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Chapter IV -The Lowthorps of Prince George County, VA. 

The PHILLIPS families in Bristol Parish, and Merchant's Brandon Parish in present Prince George Co., Va.

The Phillips family of Lenoir County is a large family but can not be followed because of the lack of records. Indeed there may well be two different families but that can't be determined either. The family of Thomas and Isabella (Lanthrop) Phillips is one family. Thomas and Isabella moved from Prince George County, Virginia and no doubt have many descendants still in the area. They settled in what is today Lenoir County on Eagle Swamp.

Fortunately this area remained in Craven County until ca 1800. After checking the census records of 1790 for Craven County, N.C. I never found anyone with the name of Lanthrop, but I did find three familiar names, one named John Phillips; one named Thomas Phillips and one named Francis Lowthorp. I’m almost certain that the Phillips are off springs of the persons from the early 1700’s, but I’m just not totally convinced this is the Francis Lowthorp from the Prince George Co., Va. area. How do you get (Low) into (Lan), well as some persons write rather sloppy at times, I can see how the (ow) could be mistaken for an (an)! Just as (Low) is spelled (Lo), they both sound the same and as usual people spell as the word sounded.

Only one of their children can be followed with any certainty - John who was the eldest son and appears to have inherited most of the property as was the custom of that time. John continued to live on Eagle Swamp and good records can be found for him in Craven County. Thomas Jr. also lived on Eagle Swamp but he did not own the amount of land that John did and therefore, is not as easy to follow.

The family of John Phillips, who owned land 7.2 miles south of Petersburg on a creek called Second Swamp. The total acreage in 1820 was 1,170 acres, north and south of the Swamp. He had a mill, dam, mill pond and house there.

The dam and mill pond are still there. The pilings from the old mill can be seen when the water in the creek is low.

The house is in ruins. It was a two-story, pitched-roof house of eight rooms with two center halls and outbuildings.

It was a hospital during the Civil War, In the early 1720s John Phillips added 129 acres to land he already owned on Second Swamp. He bought the additional acreage from Edmund Browder. The original patent on the land was from the 1690s. From what was learned from the 1700s records, it is believed that his wife may have been Mary Adams, daughter of Thomas Adams, whose will was prob. in Prince George Co.

John Phillips of Second Swamp had two sons, John and Thomas who began to have children of their own beginning in 1726. Their births and some of the Baptists are registered in the Vestry Book and Parish Register of Bristol Parish. The present church of Bristol Parish is St. Paul's Church in Petersburg.

They were very staunch Church of England members, bringing in their children promptly for baptism, even though they lived about 10 miles south of the parish church.

This line of the John Phillips' family on Second Swamp-- remained on that land until late in the last century. This was the ONLY PHILLIPS family in Bristol Parish. The name John comes down in several Johns then John A., John T., etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Thomas Phillips and wife Isabella Lanthrop and children left Bristol Parish in about 1735 and went to Craven Co., NC, where Thomas left a will in 1743.

John I -  He owned land on Second Swamp before 1720 and acquired more from Edmund Browder. He was the father of John II and Thomas (husband of Isabella).

John II - and wife Ann(Lanthrop) - having children in Bristol Parish 1720s-1740s. Some descendants stayed on Second Swamp.

Thomas I - husband of Isabel/Isabelle (Lanthrop) - they had children in Bristol Parish from 1726 to 1734. They went to Craven Co. NC.  Thomas was the younger brother of John II and the son of John I.

The descendants of John II can be traced in tax list and census, in Petersburg newspapers and in docs. at court house.  The surveyor's record (in SR 2 in Prince George Co. Court House) The Phillips land was up Second Swamp from the Sturdevants' Mill --it was west of it.  

Also in Loose Wills: 1850: Will of Richard Sturdevant names grandson Daniel Sturdevant (land and mill); Heath, Burchett/Birchett and Betsy and Sally Lanthrop(or). the exec. is John A. Phillips,(who inherited the 500 Acres in 1820.)

l79l - Francis Lowthrop(or) paid to Wright Stanley(ee), l00 lbs for a mulatto man - NOTE: It’s possible that this is the same family as "Francis Lanthrop" of Prince George Co. who is the brother of Isabelle Lanthrop and Ann Lanthrop, named as their (younger) brother in the PG Co., Va. Will of John Lanthrop. Isabella married Thomas Phillips and Ann married John Phillips and this is their nephew, who came to Craven Co, became a well-loved Freemason and had a disastrous career in business there.

The name Lanthrop is spelled in English records of this same family as "Lothrop" and that in early Virginia records

the two spellings are used in reference to the same person.

“I thought I had lost the trail of the Lowthorp Family until I found this Will.” “Although, this does not prove that the persons mentioned in this document is of the same family as the Lowthorps of New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina. They are thought to have come from England around the mid 1780’s. There is documented proof that Francis’ family was born in England.

It is possible that he as a young man he went to England for an education for it is clear that he was well educated. While in England he could have married and had a family before returning to the Craven Co. area. The author of the Phillips document did think it was the same family.

The Will of John Lanthrop - 1718 (Deeds 1713-28, page 286, Prince George Co.,Va.) 

In The Name of God Amen. I John Lanthrop of Prince George County do make and design this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say First I bequeath my Soul into the hands of  Almighty God believing remission of sinns and everlasting Life by the Merritts death and passion of Jesus Christ my Lord and only Savior.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Joseph Lanthrop all my Land on the North side of Second Swamp to him and his heirs forever, and to my son John all my Land on the South side of Second Swamp to him and his heirs forever.

Item. I do desire that my Daughters shall have the priviledge of  tending of ground on the Plantation whereon I now live, keeping all  things in repair, as long as they keep themselves single.

Item. The Bed Whereon I Lye I give to my Loving wife Margaret, and all furniture belonging to it, but no more bedding, and but her third of the Land if she marries.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Elizabeth one Cow and Calfe, and to my Daughter Mary and my Daughter Ann one Cow and Calfe, and one Sow & four piggs, between them both.

Item. I give to my Son Joseph one red Heifer with a white face and one Sow Shoat belonging to the black Sow.  

