Albert B Osborne.

Makers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) online

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their thoughts towards the New World where they were told
freedom might be found, and where they might expect to be able
to practice their religion without dread of extermination, while
securing an abundant livelihood by tilling its virgin soil.

The people went in great numbers first to England, spread
into Ireland, and eventually emigrated to America ; New York,
Pennsylvania and the Carolinas received them in great numbers.
Some of them sailed directly from Rotterdam to Cowes and thence
to this country. No reliable account has been kept of the Pala-
tinates here, at least of those in South Carolina, but had De
Graffenreid remained with them and carried out his contract,
their identity would have been as well preserved as it is in New
York and Pennsylvania, for they are the same people. Rush says,
that many of these gentlemen lost valuable estates, because they

[125]



126 WILLIAM RISK LOWMAN

were unacquainted with the common laws. We learn from De
Graffenreid that they were so thrifty that within eighteen
months they managed to build homes and make themselves com-
fortable. From 1727 to 1734 all these immigrants were classed
as Palatines and Switzers, but afterwards they were simply
called foreigners. Many Pennsylvania Germans made their way
along the Shenandoah Valley, and settled Frederick, Rockingham,
and other Counties of Virginia. Among these, were three
brothers, Isaiah, Michael and David Lohman, who settled in Vir-
ginia in 1770. In the old country the name was spelled Lehmann,
meaning "one under feudal tenure." Some of these Virginia
settlers pushed farther on into the Carolinas, among whom was
David, Doctor Lowman's great-great-grandfather. The names of
the early settlers before the Revolution were sometimes changed
almost imperceptibly by erroneous entries in the records and, in
the case of non-English names, because of their foreign sound,
these errors were very frequent. Thus from the old German
Lehmann, evolved Lehman, Lohman and Lownian, as used by the
South Carolinians.

This familv from the vallev of the Rhine, settled in the vallev

*j *

of the Shenandoah, where they found a most delightful climate
and a rich virgin soil, which gave them an abundance of all that
reasonable men could desire, in return for their labor. Thev

/ */

possessed health and contentment, and tranquility of mind was
their normal state. Nor did they feel that they were strangers
in a foreign land, for within visiting distance were many of their
old world neighbors in whose company they had crossed the
ocean.

David's sou, Malachias Lohman, came from Virginia to the
Dutch Fork, South Carolina, in 1814.

Daniel Lohman, father of Doctor Jacob Walter Lohman,
married Nancy Hiller, whose family was from Saxe Gotha, where
they had settled in 1735. Their son, Jacob Walter, a slender, deli-
cate boy, grew up in the family home under the loving care of his
devoted, pious parents, who reared him in the Lutheran faith.
Not being able to join to any great extent in outdoor life and
vigorous sports and in the strenuous work, which even the chil-
dren of that day, were accustomed to perform, he devoted most of
his time to reading and study. His parents encouraged him to
prepare for a professional life, and, as during his childhood and
youth he had displayed an extraordinary desire to alleviate pain
and suffering, it was decided that he should study medicine and
become a physician.

In 1858 Doctor Lohman was graduated from the University
of Georgia. Between the sessions of College he taught school in
order to help defray his expenses, and after leaving the university
he again resumed his teaching, before taking up the practice of
his profession.



WILLIAM RISH LOWMAN 127

In the Civil War Doctor Lohnian took up arms in defense of
his State and served as Lieutenant of Captain Henry A. Meetze's
Company, in the Confederate Army. In that terrible internecine
strife, where so often brother was arrayed against brother, Web-
ster B. Lohman, a descendant of Michael, was the Captain of
Battery "D" of the Pennsylvania Artillery.

Peace declared, Doctor Lohman and his friend, Major Meetze,
were both elected from the same County to serve as members of
the State Legislature in the reconstruction days, and their service
continued until 1874.

It was subsequent to this period that Doctor Lohman
changed his residence to Orangeburg. He married Lodusky Rish,
daughter of Levi and Mary Rish, descendants of Louis and Eliza-
beth Reich, who arrived in South Carolina with the first German
and Swiss colonists, and settled on the Edisto, in Orangeburg
District. The spelling of this name has now become Rish.

Elizabeth Abell Reich was, before her marriage, a member
of the Abelsor Abeels, who were prominent in England in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries. One of the family was Chaplain
to Henry VIII, another was court musician in the reign of one of
the Queens, and a third was a famous mathematician. Among
the Abels who came to this country in colonial times was Robert,
who was with Winthrop's fleet. He was a colonial Mayor of
Albany, and won distinction in the Revolutionary War.

