• Donna Hechler Porter

Sarah Jane Lowe McQueen

Sarah Jane Lowe was born in Tyler County, Texas in January of 1858.[1] She was the daughter of William Mallett Lowe[2] and Frances Laird.[3] William was born in Mississippi and was a veteran of the Mexican War. He came to Texas with his father, Eli Low,[4] during the time that Texas was under Mexican Rule. Frances was likely the daughter of Robert Laird.[5] Robert moved from Mississippi to the Republic of Texas about 1836.

James Polk McQueen Homestead


On 7 Jan 1884, when she was 26 years old, Sarah Lowe married the widower James Polk McQueen[6].He was eleven years older than she was at the time of their marriage. James had been a veteran in the Civil War having served first in the Mt. Hope Home Guard alongside his father, Milton McQueen, and then later in Ragsdale's Battalion. Despite the blow the Civil War leveled against his family, he was a well-to-do farmer in the Gavino Araujo district of Tyler County, Texas near present day Chester. While he didn't have the wealth of his father, Milton McQueen, he was not poor either and seems to have weathered the turbulent Reconstruction years in Tyler County better than most.


James had first married Mary Mahaffey, daughter of Amos Mahaffey and Sarah Richardson,[7] at the very end of the Civil War on 9 Mar 1865 in Tyler County, Texas.[8] Interestingly, he and she were both just eighteen years old when they were married. While that age of marriage is not unusual for a female, (oftentimes they married even younger), it is a bit out of the ordinary for a male to marry so young.However, James' father, Milton, had died the previous December, and he was basically on his own at the end of the war. Likely, the war caused him to grow up much quicker than he would have otherwise, and he was probably older than his years. James and Mary were married for a little over fifteen years before she died sometime between when the census was taken in 1880 and the date of James' second marriage in 1884. Mary was buried in the Vinson Cemetery[9] which was down the road from the James Polk McQueen place.

Sarah Jane Lowe McQueen about 1888


When Sarah married James in 1884 she became not only a wife, but an instant mother to James Polk's children:John Robert, 17; Amos Mit, 16; Sarah Ann "Sallie," 15; Nancy Elizabeth, 9; and Mary Emmer, 6.[10] On 7 July 1886,[11] a year and a half after her marriage to James, Sarah gave birth to a son. The couple named him Scott McQueen.On 8 Oct 1889,[12] three years later, Sarah gave birth to a daughter. She was named Bertie McQueen.


The picture at the beginning of this article was probably made about 1888 as there is a companion picture of Scott. He appears to be about two years old at the time. Both pictures are tintypes (and there are several others appearing to have been taken at the same time, but I can't determine who they are). Sarah's photo was also used to make a large 16 x 20 framed portrait in the possession of my family. The frame is made of heavy, ornately carved wood painted a gold color, and the portrait has been enhanced with some paints of some kind in various places.


Sarah died in February of 1895[13] at the age of 37 years old. She was buried in the Vinson Cemetery. James Polk McQueen was left a widower twice over at the age of 52, and he and Sarah had only been married for nine years. The couple's two children were still young - Scott was only 9 and Bertie was 6. James' daughter, Sarah Ann, or "Aunt Sallie" as she was called in later years, finished raising her step-brother and sister and managed her father's household.



[1] Replacement headstone in Vinson Cemetery, Tyler Co., TX; 1860, 1870, 1880 Tyler Co., TX census, William Lowe's household. [2] 1860, 1870, 1880 Tyler Co., TX census, William Lowe's household. His middle name comes from U.S. Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958 found in www.ancestry.com. William's second wife, Eliza, filed for a pension and she gives his middle name as "Mallett." There are several references in early Tyler County records giving him the middle initial of "M." [3] Marriage recorded in Tyler Co., TX on 1 Jan 1852. [4] 1835 Sabine District, Republic of Mexico census, Eli Low's household. This is not proof Eli, was his father, but it's the best we have to go with at this time. There were a lot of Lowe's that immigrated around this time and determining who belonged in which family can be confusing. [5] I no longer seem able to determine the source where this information came from, so this is not proven as of yet. [6] Marriage recorded in Tyler Co., TX. However, it is possibly from the 1854 Texas Scholastics, Robert Laird's household. [7] 1854 Texas Scholastics, Amos Mahaffey's household; 1860 Tyler Co.,, TX census, Amos Mahaffey's household. [8] Marriage recorded in Tyler Co., TX. [9] Mary Jane Mahaffey McQueen's name is not found in the Jack Whitemeyer book on Tyler County, TX cemeteries, but she is listed on the website: http://www.countygenweb.com/txmontgomery/tyler_county_cemeteries.pdf. However, it states her date of death (no birth given) as 1878 which is an obvious error as she is found in the 1880 census with James. The deathdate may be from the marker placed there by Bertie McQueen Vinson several decades ago, and she may have not known the exact date of date. [10] This list of children reconstructed from information from surviving family members. Birthdates are from various records including cemetery records and census records. For more detailed information on these individuals feel free to contact me. [11] Date from tombstone. [12] Date from tombstone. [13] Marker in Vinson Cemetery.

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