Item. I give the first fold that my Mair brings to my son John, and the  old horse and Mair I give for the use of the Plantation amongst them  all, as long as they Live all together, but my son John shall be free at seventeen if his mother marries again, but if she remains my widow he shall serve till he is one and twenty.

Item. I give and bequeath all the rest of my Beds and Bedding betwixt my six Children, namely Mary and Ann and Francis and John and Margaret and Issabell and them six Children and to my wife to them I do give all moveables when the Debts are paid, and my Son John if he be unruly, I give unto my Son Joseph full power to give him correction.  And I do desire that in Dividing the moveables that they choose two or three men to divide it amongst themselves, this my Last Will and Testament where unto I set my hand and seal this 9th day of January 1718.

(W) Sealed wax.

Signed Sealed and Delivered in the sight of us.-

Moses Beck

Andrew Beck (his AB marke)

Henry Ledbetter (his HL marke)

At a Court held at Merchants Hope for the County of Prince George on the second Tuesday in March, being the tenth Day of the said month Anno Dom. 1718.

The above written Last Will and Testament of John Lanthrop Dece'd. was presented into Court by Margaret the Relict and Joseph the son of the said Dece'd. and there being no Executor appointed therein the said Margaret and Joseph made oath thereto, and it being proved by the oaths of Moses Beck, Andrew Beck, and Henry Ledbetter witnesses thereto to be the Last Will of the said John Lanthrop Dece'd.

…… is by order of the Court truly recorded and Certificate is granted the said Margaret and Joseph Lanthrop for obtaining Letters of Administration with the said Will annexed in due form.

Teste: William Hamlin Clerk of Court                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Chapter V - Lowthorps come to Craven County, N.C.

My research of this family lead me to the Census Records of Craven County; ca. 1790, where there was a John Phillips and a Thomas Phillips living in the New Bern area. Of course they are not the same persons of the early 1700’s, but are most likely are the children of brothers Thomas and John Phillips.

There is where we also found our Francis Lowthorp and his family. Francis was a merchant and perhaps owner and operator of a “Trade Ship”; and served as the  “Justice of the peace” for Craven County. The first recorded mention of his name was around 1789, when his name appeared in the Masonic Lodge’s minutes, but it is most likely he was and active member prior to this documentation.

He was “The Worshipful Master of the St. John’s Masonic Lodge #3” of New Bern, N.C.  He owned many slaves and had several other young persons bound to him, most of them were orphans. Some of them were trained to be mariners and some of them were training to be tobacconist. Francis owned a large farm of 800 acres and most likely the biggest crop was tobacco. The fact that he had some of these bound to him as mariners leads me and others to believe he was either a ships owner or had some close connection to shipping. We know he traded with England and ports in the Indies of the Caribbean and perhaps the cities of New York; Boston; Philadelphia; The Tidewater Area of Virginia, Mobile and New Orleans.                                              

I also, feel that his oldest daughter, Mary was involved in the business with her father and later on with her husband, Charles Churchill who also, was a merchant and owned a store on or near the same wharf. After the death of her husband she later moved, first to Mobile, Alabama with her son Dr. Claudius Belden Churchill and then on to New Orleans. Her sister, Jane Lowthorp Pasteur followed in almost the same path a short time later after her husband past on. She too had a son, Dr. Christopher Neale Pasteur that became a well known and respected doctor.

During this same period of time Francis was involved with the construction of the Masonic Lodge of New Bern, of which he was the Worshipful Master. He was responsible for acquiring the land for the building and collecting the financing for the construction of it also, he was the most outstanding contributor of time and money. The building still stands today, but has been expanded to about twice the original size.

NEW BERN, the second oldest town in North Carolina, was settled in 1710 by German Palatine and Swiss colonists led by Baron Christopher von Graffenried. He purchased the land from the Tuscarora Indians who had a small settlement here known as Chattawka, an Indian word said to mean, "where the fish are taken out."

Named for the city of Bern, Switzerland, the town was located on the triangle of land where the Neuse and Trent rivers meet. This is called the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. The original settlers suffered with the climate, a lack of provisions and supplies, diseases and Indian problems. Von Graffenried and the surveyor, John Lawson, were taken prisoner by the Indians. Lawson was burned at the stake, but von Graffenried was spared. Once the war with the Tuscarora Indians was ended, New Bernians looked to the natural resources for their support. Tar, pitch and turpentine along with other native products loaded down ships bound for England, New England and the West Indies. The ships would return with rum, molasses, sugar and manufactured goods. When King Charles II had been restored to the English throne in 1660, he issued a "Carolina Charter" granting eight of his loyal supporters (they were called the Lords Proprietor) wide areas of land in the New World. The area spread from Virginia to the Spanish border of Florida and from the Atlantic Ocean to the "South Seas" or the Pacific Ocean. It was called Carolina from the word, "Carolus", the Latin word for Charles- in honor of the King. William, Earl of Craven, was one of the original Lords Proprietor, and it is from his family name that Craven County got its name. New Bern became the seat of the Craven Precinct (now county) in 1722.  By the middle of the eighteenth century, the river port had grown in size and importance. Because New Bern is centrally located between the Albemarle and Cape Fear, the colonial assembly often met here. The Colony's first printing press was established in New Bern in 1749 and two years later, the printer, James Davis, published the colony's first newspaper, pamphlet and book.

The royal governor, William Tryon, saw the need for a permanent capital in the growing colony and selected New Bern as the site. Tryon Palace, first colonial and state capitol building of North Carolina, was designed by the English Architect, John Hawks. The palace, completed in 1770, made New Bern the political center of North Carolina, and that was important in the growth of the town. New Bern became a center of events leading to the Revolution. The first publicly organized assembly was called here in 1774… against the wishes of royal governor, Josiah Martin, who fled the capital for safety in May of the following year. Throughout the Revolutionary War, the port sheltered many privateers.

Early in 1777, the first state government under a new constitution was begun under Richard Caswell. In the 1790's, the growing population of the western counties caused the General Assembly to move the state capital to a more central location. In September, 1791, near one-third of the town was consumed by fire. Joel Lane's farm was purchased, and there they established the present capital of Raleigh. The Federal Era saw New Bern develop fully into a city. There was much culture and wealth here after the Revolution. The first school to be chartered in North Carolina, the New Bern Academy, along with the Masonic Temple and Theater, the Episcopal Church and other churches built by the Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and Roman Catholic congregations illustrate educational, civic and religious sophistication in New Bern.