Three Abel or Abeel brothers immigrated in 1750. One, Jona-
than, settled in Connecticut and one in Virginia. The place of
settlement of the third brother is unknown. Doctor Lohman's
great-grandfather, Jonathan Abeel, came from Virginia to Xorth
Carolina.

William Rish, son of Doctor Jacob Walter Lowman, was
born at Rish's Store, Sand Dam, Lexington County, South Caro-
lina, December 3, 1866.

Doctor Jacob Walter Lowman had endeared himself to the
people of Orangeburg District, not only by his skill in fighting
disease, but by his genuine and generous sympathy, in trouble
and sickness. Thinking no science of such eminent importance
as that of medicine, and seeing in his father's ministrations so
wonderful an example of its power to bring joy, health and com-
fort to suffering humanity, it is easy to see why William Rish
should choose the same profession for his life's work. His career
is briefly traced in the "Physicians and Surgeons of America,"
from which the following excerpt is taken :

"Dr. Lowman was graduated from Johnstown Academy in
1881, from Mellichamps High School in 1886, and from Calvert
Medical School, Baltimore, (now extinct) in 1887. He began the
study of medicine with his father in 1884, attended two courses
of lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Baltimore,



128 WILLIAM RISH LOWMAN

a ml was graduated with high honor March 1SSS. He took a post-
graduate course in general surgery at the New York Polyclinic
in 1891, and in diseases of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat at the
New York Post Graduate Medical School and Hospital during the



same year.'



Thoroughly equipped for his work, he commenced the prac-
tice of medicine at Orangeburg, in April 1888.

Doctor Lowman is a member of the State Medical Associa-
tion of South Carolina, of the Societe de Medicin du Calvert, and
was formerly a member of the State Board of Medical Exam-

\j

iners. He was Physician and Surgeon of Orangeburg County
prison and almshouse 1889-1893; lecturer on physiology and
hygiene at Mellichamps High School 1888-1890; member of
Orangeburg County Board of Educational Examiners, 1889-1890.
He was Secretary of the South Carolina Bible Society 1893, Presi-
dent of the Orangeburg Y. M. C. A. in 1891, and also of the
County Convention of the same year.

The clubs and societies to which he belongs are: Censor
Medico-Chirurgical College of Philadelphia; Surgeon of the At-
lantic Coast Line since 1896 ; member of the South Carolina Med-
ical Association ; of the Tri-State Medical Association Carolinas
and Virginia ; of the American Medical Association ; of the
Southern Medical Association ; of the Southern States Association
of Railway Surgeons ; of the American Genetic Association ; of
the National Historic Society; of the American Association Ex-

*/

tension University Teachings; of the American Association for
Advancement of Science; of the American Refugee Society (Euro-
pean War) ; of the Woodmen of the World; of the Knights of
Pythias; of the Medical Brotherhood (F. M.) Fraternitas Medi-
corum ; of the American Association for International Concilia-
tion; Fellow, Natural Science Association of America; Past-
master Free and Accepted Masons ; Past High Priest Royal Arch
Mason; Past Eminent Commander Knights Templar; Thrice
Illustrious Master Council Mason ; Surgeon Omar Temple
Ancient Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine; General Representa-
tive of the Grand Commandery of Pennsylvania to the Grand
Commandery Knights Templar of South Carolina.

Doctor Lowman is President of the Lowman Drug Company,
of Orangeburg; Advisory Director Orangeburg Packing Com-
pany and Director of the Edisto National Bank. He was ap-
pointed member of the South Carolina Board of Medical Exam-
iners for the Seventh District in 1894 and served until 1898 at
which time he was elected Secretary. He was made member of
the Board of Trustees of the C. N. I. A. and M. College of South
Carolina in 1896 by the General Assembly of South Carolina at

*> t/

the establishment of that College, and has been re-elected every
six years since, holding his place as Secretary to the Board dur-
ing all that time.



WILLIAM RISK LOWMAN 129

Dr. Lowinan is a deacon of the First Baptist Church at
Orangeburg. He was married in Charleston, South Carolina,
October 27, 1891, to Miss Elvira Earle, daughter of Judge Ben-
jamin Pou Izlar and niece of General James F. Izlar of Orange-
burg, South Carolina. Her parents were descended from Ger-
man, Scotch and French Huguenot families. Izlar, originally
Yssler, is mentioned in Salley's History, as also is Gavin Pou,
justice of the peace 1765-1775 ; inquirer and collector of Orange-
burgh 1758-1765. On a list of Supervisors of the buildings of the
church in Orangeburg in 1768 is the name of Gavin Pou. It is
thus found that the families of both Dr. Lowman and his wife
were of the earliest settlers of the county.

