Photo of the Day – May 27, 2015

My niece Amelia being held by her Uncle Joe.
Joseph Biden, Amelia Nagy, Jon Nagy and Caroline Lowry-Nagy, photograph, taken at the Golden Dawn Restaurant in Youngstown, Ohio on 4 Oct 2010; digital image taken by Patrick Lowry; privately held by Patrick Lowry, [address for private use], Poland, Ohio. Vice President Joe Biden holding Amelia Nagy while parents Jon and Caroline Nagy look on.

Photo of the Day – May 26, 2015

Here’s a photo of my grandmother Barbara Wolford and her sister Betty from 1941. The twins were about 10 years old when this photo was taken. This was around the time they were living with their parents in Denver, Colorado. I will need to ask my grandmother where specifically this photo was taken.

Barbara Jean Wolford and Betty Jean Wolford, photograph, taken in unknown location (possibly Denver) in 1941; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Rebecca Lowry, [address for private use], Poland, Ohio. Two young girls standing in front of a bird bath with trees in background. Provenance is Rebecca Lowry to Joseph Lowry.

Photo of the Day – May 25, 2015

I’m going to get back into the swing of posting here, I promise. I actually enjoy sharing my family discoveries and have been quite active in my genealogy work. I just haven’t been posting anything to the blog. I hope to change that in the coming days and weeks. You can certainly expect some great daily photos in the very near future. Mary Catherine Sanders (nee Witt) provided me some amazing photos of my 2nd great grandfather and his family that I can’t wait to scan and share. I’ve also made some discoveries involving Civil War records and closed a very big loop regarding Edward Lowry, my 2nd great grand uncle from Washington state. So stay tuned, there’s more to come!

Today’s photo of the day is the wedding photo of John Albert Witt and Johanna Thaner. They were married on 22 May 1890 in Saint Mary’s Church in Pittsburgh. John is the brother of my 2nd great-grandfather Joseph Witt. I’ve written about John’s unfortunate death here.

John Albert Witt (1863-1942) and Johanna Thaner Witt (1862-1949), photograph, taken in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 22 May 1890; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned by Mary Mathewson; privately held by Mary Mathewson, [address for private use], Rocky River, Ohio. Man seated in suit and woman standing in wedding gown. Provenance is Mary Mathewson to Joseph Lowry.

Military Monday – John Pepperney at the Third Battle of Winchester

In the late summer of 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early marched his men up the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, with Union General Philip Sheridan and his Army of the Shenandoah not far behind them. The concern for the Union Army was that if Early went unchecked, he had an easy path down the Potomac River using the nearby railroads to force his way into Washington, D.C. With the 1864 presidential election not far away, and political catastrophe for Lincoln if Early got close to Washington, Sheridan knew he had to stop him.

One of the men in this Army, under Wright’s VI Corps, Getty’s Division, Wheaton’s Brigade, the 139th Pennsylvania Infantry and finally D Company, was my great grand uncle John Pepperney of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

John was born in Prussia on 15 January 1845 to Jacob and Anna Maria Krotterin Pepperney. He arrived in America around 1852 and his family settled in Reserve Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. John was inducted into the Federal army on 1 September 1862 when he was 17 years old. The 139th Infantry was comprised of men from Allegheny County. Many of them were no doubt immigrants like John who either volunteered or were drafted to fight for their new country.

Within two days of being organized, the 139th Infantry found itself in Manassas, Virginia where it buried the bodies of the men killed at the Battle of Second Manassas. It was no doubt a grisly welcome to the army and made the reality of what was in front of them very real. The official summary of service of the Pennsylvania regiments tells this tale well:

After that, John and the 139th found themselves confronted by the enemy in battles we know well from history books. Antietam. Fredericksburg. Chancellorsville. Maryes Heights. Gettysburg. Wilderness. Spotsylvania. Cold Harbor. Petersburg. That John made his way through the hell of those battles unscathed is a miracle. That is, until he arrives near Winchester, Virginia on the evening of 18 September 1864.

At 3 a.m. on 19 September, General Sheridan launched his attack on Early’s men from the north, pushing his leading forces back into Winchester. This early action by cavalry allowed Sheridan to organize his infantry forces marching from Berryville to the east.

Company D of the 139th Infantry was square in the center of the VI Corps assault on the Confederate lines. To their right were no fewer than 13 Union brigades while to their left just General Daniel Bidwell’s brigade held the end of the line. With cannon fire shooting over their heads, the 139th Infantry advanced down the Berryville Road. They entered into Winchester as the Confederates pulled out, leading a retreat to Strasburg, 20 miles to the south. It was during this action that John was wounded. What caused this injury remains unclear, but the muster rolls of the 139th Infantry state he was injured on this date and at this place. Still, his injury was minor enough to keep him with the Army. John Pepperney would continue with the 139th Infantry through the remainder of the war and was mustered out of service on 21 June 1865.

