The Lowrie Gang of Robeson County
On February 16, 1872, the last robbery by the Lowrie gang took place. The daring raid netted $28,000. Days later, Henry Berry Lowrie , the leader of the band, disappeared and launched himself into North Carolina legend.
During the Civil War, Lowrie and his brothers—all Lumbee Indians—hid out in the swamps of Robeson County to escape the forced labor inflicted upon free persons of color. They began to steal from the homes of white people in the area, taking clothing, supplies and arms. In 1865 Allen and William Lowrie, father and brother of Henry, were executed after capture. Seven years of violence, including several murders, followed,. Among the poor of Robeson County, the gang, which consisted of the Lowrie brothers, cousins, two freedmen, and one poor white man, were regarded as Robin Hood-like heroes. They often shared goods taken in robberies with area families.
The gang’s elusive and violent nature caused great fear among the whites of the area. In November 1868, Governor W. W. Holden officially declared Henry Berry Lowrie an outlaw. Holden offered a $10,000 bounty for Lowrie’s capture. A white militia hunted for him but he was never found.
Other related resources:
- The Lowry War on NCpedia
- Native Carolinians: The Indians of North Carolina from North Carolina Historical Publications
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