Considerable attention has been given to the investigation
of maternal impressions by Dr. Lowman, and a very interesting
paper on this subject written by him was published in the Medical
Record of August 1890. He is also the author of "Diagnostic
Dots," 1889; u Lusus Naturae," in the proceedings of the South
Carolina Medical Association 1888 and in the Medical Brief and
the Medical Summary of the same year.

The record of the lives of worthy and intelligent men and
women is an enjoyable book for all those interested in human
development, and furnishes material for the history of the time.
Doctor LoAvman fully appreciates this point of view, for his spare
time is devoted to history, biography and sometimes historical
novels. He is particularly interested in the achievements of his
forebears, among whom is Colonel James Abel, Quartermaster on
General Washington's staff.

One celebrated Lehmann, grandson of the great portrait
painter of Hamburg is a scion of the old family in Germany, and
he married Mna Chambers, daughter of Kobert Chambers of
Edinburg, musician and poet, friend of Dickens, Millais, Haw-
thorne, Emerson and George Eliot.

It mav not be irrelevant in this sketch to refer more fullv

*> .

to the history of the Ehine Palatinates, and the connection with
the colonies of Great Britain. These people were among those
most oppressed. The Palatinate formerly included the Upper
Rhine, and the Lower Rhine Palatinates, and belonged to the
German Empire. The capital of the Upper was Amberg. People
governed by a vice-roy are always more or less oppressed at any
time, but in the religious upheavals, the results of the Seven
Years' War, and the terrible turmoil, when persecution and in-
tolerance were holding sway, the life of these people became
utterlv unbearable. In 1620 there was a change in the boundaries

t/ fj

of the Palatinates, and the upper portion of the Lower was at-
tached to Bavaria. In 1777 they were reunited, but in 1801
divided again. Bavaria retained the Upper and part of the
Lower, west of the Rhine, while Baden-Hesse and Prussia divided



130 WILLIAM RISH LOWMAX

up the Lower. The name Palatinate derived from the Palatine
Hill of Koine, carries with it royal privileges which were enjoyed
to the fullest by the Counts Palatine.

In addition to all their other woes, the winter of 1708 was
one of extraordinary severity. Conrad Weiser, a boy of twelve
years at that time, in his autobiography says: "Birds perished
on the wing, beasts in their lairs, and mortals fell dead by the
way." In 1709 the Palatinates began their flight, by way of Lon-
don, in May. In June their number reached five thousand, in
August ten thousand, and by October thirteen thousand had
arrived. The "good Queen Anne," interested herself in alleviat-
ing their sufferings. The most of them were utterly destitute
and England fed them for months. They were housed in empty
buildings and warehouses, and a thousand tents were furnished
them. The Queen allowed each of them nine pence a day. London
paupers were not very well pleased, and jealousy made them look
askance upon them. As soon as arrangements could be made
they were shipped to the New World. Their experiences at sea
were very sad. Of one ship load of "three hundred and twelve and
a half" (a child being numbered fractionally), two hundred and
fifty died on the way. One hundred and sixty died in one ship ;
one hundred and fifty in another. In 1745 a ship sailed with four
hundred Germans, but onlv fifty reached their destination.

/ t /

It was Queen Anne, who established the Saxe Gotha District,
intending it as a place of refuge for Germans and others perse-
cuted because of their religion. This district, one hundred miles
from Charleston, was settled later than Orangeburg, in 1737.

Keverend Christian Theus, the first minister of the German
Keformed Church, told the Governor of South Carolina that these
colonists must have both churches and schools or they would
remove to Pennsylvania where they would find more satisfactory
conditions. The government gave five hundred pounds sterling
in response to his request.

A celebrated minister, Giessendanner labored among the
colony for some ten years. In 1749 he visited London, and re-
ceived Anglican orders, returned and with his whole flock became
members of the English church. On the Sunday following, twenty-
one more joined them. This may account for the Lutherans not
being now so numerically strong as it might be presumed they
would be.



JOHN GORDON RENNIE

H ENRICO COUNTY, Virginia, was founded in 1611, four
years later than Jamestown and is the second oldest set-
tlement in Virginia. Henricopolis, the City of Henry, so
called in honor of King Henry, was its first designation,
which by common usage was contracted to Henrico.

