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A New Expedition : Proposition to Capture the Lowery Gang of Outlaws Singular Enterprise, The New York Times, March 18, 1872


A New Expedition : Proposition to Capture the Lowery Gang of Outlaws Singular Enterprise, The New York Times, March 18, 1872


In this article the reader is presented with the supposed first hand account of one George Abbot, who despite being hunted down by the Ku Klux Klan and forcibly removed from the town of Weldon, had a personal hatred of the Lowry gang, and with their leader Henry Berry, due to previous “shooting matches” that occurred between the two, and for Henry Berry asking to borrow ten dollars from Mr. Abbot. Abbot at the time that the article was being written, was enlisting men to hunt down the outlaw and his gang and to hopefully win the reward money being offered by the governor.


The New York Times


Unknown, A New Expedition : Proposition to Capture the Lowery Gang of Outlaws Singular Enterprise, (New York; The New York Times, 1872), pg. 5






Robeson County, North Carolina,
Sampson County North Carolina

Original Format

Newspaper Article


“Come with me, Sir,” said an individual to a Times reporter, in Chatham-street, last night. “Come down to New-Chambers-street, in the Fourth Ward, and see Mr. Abbot.” Turing into Chambers-street, the guide stopped in front of a corner house, and pointed down into a basement, saying, “That is the place.” The reporter hesitated for a moment, as his eyes pierced the darkness into which he was invited to descend. News he was in search of, hwoever, and what startling developments might be waiting for him in the gloomy recesses below, was only to be determined by an exploration. The guide led the way, and the reporter was in few seconds in an exterior so singular that it is worthy of description.
The first thing that forced itself on the attention was the many dark corners in the room, only partially illuminated by the feeble light of a flickering lamp that filled the room with shadows. The lamp stood on a small, square table, upon which several books were lying. One of them being open betrayed the fact that it was the play of the “Ticket-of-Leave- Man.” A cavalry saber was sticking upright in the table, and a vacant arm-chair sat before it. A good-sized stove, in which a coal fire was burning brightly, heated the room. In one corner a large number of stone spittoons were piled, and against the sides of the apartment were standing boxes containing crockery-ware and goods of various descriptions. Out of some of the boxes wax-dolls were peeping.
These articles at once impressed the visitor with the idea that the occupants of the room were engaged in some sort of mercantile business. A large bedstead and bed showed that the basement was also a sleeping apartment.
“This is Mr. Abbot,” said the guide, as a low-sized, rough-and-ready-looking man emerged into the light from one of the dark corners.
Taking the arm-chair proffered him, and moving it conveniently near the door, the reporter asked leave to fill a pipe. Permission was given with cheerful readiness, and Mr. Abbot, at the same time filled a clay “dhudeen.”
“You have a story to tell?” said the reporter, inquiringly.
“Yes, Sir,” said the host; “do you know Barry Lowry’s gang?”
“I haven’t the pleasure of their acquaintance,” replied the reporter, in a tone of regret.
“Well, I do. They are the North Carolina outlaws of which so much has been said in the newspapers about.” remarked Abbot. “Haven’t you read about them?”
The reporter confessed that he had, but that the accounts had mace but little impression on his mind.
“Well, I am down on them, and I want to get square on the whole crew, and the Kuklux, too,” said Mr. Abbot.
“What is the story?” said the reporter, coming to business at once.
“Well, it ain’t much, though it will make an item.”
“I’ll write it down as you tell it,” said the reporter.
“Take a seat at the table,” said Mr. Abbot. The chair was moved up to the table, and the guide was dispatched for a pitcher of ale, and the reporter took down the following brief statement from the lips of his entertainer.
Mr. Geroge Abbot, the gentleman already described, is now in correspondence with some of the most prominent citizens of North Carolina, in reference to the outrages committed by the notorious Barry Lowery and his gang of outlaws, who have long been a terror to the respectable citizens of the State. The governor of North Carolina has offered a reward of $35,000 for the body, dead or alive, of the leader of this band of horse-thieves, robbers and murders. Lowery defies the authorities, threatening to kill anybody who is sent to apprehend him. Mr. Abbot was in North Carolina during the war, being present at the taking of Wilmington. He was also there in 1866 and 1867, under the name of Jack Allen. He was well known as a Northern man and a Unionist, and was regarded by the natives with everything but kindly feelings. He was ordered to leave by the Kuklux at that time, but remained under proscription and in daily peril of his life. Mr. Abbot traveled through Robeson and Sampson Counties, then infested by Lowery and the Kuklux, in the character of a traveling dealer in hosiery and Yankee notions, though his travels were not confined to these sections of the State, nor his business limited to selling merchandise. He visited other counties and used his money in various speculations. He had shooting matches on several occasions with Lowery’s outlaws, on each occasion miraculously escaping death or serious wounds. In 1866 he formed the acquaintance of a mulatto named Jack Livingston, to whom he had been recommended by some friends of his Sampson County. It was represented to him that Livingston was a friend of Union people, and would be of service. Livingston, however, betrayed Abbot to the Kuklux, and he was forced to take refuge in the swamps for two days to escape the murderers who had been put upon his trail. He swore vengeance on Livingston, who, he alleges, has been secretly connected with the Kuklux. Abbot says he has often talked with Barry Lowery, and at one time loaned him $10. In his intercourse with the outlaw he was obliged to conceal his dislike to insure his personal safety. Abbot left North Carolina in 1867, but returned to the State in the Sumer of 1869. About midnight, on the day he reached Weldon, he was accosted by a number of men, who ordered him to leave town by the bridge over the Roanoke River, in fifteen minutes. Abbot, suspecting that he would be thrown from the bridge, asked to be allowed to wait until the next train, receiving a favorable answer through the interference of Mr. James Gooch, a merchant of the city. Abbot has smarted ever since under the memory of his ill-treatment in the State by the Kuklux and the Lowery outlaws, and summary ejectment from Weldon, in 1869. He wishes to go back to revenge his wrongs in his enemies’ and stimulate by the large reward offered for Lowery’s capture. His intimate knowledge of the haunts and hiding places of the robber-band, he believes, eminently fits him to lead an expedition against them.
“If the respectable white people of North Carolina want to be rid of Lowery, I’m the man can do it,” he said at the conclusion of his story.
Mr. Abbot was a member of the fifty-seventh Regiment, volunteers, in the rebellion, was among the troops on Island No. 10, took part in all the engagements of Commodore Foote’s fleet in the Mississippi River, and was on the Mound City when she blew up. He also took part in Gen. Ryan’s ill-fated expedition to Cuba.
From further investigation the reporter ascertained that Abbot is now enlisting a small force of determined men, and proposes to start in a few days for North Carolina, when the proposed hunt for Lowery’s gang will at once commence.


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The New York Times, A New Expedition : Proposition to Capture the Lowery Gang of Outlaws Singular Enterprise, The New York Times, March 18, 1872, Civil War Era NC, accessed July 14, 2024,