mr. Lowry in Donegal for some weeks, but when he found that keeping him in captivity would not compel the French to surrender the Indian who killed his brother John, he set the savage free.
James Lowry, son of Lazarus, married Susanna, daughter of James Patterson, the Indian trader. He bought several hundred acres of land along the Susquehanna River from James Logan, which was a part of James Le Tort's tract of nine hundred acres, a few miles above Marietta. He had great influence with the Indians along the Ohio, and he and George Croghan prevented some of the tribes from going over to the French. The French commander at Detroit offered a large reward for the arrest of those two traders. Lowry was compelled to abandon that field, and transfer his trade to the Catawbas, in Carolina. On the 26th day of January, 1753, when Daniel Hendricks, Jacob Evans, William Powell, Thomas Hyde, Alexander Maginty, and James Lowry were on their return from a trading journey among the Catawbas, and were encamped on the south bank of Kentucky River, about twenty miles from Blue Lick town, with a large stock of goods, skins, and furs, they were attacked by the French Caughnawaga Indians, and were taken prisoners. A few were wounded on both sides. While these prisoners were on their way to Detroit, Lowry made his escape, and returned to his home in Donegal. The others were not so lucky. Jacob Evans and Thomas Hyde were sold to Monsieur Celeron, the French commander at Detroit; the others were taken to Montreal. Jacob Evans and Thomas Hyde were sent prisoners to France. Powell, Jabez Evans, and Maginty were distributed among the Indians in the northern part of New York. Maginty communicated these facts to the Governor and Council of Pennsylvania, who sent Conrad Weiser to Albany to inquire about the matter, and if possible procure the release of the captive traders, all of whom belonged to Lancaster County. Weiser found that Jabez Evans was adopted by a squaw, and had some difficulty to get him away. All these traders except Lowry were financially ruined by their misfortunes. Maginty afterwards became prominent in Cumberland Valley.
In a letter which Capt. Stobo wrote when a prisoner at Fort Duquesne, dated July 29, 1754, he says that the Indians under John, a Mingo Indian, made an attack upon Lowry's traders at Gist's, and took Andrew McBrier, Nehemiah Stevens, John Kennedy, and Elizabeth Williams prisoners. Several persons were killed. Kennedy was shot through the leg, and was left at Fort Duquesne until he was able to be moved; the others were sent to Canada. The Indians demanded a ransom of forty pistoles for each. They were employed by James, Daniel, and Alexander Lowry. Their goods were all destroyed. These frequent losses were too much for James Lowry. He sold his land in Donegal, and moved away about the year 1758.
Daniel Lowry owned three hundred acres of land adjoining Hon. Simon Cameron's farm on the north. He afterwards sold this farm and purchased the one previously owned by his brother, John, who was then dead. His losses were very heavy in the West. When Col. James Burd had command of Fort Augusta (Sunbury), in 1757-58, Daniel Lowry had a fleet of bateaux, and supplied the soldiers with provisions. His brother Alexander purchased his farm on the 5th day of June, 1759. He moved to the Juniata. The late John G. Lowry, of Centre County, was his son.
Alexander Lowry was the most prominent of these brothers. He commenced to trade with the Indians about the year 1744. He had made frequent trips to the Indian country for his father and brothers before this and when yet a minor. He acquired the Indian language readily, and could speak the tongue of several tribes. He at once became a great favorite with the Indians, and participated with them in their sports, and hunted and trapped with them. He established trading stations at Forts Pitt and Carlisle, and employed men to visit various tribes and trade for him. He went as far west as Kaskaskia and Fort Chartres, on the Mississippi. Although he frequently went among hostile tribes, he never was molested but once by Indians, and then he only saved his life by his courage and fleetness of foot. After his father's death he purchased his mansion, farm, and other property belonging to his estate, and from that period accumulated large tracts of land, and notwithstanding his great losses by the Indians at "Bloody Run" in 1763, he steadily added to his wealth. His losses alone at Bloody Run amounted to over eight thousand pounds, and his subsequent heavy losses grew out of this affair by reason of money advanced to some of the other sufferers, and money expended to establish a title and get possession of certain large tracts of land in Virginia. He followed the Indian trade for more than forty years, and was much of this time interested with his life-long friend, Joseph Simons, an Indian trader, who resided in Lancaster. When these two men had passed their threescore and ten, they selected three friends, among whom was the late Adam Reigart, to settle their transactions, which had run through this long period. When they came before these friends they stated verbally (for neither had a written account) all of their transactions with each other. There was no dispute or difference between them, and then and there they made an arrangement of their affairs that could not be disturbed by their heirs had they been disposed to do so.