Henry Berry Lowrie was a very wily blue-eyed Indian. In the final days of the Civil War when all of the South sat on the brink of starvation, Henry Berry and his Lumbee Indian friends and relatives waged a war of plundering the rich and sharing with the needy of Robeson County, North Carolina. The Lumbee knew the swamps around the Lumber River better than anyone else, having taken refuge there from the depredations of white encroachers since colonial times. At the war’s end when the outrages of Reconstruction were heaped upon the genteel white community they became indignant at the effrontery of the Lowrie gang and offered irresistible bounties for their capture. Henry Berry was nothing if not an upright man—his thieving and revenge killings aside—and because he lived boldly and openly, captured he was, and escape he did. Then he and his gang members were captured by treachery, and craftily escaped. Enter on the scene, two vengeful widows, victims of Henry Berry’s murderous side and downtrodden by the insults of Reconstruction, then the blood money reaches a staggering sum. Armies of bounty hunters swarm the swamp and most are never seen again.
Astoundingly, this story is true. Warren Reichel’s research and descriptive skills combine to make the kind of a tale that one wants to stay with to the end. This is the kind of lovable rogue saga that everyone treasures, but unlike Robin Hood, this man was real. The determination to preserve the community, protect friends and family, extract justice and to enjoy life in the face of adversity is as inspiring as entertaining. The author has told his story brilliantly and delivers the astonishing climax with aplomb. This is exactly the kind of book I love to read, and although I had not known of Henry Berry Lowrie, I am familiar with the Lumbee culture and the region, and in fact, I claim a Lumbee ancestor, so this was a double delight for me. I think everyone will enjoy it, too.
So far it is only available via Amazon in paperback for $17.99.
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