Union forces captured the important port city of New Bern early in the Civil War (March 14, 1862). The Northern officers established headquarters in Neuse River mansions while other soldiers moved into other houses throughout the city. The Union forces occupied the city for the rest of the war. For this reason, New Bern survived with less physical damage than many other small southern towns. After the difficult period of Reconstruction, New Bern entered its third era of development. Before and well after 1900, fine quality pine, cypress, oak and other hardwoods kept the lumber mills busy. By 1916, there were sixteen lumber mills here. New Bern became a source of seafood and what was not bought locally or shipped out was processed in fertilizer plants.

With the coming of World War II, the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point started August 16, 1941, on the Neuse River halfway between New Bern and Morehead City. It ranks as the largest United States Marine Corps Air Station in the world. The many personnel and Marines coming to the area helped to boost the local economy and continue today.

New Bern remains a progressive city, but much relating to her history can still be seen. The Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens take a visitor back two hundred years. The Dixon-Stevenson House and John Wright Stanly exhibition houses further illuminate the early history of the city. The New Bern Academy Museum, the Civil War Museum and the Fireman's Museum help to illustrate the life style of times past. The historic sites and old homes, large and small, along the waterfront make it easy to understand why we say,"Our charm is Historic!"     


How New Bern got its Name:

In 1710, the Swiss and German settlement was named the New Bern in honor of the founder's home, Bern, Switzerland. When Bern, Switzerland was founded, it was named by a group of hunters. They named the city for the first animal they came upon on their hunting expedition, which was a bear. "Bern" is the old Germanic word for Bear, and it became the symbol of the city. It has been adopted by New Bern, as well. The black bear symbol is well represented throughout the city. The harbor was formed from two large rivers coming together as shown in this map made in the early 1800’s shows the many piers that formed New Bern’s borders. The Neuse River on the Northeast side and the Trent River on the Southeast side

Francis Lowthorp’s store was located near the corner of Front Street and Craven Street, next to his son in law’s property. Front Street is the street that runs along the Trent River side of the town and Craven Street is the second street from the Neuse River side. This is the property he later sold to his son in law, Charles.

Francis Lowthorp was a merchant and either owned his own ship or was connected with shipping in some way, because he acquired his merchandise from England; New Orleans; Mobile and the West Indies of the Caribbean. Something happened between ca.1800 - 1806 that caused him to loose his business or perhaps the loss of ships and cargo causing him to have a disastrous outcome to his business. Also, the abolition of slavery was strongly being pushed in those years. Francis owned several slaves and was listed in the 1790 Census as owning 11 of them along with three who were bound to him for training as mariners and tobacconist.

During the Revolution, the ships of the United States were protected by the 1778 alliance with France, which required the French nation to protect "American vessels and effects against all violence, insults, attacks, or depredations, on the part of the said Princes and States of Barbary or their subjects." After the United States won its independence in the treaty of 1783, it had to protect its own commerce against dangers such as the Barbary pirates.

Perhaps this is what led to Francis Lowthorp’s loss of business, because when Jefferson became president in 1801 he refused to give into Tripoli's demands for an immediate payment of money for protection from the Pirates of the Barbary Coast. The pasha of Tripoli then declared war on the United States.


The  First Records of this family was about ca. 1787, in NEW BERN, CRAVEN CO., N.C. When FRANCIS LOWTHORP is thought to have brought his family from England. He was accompanied by his wife; ELIZABETH GERBOW; daughter, MARY; son, FRANCIS Jr.; and daughter, JANE. Francis and Elizabeth married around 1771 in England.

There is a recorded purchase of a tract of land by ELIZABETH LOWTHORP; located between the Neuse and Trent Roads; one hundred acres more or less and recorded in the County of Craven, New Bern, N.C. Deed Book 31; Pgs. 153- 154. ca. 1788

FRANCIS LOWTHORP to CHARLES CHURCHILL; Merchant, The sale of a certain building made into two stores. Churchill was also Francis’s son in law, married to his daughter Mary. The property is located on the west side of Craven Street, across from “The Old County Wharf.” Written in ca. 1801, but not recorded until Ca. 1806.

Craven Co.  Deed Book 36; Pgs. 682- 683                        Craven Co.  Deed Book  38; Pgs. 123- 125

The State directed the Sheriff of Craven Co. to sell the Land of deceased FRANCIS LOWTHORP, whiched decended to MARY CHURCHILL, FRANCIS LOWTHORP jr., JANE PASTEUR and SALLY LOWTHORP to pay for damages to WILLIAM GOOD. ca. 1811

Craven Co.  Deed Book  39; Pgs. 536 -537

The State of North Carolina ---Where as the Court of Pleas and Quarters; dirrected the Sheriff of Craven Co. to seize and sell the land of deceased FRANCIS LOWTHORP. A certain house and tract of land containing eight hundred acres. ca. 1806.                                                                                                                                                                                                


FRANCIS LOWTHROP – Worshipful Master of Saint John’s Lodge # 3

Since its beginning, it featured a theater within the Masonic Temple. When it  was completed, leading architects described it as "the largest and most elaborate building ever built in New Bern up to its time, with the exception of Tryon Palace."

The cornerstone of the building was laid April 15, 1801, in an impressive Masonic ceremony. An engraved silver plate and three coins—a copper half-cent dated 1797, a copper cent dated 1789, and a silver dollar dated 1800—were placed it the cornerstone. The silver plate was engraved as follows: “St. John’s Lodge No. 3, New Bern, N.C. Instituted Jan’y 10, A.D. 1772, A.L. 5772. Present officers: Francis Lowthrop, Esqr., M. George Ellis, Esqr., S.W. Edw. Kean, Esqr., J. W. Isaac Taylor, Esqr., Tr. Revd. Thos. P. Irving, Orator.”                                                                                                         

“This foundation stone of Masons’ Hall laid April 15, A.D. 1801, by the D.G. Master, assisted by the Officers & Members of this Lodge.”

