James Lowry Portrait

We went off in the middle of March for our first wander this year, in our Motorhome. Touring around Devon and Cornwall, the weather was quite kind to us, and we got to visit lots of super historic houses, and beautiful spring gardens. Most of them courtesy of the National Trust. When we go away I don’t deliberately go looking for Old Photos, but they seem to find me !  My husband saw this beautiful portrait painting in an Antique shop in Cornwall, was close to the car park, so would have been silly not to pop in !! He saw the writing on the back & knew it was for me !  It’s my first ever purchase of a portrait painting, but I loved it immediately.

James Portrait - Copy


There was also a very old book (future blog) close by that took my eye, so husband did his usual good haggling, and we came away with them both.

Back view with names

This is the back view…..I have spent most of my spare time since coming back researching  James Lowry..Maude Baltershill and J Mc Farlane…


The trick was to combine them all in one family, and after a few days I had a breakthrough..Via variations of the name Baltershill…I found Battershill ! that in turn led me to McFarlane…Whoop Whoop !

I started a family tree on Ancestry using James Lowry Born about 1795 (My best guess of a date looking at the portrait) I had several possibilities across the UK, but thought initially I would go with a Cornwall link. Because a) That’s where we bought it & b) It had been reframed there back in the 1960’s in Falmouth.

I found a James Lowry born in about 1791 (close enough) and after a few false leads, found a son Henry who had married a lady by the name of Maria Thanetta Martin. I found nine possible children of the couple, one of whom may have married into the Baltershill family. So I started to get exact records for them all, one by one. Up to and including their marriage if any. The other thing I also did was to spend an awful long time, searching for any possible other children that our portrait man James Lowry may have had. I also did the obvious thing, and look for a J Mc Farlane and a Maude Baltershill. It was while I was going all through the permutations of the name Baltershill, that I found loads of records for Battershill, more than others, so I decided to go with that as the most likely..just instinct really. There had to be a Maude out there somewhere..I decided to follow up on & make a note of the 20 something leads on Ancestry when you put in Maude Battershill. Then I knew if I came across a link somewhere I could follow it up. Not being able to find another significant child for James Lowry at this point, I went back to Henry & Maria’s children. I worked my way through them all, adding their Grandchildren, then their marriages. Thomas Shaw Lowry married a lady by the name of Winifred Dawson, they had four children, Henry Dawson Lowry, Winifred Maude Lowry, Herbert Marshall Lowry and Thomas Martin Lowry………I checked with my list !….. I had a Winifred Maude Battershill and her husband William John Battershill on a passenger list ! Yes I had it, I have found Maude!!

I found their marriage in July 1893, Redruth, Cornwall and continued to follow the family, they had two children that I found, William Denis and Winifred Joyce...In September 1921 In Redruth, Cornwall Winifred married a Gordon Robertson Mcfarlane, woo hoo !! they in turn had two children Rosemary Joyce b 1922 and Melody Winifred b 1926, I have found that Melody died in 2015, so I am assuming that the J Mc Farlane is Rosemary Joyce, known as Joyce ? As her death can’t be found, she must have passed away recently, hence why the beautiful painted portrait of their Ancestor James Lowry ended up in an Antique shop.

All of the records and research that I have done for this Blog is online, as always, mostly from  Ancestry UK        Family Search     Find My Past UK      Cornwall Online Parish Clerks   Find A Grave……and of course Google    ….. the James Lowry Ancestors and Descendants that I have on his tree, are as accurate as I can be, without buying any certificates to confirm online evidence. Please let me know if you find any errors, or you have any corrections to make !! I have marked this tree as PUBLIC now  “Lowry Pic Lynns Waffles” Link here ::  James Lowry Tree     Screenshots below….So you should hopefully be able to have a good search through the families with connections to James Lowry…Maybe you are related in some way ??


FAMILY.…………..James was baptised James Jorey (Lawry/Lowry) in 1787, his father was Henry Lawry/Lowry 1767-1852 …His mother was Jane Jory 1764-1791…They had married on 28 December 1786 at St Mary’s Truro. I believe James had a sister Mary (Jory/Gorry/Lowry)born in 1790 (Baptised August 1790) & died in January 1791..His mother Jane then died just a few months later in September 1791. His father Henry was a Shoemaker/Cordwainer (1841 & 1851 Census)  12 years after his first wife’s death, Henry remarried….Was he busy caring for little James ?? ….Father Henry married on the 21 June 1803 in Kenwyn, Cornwall to Susanna Oliver, he was 36 and she was 34. Then in about 1806/7 they had a daughter Elizabeth (Betsy) a half sister to James. Elizabeth’s mother Susanna died in 1847, in the 1851 census records Elizabeth is single, a governess & living with her father Henry still in Kenwyn, Cornwall.

Henry died in 1852 aged 85 years old ….I found Elizabeth in the 1871 census, unmarried, a governess & in the 1881 census she is a Schoolmistress, but still unmarried.  the most likely death for Elizabeth is ‘Bessie Lowry in April 1888, Truro, Cornwall’.

Portrait man James Lowry was a Master Dyer, he married Catherine Marshall on the 28 December 1809, the same date as his parents wedding. His only son Henry was born on the 5 October 1810, I have been unable to find any other children of the marriage. Catherine died in January 1841……. James remarried in July 1842, to Mary (Phillips)  the widow of Joseph Hocking of Redruth.  Portrait man James died in April 1855…Mrs Mary Lowry died age 91 in Union Place Truro, 1891.

