Genealogist Journal

A journey to recover the past

The Lowe/Johnson Connection

President Andrew Johnson

As with all families, there are bigger-than-life stories of famous relations that may or may not contain grains of truth. The job of the family historian is to sift through the legends to find pieces of fact. Case in point, my husband’s Lowe family have such a tale; a connection to President Andrew Jackson. After hours of digging, I found the family was not related to Andrew Jackson, however, there were a few grains of truth in the story. The Lowe family had a connection to the Presidency. Instead of President Andrew Jackson, it was a President Andrew Johnson that branched into their family tree.

The mix-up and confusion are understandable, Rebecca Jackson wife of Jacob Lowe, Jr. is undoubtedly related to the Jackson family, although, not to Andrew Jackson. Her Jackson family had a long history in Long Island, New York. President Andrew Jackson’s father immigrated from Antrim County, Ireland. If there was a connection between the two Jackson families it is distant indeed.

However, the Lowe family can claim a connection to President Andrew Johnson. The twisted connection is not a direct relationship rather one through marriage. The lineage is as follows, Andrew Johnson had a daughter named Mary Johnson, born in 1833 the third of three children, who married Daniel Stover, Jr.

Mary Johnson, daughter of President Andrew Johnson

Daniel Stover Jr. was the youngest brother of Jemima Stover, who married Teter Nave. Teter Nave and Jemima Stover’s daughter, Levica Nave, married Henry Colbaugh. They had a daughter, Jemima Colbaugh, who married George J. Lowe. George was the son of Jacob Lowe, Jr. and Rebecca Jackson.

George J. Lowe and Jemima Colbaugh

If you have ever played the game Telephone, you can see how the family legend grew. I hope this clears up the confusion about the Lowe Family connection to the US Presidency.

As a final note, Tommy Lee Jones looks a lot like President Andrew Johnson.


Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Three Kingsport Men



Three Kingsport Men

2 March 1946

Three Kingsport men, including in a list of nine East Tennesseans, recently received honorable discarges at the Camp Chaffee Personnel center, Camp Chaffee, Ark.

Kingsport men were: Pvt. James M. Collins, 80 Dale Street; Sgt. George E. Cloud, Route 6: T/3 Robert W. Hagie, 137 Warpath Drive.

Other East Tennesseans were: T/4 Charles E. Hale, Route 4, Johnson City; M/Sgt. Charles F. Weaver, 1503 E. Uriaka Street, Johnson City: Pfc. Roby B. Lowe, 108 E. Main Street, Johnson City; Sgt. Wade H. Carter, Route 4, Jonesboro; T/5 Cecil V. Kilby, 510 W. Main Street, Johnson City.


Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Dargatz Family Reunion

dargatzreunionnews 001

The Family of the late Herman and Amelia Dargatz gathered for a reunion at Millet recently, 11 of 13 children, their children and grandchildren present. Standing back row, left to right are Mrs. Emma Plitt (youngest of the family from Chilliwack); Carl Dargatz (eldest) of Wetaskiwin; Adolph Dargatz, Wetaskiwin; Paul Dargatz, Wetaskiwin; Roy Dargatz, Forest Grove, Oregon; Herman Dargatz, Edmonton; Augusta Pomeranz, Chilliwack; Seated: Mrs. Elizabeth Bienert, Portland, Oregon; Mrs. Olga Dusdal, San Fransisco; Mrs. Bertha Pomeranz, Wetaskiwin and Mrs. Mary Welke, Rosalind, Wash; Albert Dargatz from Chilliwack was prevented from attending by illness, and Bill Dargatz of Wetaskiwin arrived too late for the picture.


140 Attend Reunion of Dargatz Family


About 140 relatives attended the Dargatz family reunion in the Millet Community Hall Sunday, July 8. Twelve of the thirteen children of the late Herman and Amelia Dargatz, ranging in age from 60 to 81, were present for the occasion. Also on hand were many of their children, grand children and even six great grand children. Albert Dargatz of Chilliwack was prevented, by illness, from attending.

The six Dargatz sisters were all presented with corsages of white orchids and the five Dargatz brothers wore carnation buttonholes from Virgil Pomeranz of Edmonton. Herman and Florence Dargatz presented name tags to all the guests and Roy Dargatz presented a handmade souvenir to each of the family.

Mrs. Geneva Weinhandl of Whitecourt was in charge of the guest book, and had made an artistically painted family tree, with names of the family inscribed along the various branches. A smaller copy of the family tree was presented to each of the senior members of the family.