At the conclusion of the Civil War, a Union soldier carried these items to the north. St. John's Lodge No. 1 of Providence, Rhode Island, had come into possession of these precious relics through the aid of one of its members. In 1876, the plate and the three coins were placed in a special new case and appropriately inscribed. In 1878, all four artifacts were returned to St. John's Lodge No. 3 by St. John's Lodge No. 1.

The original cornerstone, hollow and empty, was found 42 years after the return of these items, and the stone was placed on an appropriate foundation, with suitable inscription, in front of the Masonic Temple. The case, plate, and coins are kept in the Lodge archives.

The Masonic theater, which dates its beginning to 1804, was once the cultural center of New Bern. Through the years, the Masonic Theater was the scene of countless stage plays, talent benefits, band concerts, vaudeville acts, political rallies, civic conventions, public and private school commencements, church services, and sundry other community gatherings. In all these, it established a record of high contribution to both the community and the Masonic Fraternity.  

With the end of the second book of lodge minutes on May 8, 1805, more than two and a half years transpire before the first record in the third book, dated the first Wednesday in December, 1807. Fortunately, however, abstracts of the proceedings in two different unbound manuscripts are filed with the Grand Lodge at Raleigh. Written by Secretary John S. Pasteur, the first year's record starts December 4, 1805, and ends November 20, 1806; and the second annual report runs from December 3, 1806, to November, 1807.  Officers were reelected December 11, 1805, at "Masons Hall," as follows: Francis Lowthrop, Master; George Ellis, Senior Warden; Stephens, Junior Warden; Kean, Treasurer; John S. Pasteur, Secretary; John F. Templeton, Tiler; John D. Friou and John R. Good, Deacons. They were installed on Christmas Eve,  with 22 members present. John C. Osborn presided. Hardy Sanders and Stephen B. Forbes were appointed Stewards. Masons officiated at the funeral for James Bryan on January 26, 1806, when 49 members and nine visitors participated. The funeral for Silas W. Arnett was held May 31. When a fellow Mason, Bernard Bawattel of San Domingo asked for aid in September, "the members, with their accustomed liberality (knowing the inability of the Lodge to give effectual assistance) individually contributed a sum sufficient to relieve his necessities, and enable him to proceed to New York."                                                                                                                                                                             

A third Masonic funeral was held that year, when Worshipful Master Lowthrop died, between the hours of 10 and on the morning of October 28. He had been elected Master 14 times, and is considered one of the most outstanding of all the Masonic leaders in the history of the lodge. That very day "a Lodge was called for the purpose of arranging the funeral of our late Most Worthy and lamented Master, Francis Lowthrop, Esq., whom it hath pleased the Almighty to call unto himself, and whose separation from us and from the Craft—yea! and from the Community of poverty and wretchedness, occasioned the Solemn Call. Present 48 members and five visitors."

As a small tribute to the deceased, it was decided that the corpse should be conveyed to the cemetery by the Masonic members "and by no other means." Crape as a badge of mourning was prescribed for the left arms of the members for the next 30 days. James Taylor and William Johnston were named to superintend the funeral. Adam Bantz and William Williams were requested "to form a Band of Music, in aid of their own exertions, and to perform such dirge or dirges as to them may seem suitable to the solemn occasion."

On October 29 the Masons met at the Lowthrop residence, carried the coffin to the Episcopal church and heard a discourse by the Rev. Mr. Irving on the text: "And all Jerusalem and Judea mourned for the loss of Josiah." This was reported to have been delivered "by the Orator, Mr. Irving, in a most eloquent and pathetic manner." Evidently at the time of his demise Lowthrop must have been in straitened financial circumstances and the lodge bore the cost of the funeral. The burial expenses totaled $150.49, the treasurer's reports state.

Collections taken by Samuel Oliver amounted to $63.42 and Adam Bantz collected $13, a total of $76.42. A note for the remaining half of the costs was given to the undertaker, Hinkley. This note was paid the following June. 

Martin, Benjamin Woods and John L. Taylor were elected delegates to the Grand Lodge on November 5. Grand Lodge records show that Martin and Gen. Durant Hatch attended the session. Past Grand Master John Louis Taylor was elected the next month to succeed Lowthrop as Worshipful Master of St. John's Lodge. He had been active in the local group for some time, and during his terms as Grand Master from 1802 to 1805 attended many meetings here, as had also Grand Marshal Osborn. George Ellis was renamed Senior Warden; Stephens, Junior Warden; Kean, Treasurer; Irving, Orator; Templeton, Tiler; Friou and Good, Deacons. Adam Bantz was made Secretary; with Moses Jarvis and William Conway as Stewards.                                                                                                                                                                 

With Lowthrop's death passed an important early era in lodge history. He had been active in the organization here since shortly after reorganization of the lodge in 1787. When Washington visited here in 1791 he was on the committee to prepare the Masonic address of welcome. From 1792 until his death 14 years later he served continuously as Worshipful Master. During 1799 he acted as "Vice Grand Master," to visit lodges through this region. W.M. Lowthrop once took a trip to the West Indies from June to October of 1795 and upon his return brought some communications from the Masonic Lodges of Jamaica and Hispaniola.

As one of the many instances of Charity extended to the unfortunate, a small, suitable building "for the accommodation of the distressed Widow of our late Worthy Master Francis Lowthrop," was sought by the lodge, under action taken August 3, 1809. Irving and John S. Pasteur (Jane Lowthorp’s husband) were named to seek such a place. Lowthrop had then been dead for almost three years.

The portrait of Lowthrop, painted by William J. Williams, was presented to the lodge a month later, by John Osborn, then Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, at a meeting held here on March 6. Members voted to hang it in an appropriate spot in the lodge room. Today it hangs in Lowthrop Hall, named in honor of this prominent Masonic leader. In two different entries in the Treasurer's Ledger, it is set forth that the lodge paid Williams 20 pounds, or about $40, for painting this portrait.

One of these entries shows that on February 8, 1805, the sum of 20 pounds was credited to the cash account, "By Working Account for order to pay Br. Williams for a Portrait in Crayon of R. W. Master Francis Lowthrop." On the same date this amount was shown as having been paid out in cash to "Br. Williams." Evidently the artist was paid in advance for his work, but delivery of the finished product came within a month.

