In Memory of Captain John Low
March 23rd seems a long time gone now but those who attended the Memorial Service for Captain John Low will still recall that it was a day to remember.
John Low was born 24th January 1835 and grew up in the Golborne area. He went to sea at 16 and spent a number of years at sea before resigning and operating a mail steam ship line, sailing between New York and New Orleans. He later joined his uncle Andrew Low, a well known businessman, banker, cotton merchant and an import-export merchant in Savannah, Georgia. When Georgia seceded from the United States of America in January 1861, John Low hastily enlisted as a private in the Georgia Hussars, but the sea was his first love. He met Captain Dunwoody Bulloch, a family friend in Liverpool and agreed to join him abroad. He became Bulloch's right hand man and oversaw the loading of the Scottish ferry boat Fingal and the delivery of the Oretto, which later became the CSS Florida. Low was promoted to Captain by Captain Semmes of the CSS Alabama and was given command of the CSS Tuscaloosa. At the end of the war he tried to deliver the Ajax to the south but it was too late. So he bought the vessel back to England.
On June 27th 1867 he married Catherine Morris and accepted a position at the John Brevis cotton mill in Golborne and lived in Park Road. He retired from the Brevis Mill June 1884 and his later years were spent in Liverpool operating a family Marine Insurance business. It was there that he died on 6th September 1906 after a short illness. The funeral was held at the Emanuel Church West Derby and his remains were brought by train to Golborne St Thomas Church for burial. His headstone faces the East window on the edge of the Remembrance Garden.
No one had much of an idea what was going to happen on the 23rd March and as we awaited the arrival of the members of the American Civil War Society we were wonderfully surprised. The soldiers (ancestors of the civil war soldiers), dressed in Union and Confederate uniforms and rifle in hand, led by Neville Wanting (alias Robert E. Lee) in his black uniform and the ladies dressed in Crinoline dresses, shawls and bonnets by Miss Carolyn Billups (of the Daughters of the Confederacy) who had come over from America, all carrying flags paraded up the church path, it was as if we had stepped back in time, into the era of the Civil War.
It was a lovely service in church led by Robert, then we went outside for another ceremony near Captain John Low's headstone where tributes were read from many of the Society and from his Great, Great Granddaughter who had come from New Zealand for the occasion. The soldiers fired a gun salute (blanks I may add) and I don't know if the rooks or us were shocked by the noise the rifles made, but it certainly made us jump.
I don't think an event like this has been seen in Golborne and no doubt ever will be in the future. It was a very unique occasion. I personally was fascinated by it all as I love history. For those of you who missed it, I have some photographs of the occasion if you wish to see them
(Taken from the St Thomas' Church, Golborne, Magazine)
The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, Summer 2007
For the Attention of Mike Bussey.
Just a line to thank the ACWS for their kind support last Saturday for the marking ceremonies at Atherton cemetery for Union private Charles Pooley of the 58th Indiana Volunteers, and at Golborne for Captain John Low, CSN.
The weather was perfect for both events and The Lady Mayor of Wigan was in attendance at the Low ceremony. We also had a descendant of John Low there too from New Zealand, with messages from the descendants of Commander James D. Bulloch in Australia being read and a message from Oliver Semmes III, the g/grandson of Captain Raphael Semmes.
Jerry Wells from Richmond, Virginia brought a message from the divisional command of the SCV in Virginia
There were also visitors from the US too for this occasion.
The whole day went extremely well and much of it was down to the part played by both the Federal unit 19th Indiana and the Confederate 18th Virginia. I can not thank them enough for the excellent effort that they all put in to make both events a resounding success. The firing of the volley over both graves was exciting and the Lady Mayor of Wigan was very much impressed.
I have some photos of both events should you wish to use them on your web site. Just let me know what size and resolution you require.
Once again please convey my thanks to those who gave their time and effort to remember these two men.