Saturday, June 29, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Lowell of Massachusetts and Maine

Location of Bristol, England
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
My immigrant Lowell ancestor is Percival Lowell (or Lowle), who was born in England about 1570 or 1571 and died in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, on January 8, 1664/65. He was a merchant in Bristol, Gloucestershire, before his emigration to America.

The Lowle (and Lowel) spelling is found in many of the early records, before spelling was standardized, but by the late 18th century, just about all the records spell the name Lowell.

Percival, with his wife and children, arrived in Massachusetts in June 1639, on the ship Jonathan. He was in his late 60's in age and with his extended family, moved north to Newbury, and lived to the age of about 93. Because of his age, he was not particularly active in Newbury town affairs.

His wife was Rebecca and they had ten children, all born in England. The first eight were baptized at St. Mary's Church, Portbury, Somerset: Christian, Richard, Agnes, John, Thomas, Gerard, Edward, Peter, Joan, and Anne. (Gerard and Edward died young and were buried at Portbury.) The children who are known to have immigrated with their parents are Richard, John and Joan.

Percival Lowell is buried in the First Burying Ground in Newbury.

Newbury, Essex Co., Mass.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
I am descended from his eldest son, Richard (who was named for his paternal grandfather).

Generation 2:
Richard Lowell (1602-1682) married, in England, Margaret [unknown], who died (according to Delmar R. Lowell's 1899 genealogy) in January 1642 the day of her daughter's birth. They had two children, Percival and Rebecca. Richard re-married another Margaret and fathered two additional children, Samuel and Thomas. However, another source indicates that Richard had one wife named Margaret who survived him and fathered four children by her. In a 1670 deed, he is referred to as "gentleman."

I am descended from his oldest son, Percival (again named for his paternal grandfather).

Generation 3:
Percival Lowell (1639-after 1721) married Mary Chandler and had six children: Richard, Gideon, Samuel, Edmund, Margaret, and Johanna. In a 1670 deed, he was called a "planter." In a later record, he is referred to as a "yeoman." His name is mentioned in a 1721 deed, but there doesn't appear to be a death record for this Percival. It appears that he lived in Newbury, Massachusetts, for most, if not all of his life. I descend from his second son, Gideon.

Generation 4:
Gideon Lowell (1672-before 1753) married Miriam Swett. He was a cordwainer (made shoes) and later became a successful mariner, building, owning, and commanding his own ships. His family lived in Newbury and in 1718, moved inland to Amesbury, Essex County (where his will was executed) and had ten children (Mary, John, Samuel, Gideon, Stephen, Moses, Hannah, Joseph, Abner, Jonathan). His wife often traveled with him and gave birth to some of their children in places other than Massachusetts. His oldest son is said to have been born in South Carolina! Five of his ten children have their births recorded in the Newbury Vital Records. When his will was executed, he was referred to as "Captain."

I am descended from his fifth child, Stephen Lowell.

Generation 5:
Stephen Lowell (1703-1776) was also a mariner. He was one of his parents' children whose birth was recorded in Newbury, Massachusetts, (on February 19, 1703). He married Miriam Collins in Salisbury, and they had nine children, all born in Amesbury, Massachusetts (Stephen, Lewis, Abner, Sarah, Miriam, Elizabeth, Reuben, Mary, Simeon). I am descended from his oldest son, Stephen.

Generation 6: Stephen Lowell (1728-1801) was born in Amesbury and married Agnes (or Anne?) Bolton (17??-1801) in Falmouth, Cumberland County, Maine, on December 20, 1753. This Stephen, like his father and grandfather, was a mariner. This was the generation that moved from Amesbury, Massachusetts to Maine. Stephen and Agnes had six children, all born in Maine. She died on June 13, 1801, and he died on June 15, 1801.

Generation 7: Thomas Lowell (1761-1810) married Judith Farrar (1773-1861). They had eight children.
Generation 8: Reuben Lowell (1794-1837) married Sarah Smith (1795-1884)
Generation 9: Sarah Lowell (1833-1916) married Henry Clay Copeland (1832-1912)
Generation 10: Lowell Copeland (1862-1935) married Ethel May Greeley (1875-1931)
Generation 11: Lowell Townsend Copeland (1900-1974) married Helen Lysle Hunter (1907-1990)
Generation 12: My mother
Generation 13: Me

Much of what I know about my Lowell line are from the following sources:
Vital Records from Newbury, Amesbury, and Salisbury, Massachusetts
Maine Vital Records to 1892
Alfred Cole and Charles Foster Whitman, A History of Buckfield, Oxford County, Maine from the earliest explorations to the close of the year 1900 (Lewiston, ME: The Journal Printshop, 1915)
Delmar Rial Lowell, The Historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America from 1639 to 1899 (The Tuttle Company, Printers, Rutland, VT, 1899)
Scott C. Steward and Christopher C. Child, The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, Boston, MA, 2011). (However, Judge John Lowell is descended from Percival's and Rebecca's son John, and I am descended from their son Richard, so only the first five or so pages were pertinent to my ancestry.)


  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    You are a cousin to my granddaughters - their line is Richard>Percival>Richard>Richard>Solomon>Jacob>Jacob>Harrison>James>Wade>James>Jennifer Lowell>Thomas Lincoln>James Lincoln>granddaughters

    1. No Lowells in your New England ancestry Randy? Nice to know that your granddaughters are related to me ;-)

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Hey Elizabeth, I'm also descended from Percival-- my 10th great grandfather:

    Percival LOWELL > Joan/Joanna LOWELL> Moses GERRISH > Jane GERRISH > Samuel SWETT > John SWETT > Sarah SWETT > Joshua PALMER > George Bailey PALMER > Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER > my mother > me.

    1. Hello 10th cousin! And I have Swett in my ancestry too - Miriam Swett (1672-1734), daughter of John, son of Stephen, son of John.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Hah, very cool, Elizabeth-- I'm also a direct descendant to John SWETT and Mary PLUMMER, Miriam's parents. She married Gideon LOWELL, right? So we're 9th cousins on this line as well. I also descend from John's brother Joseph (b. 1657) who married Hannah DEVEREAUX. There are lot of Swetts in my family tree.

  4. And I'm another Lowell descendant! I think my 4th great grandmother was Reuben Lowell's sister Abigail.
    The kinda spooky part is I THINK I lived on the Lowell land in Amesbury as a small child and in one of the Lowell family houses or at the very least right next door to one. I'm still trying to figure that out.

    1. That would be fun to figure out if you lived on or near one of your ancestor's homes as a child!

  5. Hi Cousins! I'm 10 generations down from Captain Gideon Lowell. My line starts with his second son John. Our line moved from Amesbury to Wiscasset, Maine, then to Windham, Maine.

    1. Hello cousin (there are a lot of us)! Yes, there are lots of Lowells in Massachusetts and Maine. Thanks for commenting.