Two other entries, both dated February 22, show that a "Frame for R. W. M. Portrait" cost 10 pounds. Painted with his Masonic regalia, Lowthrop bears a striking resemblance to the Masonic portrait of President George Washington by the same artist.  As this picture was made little more than a year and a half before Lowthrop died, it does not resemble so much the solid gold case, painted medallion made during his young manhood, now in the possession of the local lodge, to which it was presented by the late F. C. Roberts, to whom it had been given by the original's daughter, Miss Sally Lowthrop.

When I visited the Masonic Hall in October of 2004 the secretary of the lodge took my wife and I on a tour of the “Old Masonic Lodge”. There I saw this medallion and held it in my hand it was beautiful and crafted like a fine watch with a crystal face. The base of the medallion was solid gold and polished to a shine. The broach was inscribed with the words; “Francis Lowthorp” on the end below the portrait.

The artist, Williams, was reported as a visitor at the meetings of St. John's Lodge when the Lowthrop painting was authorized and presented. At intervals during that period he is listed as a "visiting brother" at other local lodge sessions.

The portrait of Francis Lowthorp is displayed in “Lowthrop Hall” over the doorway in this banquet/meeting room, named in his honor. There is a smaller picture of him displayed along with other past Worshipful Masters, mounted on the opposite wall. The Masonic Lodge is located in New Bern, N.C., on the corner of Hancock St. and Johnson St.

Francis owned a general merchandise store, located in New Bern in the business district near the wharfs. He offered for sale merchandise imported from England and the Caribbean. It is not known if he owned the ships that transported the merchandise that he offered for sale in his store.

There is documentation that he owned slaves, 11 at the time of the 1790 census. It is also documented that he had several young colored persons bonded to him, they were mostly orphans, Francis or someone in his employ trained them as mariners.

He owned about 800 acres of tobacco land and was training a young colored boy to be a tobacconist. He was a well loved and honored member of the Masonic Lodge St. John’s # 3 where he was elected the Most Worshipful Master for 14 consecutive years, until his death in October 28, 1806.

His service to the Lodge was documented in a book named; “Years of Light”, published in 1944 and a second book of the same name; Vol. II published in 1974. He was the “Justice of the Peace” for Craven County, New Bern for many years.

On the following pages are the transcripts of actual court documents and a copy of a newspaper ad placed in the local publication.                                                                                                                                           

This census is from:  Microcopy No. T-498 Roll 2

1790 census for Newbern District Craven CountyNorth Carolina                 

1st #      free white males 16 year upwards and head of families
2nd #      free white males under 16 years
3rd #      free white   females and head of families
4th #      all other free persons
5th #      slaves

Lowthorp, Francis,           6,1,3,1,11
Clements, Frederick,       1,0,1,0,1
Philips, Thomas Jr,          1,4,5,0,8
Philips, John,                   2,3,3,0,16
Philips, Thomas Sr,           2,2,5,0,0                                                                                                                                           


New Bern District Court Records                                                                                                            

Folder: 1790 (second folder)

Information: Deposition of Francis LOWTHROP: Says that he was present at the house of Doct. Isaac GUION when a number of people appeared in the street about or between 12:00 & 1:00 next morning with sticks or clubs or something that they brandished and that a number of brick bats, stones, &c. were thrown against the windows which broke a number of panes of the glass; on or about the same time he went into the porch of the house, at which time Capt. Jeremiah REDDING came up to him and sayed Where is the damned scoundrel or damned son of a bitch one or the other he does not remember which, and immediately catched him by the collar and dragged him down two of the steps and as soon as the said Redding took hold of him, he taketh hold of Colo. DAWSON, and his shirt tearing from his neck and his having hold of Colo. DAWSON prevents his being haled into the street as he supposeth, as soon as he was clear of Capt. REDDING, he stept back further into the porch, Capt. REDDING advancing, he saw that Capt. REDDING face was bloody at the time he took hold of him and that he does not know who struck Capt. REDDING for that he was not present and(goes on to say he doesn¹t know who threw the objects that hit the house, or if Capt. REDDING was one of them), early in the evening soon after the sheriff had closed the poll of election there was a number of sailors as well as other people at Doct. GUION, drinking, but that he does not know whether there was any sailors amongst them in the house at the time the house was attacked, nor was there any sailors at that time either in Doc. GUION house or in his yard that he knows of.

Date: 13 Aug 1790

Date of: Event Not given

County: Craven in previous documents

Folder: 1793 (second folder)

Information: Appearance bond for Stephen Pen WILLIAMS, with bondsmen John C. BRYAN, Esq. & Frederick LOWTHORP, to appear on a charge against him.

( I believe (Frederick) to be Francis Lowthorp)10/04 /GAC

Date: 8 June 1793

Date of: Bond

County: Craven                                                                                                                                                                           

Folder: 1797                                                                                                                                                                                

Information: Indictment of Edmond Perkins. States that on 19 Mar 1797 Blake Baker swore to John Frink Smith and Francis Lowthorp, justices, that Aquilla Taylor had stolen a bay gelding from him. Taylor was then examined by Smith and Lowthorp, and a warrant of arrest issued against him to the sheriff of Craven Co. or his deputy. He was to be conveyed to Halifax Co. for trial. Taylor was placed in custody of Perkins, deputy sheriff.  Perkins is charged with allowing Taylor to escape in the county of Pitt. [Note: Blake Baker is also the Atty. General. It appears that the theft took place in Halifax County, but the warrant was issued in Craven, perhaps because Taylor lived there].


Date: 19 Mar 1797/15 Apr 1797

Date of: Theft/Escape

County:  Craven/Halifax/Pitt                                                                                                                                                      

Folder: 1798 (second folder)

Information: Appearance bond for Hannah ROACH with Francis LOWTHORP and James MCMANUS, bondsmen, to appear and testify for the state regarding the murder of William MASON, wherein Andrew MOODY is charged.

