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(Seattle & Northern 1890)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition Stories & Photos
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit

Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Two generations of the Lowman
family of Anacortes

(Lowman family)
Jacob Wasserman Lowman, 75, (standing) and his wife Nancy, 72, (seated) are surrounded by their three adult children in this photo taken at the time of Jacob and Nancy's 50th wedding anniversary. Their children include: Will A. Lowman (kneeling), age 49, a canneryman and resident of Anacortes; Effie Lenore (Lowman) Dilling, age 42, then of Seattle (the Dillings later moved to LA, CA); and James "Guy" Lowman (in back), age 40, then a school principal in Seattle (he and his wife, Dixie, later moved to Pasadena, CA). The two-story house pictured in the background of this photo was built for the senior Lowmans by Effie's husband, Adam Dilling, a local builder and contractor in the early 1900's. Claudia A. Lowman photo.

By Claudia A. Lowman
      Jacob Wasserman Lowman and Nancy Ann (Shigley) Lowman moved to Anacortes in December 1892 from Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Their adult children, Will A. Lowman and Effie (Lowman) Dilling, also moved to Anacortes at the same time. James Guy Lowman, youngest of their Lowman adult children, followed in 1893 after completing his first teaching assignment in his home county in Indiana. Will Lowman was most likely the instigator of this move to Washington state in pursuit of economic gain.
      Jacob, then 56, became active in Anacortes civic affairs. He was elected Justice of the Peace on the Republican ticket in 1894 and held that position until he retired 18 years later. While serving as the JP, Jacob Lowman also served on the city council for three years and was elected mayor in 1897. He was elected city treasurer in 1898, a position to which he was re-elected three more times. He died in Anacortes in 1916 and is buried at Grandview Cemetery.
      Newspaper articles indicated that Judge Lowman had "a fine record of usefulness as a public spirited man, while Mrs. Lowman, as wife and mother, has an equally splendid record, and this fine old pair share the triumph of a well-spent half century of sterling community utility as they rest in the sunset of life, surrounded by a forest of younger fine lives of the second and third generations."
      Their oldest son, Will A. Lowman, was 29 when he relocated to Anacortes. He came at the urging of John McMillan of the Roche Harbor Lime Co. to start a hoop and barrel/box company called the Lowman Manufacturing Co. Will had invented a machine that could make adjustable barrel hoops, an important advancement for manufacturing and the transport of goods as most items were shipped in barrels. Adjustable hoops meant that any size barrels could easily be fitted with less hand labor. In a 1923 interview, Will indicated that the local fir was unsuitable for his purposes. The Lowman Manufacturing Company survived one year.

Column: Tidings of the week
Anacortes American, Feb 2, 1903, p. 5
Messers. Beil & Dilling are building a residence of Mr. Wilson, the butcher, on 11th and K streets.
Anacortes American, Apr 13, 1905, p. 5
Beil & Dilling will soon have completed their work on the Robinson Fisheries Building, one of the most substantial pieces of work in the city.
Anacortes American, July 13, 1905, p. 7
Beil & Dilling are putting in the steel front at the Wells-McClean building.
Anacortes American, Oct 12, 1905, p. 5
Messers. Beil & Dilling are putting up a fine stone block house for Mr. Beil's mother on 31st street near the Nelson school house. It will be one of the handsomest residence properties in the city.
Anacortes American, Oct 12, 1905, p. 5
Beil & Dilling are finishing a new school room in the 3rd story of the Columbian school building to accommodate the large increase in attendance.
In a receiver's hands
Anacortes American, Dec 21, 1893, p. 1
      The Lowman Manufacturing Company is in the hands of a receiver; H.D. Allison, esq., being appointed to that position and having furnished the required bonds to the satisfaction of the court. The affairs of the company are somewhat complicated owing to the Bank of Anacortes failure. The bank held the company's paper and also was the owner of about half the stock, and the Lowman Company, not being able to make immediate payment and wishing to avoid harassing litigation sought the protection of a receiver.
      Effie's husband, Adam Dilling, was a contractor and builder in Anacortes in the 1890s and early 1900s. He and his partner, Mr. Beil, built many early local homes and businesses. The Dillings eventually moved to Seattle and then to Los Angeles, CA by 1916. They had one daughter, Vera Dilling.
      James "Guy" Lowman, youngest of Jacob and Nancy Lowman's three children, was an educator. He was a popular Anacortes teacher in the late 1890's when he was a young man in his twenties. After residing in Anacortes for a few years, he moved to Avon where he assumed the role of principal at the school there. In 1902 Guy married Dixie Hawkins whose father, William Hawkins, was a pioneer of Skagit County, having homesteaded in the area by 1883. Guy and Dixie had one son, Vivian Guy Lowman, born in 1901. In 1902, J. Guy Lowman was elected Skagit County Superintendent of Schools. His family residence during the tenure this time has been listed as both in Avon and Fredonia. After several years as superintendent, Guy and his family moved to Seattle where he assumed the role of principal of the Whittier School. Guy lived his final years in Pomona, CA.
      [Biographical data on J. Guy Lowman can be found on page 498 of the Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, published in 1906.]

