Tri-City Ledger -

By Kevin McKinley
Guest Columnist 

Life, courage & death in Bowman


January 11, 2018

Kesiah Jane Lowery. Many of her descendants continue to live in Escambia Co. Ala.

Along Highway 31, in the quite farming community at Wawbeek, sets a lonely red dirt road leading to Bowman Cemetery. History has long moved on from the days when the location marked a vibrant saw mill community, having left only a stone orchard of headstones to mark its passing. The people who lay beneath these stones each have a story; a story of the life of their time and inter-mixed with their earthly remains are the aspirations, ambitions, successes and failures from the days they walked the earth until the moment fate called their hand. Among those long-ago stories is that of Kesiah Lowery.

Kesiah Mathias Lowery was the wife of A.M. Lowery, Sr.

According to an Andalusia Star article from October 11, 2014; Andrew Madison Lowery, migrated to Macon County, Ala., in 1851 where he met and was married to Kesiah Jane Mathis, daughter of Wesley and Mary Mathis. They lived there for about four years before moving with Kesiah's parents to Covington County, Ala., in 1855. They settled near the family of Jesse Beck and his wife, Sarah (Woodcock), who had arrived in Covington County circa 1841.

Andrew Lowery moved his family to Georgia during the War Between The States. He was attached to Confederate regiments from Georgia and from Florida although he was in a Florida regiment when the war ended.

Following the war, Andrew moved his family to Evansville, which is near present day Bowman Cemetery. A.M. Lowery Sr, was killed by a neighbor in 1871 in a dispute over a dog. It is believed his grave is the oldest marked grave in Bowman Cemetery. His widow, Kesiah Lowery, then moved her family to Canoe, Ala. and it is here our story begins.

The widowed Kesiah had eight children to raise without a father. This was in an era when public assistance was a foreign term and people were expected to make their own way in the world.

According to Mrs. Carolyn Conn in 2007, in an interview for Canoe: History of A Southern Town, she noted that Mrs. Lowery took on many different jobs to support her family. From cutting cross-ties and firewood for the railroad, to riding the train to Montgomery to bring back the payroll for the section workers, Kesiah Lowery found a way to make life work for her rather than shrinking into depression and thereby left a lesson of inspiration and courage for future generations.

Kesiah passed away on April 10, 1920 around 10 o'clock. R.W. Brooks, the editor for the Atmore Record, and a pastor and a family friend of Mrs. Lowery, published the following in The Atmore Record on April 15, 1920:

"The spirit of Mrs. Kesiah Lowery, better known as Grandma Lowery, took its flight to her Heavenly home at the age of 84 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary Dawson at Canoe. She had been a resident of Canoe for nearly half a century and was one of the old landmarks of the community, where she was known and loved by all, as she was a friend to everybody," noted Brooks.

Brooks went on to write of his long history with the deceased, "The writer had known her for nearly a half century and she was one of his warmest friends, during all that long period of time. She leaves to mourn her loss eight children: WW Lowery of Atmore, Rev. AM Lowery of Canoe, Robert Lowery of Atmore and Jas T. Lowery of Montgomery, Mrs. Mary Dawson of Canoe, Mrs. Victoria Dunaway of Canoe, Mrs. Florida Tolin of Atmore, and Mrs. Ada Dixon of Munson, Fla, and a host of grandchildren and great grandchildren and friends and neighbors by the score who sympathized with them in their irreparable loss."

According to Rev. Brooks the funeral was one of the largest ever held in Canoe, "The funeral was preached by the writer at the Baptist Church at Canoe to an overflowing house at 2 o'clock pm, Sunday. The greatest gathering that had ever been at the church was there to show their love and veneration for one of their members for she had been a member of that church when it was organized."

Brooks stated the body was carried to the old Wawbeek (Bowman) cemetery and laid beside her husband who had preceded her 49 years earlier.

In a parting comment Brooks noted the Heavenly hope and faith of Mrs. Lowery by adding, "And we left her to wait the resurrection morn when she will hear the welcome plaudit, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."

Quote for the week: "To put meaning in one's life may end in madness, but life without meaning is the torture of restlessness and vague desire." Edgar Lee Masters-Spoon River Anthology."

Coming soon in 2018: "Shadows and Dust Volume III-All Things Southern"


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