Biography of Col. Joseph S. Lowrey
Oneida County, NY Biographies





Joseph Stuart Lowery, who died in Utica on the 19th of October, 1891, was for many years successfully engaged in the cotton commission business here. Moreover, as a soldier of the Union army during the Civil war he displayed the utmost bravery and loyalty, being gradually promoted until he won the rank of lieutenant colonel. His birth occurred on the 25th of December, 1841, near the village of Oriskany, Oneida county, New York, he being the youngest in a family of six. He was the only member of the family who was born in this country and it was in after life one of his characteristic remarks that he was the only one of them eligible to the office of president of the United States. In the acquirement of an education he attended the public schools and Whitestown Seminary, which was then a famous institution of learning. In 1861 he put aside his text books and went to work for a brother who conducted a store at Boonville, New York. It was while thus employed that he became fired with patriotism and enlisted in Company D, One Hundred and Forty sixth Regiment of New York State Volunteers, being mustered in at Rome on the 10th of October, 1862. Not yet twenty one years of age, he was indeed a young soldier but soon proved to be a good one. Almost immediately he was made second sergeant of his company, on the 7th of June, 1863, was commissioned second lieutenant of Company E and on the 13th of September, 1863, won the rank of first lieutenant. In the campaign which followed Lieutenant Lowery 's soldierly qualities were severely tested but he never faltered in performing the tasks assigned him. Although younger than most of the men of his command, his bearing was such as to inspire them with confidence and respect. While yet a sergeant he participated in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and as a lieutenant took part in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and other engagements. At Spottsylvania he was placed in command of a skirmish line and directed to ascertain the strength of the enemy's position. In the face of a terrible fire he advanced, finally taking shelter under the enemy's breastworks, where he was obliged to remain until night fell and covered his retreat. For this notable action he was publicly complimented in general orders. On the 17th of May, 1864, he was promoted to the captaincy of Company A and on the 3d of the following month was severely wounded at Cold Harbor. Borne several miles to the hospital by his devoted men, his wound was found to be very dangerous, the surgeon telling him that his chance of recovery was as one in a thousand. Without the slightest show of feeling the young soldier pluckily replied that he would take that one chance. After lingering between life and death for three months his strong constitution prevailed and he was pronounced well enough to return home, though he never entirely recovered from the wound. On the 13th of March, 1865, he was brevetted major by the general government "for gallant and meritorious services in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Bethesda Church, Virginia." On the 18th of May, 1866, the state of New York brevetted him a lieutenant colonel of New York State Volunteers. The nature of Colonel Lowery 's wound was so peculiar that it was reported to the Royal College of Surgeons at London and is recorded in works on surgery. But few like wounds, from which there was a recovery, have been reported.

Returning home, Colonel Lowery became associated with his brothers in establishing a knitting mill on Pine street. This was destroyed by fire and was not rebuilt. Subsequently he joined James L. Lowery in the conduct of a cotton commission business, being thus actively and successfully identified with the commercial interests of Utica throughout the remainder of his life.

Colonel Lowery was a stanch democrat in polities, but never an aspirant for office. He was often urged, however, to accept some public position but never served in any capacity until 1885, when he was appointed a member of the school board to fill a vacancy and in 1888 was nominated and elected chairman of the board. He was a member of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Post McQuade, G. A. R., the Veteran Association of the Utica Citizens Corps, the Carleton Island Club and the Fort Schuyler Club He was a director of the Utica City National Bank and a trustee of the Soldiers Monument Association. He died at Utica. New York, on the 19th of October, 1891, his death being hastened by attending, contrary to his physician's advice, the yearly reunion of his regiment. From these reunions he was never absent and his interest in the survivors of his regiment was always strong, as indeed it was in all ex soldiers, many a needy one having reason to bless the generosity of "Colonel Joe," as they affectionately called him. In fact he was not only beloved by the veterans but by all who knew him, his universal good nature, native wit and delightful sociability making him desired at every gathering and greeted at every street corner.

In 1870 Colonel Lowery was united in marriage to Miss Julia Celeste Wood, by whom he had two children, a son and daughter. The son is Carlton G. Lowery, of the firm of C. G. Lowery & Company, dealers in cotton and cotton waists; the daughter is Mrs. Walter J. Green, Jr. Mrs. Lowery resides at No. 441 Genesee street, and has an extensive circle of friends in Utica.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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