William H. Lowdermilk biographical information

Introduction
William Harrison Lowdermilk ("Will") was the author of the well-regarded 1878 book "History of Cumberland (Maryland)..." (hereafter "HOCM") which covers the history of the town of Cumberland, Maryland, and also covers regional events during the French and Indian War. One of the reasons Mr. Dietle wrote the 2019 history book "Fort Cumberland" was to address certain time periods that Mr. Lowdermilk's book largely avoids. Together, the two books provide a detailed history of Cumberland and its environs up until the 1870s.

1839-1897: An overview of the life of William H. Lowdermilk
The following obituary of William H. Lowdermilk provides a good overview of his life. It was published in the December 29, 1897 issue of the "Evening Star" newspaper of Washington, D.C. and mentions that he wrote a Cumberland, Maryland history book:

The 1897 obituary of William H. Lowdermilk, author of the 1878 book 'History of Cumberland...'

1865: Lowdermilk purchases a Cumberland newspaper
The following excerpt from page 423 of Lowdermilk's HOCM indicates he purchased the "Civilian and Telegraph" newspaper on July 1, 1865.

Excerpt indicates when Will H. Lowdermilk purchased the Civilian and Telegraph newspaper

1869: Lowdermilk tries to establish another newspaper
The following excerpt from page 429 of Lowdermilk's HOCM indicates he established the "Transcript" newspaper in May of 1869, but only published it for three months.

An excerpt that indicates when Will H. Lowdermilk attempted to start a newspaper called the Transcript.

1869: Lowdermilk is appointed to serve as Postmaster
The following excerpt from pages 434 and 435 of Lowdermilk's HOCM indicates he was appointed to be the Postmaster of Cumberland, Maryland on May 13, 1869.

William Lowdermilk was appointed to serve as the Postmaster of Cumberland, Maryland in 1869.

1869: Lowdermilk was the Postmaster when the Post Office moved
The following excerpt from page 378 of Lowdermilk's HOCM indicates he was the Cumberland Postmaster when the Post Office was moved to a purpose-built building on Centre Street in November of 1869.

William H. Lowdermilk was the postmaster when a new post office was completed.

1870: Lowdermilk visits Dayton, Ohio as a committee member
The following excerpt from pages 425 and 426 of Lowdermilk's HOCM indicates that he was a member of an 1870 committee that "was sent by the city to Dayton, Ohio, for the purpose of examining into the merits of the Holly system of water supply and fire protection, in use at that place."

 An excerpt indicating that Will Lowdermilk was a member of a committee that examined the merits of a municipal water system.

This is part of an excerpt that mentions Will H. Lowdermilk's service as a committee member regarding the water system.

1873: Lowdermilk publishes a city directory
The following references to William H. Lowdermilk are from the 1873 "Cumberland City Directory":

 A reference to William H. Lowdermilk as the publisher of the 1873 Cumberland directory.

 A reference to William H. Lowdermilk as the proprietor of a newspaper in the 1873 Cumberland directory.

 A reference to the postmaster William H. Lowdermilk in the 1873 Cumberland directory.

 A reference to William H. Lowdermilk as a newspaper editor in the 1873 Cumberland directory.

A reference to William H. Lowdermilk as the postmaster and a newspaper editor in the 1873 Cumberland directory.

A reference to William H. Lowdermilk as being the postmaster in the 1873 Cumberland directory.

A reference to William H. Lowdermilk in a full page newspaper advertisement in the 1873 Cumberland directory.

1878: Lowdermilk publishes two history books
In 1878, in addition to publishing HOCM, Lowdermilk published a small book titled "Major General Edward Braddock's Orderly Books..."

1879: Lowdermilk shortens the name of his newspaper
The website of the Library of Congress indicates that Lowdermilk changed the name of the"Civilian and Telegraph" newspaper to the "Civilian" in 1876.

1879: Lowdermilk moves to Washington, D.C.
The following news item is from the August 6, 1879 issue of the "Herald and Torch Light" newspaper. It reports that William H. Lowdermilk was moving from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, D.C.