More about Will A. Lowman
      While Will's siblings moved on, Will and his parents stayed in Anacortes. Within a few years of the collapse of his first local business, the Lowman Manufacturing Co., Will turned to the fishing industry, first by starting a clam cannery in 1896 and then by initiating his first salmon cannery in 1901. By establishing fish traps and processing large quantities of salmon, his White Crest Canning Co. (later Coast Fish Co.) proved lucrative. As investments, Will purchased land in Anacortes and properties in other areas of the state, including mines west of the Cascade Mountains and a large ranch in Eastern Washington at Quincy. In 1915, Will extended his cannery operations with a plant on the Fraser River in B.C. followed by another Canadian plant in 1917 at Jarvis Inlet. He disposed of his Canadian operations in 1920 but kept his Anacortes location.
      Will Lowman was active in business and political organizations in Anacortes and Skagit County. In 1907, Will was elected President of the Commercial Club of Anacortes. In this capacity the Lowmans entertained Governor Mead as a houseguest at their newly built, large home that same year. In county politics, Will was selected as one of four state delegates by local Democrats to the State Convention in 1912 and afterward Skagit Democrats elected him State Central Committeeman, also in 1912.
      Beyond local involvements, Mr. Lowman served for many years as the President of the Puget Sound Canners Association. In 1914 he was elected to the State Legislature where he served during the 1915 session. In 1915 he was assigned to write the Fisheries Code for the State of Washington. Through his efforts, Mr. Lowman negotiated a fishing treaty between the States of Oregon and Washington, and after approved by U.S. Congress it became binding.
      Governor Lister, also a guest on occasion at the Lowman home in Anacortes, appointed Will to serve as a member of the State's Council of Defense during WWI. Mr. Lowman was also elected President of the Washington Fisheries Association during this time period. (See picture in Pacific Fisherman, July 1916 of "Hon. Will A. Lowman.") On the national level, Frank L. Reid appointed Will to be a member of the Advisory Committee on the National Rivers and Harbors Congress.
      Fraternally, Mr. Lowman was a member of the Elks; a Free and Accepted Mason; a thirty-second degree York Rite Mason, and member of the Nile Temple, Ancient Order Nobles of the Mystic Shine of Seattle. Other organizations: a member of the Seattle Press Club (he had been a manager of a newspaper in Indiana before moving to Anacortes); the Transportation Club, Chicago Athletic Association; the Arctic Club of Seattle, and the Friars Club of NY
      Will's wife, Mrs. Beatrice Victoria (Baer) Lowman, was also civic-minded. She was active in the WCTU, Rebekahs, Eastern Star, Red Cross, the Music Club, and the GAR. As a dedicated member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, she fulfilled roles in various church organizations and provided flowers for services on many occasions.
      Will Lowman became a part of history in connection with Seattle's Bill Boeing when, in March of 1919, he received one of sixty of the first international airmail letters ever delivered. To promote the concept of international airmail, Bill Boeing and pilot Eddie Hubbard carried sixty letters to Vancouver, B.C. and back to Seattle in a pouch on a Boeing-built C-700 seaplane. Back in Seattle the letters were then processed and delivered through regular means. One of these letters, with a six-cent stamp, was addressed to Will Lowman. The letter also "bore an inscription indicating its delivery by airplane." Bill Boeing and Will Lowman were business acquaintances and through their association, Mr. Lowman was invited to be a part of this historic event.
      That quote is from an Anacortes American front page article on March 6, 1919. Further information about this historic event is found at various online sites, including the U.S. Centennial Flight Commission site and the site. It has been told that Bill Boeing was once a guest at the Lowman home when, on a flight, Mr. Boeing was sidelined in Anacortes after one of his seaplanes sustained mechanical difficulties and a replacement part was summoned from Seattle. This story has not been substantiated, however.
      Biographical information regarding Will Lowman comes from The History of the State of Washington, Vol. III, by Spencer and Pollard, from Anacortes American newspaper clippings, and from the Pacific Fisherman.
      Journal ed. note: We are working on a story in Issue 36 of the Subscribers-paid Journal magazine online about the Anacortes Hotel, which was erected at the corner of 8th and J in 1890 and failed two years later as the economy went south just before the nationwide Depression took hold. After the hotel passed through the hands of several owners, Will A. Lowman became a partner in the hotel with W.V. Wells in 1907. Lowman bought out Wells's half in 1912 and the hotel served as apartments on the upper floor and retail on the ground floor, such as John Brisky's grocery store. After her husband's death, Nancy Lowman moved into turret portion of the the hotel and stored her many jars of canned jams, jellies, peaches and cherries in the former vault of the First National Bank of Anacortes, which also failed during the Depression of the 1890s. By 1933 the various members of the Lowman family had been hit hard by the new Depression and the hotel became a refuge for their family members and friends. Ray Lowman, the oldest son, was the last to move out of the old hotel in 1943 after the family let the building go for taxes and Mike Demopoulos purchased it. Read the obituaries of various family members at the links below.

Links, background reading and sources

      See this Journal website for a timeline of local, state, national and international events for years of the pioneer period.
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(bullet) Story posted on Aug. 24, 2006
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