Whilst researching James Lowry, I had the very good fortune to come across another public tree online that belongs to Helen, and she very kindly let me ‘borrow’ some of her CDV photos to add to James’s tree…Thank you Helen, they are wonderful !

Also when I was Googling some of the names in the tree, I came across a link to some diaries written by Maria Thanetta Lowry (Martin) the lady who married Henry Lowry, our Portrait man James’s son. WOW ! I was overwhelmed with finding these ! They had all been transcribed from the original diaries by David Walsh, he very kindly gave me permission to share his records… I will share just a couple of entries in her Diaries, and leave you to read the rest if you wish, link below….

Maria Martin Diaries 1833+…..    Maria Lowry Diaries 1878+  (David also has lots of Family History info via the main link on his website….Link here… David Walsh Website.)  “January 1st 1833….My dear father conducted the meeting and was all alive to the winning of souls to Christ. Henry sat with me and was the first to wish me a happy new year”   Henry and Maria didn’t marry until 23 June 1835, but obviously courting long before that. “January 28th 1835……I have a cold and think a slight bilious attack that has made me very heavy and stupid to-day. I have taken medicine and trust by the blessing of God I shall rise better in the morning, and with an increased spirit of faith and prayer. I feel I am a frail vessel and should live every moment in a state of preparation for life or death or whatever may be the will of God concerning me. And yet all my thoughts, or too many of them, are anticipations of this world’s enjoyments. I do not mean its gaieties but its purest friendships, and the love of one who promises to be the centre of my happiness”.   Maria was obviously looking forward to being married …I believe from the diaries that Henry and Maria had a happy marriage, although sadly Henry was only 50 when he died, their youngest child just four years of age. Henry was a Dyer (On his Will) like his father James. But he also spent time abroad, where he was described as a Miner..Maria describes in the diaries collecting rent from houses, so maybe they also had invested in property.

“Henry Lowry who spent one or two years in the Port Royal Mountains of Jamaica, in a little settlement named Silver Hill, as a mine agent or adventurer.

We have the attached letter, and reference to a book owned by him in Jamaica published 1851 is found via Google. Now a London paper takes up his desperate story for more money.       Lowry was a miner from Truro, arriving 1853, and seemingly leaving 1855, dying 1861.London Daily News Published in 1855…….London Daily News 24 August 1855

“The directors of the Port Royal and St. Andrew’s Copper Mining Company have received a report from Mr. Henry Lowry, upon his return to this country, in which he observes as follows : The English staff consists of 11 men and your mining agent. Captain Ciernes, Labour is generally abundant, and the natives are likely soon to become tolerably efficient workmen. It is my decided conviction that the operation, at Silver Hill ia particular, will result favourably ; the lode is the only quartz lode (I have brought specimens for your inspection) which I have seen in Jamaica, and is in every respect promising as could be desired. I believe nothing but a little perseverance will be requisite to make Silver Hill an important and profitable mine. As the operations have proceeded, nothing has occurred to alter my convictions ; the continuity of the lodes and branohet has been established from level to level, and nothing can exceed the regularity and compactnett of the formation in No, 2. I think any company would be warranted in spending a much larger amount of capital than has already been spent in the operations here, if it should be required, and I have no hesitation in recommending you to to effectual and complete development of the mineral ground.”

They are such a wonderful read…Maria was extremely religious, and brought up a Methodist, the Non Conformist records that I have found online are just amazing, with so much detail. Maria’s father was a very well known Cornish Methodist minister.

The nine children of Henry and Maria were known as  Harry, Tom, Kate, Edward, Alfred, Fred, Jim, Polly and Hespie. You’ll read lots of interesting bits about them in Maria’s diaries. I found it just amazing to read the first hand accounts of someone living in the Victorian era, she was a lovely lady.

During the research into the Lowry family, and their descendants I also came across extended family who were Quakers, one couple had strong links with the Lake District, and even married in the famous Quaker Meeting House at Kendal on 8 August 1833, John Sanderson Thomas to Deborah Crewdson (From a very well to do family)


There are many very interesting people with links to the Lowry family, do explore the tree, and please message me if you know of a direct descendant that would have more information about Portrait man James Lowry… But I will leave you with this most fabulously beautiful old photo below of Henry Lowry and Maria, with all of their nine children, this must have been taken in 1861, not too long before Henry died…

Huge thanks to David Walsh again for letting me ‘borrow’ so much. David is also on Twitter if you wish to make contact @fh_data_project

Till next time then…………………..

UPDATE.. it is fabulous to let you all know that, James Lowry Portrait man, is now back in the very safe hands of his family 👍 I loved researching this man & although he was only mine for a short while, I shall miss him. But I’m so thrilled that he’s back where he should be..   #FamilyHistory #OldPhotos







  1. Glad you enjoyed putting this together, Lynn. I actually descend from Fred the fifth son of Maria and Henry. J McF would be Joyce who witnessed my great grandparents’ marriage as a young girl in 1908. Not sure why the family portraits have been flogged but am glad you’ve got them! Dx


  2. Thank so much, glad you enjoyed the read, many many hours of searching have gone into it. In fact I think I became a bit obsessed with the Lowry Family 😃 Hope also that some of the info I found will help you to add to your tree😊Many thanks again for your help, Lynn


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