The interchange of Interstate 81 (north and south) and Route 7 (east and west) in Winchester, Virginia. It was just a few hundred feet to the south of the interchange where the 139th Pennsylvania advanced on the Confederate troops on 19 September 1864.

The Third Battle of Winchester was the bloodiest battle in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 and effectively pushed the Confederate army out of this part of Virginia.

Bates, Samual. “History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5; Prepared in Compliance with Acts of the Legislature, by Samuel P. Bates.” Making of America. University of Michigan, 1 Jan. 1869. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

“139th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Civil War Volunteers,” Pennsylvania Volunteers of the Civil War, ( : accessed 28 Nov 2020), article on the 139th Infantry.

“Third Battle of Winchester.” Civil War Trust. Civil War Trust. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

Photo of the Day – March 23, 2015

I can’t put a specific date or location on this photo, but my grandmother Jean Groucutt Lowry and her mother-in-law Margaret Pepperney Lowry look to be on a road trip. They probably stopped for gas or a quick bite to eat and one of their husbands asked for a quick photo. Neither looks particularly happy to be posing for the camera.
Mary Margaret Pepperney Lowry (1902-1980) and Jean Groucutt Lowry (1924-1986), photograph, taken at unknown location, in late 1940s; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2013 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Mary McCaffrey, [address for private use], Canton, Ohio. Two women standing in front of a restaurant. Provenance is Charles Lowry to Mary McCaffrey.

Photo of the Day – March 22, 2015

A bright smile and closed eyes greeted my great grandmother when she took this photo on her son’s second birthday. She no doubt wanted a photograph to help remember his big day, but anything taken indoors probably wouldn’t have developed properly. Thus, it was time to bundle up and take little Charles outside for the shot. The more I look at this collection of photos, the more I love the idea of her carrying her camera around, capturing all sorts of images of her son.

Charles James Lowry (1924-2007), photograph, taken at unknown location, in November 1926; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2013 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Mary McCaffrey, [address for private use], Canton, Ohio. Portrait of toddler in winter coat and hat standing in snowy yard. Provenance is Charles Lowry to Mary McCaffrey.

Photo of the Day – March 20, 2015

In honor of the Notre Dame men’s basketball team barely squeezing out a victory over Northeastern University in the men’s tourney yesterday, I give this you image of Our Lady’s University. The golden dome atop the Administration Building is one of the most recognizable university symbols in the country. My grandfather Charles Lowry took this photo during a trip to Notre Dame in November 1941. You can see more photos from that trip on this post.

The Administration Building at the University of Notre Dame, photograph, taken on either 21 or 22 November, 1941; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2013 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Mary McCaffrey, [address for private use], Canton, Ohio. Provenance is Charles Lowry to Mary McCaffrey.

Photo of the Day – March 19, 2015

My grandfather Charles Lowry is posing in this photo looking dapper in a double breasted jacket and white tie. I seem to recall other similar photos indicating that this his 8th grade graduation in the spring of 1938 or 1939. The timing is right, as I think the little girl is is his first cousin Catherine Pepperney who was born in 1937 and would be 1 or 2 years old.

Charles James Lowry (1924-2007) and believed to be Catherine Pepperney Campana, photograph, taken at unknown location around 1939; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2013 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Mary McCaffrey, [address for private use], Canton, Ohio. Young man in dark blazer and white shirt and white pants standing in front of young child on small bike. Provenance is Mary Pepperney Lowry to Charles Lowry to Mary McCaffrey.

Photo of the Day – March 18, 2015

My great uncle Francis Witt Jr. married Mary Lou Murray on August 2, 1944. Shown in this photo on their wedding day are Francis’s younger brother Howard (my grandfather) and the baby of the family, his sister Helen. It is unknown to me who the woman on the right is. Less than a week prior Francis had returned home to Youngstown after being reported missing in action. According to a Vindicator report, how he arrived home was not disclosed (but I can let you in on the secret).

Unknown, Mary Lou Murray Witt (1917-2001), Helen Witt (1934-2009), Francis Witt Jr. (1920-2002) and Howard Witt (1929-2001), photograph, taken at unknown location on 2 Aug 1944; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2013 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Marie Dockry, [address for private use], Austintown, Ohio. Three women and two men, one in a service uniform, appearing for a wedding. Provenance is Marie Dockry to Joseph Lowry.