Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Murdering Pirate, Part 2

Researching my pirate ancestor, Barnabas Lowell, I found some additional information. The following was taken "History of Story County," A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement by W. O. Payne, Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co, page 36-37, discussing early settlers:

...those who came in this year, with all the exultance of their hopes, Had virtually all the empty to pick from. One of these incomers, who is left some record of his arrival, was Jeremiah Ray. He came in November, over the Jasper County Trail, crossing the county line near the headwaters of Wolf Creek, somewhat west of the residence of William Parker. Hey drove northwesterly, seeking the cabin of Sam McDaniel. Which seems to have been a rendezvous for what settlers there were then in the county, and was the place before noted at which the election of 1852 have been held in this portion of the county. About the time that he saw the smoke of the Macdaniel cabin, he met on the Prairie and man, who proved to be Barnabas Lowell, very unattractive of appearance, but nevertheless disposed to make his acquaintance. Lowell guided Ray and his family to the McDaniel cabin, where a rather rough crowd was found, who played cards and drank whiskey far into the night. So uninviting was the outfit that Ray and his wife declined the hospitalities of the cabin, and spent the night in a shelter of the wagon. Ray got away as early as he could the next morning; and, while it does not appear that there was anything worse about McDaniel than the sort of company about him, Lowell subsequently appears as being of the type that are too often found upon the far frontier, lawless and reckless, and suited to give a bad reputation to the locality where such type is found.  

Starting on page 41 is discussion of the murder of Mrs. Lowell:

[Discussing residents of the county and a Mr. O'Brien who had set out on foot to meet his constituents on the other side of the wide, pathless and slough interrupted prairie, including Sam McDaniel.] The last named he met on the prairie and McDaniel told him that he was going to Newton to get two doctors to examine the body of Mrs. Lowell, who had died very suddently and was believed to have been murdered by her husband. Continuing on his circuit, he visited the Lowell cabin on the West side of east Indian, across the creek from the McDaniel farm, and assessed Lowell, and found Lowell there. Lowell had not yet been arested but was expecting tha he soon would be; and, in fact, O'Brien on his way home across the prairie, met Sheriff Zenor and Coroner Deal on their way to make the arrest.
Story County has been fortunate in not having very many murder cases, but of such cases as it has had, the most revolting appears to have been the first one. This was the case already referred to, wherein Barnabas Lowell was believed to have murdered his wife. Further developments did not in any wise remove the first impression. The essential fact of the matter seems to have been that Lowell tired of his wife and choked her to eath. Lowell, as before noted, was one of the following of Sam McDaniel. Associated with the two was a young man named Billings, whom McDaniel met in Jasper County and brought home, and who married McDaniel's sister. Lowell seems to have followed Billings to the neighborhood and brought with him his family, consisting of his second wife and two practically grown girls. Lowell crossed the creek and built his cabin in the edge of the timber on the east side, on a farm which, for many years, has been the property of John M. Wells.
The first person, outside the Lowell family, to be advised that anything was wrong, was Mrs. Mary Hagfue, a widow who had that Spring moved into the Country and established herself, for the time being, a little North of the Lowell cabin. She had been preceded by her son, Isaac, and was accompanied by her son-in-law, S. Harvey Dye, as well as by the younger children; and her family have been more or less prominent and always highly esteemed in the vicinity since. One of the Lowell girls came over on Sunday night and urged Mrs. Hague's immediate attention, as her mother was very ill. Mrs. Hague responding, found the woman dead. The circumstances immediately aroused suspicion, for there was no apparent reason for the woman's death, and she had been quite well when the family dined that day at the McDaniel cabin. Furthermore, there was about her neck a course handkerchief, which Lowell refused to have removed, and his whole attitude was that of one who did not want the body to be examined by Mrs. Hague or any of the other neighbors who had in the meantime come in. The body was buried in what was known as the Mount Cemetery on the McDaniel's farm; but the neighbors were not satisfied, and, as noted, McDaniel went to Newton for doctors and the doctors, when they came, found plenty of evidence of foul play. The Lowell girls, when matters had progressed far enough so that they dared to tell something of what they knew, in spite of their father's threats, related how he had shut the door between the two compartments of the Lowell cabin, and had refused to let them come in, notwithstanding the very great disburbance in the room where he and his wife were. There were so unds of striking, choking, and struggling, but Lowell was a man of much strenth and the struggle did not last very long. It was also said by the girls that their own mother, Lowell's former wife, had died under similar circumstances in Ohio; and it seems not to be doubted that Lowell was a man of Bluebeard disposition, who married women as he had opportunity and felt inclined, and disposed of them when weary of them.

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