Date: 10 Feb 1798

Date of: Bond


New Bern District Court Records Dobbs Co.1804

Folder: 1804                                                                                                                                                                                

Information: Summons for Francis LOWTHROP to appear immediately and testify
against Jeremiah MASTIN.

Date: 20 Jul 1804                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Folder: 1805                                                                                                                                                                                 

Information: James MCKINLAY vs. Leml. HOLMS:

I have no property in my hands belonging to Leml. HOLMES, except a note put into my hand by Mrs. HOLMES since he went to New York, to collect of John & Benners VAIL for $1222.21cts. I heard Mr. HOLMES say that John BROWN Decd. died in his debt but to what amount I don’t know. s/F. LOWTHORP.

Date: 18 Jan 1805

Date of: Note sworn to
County:  Not given

Date of: Summons
County: Craven


Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements

Pension application of William McClure BLWt130-400 fn11NC  

Transcribed by Will Graves 1/31/09

 [Methodology: Spelling, punctuation and grammar have been corrected in some instances for ease of reading and to facilitate searches of the database. Also, the handwriting of the original scribes often lends itself to varying interpretations. Users of this database are urged to view the original and to make their own decision as to how to decipher what the original scribe actually wrote. Blanks appearing in the transcripts reflect blanks in the original.]

Know all Men by these presents that I William McClure of Craven County and State of North Carolina late a Regimental Surgeon in the Continental line of the State aforesaid in the service of the United States during the late War with Great Britain do hereby nominate appoint make ordain and constitute Isaac Cole of the County and State aforesaid my true and lawful attorney to ask for and receive at the War Office or any other place, a Bounty Warrant for Land due me as Surgeon aforesaid and do also empower him the aforesaid Isaac Cole attorney or attorneys under him to make touching the premises herein Ratifying and confirming all that my said attorney or attorneys under him may do hereby. Witness my hand and Seal at Newbern [sic, New Bern] in the County and State above mentioned June 7th 1800 


S/ F. Lowthorp                            S/ W. McClure

State of North Carolina Craven County 

Personally appeared before me Francis Lowthorp one of the Justices of the Court of the County of Craven, in the State of North Carolina, John Daves1 who deposes that he viewed the within named William McClure to be a Surgeon in the 2nd Regiment in the North Carolina line in the War with Great Britain, and that he is positive to his being the same as represented in the within Power of Attorney.

Sworn before me August 25, 1800.                               S/ John Daves    S/ F. Lowthorp, JP

I do hereby certify that I have been acquainted with William McClure who has signed the within power of Attorney since the year 1781, when he returned from South Carolina, having been taken a prisoner in the City of Charleston when it surrendered to the British & then understood that he was a Surgeon to one of the North Carolina Regiments. I do further certify that Francis Lowthorp is a Justice of the peace for Craven County -- And that John Daves who has signed the annexed deposition was at the conclusion of the Revolution a Capt. in the North Carolina line of Continental troops. Given under my hand at New Bern in Craven County North Carolina this 3rd September 1800 S/ Rich'd Dobbs Spaight [Richard Dobbs Spaight, Member of Congress from NC]


1 FPA BLWt610-300 Capt. issued Dec. 31, 178=98 or 1788 No papers.


Apprentice Bonds of Craven Co., N.C.

Folder: 1797

13 September 1788—Martin Wallace, orphan aged about 15 years, bound to Francis Lowthorp as a seaman or mariner.

12 March 1789—John Hobday, orphan aged 17 years the 12 March 1789, bound to Francis Lowthorp, merchant of New Bern, as a mariner.                                                                                                                                                                       

16 March 1798Reading Moore, a base born free Negro boy, bound to Francis Lowthorp, Esq., of New Bern, as a tobacconist.

18 July 1803—Francis Lowthorp Dawson*, aged 13 years last June, bound to Samuel Fairbanks, mariner, as a mariner and to teach him navigation, etc. [Samuel binds "his son" Francis. Court Clerk S. Chapman notes that this was left with him by C.V. Dawson.] *Note: This young man’s father lived on a nearby farm and he was apparently named after our Francis Lowthorp.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Found in court records from ca.1800 that there was an outbreak of Yellow Fever in late 1798.  It was severe enough to prevent court from being held.

"John ONEAL maketh oath that at September term 1798 he was about
to come on to stand his trial when he was informed by a number of persons whom
he saw returning from Newbern that the judges had adjourned the court in
consiquence of the Yellow fever prevailing in Newbern that at March term 1799
he was so very ill that he was not able to come being by his indisposition
reduced so low as to be scarce able to walk across the House that at September
term 1799 the Yellow Fever prevented the Court from being held."
Date: 29 Mar 1800

Francis Lowthorp and his wife, Elizabeth Gerbow came to New Bern around 1787, he soon established a General Merchandise Store near the wharfs on Craven Street and Front Street. His wife, Elizabeth, later bought some land near the store. The following Land Purchase Deed accounts for that transaction that took place in ca. 1788.


Land Purchase Agreement Deed                                                                                                           

     This Indenture made the Twenty Seventh day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty eight, Between William Conway and Richard Cogdell, both of the County of Beauford and State of North Carolina of the one part, and Elizabeth Lowthorp of the Town of New Bern and State of aforesaid of the other part. Witnessth, that the said William Conway and Richard Cogdell for and in consideration of the sum of Twenty Pounds Current money to them in hand paid by the said Elizabeth Lowthorp, the receipt whereof they hereby acknowledge, hath Granted, Bargained and Sold and by there presents doth clearly and absolutely grant bargain and sell unto the said Elizabeth Lowthorp her heirs and assigns forever, and Tract or parcel of land Situate lying in the County of Craven and State aforesaid between Neuse and Trent Roads, beginning at a stake in a savannah and running South thirty seven West one hundred and Eighty eight poles to a marked Black Oak, thence North Fifty three West one hundred and ninety one poles to a pine, William Powell’s corner, thence to the Beginning containing One Hundred Acres, be the same more or less, together with all easements, Property, Commodities and appointments whatsoever these unto belonging and all the Reversion and Reversions remainder and Remainders, Estate and Interest of them the said William Conway and Richard Cogdell of and in all and singular the premises -

     To have and to hold the said One Hundred acres of land and appurtenances thereto belonging unto the said Elizabeth Lowthorp her heirs and assigns, to the only proper use and Behalf of her the said Elizabeth Lowthorp her heirs and assigns forever. In Witness whereof the aforesaid William Conway and Richard Cogdell hath hereto set their Hands and assigns their seals the day and year first above written.