 A newspaper article mentioning that William H. Lowdermilk is moving to Washington, DC.

1887: An advertisement for Lowdermilk's book store
The following advertisement is from the April 6, 1887 issue of the "Evening Star". The store is referenced many times in newspapers of the period.

A newspaper advertisement for William H. Lowdermilk's bookstore.

1893: Columbus-related books
The following image shows the title page of a Christopher Columbus-related book published in Chicago by the W. H. Lowdermilk Company in 1893.

 The title page of a book published in Chicago by William H. Lowdermilk's company.

The Library of Congress references a book by William Eleroy Curtis titled "Christopher Columbus, His Portraits and His Moments: A Descriptive Catalog" that was published in Chicago by W. H. Lowdermilk in 1893.

The following image shows the title page of another Christopher Columbus-related book by William Eleroy Curtis that was published in Washington, D.C. by the William H. Lowdermilk Company in 1893.

The title page of a book published by William H. Lowdermilk's company.

1894: Engagement of Lowdermilk's daughter
The following item from the November 8, 1894 issue of the Hagerstown "Herald and Torch Light announces the engagement of William Lowdermilk's daughter Helen.

A newspaper article announcing the engagement of William H. Lowdermilk's daughter Helen.

1895: A member of the Society of the Sons of the Revolution
The following article from the February 23, 1895 issue of the "Evening Star" indicates that William H. Lowdermilk was an officer in the Society of the Sons of the Revolution in the District of Columbia.

 A newspaper article that indicates William H. Lowdermilk was an officer in the Society of the Sons of the Revolution.

1897: The death and burial of William H. Lowdermilk

The following obituary is from the December 30, 1897 issue of the "Cumberland Evening Times" newspaper:

An obituary for William H. Lowdermilk that was published in a Cumberland newspaper.

The following obituary is from the December 30, 1897 issue of the "Baltimore Sun" newspaper:

 An obituary for William H. Lowdermilk that was published in a Baltimore newspaper.

The following news item is from the January 1, 1898 issue of the "Baltimore Sun" newspaper:

A news article about the funeral of William H. Lowdermilk.

William Lowdermilk's tombstone at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Allegany County, Maryland bears the inscription, "Will H. Lowdermilk, Born Jan. 7, 1839 – Died Dec. 29, 1897. Temperance S. Luman, his wife Born Feb. 3, 1842 – Died Mar. 25, 1920. Jas. S. Lowdermilk, Born Sept. 17, 1844 – Died Jan. 21, 1878."

1970: Liquidation of the W. H. Lowdermilk Company
The following image is a brochure advertising the 1970 liquidation auction of the inventory of the W. H. Lowdermilk Company.

A brochure advertising the 1970 liquidation auction of the inventory of the W. H. Lowdermilk Company.

1984: An article about the W. H. Lowdermilk Company
Volume 51 (1984) of the "Records of the Columbia Historical Society" includes an eight-page article titled "The W. H. Lowdermilk Company".

2019: A companion to Lowdermilk's book was published
As noted above in the obituary published in the "Evening Star", "Lowdermilk wrote and published his widely known 'History of Cumberland," which is a valuable work, not only as giving the local history of the city, but also for its narrative of the Braddock campaign." In 2019, Lannie Dietle wrote the companion two-volume book "Fort Cumberland" to cover the periods before and after the Braddock campaign that Lowdermilk's HOCM largely avoids. Taken together, Lowdermilk's and Dietle's books provide a detailed and insightful history of Cumberland and the surrounding region. Dietle's book is available a two volume print edition and a Kindle edition, and is sold by the Allegany County Historical Society via Amazon. All sales proceeds from the book benefit the historical society.

  • Purchase Volume 1 of the print edition

  • Purchase Volume 2 of the print edition

  • Purchase the Kindle edition (two volumes in one)

     A photograph of a two-volume book set about the history of Fort Cumberland, in Allegany County, Maryland.