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Benjamin F. Westlake May 16, 1839 letter to James Low III


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May 16, 1839 letter from

Benjamin F. Westlake of

Pike County, Illinois to

James Low III

of Newburg, Pike County, Illinois.

The letter was found in a trunk of James8 Low III and transcribed as written by his great-great grandson, Bingham James Forrest12 Lowe. Punctuation and spelling errors have not been corrected.

10th generation: Frank, Forrest, Lenna, Arthur, Edward, Paul, Leland, Charles Doss, Pearl, Henry, James, George

Bingham James9 Low(e)   Aug 27, 1853 - Feb 10, 1923           (w: Mary D. Culver)                        of Newburg, Pike County, Illinois

James8 Low III                  Apr 27-1816 - Sep 2, 1889               (w: Margaret Huston Montgomery) of Clinton & Brighton, Maine / Newburg, Illinois

James7 Low Jr                   1796 - Mar 20, 1824                        (w: Mary Wyman)                           of Clinton, Maine (fought in War of 1812)

James6 Low Sr                   Jul 17, 1770 - bef 1830                    (w: Elizabeth "Betsy" Chase)           of Boxford, Massachusetts / Clinton, Maine

Nathan5 Low                     Oct 1, 1742 - Jul 24, 1804                (w: Lucy Lord)                                 of Ipswich & Boxford, Massachusetts

Caleb4 Low                        1707 - Jul 17, 1777                          (w: Abigail Varney)                         of Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts

David3 Low                       Aug 14, 1667 - Jun 2, 1746              (w: Mary Lamb)                               of Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts

Thomas2 Low                    May 8, 1631 - Apr 12, 1712             (w: Martha Boreman)        of Groton & Boxford, Suffolk, England / Ipswich, MA

Thomas1 Low                    1605 - Sep 8, 1677                           (w: Margaret Todd)           of Groton & Boxford, Suffolk, England / Ipswich, MA

Giles0 Low          unknown (Wife: Syseley Wall, marr 3/5/1601/02)     of Brancepeth, Durham, England; Groton & Boxford, Suffolk, England


Among his other many responsibilities, James Low III was also a road commissioner for Pike County. It could not have been easy to work three jobs in Adams County while holding a public office in Pike County. The following letter was sewed into James Low III’s Journal #6/p.2 and demonstrates some of the issues he faced in this capacity.


Pittsfield, May 16, 1839

Mr. James Low:

I came in town this morning and the first Col. Ross met me with a complaint about the bridge on the Griggsville road & G.F. Edwards the mail contractor says he has employed Gilmore to prosecute the Road Commissioners and he says he thinks it can be repaired so that it will do to cross until fall for 15 or 20 dollars. You had better make such repairs as will last until the Board meets when I shall be able to get an affirmative. I shall leave home and be gone some two weeks more or less-

Yours, B.F.Westlake


- sewed into James Low III’s Journal #6/p.2


Westlake, Benjamin F.: Farmer. Member of the County Board of Supervisors. (b: March 8, 1810, Newburg, Orange County, NY - June 9, 1882, Pike County, Illinois). Married to Charlotte Goodwin in Pike County on March 24, 1842.

Col. Ross: Col. William Ross was the founder of the town of Atlas, Pike County, Illinois. He ran a general store.

Edwards, G. T.: Captain G. T. Edwards owned a grocery, was a mail carrier, and later owned a hotel in Pittsfield, Pike County, Illinois. He was elected constable and deputy sheriff, and sheriff. He also owned a farm in Newburg.

Gilmore: probably John Gilmore of Pike County.


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© 1999 by Bingham James Forrest Lowe [g.g.grandson of James Low(e)]

Email: Bingham J F Lowe @ Lowe Family Descendants.com

        (copy address and remove the spaces to send an email)

November 17th, 2010 marks the 374th anniversary of the Low(e) Family in America.