The settlement was situated on the imperial hills overlook-
ing the James River, at the head of tidewater and at the falls of
that historic river. This settlement afterwards became the City
of Richmond, built like Rome upon her seven hills.

The original settlement contained about five thousand acres.
Five miles north of Richmond running in an easterly direction
is a stream called Brook Creek, which is a tributary of the
Chickahominy, which latter is a tributary of the noble James.
This is the country of Richard Dale, Rolfe, and Pocahontas.
Brook Creek runs through a beautiful valley closed in by pictur-
esque hills.

It was on one of these bluffs on the north side of this valley
that "Tweedside," the home of Joseph Richard Rennie, the father
of John Gordon Rennie, was situated. Here the latter was born
August 15, 1874. Doctor Rennie was proud to call this section
of Virginia his birthplace; it is the place of romance, history
and tragedy, for nearby is Yellow Tavern, where the noble Stuart
fell in battle, and where many stirring incidents of the Civil War
were enacted.

The first fourteen years of Doctor Rennie's life were spent on
his father's farm. Here the boy lived close to nature and learned
many valuable lessons, which led to a healthy and normal devel-
opment. The religious atmosphere of a Christian home, the train-
ing and guidance of unusually wise and loving parents, the neces-
sity of taking part at an early age in the work of the farm, all
contributed to form a strong and useful character. Gifted with
a naturally sweet and most affable manner, guided by the noblest
impulses, in his maturity he was a man of wide and beneficent
influence.

He acquired his education in the public schools of the
County and at the age of fourteen went to Richmond, where he
worked for a short period. In the session of 1889-90 he attended
the Southside Academy, situated in Chase City, Virginia, and
lived in the home of his oldest brother, Joseph Rennie, who was
then pastor of the Presbyterian Church at that place. He stayed

[133]



134 JOHN GORDON REXXIE

but one year in this school, and on returning to Richmond, spent
four years as clerk with one of the leading retail shoe firms of
that city. In the fall of 1894 he entered Hoge Academy, at Black-
stone, Virginia, where he gave two years to literary studies.

In 189G he entered upon the preparation for his chosen pro-
fession in the University College of Medicine, now the Medical
College of Virginia. He graduated in 1899, receiving the degree
of M.D. He chose Petersburg as his residence and commenced
the practice of medicine as a stranger, in the most conservative
city of the "Old Dominion." Many predicted for him a most dif-
ficult career, because the physicians of Petersburg were largely
native to the city, having influential family connections. These
prophecies, however, did not prove true in Dr. Rennie's case.

He was a gifted physician and surgeon, and soon built up a
practice both large and lucrative, and in eight years he had
become one of the busiest men in his profession in the State.
He became a member of The American Medical Association, The
Medical Society of Virginia, the Petersburg Medical Faculty, the
Southern Medical Association, and Southside Virginia Medical
Association. Few men ever won the confidence and love of his
patients as did Dr. Rennie. Never did he enter a home to min-
ister at the bedside of suffering, without leaving behind him the
aroma of sweet Christian sympathy and an unbounded confidence
in his skill.

He was a Mason, belonging to Blauford Lodge, No. 3 and to
Petersburg Royal Arcanum, Chapter No. 7 Appomattox Com-
mandery.

In early life he had made profession of his faith in Christ
and joined the second Presbyterian Church, the church which
his father had been chiefly instrumental in establishing. In
Petersburg he joined the historic Tabb Street Presbyterian
Church, in which he was elected a Deacon and served until his
death. Intensely interested in the welfare of young men, he led
the movement to build one of the handsomest and most complete
Y. M. C. A. buildings in the State, which to-day remains a monu-
ment to his zeal, faith and liberality. He rejoiced in helping
those who were in need and found his greatest pleasure in giving
and planning to help somebody to better things.

Doctor Rennie was married in 1902, at St. Paul's Church in
Petersburg, to Miss Louise Seiper Venable, daughter of William
Latham Venable and Mary Lamar Patterson. In this marriage
he allied himself with the Venable family of Virginia and the
Patterson family of Cumberland, Maryland, both of which have
been distinguished in their respective States for many genera-
tions. This union was blest with four children, John Gordon
Rennie, Jr., William Venable, Mary Lamar, and Seiper Rosalyn.

The ancestrv of Doctor Rennie contains manv names and



JOHN GORDON RENNIE 135

family connections who have stood high in the life of Virginia
and the British Isles. Joseph Richard Rennie, his father, was a
man of unusual gifts, farmer for fifty years, a soldier for four,
a Presbyterian minister for twenty-five years.