Mrs. Velma Slvaggio of Los Angeles spoke briefly and offered a prayer before the potluck dinner was served. Each family brought a favorite dish and the menu offered a tremendous variety.

After dinner the Welke sisters sang, and Fred Buskas spoke about the family reunion. Velma Slvaggio spoke on old times as a Christian family.

A highlight of the day was when each person was given the opportunity to recall something remembered from childhood days. This brought back many happy memories to the family of the days on the farm seven miles east of Millet.

For the rest of the afternoon the family visited and made the acquaintance of relatives they had never met and talked over old times with those they had not seen for many years.

Following the evening meal, Gordon Welke from Ronald, Washington, who travelled in a converted school bus with his family, took youngsters and oldsters for rides. The time to break up came all too soon, and before departing, the family and visitors joined in a hymn sing of old favorites “Blest be the Tie That Binds” and “God Be With You Until We Meet Again”. A parting prayer was offered by Dennis Pomeranz of Rosedale, B.C.

Members of the family came to the reunion from many parts of Canada and the United States, including several centers in California, Oregon and Washington, from British Columbia and from many Alberta points including Edmonton, Drayton Valley, Ft. McMurray, Blackfalds, Vegreville, Whitecourt, Millet and Wetaskiwin areas.


Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

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To Steven and Jennie Rose


On this Father’s Day, my mind turned to a poem my great grandmother Eleanor Van Dusen Bowen penned thirty-three years ago in 1984.  The poem and her explanation exemplifies the connection between a father and his daughter.



Happy Father’s Day!


Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Gems of Wisdom How to Preserve a Husband


One of the things I love about my dearly departed mother-in-law is even after two years she is still giving me wonderful little gifts. While looking through a stack of her old cookbooks, I found a golden nugget of wisdom, a recipe for preserving a husband. It is a lovely piece of advice pickled in farmhouse humor.

The recipe for a relationship is timeless. The quote cleverly restates the golden rule. That universal proverb we all learned as children. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The quote is not attributed to an author. It only reveals that it was found in an older cookbook. My mother-in-law’s well-loved cookbook, tattered and worn, appears than dirt. I can only wonder how old the quote is. Finding its origins could take considerable digging. In what time era would you place the farmhouse quote?

It is a recipe for preservation worth preserving.


Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Louise Flanders Wed To Mark M. Evans



Louise Flanders Wed To Mark M. Evans
Burbank Evening Review
Monday, October 1, 1945

 In a white lace wedding gown trimmed with seed pearls Miss Louise T. Flanders, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy C. Flanders of 1069 E. Santa Anita ave., became the bride Saturday at 8 p.m. of Mark M. Evans, son of Mrs. Mary B. Evans of 261 E. Tujunga ave.

The service was read in the First Presbyterian church by the Rev. Frederic G. Appleton. The bride was given in marriage by her father.

The bride dress was fashioned with full length sleeves, the skirt falling into a train. Her tiera was of lace and net with seed pearls and the veil was finger tip length. Her pearl necklace and ear rings were the gift of the groom and her flowers were white roses centered with two orchids.

Bridal attendants were Mrs. John Hendry, cousin of the bride; Mrs. Douglas R. Williams, another cousin and Mrs. Douglas Pinkerton, sister of the groom. Mrs. Hendry’s gown was of aqua marquisette, Mrs. Williams wore pink marquisette and Mr. Pinkerton also wore pink. All carried gladiolas and the three gowns were made alike.

The bridegroom’s attendants were Messrs, Paul M. Evans, Douglas R. Williams and Robert Robinson.

Flower girls were four-year-old Joan Hendry and six-year-old Carole Hendry, who wore white organdy with satin ribbon trim and organdy ruffles at neckline and bottom of the skirt.

The very small ring-bearer was Richard J. Williams, age two and a half who wore a tuxedo as did the groom’s attendants.

All the bride’s attendants, including the flower girls, wore heart-shaped lockets, gifts of the bride.

Mrs. Max Eckerman was soloist and Mrs. Ana Mojonier was organist. her selections were “Ave Maria,” and “The Lord’s Prayer”.

Following the service a reception was held in the church parlors, after which the newly wed pair left for a short trip to Santa Barbara. On their return they will live at 445 B. E. San Jose St., Burbank.

