John Bryant Lowey

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1841 - 1919

We Need a Photograph!


By Rev. J. L. Price.

Here is a man, whom I shall designate as "An Apostle of Peace and Good Cheer," and truly his life and labors will bear me out in the statement. His long and useful career has been as pure and consecrated as that of any man I ever knew. He stands out today in the search-light of investigation without a single stain upon his moral and religious character.

He was born March 15, 1841, in Caldwell County, Kentucky. When a small boy his father moved to Crittenden County, Kentucky, where young Lowey spent his boyhood days in manual labor. His education consisted of what little he obtained at the country schools, which generally lasted about three months of the year. Most of the pupils did not get more than half of that on account of the chores that were to be done, such as helping to gather the corn, stripping the tobacco, and many things incident to farm life. His was no exception to the rule. Hence, his education was very limited, having never been supplemented by an academic of collegiate course.

He was converted under the ministry of Revs. William Roach and Thomas Young, both Cumberland Presbyterian preachers, at old Pleasant Valley Church in Hopkins County, near the present town of Providence. He joined the Macedonia congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church the same year.

On November 30, 1858, he was married to Miss Frances Rebecca Lamson. In 1865, he returned to Crittenden County. All this time Brother Lowey was engaged in farming, leading a happy and an industrious life. His married life was a long and happy one, and the union was blessed with three daughters, who are the comfort and stay of their father in his old age. His good wife, having walked by his side and shared his joys and sorrows for so many years. passed into the great beyond about two years ago. In 165 he was made a ruling elder in the Mt. Vernon congregation, which office he filled satisfactorily until he was ordained to preach the gospel.

In 1869 he moved to Missouri and in October, 1873, presented himself to, and was received by West Prairie Presbytery, as a candidate for the ministry. In October, 1874, was licensed; in October, 1876, was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry. Whatever West Prairie Presbytery may have thought of its work at that time, I am sure it never laid its hands on a more honorable or worthy man than he, and one that has been a greater blessing to his fellow men.

About the year 1878 or '79 he moved back to Kentucky, where he has spent the most of his ministerial life, serving numerous congregations in the bounds of Princeton Presbytery, some of them for over twenty years. He was commissioner to the General Assembly at Waco, Tex., in 1888; Birmingham, Ala., in 1896; and Dixon, Tenn., in 1910, and was a visitor at Evansville, Ind., in 1911.

Brother Lowey is a many-sided man, and fortunately for himself, for his friends and for the church, he is nearly always on the right side. He is a good parliamentarian and has served as moderator of his presbytery more than any other man I know. He is a splendid preacher, a fine singer, an entertaining conversationalist, a sweet-spirited and lovable character, and above all, a man of God, true and tried.

After the meeting of the General Assembly at Decatur, Ill., in May, 1906, when the way was dark, as chairman of our presbyterial committee, to gather together our broken ranks in Princeton Presbytery, I wrote to Brother Lowey to know how he stood,and if we could depend on him. He answered in a way peculiar to himself: "I am still a Cumberland Presbyterian, and will be doing business at the same old stand the next time you hear from me." And as "true as the needle to the pole" so has Rev. J. B. Lowey been to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, giving his time, his money, and his life's blood for the cause he loves so much.

Rev. Lowey's ministerial life has been a successful one, and his influence for good has been felt far and near. He would have been an ideal pastor had he been located in a work strictly of that kind, but such was not the case. His work has been nearly altogether, in the rural districts, among the country congregations, and, as a rule, he could only visit them once a month. But handicapped as he was, he did a great work among the people, in preaching the "Word," and holding revivals among them. I feel that I am safe in saying that his converts will number up in the thousands. There is a social atmosphere about him, that is contagious.

He has never had a great deal of this world's goods, and want may have sometimes stared him in the face, but he has never swerved a hair's breadth from duty. And when this unfortunate affair, called "union and reunion" came on, he was on the shady side of life, working days were nearly spent, but like the Spartan of old, he stood, and still stands to his post. Grand old hero! In my imagination, I see him as he stands on the other shore and hear him sing; "Deliverance has come" * * "Then palms of victory, crowns of glory"--And hear him shout; "Praises unto God and the Lamb for glorious victory."

And now, to my ideal, as to what it takes to constitute a man of honor and integrity; a christian gentleman, and a servant of the most high God, this rambling sketch is most affectionately inscribed.

"Don't forget the old folks--love them more and more;
As they turn their longing eyes t'ward the golden shore."

[Source: Our Senior Soldiers: The Biographies and Autobiographies of Eighty Cumberland Presbyterian Preachers. Compiled by The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication. The Assistance of Revs. J. L. Price and W. P. Kloster is Greatfully Acknowledged. Nashville, Tenn.: The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915, pages 142-146]

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Updated June 1, 2007