Between 1861 and 1865, the United States was torn apart by the violence of the Civil War—but another war was brewing in Robeson County, North Carolina, that stretched out for several years after the War ended. During the Civil War, escaped slaves, Union deserters, and Native Americans in the county sought refuge from the Confederate Home Guard in the thick swamplands. The Lowry War erupted against this chaotic background in Robeson County.

The War is named after its most famous member, Henry Berry Lowry, who witnessed the execution of his father Allen and brother William on March 3rd, 1865, after the Home Guard accused them of illegally owning guns and harboring Union Soldiers. The violence that ensued after Henry Berry forged the tri-racial Lowery Gang became one of the bloodiest and most controversial events in North Carolina history.

Henry Berry Lowry


Reproduction courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina

Often described as Robeson County’s one true outlaw, Henry Berry Lowry is an integral part of Lumbee history. On January 15, 1865, Lowry murdered “the meanest man in Robeson County,” James “Brant” Harris. At the age of eighteen, Lowry became the most wanted man in Robeson County. Due to media attention from New York City and Washington, D.C, he went to become one of the most wanted men in the country.

Weekly Pioneer Article

Clip from Weekly Pioneer - Asheville NC Thursday March 21 1872

Courtesy of Jefferson Currie

Newspaper article, appearing in the March 21, 1872 edition of the Weekly Pioneer, an Asheville, North Carolina newspaper. It details Robeson County and the area known as Scuffletown, sensationalizing many of Henry Berry Lowry’s and his Gang’s escapades. The first line under the subtitle “Lumberton” describes the great difficulty that the local law enforcement was having in controlling the Gang’s activities.