Beardstown’s Last Surviving Civil War Soldier

James M. Lowder’s story shares some similarities with other Civil War servicemen who resided in the city. He was  born elsewhere, came to  Beardstown after the war ended, and spent a few years working for the C. B. & Q. Railroad. One thing that James M. Lowder did not share with those other gentlemen – he was a confederate soldier.

Mr. Lowder left his Tennessee home to fight for the south and remained in the army until the end of the war, despite being shot several times and suffering a saber wound, attested to by the scar on his bald head. One of his cherished war memories was of the night he was called upon to guard the tent of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Despite his Confederate roots, Lowder bore no ill-will toward the north and took part in many Memorial Day observances in the city. For a couple of years, he was Beardstown’s last living link to the Civil War. That he was well-liked and respected by his former adversaries could be seen through his membership in local veterans’ organizations.

James Lowder died at his home on May 13, 1939, after celebrating his 95th birthday in January. The American Legion was in charge of services at his burial. He was interred in the Beardstown City Cemetery next to his wife of nearly 67 years, Parthenia, who passed away in 1938. Evidently, Mr. Lowder’s grave is unmarked in 2018, as several cemetery readings make no mention of it.