Signed Sealed & Delivered in the presence of                                                          

William Conway  {SEAL}

Richard Cogdell  {SEAL}

H. Machen          {SEAL}                                                         

                                                {SEAL }  State of North Carolina Craven County Court - March, 1794

     Then was the hand writing of Henry Machen proclaimed the Witness to the within Deed proved in open Court by the oath of George Ellis and ordered to be recorded.

Attest: Samuel Chapman – cc

Transcribed by GAC/04                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


His first wife was Elizabeth Gerbow, it is believed that he married her in England about 1771 and they had three known children. They were Mary Ann Lowthorp b: January 16, 1773; Francis Lowthorp jr. b: July 31, 1774; and Jane Lowthorp b: October 31, 1776. Sometime around 1787, it is believed that he came to New Bern with his family. The 27th of May 1788, Elizabeth Lowthorp purchased land in New Bern, Craven County, N.C. from William Conway and Richard Cogdell for a sum of twenty pounds. The tract of land, about 100 acres more or less, is located between Neuse and Trent Roads. This deed was not recorded until 1794. The name “Gerbow” sounds French and I believe she was originally from France or even New Orleans, La.. 

Sometime around ca. 1791, Elizabeth is thought to have died from unknown causes. In or around May 1792, he married Catherine Hewitt and they had a daughter and named her Sarah (Sally) Lowthorp. Her exact date of birth is not known, but she lived to be 84 yrs. Old and died on January 15, 1877. She is buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in the same plot # 3 as is Francis and Catherine. It is not known where Elizabeth is buried, because this Cemetery (1805) was not opened until just before Francis was buried there.

Francis Lowthorp in 1801, sold his store to his son in law, Charles Churchill for twelve hundred Spanish milled dollars. Along with the store, he also sold a Negro or mulatto woman and her child named, “John”. Another Negro or mulatto boy named, “Charles” about 12 yrs. of age, was also included in the sale. Charles Churchill was a merchant and the store he purchased is described as a building made into two stores now on the grounds owned by him. This building is said to have adjoined the building put up by him on the west side of Craven Street near the Old County Wharf.                    

                                                                        PROPERTY DEED

    Know all men by there presents that I, Francis Lowthorp of New Bern in the County of Craven and State of North Carolina for and in consideration of Twelve Hundred Spanish Milled Dollars to me in hand paid at and before the ensealing and delivery of these presents have bargained and solds and by there presents do grant bargain of sell unto Charles Churchill of New Bern, Merchant, a certain building made into two stores now on the ground owned by him the said Charles Churchill adjoining the building put up by him on the west side of Craven Street near the County Wharf and also a Negro or Mulatto Woman, named Isick and her child, John an infant and also one Mulatto Boy, named Charles about twelve years of age to have and to hold the said Store House and three slaves unto the said Charles Churchill his heirs execution and assigns forever and I do for myself my heirs execution and administration warrant and defend the just title of said property unto the said Charles Churchill his heirs I administration against the just claim or claims of all persons whatsoever. The condition of the above obligation is such that if the said Francis Lowthorp shall well and truly on or before the first day of January 1801 pay or cause to be paid unto said Charles Churchill thirteen hundred and twenty (????) (????) discharge of three notes of hand bearing date the second day of November 1802, with interest on the date thereof. Then the foregoing obligation to be void and no effect otherwise is remain in force and virtue. And witness my hand and seal at New Bern this 6th. day of September 1805.

                                                                                                                          F. Lowthorp   (seal)

Signed sealed and delivered        

                            To:                                       }   State of North Carolina Craven County     

                                StanleyWright                }    Court December Term. 1805

     Then was the above Deed proved in open court by the oath Charles Churchill subscribing witness thereto and ordered to be Registered.

Registered this 23rd. day of January 1806 ---   Samuel Chapman –CC

   Transcribed by GAC/10/10/04                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

On May 2, 1798, a committee was instructed and headed by Lowthorp to "examine as soon as possible the situation of two Lots belonging to Mrs. Elizabeth Haslin near where the School House formerly stood, which burned in 1796, which she is willing to sell. Should the said lots appear to the Committee to be suitable for the aforesaid purpose & the title good, they are to purchase the same in the Name of this Lodge without further delay and draw on the Treasurer for the amount of the said purchase."

On St. John's Day the next month the Rev. Mr. Irving, lodge chaplain, delivered at Christ Church, of which he was then rector, serving in this capacity from 1796 to 1813, "an elegant discourse suitable to the day from Job 37 Ch; 14th Verse: “Stand still brethren and consider the wonderful works of God.”

A report on the lodge building site was given the following Fall at a special meeting at "Mr. Oliver's room," as follows: "The Committee to whom was entrusted the choice of and purchase of a proper piece of Ground on which to build a lodge Report that they are of opinion that the two lots belonging to Mrs. Elizabeth Haslen and which lye near where the former Academy stood is a proper and convenient place and that the price of 250 dollars which they are held at is by no means an obstacle—provided the funds of the Lodge are adequate to the meeting of such a demand in Cash, the Committee not knowing the Situation of the funds is a reason why they have not as directed proceeded to make the purchase. New Bern, September 5, 1798."

             (Signed) F. Lowthrop, George Ellis, Richard Hunley, Francis Hawks, Isaac Taylor and William Johnston.

