Railroads of Madison County
08 Interurban Lines

Railroads and Interurbans of Northern Madison County

Lowry Station
Compiled by David L. Dwiggins

Nathan Lowry was very reluctant to approve of the railroad making its way through his property so he bargained for a siding switch to be built as part of the agreement. Nathan knew that a siding would be an excellent opportunity for him and the others in the area to ship or bring supplies to the region and for relatives to make their way to the newly settled land. The Lake Erie & Western Railroad cleared the woods and leveled the terrain in order to lay the railway on Lowry's property. The railroad was in a race with other railways to install a network of rails across the country and gain as much business as possible.

The rails were finally laid and no siding was provided on Nathan's property. The railroad was soon complete and in 1878 and the trains began to roll through Nathan's land. Nathan protested regularly by placing logs and rail fences across the new tracks stopping the trains. They stopped regularly and its crews removed the wood till the next trip through and they would do it again. Nathan became a household name of the L.E. & W. and persisted to have the railroad fulfill their obligation to him and others in the area. The railroad finally lived up to their agreement and the switch was built for Nathan. The switch was called Lowry Switch and when a community started and had grown considerably, it was called Lowry Station and later Orestes.

Nathan Lowry
Compiled by David L. Dwiggins

The Treaty of Greenville opened up new lands for pioneers moving westward and William and Nancy Holiday Lowry were among those. Their trip originated in Holidaysburg, Pennsylvania, a place that the Holiday family founded. They traveled with their team of horses carrying their personal belongings and settled for a time in Hamilton, Ohio before continuing and settling in Fayette County on 160 acres just north of Connersville. County records show that the Lowry's filed for the homestead in 1815.

Nathan was born to Nancy and William in 1826 as was his brother James. They were not twins but were close to the same age. They spent their childhood days together in Fayette County on the farm and probably did not have any formal schooling. There is question as to the church affiliation of Mr. Lowry and his involvement in the Civil War. Nathan was thirty-five at the time of the Civil War and it is doubtful that he ever fought in the war.

Later in their lives James decided to stay on the family farm and Nathan decided to move to Madison County and Monroe Township. Nathan came to Alexandria and found work at a stockyard. Nathan married Elmina Patterson in 1850 and they had a son named Charles. Elmina died young and Nathan married for a second time to Carolyn Franklin in 1860. Nathan and Carolyn had one son, Frank Lowry

Nathan, a strong minded man, saved his money and was able to purchase 160 acres of farmland in eastern Monroe Township. He farmed the land and raised cattle to support the family. James became ill back in Fayette County and Nathan returned to help him on the farm. He only stayed for a short time and returned once again to Monroe Township in 1874. It was uncertain if Nathan sold his land before leaving, but there was some delay before he was able to relocate on the land once again on his return.

Once again he settled into farming the land and raising cattle and had about 500 acres. The Lake Erie & Western Railroad was quickly constructing a railway pushing westward and wanted to acquire a right of way on Nathan's land and they wanted to gain it urgently. Although Nathan had little or no formal education, he had learned a great deal about the cattle and stockyard business. The experience Nathan gained in Alexandria at the stockyards made him understand the importance of the railroad and a siding or switch. Negotiations between Nathan and the L.E. & W. Railroad were sincere and Nathan had no reservations of the rails being on the land, but he demanded that a siding or switch be constructed as restitution for sacrificing the land he had worked so hard to procure. After much negotiation, the L. E. & W. agreed to the construction of the switch.

Soon the crews appeared and built up the roadbed placing the ballast and ties for the rails to be placed but no siding was ever provided for. The rails were finally placed and coupled but still no spur was installed for Nathan and his dreams of a switch. The L.E. & W. conveniently moved through Nathan's land and continued westward. The rails finally extended as far as you could see to the east and west but with some disappointment Nathan felt the siding would still be there for him as soon as the crews returned.

The crews never returned and before long the "Iron Horses" thundered through the township and after a time Nathan realized that the L.E. & W. had reneged on their promise to bring a spur to his property. Being of strong mind and persistent to gain his due, Nathan placed fence rails and logs across the L.E. & W. Railroad in order to delay the proceedings of the locomotives and gain attention to his protest for a siding. The railroad continued to roll through his property with crews stopping regularly to remove obstructions from the path of the trains. Time and time again this continued and the L.E. & W. finally buckled to the demands and contractual bindings of the verbal agreement. The railroad tycoons cared little who they stepped on and Nathan was no exception to the behavior of the companies. The main concern of the rail executives was to move and move fast through the region regardless of the consequences of written or verbal obligations.

Nathan forced their hand and his persistence paid off. The siding was finally installed and Nathan received compensation agreed upon in the original agreement. His understanding of the cattle and livestock business was instrumental in growth in and around the switch and before long interest had grown to the point that his small stockyard had garnered local support and others in the area were utilizing the grain bins and stockyards. His efforts became known as Lowry Switch and as the hamlet grew comfortable with his business, it grew to become Lowry Station on the maps of Monroe Township in 1880. Nathan died in 1880 and his legend lives on in the stories of the railroads and times of Orestes and Lowry Station. Nathan is buried in the Lilly Creek Cemetery.

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