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Sacramento County

 

FELTON LOWRY

The fact of having been reared in Ohio and the additional opportunities afforded by subsequent travel through almost every portion of the United States give to Mr. Lowry a comprehensive knowledge of our country. As a result of his study and observation he still adheres to the opinion formed many years ago that California stands without a rival in its resources, its climate and its material possibilities. Employment with railroad companies took him throughout the west when he was still a young man and enabled him to gain a broad information as to every section of the region west of the Rocky Mountains, but no place visited by him has offered inducements sufficient to weaken his faith in or lessen his affection for the commonwealth of his choice.

Born at Zanesville, Ohio, July 20, 1838, Felton Lowry was the son of John and Elizabeth (France) Lowry of Pennsylvania, who removed to and operated a farm in Vinton county, Ohio, and he still has living in the Buckeye state one brother and three sisters. Not content to remain there but allured to the west by reports concern- ing its opportunities, in the spring of 1860 he bade farewell to home and relatives and traveled via the Isthmus of Panama to San Francisco and came on to Sacramento. It was not his fortune to possess any capital nor to have enjoyed a good education, but he was a young man of tireless energy and force of will. To such, employment comes as an open sesame to their ability. He first tried his luck at mining at Indian Diggings, Eldorado county. Later he helped build, a bridge at Live Oak, of which he was the toll-keeper. Subsequently be went to Reese River, Nev., where he engaged in carpentering, and while there he helped in the erection of the Reese River court house.

During the progress of the Civil War Mr. Lowry enlisted in Company K, Eighth Regiment of California Volunteers, and at the time of the riots served in San Francisco, being mustered out at the close of the war. He then returned to Sacramento and resumed work on the Central Pacific Railroad. Beginning at the bottom he soon became foreman and finally became assistant superintendent of grading. For six years he remained with the same company. Meanwhile he helped to build the line to Salt Lake and reached and completed the end of his contract during May of 1869. In the latter part of the same year he entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and served as superintendent of construction through the San Joaquin valley, remaining on that division until the completion of the road to its Los Angeles terminus.

The task of grading roads in other parts of California brought Mr. Lowry profitable employment for a number of years. At one time he was dispatched to grade the road toward Imperial Junction and the Colorado river. When he had three hundred men in camp as helpers the war department wired Major Dunn not to al- low men to tamper with the bridge at Fort Yuma or to lay rails. Notification was sent to Mr. Lowry, but at one o'clock in the morn- ing he had all of his three hundred men up and ready to assist him. A flat car loaded with rails was forced on the bridge and the rails were then thrown off. Twenty soldiers threatened to shoot them, but Mr. Lowry claimed that a man was under the car and it was absolutely necessary to throw off the rails in order to save his life. Under these representations the work was allowed to be continued. In a short time the rails were laid and there the matter ended so far as Mr. Lowry was concerned, the officials of the road later taking up the question with the government employes.

After having built more than three hundred and fifty miles of road for the Southern Pacific Company Mr. Lowry left its employ and turned his attention to other enterprises. For four years he acted as traveling representative for the Atlantic Dynamite Company of New York City and during that period he traveled extensively in every part of the country. At one time he owned four thousand acres of range land in Kern county and maintained thereon a herd of some fifteen thousand sheep, but years ago the flock was sold and the land disposed of. During 1892, associated with Turton & Knox, he had the contract for the building of the levee from the Pioneer mill to Twelfth street in Sacramento. After completing this, with the same men he built part of the Central Canal in Colusa county. The company also built forty miles of railroad between Merced and Oakdale, fifty miles of road between Bakersfield and Asphalt, and one hundred and fifty miles on the west side of San Joaquin valley, from Newman south, and twenty-five miles between Burbank and Chatsworth Park, all for the Southern Pacific Rail- road. As superintendent for the Pacific Improvement Company he laid out and superintended the building of a seventeen-mile drive at Monterey, and alone he contracted for and built many sections of road for the Southern Pacific Railroad, besides which he has built many levees along the Sacramento river. Eventually Mr. Lowry retired from contracting and in the twilight of his active existence he enjoys the comforts rendered possible by years of intelligent exertion. He is now the oldest railroad contractor in the state.

At Adah, Ohio, Mr. Lowry was married March 27, 1890, to Miss Ida Sisson, who was born in Port Smith, Ark., but was reared in McArthur, Ohio. She was the daughter of George and Sarah (Sylvester) Sisson, the latter the youngest daughter of a Revolutionary soldier, a member of the Daughters of the Revolution, and a resident of Adah, Ohio. Four children were born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Lowry, Eva, Fondalite, Agnes and Georgia, all of whom reside with their father at No. 1610 K street, Sacramento. Politically Mr. Lowry is a Republican and is a member of Sumner Post, G. A. R. In 1912 he was a candidate at the primary election for supervisor of the third district, but failed of election by fifty-three votes. The family are communicants of the Christian Church and earnest supporters of religious and philanthropic measures. 


Source:
History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011