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Henry Berry Lowry, 1845-1872?


Henry Berry Lowry, 1845-1872?


Seth A. Frederiksen






Henry Berry Lowry was a well known outlaw in the area nearby Wilmington, NC. He came from a family long established in the state when it was still a colony under British rule, and was by blood a member of the Lumbee Indian tribe that inhabited much of Robeson County. During the waning years of the war, Lowry, along with other men in his community, hid themselves from roving bands of the North Carolina Home Guard, in order to avoid forced labor to build Ft. Fisher near the city of Wilmington. TI was also during this period that the Lowry family was being known aiding escaping Union troops back to the North, as well as raiding plantations for food and other supplies. These activities resulted in the Home Guard detaining members of the Lowry clan, and executing Lowry’s father and older brother.

Swearing vengeance, Henry Berry began robbing, raiding plantations, and killing anyone who threatened his gang’s operation and did not take heed to his threat to leave the county. During this period he attracted the attention of the news media of both North and South, and soon became a media sensation. Being declared a modern day Robin Hood, Lowry was also the subject of an intense manhunt to arrest and try him for the growing number of robberies and murders that were committed by him and his men. This man hunt led to many events that increased the popularity of Lowry, and the mythos being built around him. Among these events includes fending off a search posse while using a boat for cover, unnerving a local sheriff to release his wife and other spouses of his men, and evading members of the United States military sent down specifically to capture him.

Seen as both a hero and a villain, Lowry was a well known yet mysterious figure until he disappeared from the public in 1872. Supposedly he was killed while maintaining his shotgun, and many of his other gang members were either captured or killed. However, stories have been told that Lowry did not in fact die, and lived out the rest of his life in peace and tranquility. 


Evans, William McKee. To Die Game. (University; Syracuse University Press, 1995) pg. 15, 37, 242

Harper’s Weekly, "The North Carolina Bandits," Harper's Weekly, March 30, 1872, pg. 251

Norment, Mary, The Lowrie History, As Acted in Part by Henry Berry Lowry, (Lumberton, NC; Lumbee Publishing Company, 1909), pg.5-7

Townshed, George Alfred, The Swamp Outlaw, (New York, Robert M. DeWitt; 1872) pg. 1, 12


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Seth A. Frederiksen, Henry Berry Lowry, 1845-1872?, Civil War Era NC, accessed February 25, 2024,