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					  Henry Berry
    Lowrie:
 Lumbee Legend

The Man & The Mystery
In 1840, the NC General Assembly
passed a law prohibiting non-whites
        from carrying guns
•Natives Americans in Robeson
County were left with no way to
defend themselves or hunting
•“Tied Mule” incidents began to occur
     “Tied Mule” Incidents
• A white farmer would allow his cattle to graze
  on Indian land or tie his mule somewhere on
  Indian land
• The white farmer would file a complaint against
  the Indian for having stolen his property
• To clear himself of charges, the Indian would
  either:
  – Sell a section of his farm to the farmer as payment for the
    allegedly stolen animals
  – Work off the price of the animal through a system of
 Confederates During the Civil War
           & Minorities

• During the Civil War, the Confederate
  soldiers and government used non-whites
  as free labor in the Confederate war effort
• If any non-white healthy male stepped out
  of line, he would be sent to build forts and
  barricades in Wilmington for the
  Confederacy
    Hunger Strikes!
• Because people were not allowed to
  own guns and hunt, hunger struck
  the Robeson County community
• Healthy men were afraid to work in
  the yard, because if they were seen
  they could be forced to work for the
  Confederacy
            Henry’s Family
• Henry’s father’s name was
  Allen Lowrie, a wealthy and
  well respected farmer with
  over 2000 acres of land
• In 1864, Allen and some of
  his sons were accused by a     •When the
  Confederate officer of         investigation was
  stealing hogs and butchering   held, guns were
  them for meat.                 found in the Lowrie
                                 home.
• Allen and William (Henry’s
  brother) were executed for the
  crime
• His mother and sisters were
  physically abused
• He promised to avenge the
  deaths of his father and brother
       The Lowrie Gang
• Henry assembled a gang to bring
  justice to the community
   – His two brothers, Steve & Tom
   – Other relatives
   – 2 Black men
   – 1 White man (a Scot)
                                      Henry’s
                                     Brother,
                                       Steve
             Robeson County
             “Robin Hoods”
• Because of the need for
  food in the community, the
  Lowrie gang would steal
  from the wealthy and give
  to the poor
• Once during a raid, Henry
  killed a man named James
  Barnes and the Home
  Guard came looking for
  him!
   The Home Guard
• The Home Guard was a group of local men
  who worked on behalf of the Confederate
  Army to keep peace in the community
• They were mostly white men
• Their leader was Brantley Harris, a white
  man from South Carolina who loved Indian
  women
• Brant Harris was known as the “meanest
  man in Robeson County.”
      Brant Harris –VS-
     Henry Berry Lowrie
• Brant Harris accidentally killed one of
  Henry’s cousins (Jarmen), mistaking him for
  Henry, who had warned Harris to stop
  harassing the local Indian women
• When Jarmen’s brothers came home for the
  funeral, Brant Harris killed them as well
• Later, Henry killed Brant Harris
       Hiding to Survive
• With at least two deaths under their belts,
  the Lowrie gang began to hide in the
  swamps
• They were branded as outlaws and a
  reward was on each of their heads
• They continued to live up to their “Robin
  Hood” status and in 1865 successfully
  raided the Robeson County Courthouse to
  steal goods
Who was Henry Berry Lowrie?
   In 1870, the Lowrie band killed a man named O.C. Norment.
     Five years later, his wife, Mary Norment, wrote about Henry.
                       Her description is as follows:
    “[He was] Tuscarora Indian and Cavalier blood of England. He carried a long
  bladed knife and a double barreled shotgun, five six-barreled revolvers, his whole
  equipment weighing not less than eighty pounds. With all his armor on he could
   run, swim, stand weeks of exposure in the swamps, walk day and night, and take
 sleep by little snatches, which in a few days would tire out white or negro. He plays
    the banjo with juba, beating and dancing with the Indian girls, who on several
  occasions came very near to betraying him to his pursuers. He is the Don Juan of
Scuffletown [Pembroke]. Women have been employed to betray him, but they either
repent or he discovers their purpose. Ever active, ever vigilant, he is never taken by
 surprise. Like the rattlesnake, he generally warned before he struck. Two things he
has never done- he has never committed arson, nor offered to insult white females.”
Rhoda Strong
• In 1865, Henry
  married Rhoda
  Strong, a
  Scuffletown
  beauty
• She said, he was
  “the handsomest
  man I ever saw.”
             Jail Break #1
• After his wedding with Rhoda, Henry was
  arrested and taken to the Lumberton jail then
  transferred to the Whiteville jail for additional
  security.
• According to Mrs. Norment, “he filed his way
  out of the grated iron window bars, escaped to
  the woods with handcuffs on and made it back
  home to his wife in Scuffletown.”
• This was his first successful jail break…
             Jail Break #2
• After his arrest in 1870,
  Rhoda walked 85 miles
  to Wilmington to help
  the gang escape from jail
• Legend has it that she
  took the men a cake with
  a file baked into it and
  they were able to escape
  from jail
          Rhoda goes to jail
• In 1871, some of the local authorities believed that
  putting the wives of the Lowrie gang in jail would
  convince them to surrender themselves
• Henry waited several days before making a move
• Henry sent a note to the authorities which stated, “We
  make a request that our wives who were arrested a few
  days ago come home to their families by Monday
  morning, and if not, the Bloodiest times will be here that
  ever was before- the life of every man will be in
  jeopardy.”
• The wives were released immediately
  Peace?
• Several groups tried to work out a
  peace agreement between Henry
  and his men
• In 1872, the Lowrie gang went on
  its last raid stealing:
   – $20,000 in goods from a general
      store
   – The store safe containing $28,000
      in cash
   – The sheriff’s iron safe (which
      was too heavy so they left it in
      the middle of the street)
      Henry Disappears
• After the final raid,
  Henry disappeared
• There was a $12,000
  bounty on his head that
  was never claimed
• The killings stopped
• Henry Berry Lowrie
  vanished…
  What Ever Happened to
   Henry Berry Lowrie?
• Many years after he vanished, Henry Berry Lowry
  reportedly was seen in a church at a funeral for
  someone he knew. He spoke to no one and no one
  spoke to him
• Some say he moved away, perhaps up north or to Texas
• Some say he faked his death and lived out the rest of his
  days in isolation along the banks of the Lumbee River
            No one will ever know….
  The Legend
• Today, the legend of
  Henry Berry Lowery has
  inspired an outdoor
  drama about his life
  entitled “Strike at the
  Wind.”
• Several books have been
  written about his life
• His home has been
  restored and is on display
  at the North Carolina
  Indian Cultural Center in
  Pembroke, NC.
Henry Berry Lowrie where are you?
  Sleeping in an unknown grave
Does the grass grow above your breast?
  Or does dark water flow
With secret sounds through your bones
  That will confuse mankind
Until the end of time.
  From everlasting to everlasting
You are the hero of a people
  Keep your secrets as you sleep--
That is part of your greatness.
                     Adolph L. Dial

				
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