Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Winchester Greenwood Lowell (1843-1922)

Portrait from the Lewiston Evening Journal, March 7, 1892.

    Long prominent in the business and political life of Auburn, Maine, Winchester Greenwood Lowell sports a name that immediately conjures up images of an affluent, high-society gentleman of prominent standing. True to that description, Mr. Lowell was a successful merchant in Auburn and for two years served as a member of the Auburn Board of Aldermen. He would later win election as Mayor of Auburn in the early 1890s and also served that city as its Postmaster, occupying that office for sixteen years.
   Born and raised in West Minot, Maine, Winchester Greenwood Lowell's birth occurred on February 1, 1843, a son of William and Atosa Greenwood Lowell. Lowell would attend school in the town of his birth and later graduated from the Hebron Academy. In 1866 he established himself in that town's business life, becoming the owner of a general store. In December 1868 he married in West Minot to Ann Sylvinia Atwood (born 1845), to whom he was wed for over fifty years. The couple would become parents to five daughters, listed as follows in order of birth: Ethel (died 1872), Eliza Anne (born 1873), Hannah (born 1874), Florence Winchester (born 1878) and Julia Long (born 1880).
   Several years following his marriage Winchester Lowell and his family removed from West Minot and settled in Auburn, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. Soon after his resettlement, he entered into a partnership with John Quincy Adams Atwood, and together the two established a grocery business under the name Atwood and Lowell. The firm would continue on for a number of years and in 1890 Lowell entered the political life of Auburn when he won election to the city's Board of Alderman from Ward 2. 
   Lowell would serve two years as an alderman and during his service played a prominent role in the development and construction of the Dennison Street bridge. In early 1892 Lowell became the Republican candidate for Mayor of Auburn, and was touted in the Lewiston Evening Journal as having been:
"A prudent capable man of affairs, and a great master of details of city government business."
    On March 7, 1892, Winchester G. Lowell won the mayoral election, defeating Democratic candidate Frank Bigelow by a vote of 1,063 to 513. He served one term as mayor and in 1893 was defeated for reelection by William Wheeler Bolster (a former state senator), who coasted to an easy victory, besting Lowell by over 1300 votes! Five years following his loss Lowell returned to public life when he was selected by President William McKinley to serve as U.S. Postmaster at Auburn. Lowell would hold that post for sixteen years, retiring in 1914. 
   For several years prior to his death Winchester G. Lowell was afflicted with total blindness, an "affliction that he bore with courage." He died at his home in Auburn on March 23, 1922, one month following his 79th birthday. He was survived by his wife Ann and was later interred at the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Auburn.

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