General Mark Perrin Lowrey – “Preacher General”

General Mark Perrin Lowrey – “Preacher General”

Mark Perrin Lowrey (1828-1885)

General Mark Perrin Lowrey, is by far, the most famous of our ancestors to date. There is more known about him than all of our other ancestors together. He has his own page on Wikipedia. This is obviously because he was a General in the American Civil War… yes, another famous American war, here we go again…

He was born December 30, 1828 in McNairy County, Tennessee.

He is famous because he eventually made Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. He had plenty of nicknames: “Preacher General”, “The Fighting Parson”,  “The Gallant Preacher Soldier” to name a few… (and I thought I had a lot of nicknames… – look at this guy!)

After his father’s death, (when Mark Perrin Lowrey was about 15 years old) the family moved to Farmington, Mississippi, a village which was located about four miles from what is now Corinth, Mississippi. It was here that he learned the trade of Brick-Laying.

As a young man, he moved to Tishomingo, Mississippi. He worked as a bricklayer, and was reported to be poor and illiterate. Although he enlisted as a private in the Mexican War, he saw no action there. After the war with Mexico ended, Lowrey married Sarah R. Holmes in 1849. Then he began learning from a private tutor. While still pursuing his education, he became a Baptist minister at the age of 24. Beginning in 1853 he became a Southern Baptist preacher, serving primarily around the village of Kossuth, Mississippi. After preaching for eight years, in 1861, his congregation and community urged him to accept a commission as colonel of the 4th Regiment of State Volunteers.

He later raised the 32nd Mississippi Infantry in April of 1862, and fought at Perryville. Despite his lack of combat experience, he performed well, and distinguished himself in the Kentucky Campaign and the Battle of Chickamauga. At the Battle of Perryville in October 1862, Lowrey was shot in the left arm but stayed on the battlefield. During the retreat which began the next day, he had great difficulty keeping up with the army. He then obtained leave and traveled to his brother’s house for safety. After six weeks of recuperation Lowrey joined back with his forces and fought at the Battle of Murfreesboro on January 1, 1863. Promoted to Brigadier General on October 4, 1863, he participated in the Battle of Missionary Ridge and the Atlanta Campaign. Leading a division in the Battle of Jonesborough, he took over brigade command in the Franklin and Nashville Campaign.

While in the army, he took part in a religious revival, and baptized 50 men in one two-week period in the spring of 1864. During the Civil War, Mark Perrin Lowrey was frequently seen at the head of his troops and was known for his bravery in battle. In fact, none other than Major General Patrick Cleburne (Lowrey’s divisional commander during the Franklin-Nashville Campaign), after witnessing Lowrey at the head of his brigade at Chickamauga, proclaimed him “the bravest man in the Confederate army,”

He resigned his commission in March of 1865, and returned to his ministry. He established the Blue Mountain Female Institute (a Christian college for girls) in Mississippi in 1873. He then persuaded a friend, Colonel William C. Falkner, to run his railroad near the college. Since he was a major shareholder of Falkner’s Railroad, the plan was soon carried out.  The school became quite a success and three generations of Lowrey’s became presidents of the school: himself, two of his sons and a grandson.

He also wrote for “The Christian Index,” a religious newspaper.  Following several years of teaching at Blue Mountain College (they changed the name of the college), Lowrey became very sick and in 1882 his doctors alerted him that his heart was very weak.  On February 27, 1885, while buying a train ticket at Middleton, Tennessee, he turned, gasped, and fell to the floor dead at 56 years of age.

Lowrey lore states that sometime after Mark and Sarah were married an English grandfather of Lowrey’s mother, Margaret (Doss) Lowrey, died leaving a six million dollar fortune to his descendants. Before the arrangements could be made for the family to get the money the Civil War began and the descendants became preoccupied with other matters. At the war’s end, Lowrey once again tried to claim his share of the English estate left behind by his ancestor, but it was discovered that the papers pertaining to the money and estate were lost or destroyed.

If I could meet Mark Perrin Lowrey today, I think it may be an interesting conversation. No doubt the conversation would eventually lead to Jesus Christ. I consider myself closer to Jesus than Mark Perrin Lowrey ever was. I have even named one of my sons after Jesus (Eissa Omar Bill Lowrey – age 9 at the time of this writing)! Mark Perrin Lowrey preached about Christianity and wrote for a “Christian” publication. Well I have done a little preaching myself and I wish he could have read a booklet that I wrote about Jesus…   “Islamic View of Jesus Christ”

Mark Perrin Lowrey had 11 children from Sarah Holmes! Yes, Lowrey’s might not know much, but we do know how to reproduce! Looking at the date of births, it seems that there were two sets of twin boys in this group of 11 trouble makers…. Numbers 9 and 10 were the twins Thomas Calvin Lowrey and Bill Greene Lowrey.

We are descended from Bill Greene Lowrey I. The reason he gets the improper “I” here after his name is because it later became a habit in our family to name sons after their grandfathers. So my father ended up being Bill Greene Lowrey II and my eldest son ended up being Bill Greene Lowrey III. Lets only hope that it ends there… Insha’Allah, all of my descendants will have proper Muslim names from the Sunnah.

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