The bride’s mother is a graduate of the Willmar High School of Willmar, Minnesota and her husband was graduated from the Manuel Arts High School in Los Angeles and was with the U.S. Army nine years. He is a member of the Burbank fire department.

The new Mrs. Evans has been employed as a beauty shop operator.



Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Photograph of the Week: Lovell and Lila Birmeier


Lovell Birmeier and wife Lila Richards Birmeier 1940’s in Oregon.

Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Defensive Position of Tazewell During The Frontier War



Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769-1800
by Lewis Preston Summers

Defensive Position of Tazewell During the Frontier War, page 1480

In order to appreciate the true situation of the frontiersmen during the long wars which so devastated the settlements, it is essentially necessary that the reader should know the exact position which they occupied, and how much depended upon their own exertions. For this purpose, has this chapter been set apart.

Previous to 1776, the settlers were engaged in erecting suitable houses to protect their families from the in clemencies of the weather, as well as to render them more secure from the attacks of the Indians. Their lands had to be opened, and consequently, they were much in the forest. As there was an abundance of game, and few domestic animals, their meat was taken mostly from the forest; this likewise took them from home. They were few, and to raise a house, or roll the logs from a field, required the major part of a settlement. This likewise left their families exposed; yet such work was usually executed during the winter months, when the Indians did not visit the settlements. To give further protection to the families of the settlers, in every neighborhood block-houses were, as soon as convenient, erected, to which the families could repair in times of necessity.

After 1776, forts and stations were built, as it became necessary for many of the settlers to join the army. In these forts, and particularly at the stations, a few men were left to defend them. But the extent of country to be defended was so great, and the stations so few, that there was, in reality, but little safety afforded to the families of the settlers.

De Hass has given correct descriptions of block-houses, forts, and stations, to which I beg to refer the reader. There was a fort erected by William Wynn, a strict old Quaker, and one of the best of men., on Wynn’s branch; another at Crab Orchard, by Thomas Witten and one at Maiden Spring, by Rees Bowen – two men whose names will be cherished in the memories of the people of Tazewell for ages to come.

There was a station on Linking Shear branch, containing a few men under the command of Capt. John Preston, of Montgomery; another on Bluestone creek, in command of Capt. Robert Crockett of Wythe county, and another at the present site of the White Sulphur springs, in command of Capt. James Taylor of Montgomery. It is also said that there was a station in Burk’s Garden; I imagine, however, that it was not constructed by order of the Government.

The following persons, citizens of the county, were posted in these forts and stations, viz:

  • Bailey, John
  • Burgess, Edward
  • Bailey, James
  • Belcher, Robert
  • Belcher, Joseph
  • Brewster, Thomas
  • Chaffin, Christopher
  • Maxwell, John
  • Connelly, James
  • Maxwell, Thomas
  • Crockett, John
  • Marrs, ____?
  • Cotterel, John
  • Peery, James
  • Evans, John, Sr.
  • Pruett, John
  • Evans, John, Jr.
  • Thompson, Archibald
  • Gilbert, Joseph
  • Witten, James
  • Godfrey, Absalom
  • Wynn, Oliver
  • Hall, William
  • Wright, Michael
  • Lusk, David
  • Ward, John
  • Lusk, Samuel
  • Ward, William
  • Lusley, Robert
  • Wright, Hezekiah
  • Martin, James


These men were to hold themselves in readiness to act as circumstances might demand. To make them more efficient, spies were employed to hang upon the great trails leading into the settlements from the Ohio. Upon discovering the least sign of Indians, they hurried into the settlements and warned the people to hasten to the forts or stations, as the case might be. They received extra wages for their services, for they were both laborious and important, and also fraught with danger. For such an office the very best men were chosen; for it will be readily seen, that a single faithless spy might have permitted the Indians to pass unobserved, and committed much havoc among the people, before they could have prepared for defense. But it does not appear that any “spy” failed to give the alarm when possible so to do. They always went two together, and frequently remained out several weeks upon a scout. Great caution was necessary to prevent the Indians from discovering them, hence their beds were usually of leaves, in some thicket commanding a view of the war-path. Wet or dry, day or night, these men were ever on the lookout. The following persons were chosen from the preceding list, to act as spies, viz:

  • Burgess, Edward
  • Martin, James
  • Bailey, James
  • Maxwell, John
  • Bailey, John
  • Wynn, Oliver
  • Crockett, John
  • Witten, James


The last of whom, was one of the most sagacious and successful spies to be found anywhere on the frontier. His name is yet as familiar with the people as if he had lived and occupied a place among them but a day ago.

