by Wanda Payne and Nancy Brown
Basil Lowry (also spelled "Bazzel" in some cases) was certainly a true Georgia Lowrey, living his entire life in the state of Georgia. He was born on January 12, 1812 in Franklin Co, Georgia (now Banks Co), the eldest son of James and Catherine (Katie) Dorsey Lowry . His early years were spent in an “old fashioned” Methodist home under the guidance of his father, one of “Asbury’s Preachers”, and his mother, the daughter of Judge Basil John Dorsey. According to family notes by descendant Ida Stone, Basil was six feet, three inches. An army pass granted him on November 16, 1863 describes him as five feet, eleven inches. He was fair with blue eyes.
By Basil's 20th birthday, the family had settled in Habersham Co, GA. He married 17-year old Emily Yarbrough there on September 13,1832. Basil studied the “Botanical System” of medicine and began his practice in Cassville, Georgia in the early-mid 1840’s. His daughter, Elizabeth (Lizzie) VanDyke, wrote:
“I haven’t the slightest idea where or when my Father studied medicine, but
he was practicing in Cassville in 1846 when I was born.
He moved from there to Cherokee County, and then to Cobb County, keeping
up his profession until about 1853 or 1854, when he moved to Marietta, Georgia. I think he gave it up at that time, or soon after.”
It was in Marietta, Cobb Co, GA that Basil and Emily would
settle their family and raise nine of their ten children.
Uncle Basil, as he
became affectionately known, spent the next several years in Marietta practicing
Medicine. He advertised his offices in the weekly newspaper
of which he was the owner and
medical advertisement in the Marietta newspaper read:
Dr. B. Lowry
his professional services to the citizens of Marietta and vicinity.
Basil eventually gave up his medical practice to become a local preacher and, remaining true to his upbringing, joined the North Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church in 1859. By June, 1860 he, along with his 17-year old son John McPherson Lowry, had become licensed to preach. According to his daughter, Lizzie Lowrey VanDyke, Basil requested to become a colporteur (distributor of Bibles) as it was his goal that no home in his district be without a Bible. He visited every home, white and black, often on foot, sometimes on horseback, prayed with the family, and left them a Bible if they did not have one.
Like all those of his time,
war touched the life of Basil Lowry.
On August 1, 1863, Basil enlisted in Company E of the 7th Georgia
Guards, a group formed by Governor Joe Brown to guard the railroads in north
Georgia. Basil left his son George,
(who was too young to enlist with his brothers, Fletcher and
Joe), to run the
newspaper. Several military passes
record his movements: November 16, 1863 from Military Post #51 in Montgomery, Ala to
Marietta, Georgia; January 5, 1865,
a leave of absence granted to "Private Bazzel Lowry" to Athens, GA by
order of Captain Urgan Patillo, to procure provisions for his family. Months after the battles were over, Basil and Emily still
awaited the return of their son, Fletcher, from his service as Captain of
Phillip’s Legion. Unfortunately,
only the sad news finally arrived that shortly before
the close of the war,
Fletcher had been wounded and captured.
Finally a devastating blow
was dealt Basil and Emily,
with the news that their
son, Captain Fletcher Lowrey, had died of wounds received at Saylor’s Creek Virginia on April 7,
By the end of the war, Basil was working as a clerk in an
Atlanta store, coming home for occasional weekends.
He was also preaching at several churches in the area. After
the war, like most other Georgia families, the Lowrys had very little.
Their store had been burned, their Confederate money was worthless, and
their oldest son, Fletcher, had died in the war. In 1889, he and Emily and their unmarried daughter, Mamie
(Mary Rose), moved to Atlanta (491 Piedmont Avenue) where he continued his services
to the North Georgia Conference. Basil
was a member of the Merritts Avenue Methodist Church and of the Atlanta Masonic
Lodge #59 A and F.M. Even as
late as 1893, at 81 years of age, Basil held
three regular appointments for the Conference.
On April 13, 1894, one month after celebrating Emily’s 79th birthday, Basil
died at his home in Atlanta, Georgia. Funeral services were held at the Merritts Avenue Methodist Church in
Atlanta and interment was in Citizen’s Cemetery, Marietta, Georgia. The
following words, from
an Atlanta newspaper are a testament to his legacy:
“The Rev. Dr. Basil Lowry, one of the oldest and most highly respected ministers of Atlanta, died at his home, 491 Piedmont Avenue. He had been ill for some time. He left seven children: Mrs. C.T. Shepart, Rev. John M. Lowry, J.T Lowry, G.P. Lowry, Mrs. Elizabeth Van Dyke, Miss Mary Lowry, Mrs. T. E. Veal. The funeral will occur from the Merrits Avenue Methodist Church; interment in Marietta.
For more than 65 years he lived the life of a humble follower of the lowly Nazarene. He had just finished preaching a sermon and had pronounced the benediction when his spirit took its heavenly flight. He informed those around him that he was looking into the face of the Savior, and was in full view of all the glories of Heaven. His death was more like a translation than a dissolution of the body.”
Basil, his wife, Emily and several of their children, are buried in the family plot in Marietta, GA. Basil’s tombstone reads:
in Atlanta, Ga.
“I have glorified Thee on
Earth; I have finished
work which Thou
me to do.”
Download a Gedcom file of Basil's line
Basil's Letters Pictures of Basil and his family
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