GREENSBURG — Margaret Lowe can trace her family lineage back over 800 years to medieval Scotland.
As one listens to her discuss history, it’s clear she knows far more about her family origins than the average person. Names and dates; accomplishments; anecdotes; and a multitude of complicated connections between friends and family; between business and political associates; between husbands, wives, lovers and foes fly out one after the other, in rapid succession, and there’s little-to-no hope of keeping track of it all. Lowe’s recollections offer a fascinating, if dizzying, look into local and personal history.
For Greensburg Community High School (GCHS) History Teacher John Pratt, it’s an elated dizziness. In September, Pratt launched the “Decatur County History in 100 Objects” project, which will be displayed at the Decatur County Historical Society the first three weeks in November, coinciding with Pratt’s upcoming annual Chautauqua event, Nov. 4 and 5.
Lowe, with her vast collections of pictures, letters, keepsakes and artifacts, could fill the exhibit by herself – several times over, no less – and she readily agreed to participate in the 100 Objects project. On Wednesday afternoon, Pratt visited Lowe’s home to examine parts of her historical collection, to listen to the stories behind the objects, and to decide which pieces he’ll use for his project. He was accompanied by GCHS Junior Caroline Pratt, who is both one of his students and his daughter. The pair invited the Daily News along, too – an invitation this reporter gladly accepted.
Lowe’s roots in Indiana are deep and complex. Her family ties include links to the signing of the Indiana State Constitution and the founding of IU. The Lowe family name will likely be familiar to many Daily News readers, in fact.
Margaret Lowe’s great-grandfather, Davies Batterton, came to Greensburg “somewhere around 1837 or 1838,” shortly after his graduation from IU with a Masters in Philosophy. Sometime in the 1850s, according to Lowe, Batterton founded the paper that would eventually evolve into the Greensburg Daily News. Around the same, Batterton also founded Batterton’s Pharmacy, which would remain a fixture in the community until the 1970s.