Joseph Rennie, the grandfather of Doctor Rennie, a man of
culture and influence, came to America in 1819, and settled near
Richmond. He was born in Kelso, Scotland, in 1794, the home
of the Rennies. From Scotland they have gone to manA T coun-

t/ C7 t>

tries, especially to Canada, New England, and to many of the
other States.

In England, Scotland and America the name Rennie is the
synonym for strength and force of character. John Rennie was
born at Haddington in 1761, was educated at Edinburgh Univer-
sity and became the greatest bridge builder of his age. The
Tweed River is crossed at Kelso, by a bridge of five arches con-
structed by John Renuie in 1803. He also built many great struc-
tures in England, among the most conspicuous of which are the
AVaterloo, Southmark and London bridges, all crossing the
Thames.

Ernest Amelius Rennie, M. V. O., son of the late George
Banks Rennie, educated at Eton and Oxford, entered the Diplo-
matic service and has been of inestimable service in Sofia, Bucha-
rest, Vienna, Santiago and Washington.

Captain George Paget Rennie entered in the King's Royal
Rifle Corps and is serving in South Africa. John George Rennie,
D. S. V., educated at Cheltingham College, entered the Black
Watch Ray Highlanders, becoming Captain, and serving in the
Nile Expedition, also taking active part in the battle of Khar-
toum.

In 1847, George Rennie was Governor of the Falkland
Islands. In 1872, W. H. Rennie was Governor of the Barbadoes.
He was also Lieutenant-Governor of the Island of St. Vincent.
George Rennie, an uncle of Dr. Rennie, laid down his life just a
few miles out of Petersburg during the famous retreat of Gen.
Robert E. Lee, to Appomattox.

As physicians, preachers, surgeons, civil engineers, in diplo-
matic service and as farmers they have served their God, in serv-
ing their fellow men.

Doctor Rennie's paternal grandmother was a Colenian,
daughter of Major Samuel Coleman of Red Bank, near Rich-
mond. Major Coleman was a soldier of the Revolution. He was
left for dead on the battlefield, found and nursed back to life by
a patriotic daughter of Virginia. The Governor of Virginia pre-
sented him with a sword, for valiant service rendered the State
in a serious uprising of a mob. This line of ancestry connects
closely in direct line with the Woodsons, Pleasants/ Flemings,
Storrs, and Tuckers of Virginia.



136 JOHN GORDON RENNIE

Doctor Rennie's mother was Ella Rosalyn Powell. Through
her, he was connected with the Powells of Fredericksburg and
Williamsburg. Captain William Powell came from England in
1611 and was a member of the first House of Burgesses in 1619.
This name stands well in the Virginia records. They are a large
and influential family, claiming ministers, geologists, senators,
soldiers, artists, teachers and musicians among this number. The
noted painting in the Capitol at Washington, "DeSoto discover-
ing the Mississippi" is the work of William Henry Powell.
Lucien Powell of Washington and Loudon County, Virginia, is
one of the foremost scenic artists of the present day.

Through his mother Doctor Rennie is also descended from
the Wells of Fredericksburg, Virginia. George Wells married
Elizabeth Steptoe Butler in 1816, and they were the father and
mother of Doctor Rennie's grandmother. The aunt of Elizabeth
Steptoe, Jane Butler, was the first wife of Augustine Washington,
the father of George Washington.

Enough has been said to show that Doctor John Gordon
Rennie had every reason to be proud of his lineage. He was no
mean successor to the life and spirit of his family, and few men
ever attain to wider usefulness and popularity.

In the fullness of his manhood, from overwork, he was
stricken down, and died at the age of forty -two years, March 31,
1916, leaving an unstained record of character and service. His
ashes rest in the old Blanford Cemetery, in historic Petersburg.
As his body was lowered into the grave a friend remarked, "He
gave his life for the people."



FLETCHER BUCHANAN RICKS

THE name, Kicks, is one of a large number of surnames
which owe their existence to the Norman personal name,
Richard, which first attained great popularity in the
time of Richard Cceur de Lion, in whose honor the name
was frequently bestowed. This personal name forms the founda-
tion for many patronymics, such as Kichards, Richardson, and
Rich, and from it, also, has developed the name of Ricks or Rix.
Within a few generations after the advent in England of William
the Conqueror, Ricks was in use as a family name. It has been
variously spelled, Rickesis, Rickes, Rixe, Ricks and Rix. John



Online LibraryAlbert B OsborneMakers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) → online text (page 10 of 48)