A Pictorial History
Click Below to Stop
"Coming Around the Mountain"
In 1911, the Tomato Canneries in operation were C. W. Leslie and B. R. Markham, Spickard and Davis, and J. C. Truxell. William H. Barger and W. E. Goodman were carpenters and builders. The general stores were operated by Miss Hannah Byrne, George Ford, Jesse S. Smoot and E. H. Whitten.
Livestock Dealers were C. W. Leslie and B. R. Markham. Teachers were Miss Ellen Byrne, Miss Essie Gill, Mrs. Edmonia Lowry, and Miss Lizzie Rhodes.
T. C. Kincannon, was a lumber dealer and operator of saw and planeing mills. Tom Hawkins also operated a saw mill and planeing mill.
In 1930 only seven towns (incorporated and unincorporated) in Bedford County had a population of over one hundred persons and one of these was Lowry. Lowry has had a post office continuously since April 12, 1854 when Mr. Nelson Lowry served as the first postmaster.
Those who followed as postmaster are:
William R Lowry
November 22, 1865
October 23, 1867
E. Blankenship November 25, 1867
November 24, 1868
November 4, 1872
November 14, 1873
August 2, 1882
August 19, 1885
November 13, 1896
August 17, 1897
February 1, 1940
Nancy Dooley Wilson October 1, 1971
For more than twenty five years the Growing and Canning of Tomatoes has been, an important industry in this community. Of the five companies engaged in Canning Tomatoes, three were forced to close and the other two (Markham and Byrne) have in recent years combined.
This company operates in Florida in winter and early spring and at Lowry during the late summer.
Feldspar was formerly produced from mines a few miles south of Lowry and many carloads were shipped from this place annually. The business in tan bark was active for a short while, but the lumber business is still promising. Lowry's two
room school house closed when the county consolidated rural schools, and the children were bused to Liberty Academy in Bedford from the mid-nineteen thirties thru the nineteen forties.
At present, the Lowry Post Office is in operation in the Nelson Lowry/Coffey Store, where Nancy D. Wilson serves as postmistress. Nelson Lowry is buried behind this store. Mrs. A. R. Coffey now in her 90’s, operates the store, which she and her husband took over from his brother, Emmet H. Coffey in January of 1927.Lowry had a coke plant operated by Green Ltd. and a saw mill operated by Mike and Mark Allen.
Dr. J. T. Kincannon, who has been mentioned as having a saw mill and planeing mill, was also a Baptist minister in Bedford/Timber Ridge from 1885 to 1924. He married Mildred Fuqua, my grandmother's aunt, and they lived at Knollwood, a fine brick home on Route 671. Their Son John Kincannon, later became Manager of Melbourne Canning Co, located at Melbourne, Florida. This cannery was One of the Seven Tomato Canneries Owned by Markham Bothers in Florida. John Kincannon also managed Oldham Canning Company located at Oldham, Virginia, another Tomato Cannery owned by Markham Brothers. John Kincannon was a first cousin to Bessie Lowry Markham, who was the wife of Walter A. Markham, and mother to Allen and Roscoe Markham who eventually became the Largest Canners of Tomatoes and Peaches in the Southeastern United States. Bessie Lillian Lowry was the daughter of Junius D. Lowry and Sally Fuqua, and a direct descendant of John Lowry, Sr. Bessie Lowry Markham was my grandmother, and was a Pioneer of the Florida Canning Experiment. She would pack up most of what the family would need to exist for the next six months and off they would go to Florida. The truck that was in the caravan would have furniture and household goods onboard, and chickens underneath in a coop. I often wonder if the wives of today would go through this type of upheaval in order to fulfill a dream of their husband. But the effort paid off, and over the years this canning family grew and grew until by the 1950’s they were the Largest Tomato Canners East of the Mississippi River. So from a small dream at Lowry, Virginal, to a canning empire came the Markham’s. But as with so many Family Businesses this would not last. And by 1972 this was all “Gone With The Wind”. And as with so many human endeavors, this is now only but a "memory in the minds of a few".
Home Back Next Page