THOMAS LOWDON


Among the prominent residents who have identified themselves with French Gulch and the mining interests of Shasta County is the subject of this sketch. Mr. Lowdon has been a resident of this county for twenty-seven years. A brief review of his life is a follows: He was born in Westmoor village, near New-Castle-on-Tyne, Northumberland County, England, July 12, 1827, the son of Richard and Isabella Lowdon, natives of the same county, in which their son was born. Mr. Lowdonís early life was spent at his native place and his education was obtained there. He learned the business of coal mining in all its departments and became an expert coal miner. In 1849 he emigrated to Pennsylvania and engaged in coal-mining in Schuylkill County for ten years. He came to Forest Hill, Placer County, California, in 1859, and turned his attention to gold-mining, remaining there three years without meeting with success. The mine, in which he lost $3,000, afterward sold for $225,000. In 1863 he came to French Gulch, Shasta County. Mr. Lowdon worked a few months for the Washington company. He then purchased a tenth interest in the Highland mine, worked it three years, and took out $130,000 for the company. In 1867 he sold his share for about $1,000. Since then he bought back one-half of the Highland mine and mill and is working it successfully. After the sale of the mine in 1867 he prospected and engaged in the lumber business at French Gulch, continuing it for seven years. In 1875 he returned to his old home in England to visit his parents and friends and to introduce minersí squibs, a machine in which he was interested and with which he was successful. He visited the Centennial at Philadelphia, and the following year returned to England and established the business of manufacturing minersí squibs. He then came back to his home at French Gulch, where he has since resided, being engaged in prospecting for gold, mining and ranching.

In 1865 Mr. Lowdon built the comfortable home in which he resides with his family. He was married, in 1847, to Miss Isabella Brownlees, a native of Cornhill, Northumberland County, England. They had three children, all born in Pennsylvania, viz.: John R., George B. and Isabella. The latter is now the wife of George Simmons. Mrs. Lowdon died in 1875.

Politically Mr. Lowdon is a Republican. In 1880 he was elected Justice of the Peace, has been re-elected several times, and is now (1890) the nominee of his party for that office. He was reared by Methodist parents, and in his religious views is very liberal. He is a most worthy and reliable man, and is held in high esteem by his fellow-citizens.

Source: Memorial & Biographical History of Northern California, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1891
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler

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