Lodge members thereupon authorized Lowthrop to have the proper deeds executed to acquire Lots 325 and 326 in the name of the lodge, and draw upon the treasurer for the purchase price. These two lots were on Hancock and Johnson Streets, just where the Masonic temple is still located. A copy of a framed handwritten parchment agreement of the Masonic Temple donors now kept in Blue Lodge Room. Among the noted lodge members of which these four were “Lowthorp Family” members:                                                                                                                                              

Francis Lowthorp -$ 50.00

John S. Pasteur     - $ 20.00

Charles Churchill - $15.00         

Abner Pasteur      - $ 10.00

The total sum of the 150 donors=$2,718.00

The citizens of New Bern had heard reports for months that the President would pass through their town on his Southern Tour, but it was not until April 11th that St. John’s Lodge was formally notified that Washington was “expected to arrive in this town shortly.” Called together on that evening by Worshipful Master Isaac Guion, the brethren of St. John’s were directed by him “to consult of some manner of shewing him the respect this lodge entertains for him.” After some discussion, it was resolved that an address of welcome, to be prepared and delivered to the President on behalf of the members of St. John’s Lodge, would be the responsibility of Francis X. Martin, Solomon Halling, and George Duffy.  

The official New Bern delegation of eight which met Washington at West’s Ferry on the Neuse River included Masons Isaac Guion, Samuel Chapman, Joseph Leech and William McClure.  Leech, Mayor of New Bern, delivered a brief address of welcome and the President’s carriage was escorted into town by the New Bern Volunteers under Captain Edward Pasteur, another Mason. He was accompanied to his quarters at the late John Wright Stanly’s handsome town-house at the corner of Middle and New Streets and was visited later that afternoon by a committee from St. John’s Lodge, headed by Isaac Guion and including Chapman, Hailing, Pasteur, William Johnston, James Carney, and Francis Lowthorp.

Francis Lowthorp, after becoming Worshipful Master of the Lodge on December 13, 1792. He began a long career as the leader of St. John’s Lodge #3 and was unanimously reelected in December, 1799, the official record carries the following laudatory resolution:  “That the Lodge, deeply impressed with a sense of their Worshipful Master’s Skill, Abilities and unremitting attention to the interest and good Government of this Lodge—return him their unfeigned, Sincere and hearty thanks for his past Services – highly flattered with the pleasing hope that the same Harmony, good order and Brotherly love will prevail in this Lodge which has for the many years past while he Presided,” By May 1, 1801, two thirds of the money had been collected and paid, with the remainder to be paid upon enclosure of building. Another $ 2000.00  was also pledged and paid by December 3, 1803.

Among the 21 contributors that pledged the sum of $ 100.00 was Francis Lowthorp. During these years Francis Lowthorp remained the Worshipful Master of the Lodge until his death between the hours of 10 and 11 o’clock on the morning of October 28, 1806. He had been elected Worshipful Master 14 times, and is considered one of the most outstanding of all the Masonic leaders in the history of the Lodge. That very day, “a Lodge meeting was called for the purpose of arranging the funeral of our late, Most Worshipful Master, Francis Lowthorp, Esq., whom it hath pleased the Almighty to call unto himself, and whose separation from us and from the Craft—Yea! and from the Community of poverty and wretchedness, occasioned the Solemn Call. Present 48 members and five visitors.”

The Masonic Lodge St. John # 3, in 1950, had made a granite marker for Francis’ grave. Here again we see that his name was spelled incorrectly once again.

A major occasion during the 1950 regime of Worshipful Master John Burton Derrickson was the dedication of an attractive marker at the grave of Francis Lowthrop, prominent Mason, Episcopal Vestryman, and public-spirited citizen. This granite marker at the left side of the main driveway (plot # 3) near the Queen Street entrance of the Cedar Grove Cemetery reads:                                 


                                                                    FRANCIS LOWTHROP

                                                                             Past Master

                                                                      Died   Oct. 28, 1806

He served fourteen consecutive terms, from 1792 to 1806, as Master of St. John’s Lodge No. 3, A.F. & A.M.  He was the outstanding and most beloved member during his membership. He was responsible for the selection and purchase of the lot now used by the Masonic Temple, the collection of funds to erect the original building, and the Masonic Address of  Welcome to President George Washington on his visit to New Bern in 1791. To his memory St. John’s Lodge No. 3 erects this memorial.  “And all Jerusalem and Judea mourned for the loss of Josiah.”   

Newspaper article:

The Spectator  - Tuesday-December 4,1849     (Nov.20,1849)

Died in this town on the 20th ult. Mrs. Catherine LOWTHROP, *relict of Francis LOWTHROP, Craven County, NC

Francis Lowthorp and his wife, Catherine along with their daughter Sarah are buried in plot # 2,  located on the left hand side just beyond the entrance.  Marked by a granite brick engraved with his last name and placed in the brick wall at the foot of his grave.  Sarah (Sally) Lowthorp died January 15, 1877 and was buried along side her father and mother.

The 1815 Craven County Tax Lists were recently re-discovered on a roll of microfilm from the NC State Archives. The tax list is in the series titled "Treasurer’s and Comptroller’s Papers, County Settlements with the State, Tax Lists" and is on roll S.115.49. Other counties' tax lists are included in the series.

The Craven list is important in two respects. As far as is known, it is the only surviving early nineteenth century tax list for the entire county. A few portions of districts for other years are known, but they are incomplete. The tax list is also a supplemental census for the missing 1810 Federal Census of Craven County.

Craven County was evidently divided into fourteen districts plus the city of New Bern. Each district is named for the person who took the listing and are broken down below. The list as it survives is a copy made by James G. Stanly of the originals (now missing) from his office. They appear to have been forwarded to the State Treasurer as a result of the Direct Tax levied by the Federal Government to help pay for the War of 1812.

According to the chapter on "Tax and Fiscal Records" by Raymond A. Winslow, Jr., in North Carolina Research (Raleigh: NC Genealogical Society, 1996, p. 231-239), between 1801 and 1817, the free poll included whites aged 21 to  50, and the slaves were aged 12 to 50.

Craven Co. Tax List of 1815

Persons Names     Slaves   Acres of Land   Valuation    Site of Lot &c.       Val.Of Twn Lots & Impts

Churchill, Charles      2            1125                   700         109 feet front                1000
                                                                                             street running to

                                                                                              Channel impd.

Pasteur, Abner                          27                   2500

Churchill, Benj.                           1     

Clements, Sarah                         1           

Craven County 

 I, James G. Stanly, Clerk of Craven County Court do hereby Certify that the foregoing are true Copies from the original lists of taxable property from the year 1815 returned to my office.   

                                                                                                                            J.G. Stanly, C.C.




The Lowthorp Family History - Index