Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

John Lowry
MSA SC 3520-16797 


John Lowry enlisted as a private in the Sixth Company of the First Maryland Regiment, led by Captain Peter Adams, on February 22, 1776. [1]

The Sixth Company was recruited primarily from the Eastern Shore, but traveled to Annapolis  in the spring of 1776 to complete six months of training. The company then moved north, making it to Philadelphia by mid-July 1776 and to New York by August 14.  It was positioned with the rest of the First Maryland Regiment about one mile outside of New York, with orders to prepare for battle.

The Marylanders met the British at the Battle of Brooklyn (sometimes called the Battle of Long Island) on August 27, 1776, where the Continental Army, led by General George Washington, fought to defend New York. The American troops were severely outnumbered and surrounded when they were ordered to retreat.  Half the regiment was able to escape the battle, however the other half, including most of the Sixth Company, was trapped by the swampy Gowanus Creek. They turned back to face the British, holding their position long enough for the rest of the Marylanders to return to safety. This heroic stand earned them the honorable name of the “Maryland 400.” [2]

During the battle, Lowry was wounded in the thigh or groin.  He was also taken prisoner, along with at least ten other men from the Sixth Company.  Only sixteen men and officers from the company were not killed or captured. Most of the Marylanders were released by February 1777, although Lowry may have been returned separately due to his injury. [3]

Lowry returned home to Harford County, Maryland, where he received a disability pension through the 1780s, equal to half the pay of a private. However, unable to work due to his injury, Lowry struggled financially.  Instead of buying land, he began renting in Harford County by the late 1790s. At some point, he received a pension from Congress, but his financial problems continued, and in 1805, he petitioned the House of Representatives to increase his pay. Unfortunately the outcome is unknown.  He lived in Harford County until at least 1810, but his life after this time becomes unclear. [4]

According to family tradition, John Lowry was born in 1750 in Cecil County, Maryland, to James and Mary Veazy.  He married a woman named Hannah, and in 1782 they had a daughter named Margaretta. They may have moved to Baltimore County, Maryland, where he died some time around 1815. Unfortunately, there is no clear documentation that this was the John Lowry who fought with the Sixth Company at the Battle of Brooklyn. [5]

-Natalie Miller, Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution Research Fellow, 2018


[1] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol 18, p. 14.

[2] Mark Andrew Tacyn, "To the End: The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution," (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 48-73; Extract of a letter from New-York: Account of the battle on Long-Island, 1 September  1776, American Archives Online, series 5, vol. 2, p. 107.

[3] Return of the Maryland troops, 27 September 1776, from; Pay Roll of Prisoners Taken on Long Island, 14 February 1777, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, box 19, no. 2, MdHR 19970-19-2 [MSA S997-19-2, 01/07/03/015]; Henry C. Peden, Abstracts of the Orphans Court Proceedings 1778-1800, Harford County, Maryland (Westminster, Maryland: Family Line Publications, 1990), 23, 31, 38.

[4] Archives of Maryland Online, vol 18, p. 661; Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, January 23, 1805, Library of Congress, American Memory; United States Federal Census, 1810, Harford County, Maryland.

[5] Linda Davis Reno, The Maryland 400 in the Battle of Long Island, 1776 (North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2008), 123-124.

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