I've gotten to where I really appreciate the genealogical section of the Davidson County Library. My recent walks through the Lexington City Cemetery raised some interesting questions about the history of some of the people buried there, and the library has been a great resource for me in answering some of those questions.
The latest revelations unearthed to me (so to speak) were concerning Cicero F. Lowe, whose signature appears on the $5 and $10 notes of the Bank of Lexington, where he served as the bank's cashier. The bank itself had a short lifespan, from 1859 to 1866, but interestingly enough, those dates covered the Civil War years. And many of those bank notes still can be found as keepsakes at various locations in town.
So what else did I learn about Cicero Francis Lowe?
According to an excerpt from The Lowes of Lowes Grove and Century Oaks, as furnished by the library, Lowe was a lifelong resident of Davidson County, born in 1817 and died in 1892. He operated a general store at the corner of Main and First Avenue (Cafe 35 location? The corner is unspecified), and he also served as clerk of court for 28 years. After a short tenure as the cashier for the Bank of Lexington (which was located where Conrad and Hinkle now stands), he served a term in the North Carolina House of Representatives.
He was married twice: to Barbara Miller, who mothered four children; then to Mary Thompson, with whom he had three more kids.
There was one striking piece of information about Lowe that was printed in the Jan. 11, 1937 edition of The Dispatch in an article about outstanding figures in the town's history. It's very reminiscent of a certain newspaper publisher for whom I once worked. It reads: "One of the most unique and powerful figures in the history of Lexington and the county was Squire C.F. Lowe. Large of body, irascible in temper, domineering in voice and manner, he was a terror to wild and mischievous boys of the neighborhood who surrounded him. Yet, behind it all, his heart was as warm and tender as that of a little child. His manner appeared overbearing, but it was only his way, and he never harmed anyone but himself in trusting too much to the honesty of others. His wife, Mary Thomson...was perhaps the kindest and sweetest-hearted woman that ever lived in town."
Holy smokes. If I never believed in reincarnation before, I just might now.
And, I've been told, that Joe Sink was born in 1937.