Biography - David Low

DAVID LOW, a man who has the esteem and confidence of his friends and neighbors, and who is a public-spirited citizen resides on section 23, Oconee Township, Shelby County, where he carries on farming and stock-raising. He was born in Guilford County, Tenn., April 26, 1831, his parents being George and Sarah Low, natives of that state. Their marriage and the birth of all their children took place in North Carolina, but they removed to Illinois in 1849 and there spent the remainder of their days.

David Low had nine brothers of whom Amsley, Gideon and Simeon were soldiers in the Union Army, during the Civil War. Joel R., John R., and Daniel R., are all living, the former in Iowa and the others in this state. David was a resident of North Carolina during the war and was conscripted into the Confederate army. He passed his examination, and was accepted but while waiting for assignment to his regiment, he and about five hundred others fled from the camp at night, and breaking through the lines escaped to their home. He worked upon his farm for about a month and when he saw that the authorities were on the alert and apprehending the conscript he "took to the bushes" as he says and remained in concealment from October to Christmas. During that time he lay on the ground and endured greater hardships and dangers than he would have encountered in the Confederate service, but he was thoroughly Union in his sentiments, and preferred to endure all this for the cause of the Union rather than to lift his hand against the old flag.

About Christmas time Mr. Low engaged to work in the saltpetre works near Greensboro, N. C. This enterprise failed and he went home and spent one night, but the second night "hunters" were in pursuit of him and he took to the woods again. While concealed in the house of a neighbor he was surrounded and captured by a detachment of the Raleigh guard. He was sent to Raleigh and seven days later to Kingston, N. C., where he remained from April 2 to May 4. By this time he thought he knew enough of military affairs and persuaded thirteen of his comrades to join with him in taking "French leave."

These refugees took to the woods once more, and were so closely pursued by soldiers on horseback as to be obliged to take refuge in a swamp. They sat in mud and water nearly to their necks from 2 p. m. until dark and the pursuers passed within ten feet of them. Two of the party were recaptured and the others escaped to their respective homes. Mr. Low had to remain in hiding until the close of the war. He spent one winter in a cave, going occasionally to the home of some Union family to get food, and then returning to his dreary abode. He spent his time in the cave in making combs, baskets and trinkets, selling them to Union people for food and clothing, he would sell a fine comb of his manufacture for ten cents in silver or $10 in Confederate script. He was recaptured but made his escape at great peril. His sufferings and privations were incomparably greater than those of many enlisted men, being in constant peril from armed and open enemies as well as from secret foes. It is not strange that he would feel that his escape from bodily injury was miraculous, he was unable to get through the line with his family and would not go and leave them. He lost all his property, amounting to a number of thousand dollars in stock and money.

The lady whose union with our subject brought to her such great trials, during this period of hardship and suffering, became his wife, September 13, 1857, in Guilford County, N. C., which was her native county as she was born there February 26, 1836. Her name before marriage was Rosannah Pike, and her parents were natives of the same State with herself.

To Mr. and Mrs. Low eight children were born, namely: Sara R., born September 23, 1852, who married Daul Neice in Oconee Township, and after giving birth to one child died October 28, 1888; George William, born September 20, 1860, married Sallie Marifield and resides on a farm near Rosemond, Ill.: Turley H., born May 26, 1863, is unmarried and lives at home; Joel D., born January 10, 1866, is married and resides in Pana, Ill.; Melinda S., born October 29, 1867, is married and resides in Oconee Township: Melissa born May 25, 1871, after the removal of the family to the North, and Mary E., born August 17, 1874, are at home with their parents, as is also John H. A., born September 6, 1877.

It was about eighteen years ago when Mr. Low removed to Christian County, Ill., and nine years since he purchased the farm on which he now lives. He has a timbered farm of one hundred and eighty-five acres, about one-half of which is under improvement. Upon this there is about fourteen acres in orchard and considerable attention is paid to the raising of small fruit. He has a good house and a comfortable home.

Mr. Low has been instrumental in securing the organization of a school district for the accommodation of the children in this comparatively new country, and a pleasant school-house is situated on a corner of his farm. He has always voted the Republican ticket. He is not a member of any church though heartily in accord with all Christian endeavors. His wife and children are members of the Baptist Church. He raises sorghum and manufactures molasses each year, and makes maple sugar and syrup in its season, devoting considerable time and money to the improvement and operation of this business. He has a centrifugal machine for separating and drying sorghum sugar which he hopes to make a success. He is a citizen who endeavors to do right as he sees the right, and will not be coerced into doing wrong by any human power. This characteristic was evinced by his attitude toward the confederate power.

Extracted 09 Apr 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 485-486.

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