The children of Burleigh and Pearlie Lowry did their chores on the farm before Lycurous or one of his brothers drove the bus to school.
Lycurous, Oceanous, and Odessa, three of the Lowry’s children, met in mid-December at the family farm to remember growing up along the Lumber River in the Harpers Ferry community and to celebrate the lives of their parents. The family recently completed an endowed scholarship honoring them.
“My father would go into the swamp and bring back food enough for the family,” Oceanus recalled. “In the winter when there wasn’t work in the fields, he would do things like cut cypress shingles for the roof.”
With hard work and business savvy, a man could make a living growing cotton, tobacco and other crops. Burleigh and Pearlie Lowry and their 11 children prospered, but they always kept an eye on the education of the next generation. Four of the children, including Lycruous and Oceanus, went to college.
Life centered around the farm in Harpers Ferry, except when the nation called them to military service. Burleigh, who was born in 1889, fought in the First World War. Henry, one of the older sons, was killed in World War II.
Today, the family reunites in Harpers Ferry every October at a location not far from the home place and family burial ground. Photographs and memorabilia line the walls of the family gathering place.
“We’ll roast 10-12 chickens at one time in that cooker,” Lycruous said. “We’ll have 200 people, I would say.”
From the 350 acres that Burleigh Lowry accumulated, the farm at Harpers Ferry is considerably larger now. There are a 20 chicken houses with more planned. Cattle graze on picturesque pastures.
The Lowry story is celebrated in a community that has its heart in family, church and education. Harpers Ferry is a short bus ride from Pembroke High School and the university. Like everything else in this rural community, education was hard earned.
“Daddy made it to the third grade,” Oceanus said. “He could read what he needed.”
Burleigh served on the education committees of several schools, including Harpers Ferry, Pembroke High and Union.
“Momma made it to the seventh grade; that was enough to be a teacher then,” said Lycurous, a 1957 graduate of Pembroke State College. Lycurous taught agriculture at Hawkeye School for three years before returning to farming full time.
Burleigh passed away in 1963 and Pearlie in 1967. The family started the scholarship in 2003. Now at $40,000, the Burleigh and Pearlie Lowry Endowed Scholarship is a perpetual memorial to them.
The scholarship is awarded annually to a student with demonstrated financial need. The grant gives preference to a member of Harpers Ferry Baptist Church and residents of Robeson County.
The Lowry’s children included Klyne, Odessa, Lycurous, Oceannus, Vanice, Burlin, Eurania, Wanda, Oberon, Learlene, Henry and an infant who died at birth.
Wendy Lowery, vice chancellor for Advancement at UNCP, said the Lowry family are icons of the university’s proud 125-year history.
“Like UNCP’s founders, the Lowry family understands the importance of education and the value of UNC Pembroke to the community it serves,” Lowery said. “Establishing an endowed scholarship allows families to honor loved ones while providing an opportunity for students in need to obtain a college education. We are extremely appreciative of the contributions made in support of this fund and we're elated that the family reached their goal of $40,000.”