Such as were too old to bear arms in the government service, usually guarded the women, children and slaves, while cultivating the farms. Tazewell had but a small population at this time, yet from the number engaged in the regular service, we should be led to think otherwise. The following table will convey a good idea of their dispersion over the country, their families, in the meantime, exposed to the horrors of the tomahawk and scalping-knife


Names Where Engaged Where Killed/Wounded
Bowen, Rees King’s Mountain King’s Mountain
Bowling, Jarrett    
Brown, Low Clark’s Ex. to IL  
Cartmill, James Alamance  
Dolsberry, Lyles Pt. Pleasant, etc.  
Ferguson, Saml Alamance  
Harrison, Thos Brandywine,


And Yorktown

Harper, Jesse    
Lasly, John Clark’s Ex to IL  
Maloney, Archer Brandywine,

And Stony Point

McGuire, Nealy Clark’s Ex. to IL  
Moore, Capt. James Alamance  
Peery, William Alamance,

And IL Ex.

Peery, Thomas Alamance Alamance
Peery, John Alamance Alamance
Stratton, Solom Clark’s Ex to IL  
Tomlinson, Ism. Brandywine,

Germantown, etc.



It is a little strange that the frontiers should have furnished so many men for the army, when their absence so greatly exposed their families. But when we reflect that no people felt the horrors of war more sensibly than they did, and that no people are readier to serve the country in the day when aid is needed, than those of mountainous regions, we shall at once have an explanation to their desire, and consequent assistance, in bringing the war to a close. Besides, the people of Tazewell have ever been foremost in defending the country; showing at once that determination to be free, which so eminently characterizes the people of mountainous districts.

The reader, by consulting the Map, and learning that during the Indian wars the population did not much exceed five hundred, will see at once that Tazewell county afforded an open field for the depredations of the Indians.



  1. James Witten was born January 7th, 1759, in the colony of Maryland, and emigrated to Tazewell with his father, Thomas Witten, in 1773. At this time, though only about fifteen years of age, he was much distinguished as a hunter and woodsman. He was brave and generous to a fault; and was remarkable for decided action even at this early age. He married in 1783, and became at once a conspicuous character in the border war, which had not yet ceased. From 1794 to ’96, he was employed as a regular spy. When any duty requiring bravery, firmness, and prudence, had to be performed, James Witten was the man invariably chosen, as he possessed these qualities in an eminent degree. many incidents of interest are related of him, which should be preserved.
  2. The following list of persons who served in the war of 1812-1814, will corroborate the above statement, viz,
  • Asbury, William
  • Higginbotham, James
  • Tabor, Daniel
  • Bowen, Col. Henry
  • Higginbotham, Wm.
  • Thompson, Henry B.
  • Barns, William
  • King, Isaac
  • Vandyke, Charles
  • Belcher, James
  • Lusk, David
  • Vandyke, John
  • Bostic, Isaac
  • Peery, Capt. Thomas
  • Witten, William
  • Brooks, James
  • Peery, Jonathan
  • Wynn, Peter E.
  • Bainheart, George
  • Peery, Solomon
  • Ward, Alexander
  • Davidson, John
  • Robertson, David
  • Wilson, Hugh
  • Earley, Jeremiah
  • Stevenson, Matthew
  • Wynn, Samuel
  • Franklin, Pleasant
  • Smith, William
  • Walls, Joseph
  • Green, William
  • Shannon, John
  • Young, Nathaniel
  • Gose, Peter
  • Thompson, Rees B.
  • Young Israel

The companies offered their services to the government to engage in the Mexican war; they were not accepted, however, as a sufficiency of men had already been received. James Wynn and Wesley Hubbard, however, joined the Washington troops; with these exceptions, Tazewell may be said not to have participated in the war with Mexico.


Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Death Certificate of Ferdinand Welke



Ferdinand Welke was the son of Karl August Welke and Euphrosine Gurke. Ferdinand was born 10 Jul 1896 in what is today Dubeczno, Wlodawa, Lubelskie, Poland. The area where the Welke family lived at the turn of the 20th century was considered part of Russia. After World War I conditions was horrible and paranoia ran rampant. What remained of the Welkes decided that it was time to join their older sister in the United States. In the fall of 1920, Ferdinand immigrated to America, trekking across the continent to arrive in Portland, Oregon. He made his home in Oregon for many years then moved north to Roslyn, Washington, his final home.


Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

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