HON. ALEXANDER K. LOWRY was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, November 7, 1829, a son of Joseph Lowry, a native of Franklin county, Pennsylvania. The paternal grandfather, Adam Lowry, was a native of Ireland, but was the descendant of Scotch ancestors; he emigrated to America, accompanied by his family about the year 1780, and settled near Chambersburg, Franklin county, Pennsylvania; he died at the age of ninety-five years in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania. His son Joseph learned the blacksmithing trade, but engaged in agricultural pursuits in Armstrong county, where he had settled previous to his marriage; he bought a tract of timber land, cut out the trees to make a spot for the erection of his cabin, and also built a shop where he followed his trade in connection with his farming; he there spent the remainder of his days, his death occurring in 1853. He married Elizabeth Kerr, a native of Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, and a daughter of William Kerr, who was born in the north of Ireland, of Scotch ancestry; he settled in Pennsylvania after landing in America, and he and his wife there spent the remainder of their days.
Alexander K. Lowry was reared and educated in the county of his birth; he taught school one term in Indiana county, Pennsylvania, and in 1848 and 1849 was engaged in clerking in a country store. From 1850 to 1853 he was bookkeeper for the owners of the furnaces in Bedford county, and from 1853 to 1855 he was clerking. Before the end of the latter year he emigrated to Iowa, going via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Keokuk, and thence by team to Poweshiek county, being one of the first settlers in Grinnell. At that time there was not a mile of railway in the State of Iowa; the central and western portions of the State were very sparsely settled, and the Missouri river bounded the frontier. Mr. Lowry began business by opening a hotel and soon after was appointed Postmaster upon the establishment of an office at that point. He remained at Grinnell about a year and a half, and then went to Pennsylvania, the home of his youth. It was not long, however, before he emigrated to Dakota county, Nebraska, where he purchased a claim of Government land and on which he remained six months. Returning to Grinnell at the end of that time he embarked in mercantile trade, and also began the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1858, and soon after came to Macomb, Illinois, where he engaged in practice until 1861; in this year he removed to Mount Sterling, and devoted himself to legal work until 1864, when he made a trip to California, going via the Isthmus. Arriving in the Golden State he opened a hotel, which he kept for three years at Marysville, and then came back to Illinois, the return trip being made via the Nicaragua route.
Mr. Lowry has been twice married; in 1855 he was united to Sarah McCartney, a native of Indiana county, Pennsylvania, who died in 1870. Mr. Lowry's second marriage occurred in 1872, when he was united to Martha J. Means, who was born one mile from Mount Sterling, Brown county, Illinois; she died in February, 1888. Two children were born of the first marriage, Clara B. and Hattie; the latter is the wife of James L. Gray, and has one child, Mary Vivian.
In politics Mr. Lowry affiliated with the Democratic party until 1869, but since that time be has supported the principles of the Republican party. He was elected County Superintendent of Schools in 1861, was County Treasurer in 1863, and in 1886 was elected a member of the State Legislature. In these various offices he discharged his duties with marked ability, reflecting great credit upon himself as well as his constituency. At the present time he is a member of the School Board, filling the office of president.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, page 175-76.
Copyright 1999 - 2006 Judi Gilker; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.
Return to Biographical Review index