Clarence W. Lowing was born on September 27, 1848, in Burford, Ontario, Canada, the son of James O. F. (1819-1890) and Emily (d. 1904).
New York native James married Canadian-born Emily in 1845 in Burford, Canada. James brought his family to western Michigan sometime in the mid-1840s, between 1843 and 1845, eventually settling on 60 acres near his brother Stephen (see his biography below) in Georgetown, Ottawa County. By 1860 Clarence was attending school with five of his siblings and living with his family in Georgetown. By 1864, Clarence was “working for wages” on surrounding farms. According to a statement made by his sister Emily, their father was in poor health and Clarence provided substantial support for the family.
Clarence stood 5’7” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was a 15-year-old laborer living with his parents in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on January 22, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Chester, Ottawa County, and was mustered the same day.
(His uncle. Captain Stephen Lowing, also from Georgetown, had enlisted as First Lieutenant in Company I in 1861.)
Clarence joined the Regiment on February 17 at Camp Bullock, Virginia. He was shot in the right thigh on May 6 at the Wilderness, Virginia, and admitted to Mt. Pleasant hospital in Washington, DC on May 16, with a gunshot wound to the right leg and groin. He was still hospitalized when he was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he returned to duty from Mt. Pleasant hospital on July 8 or 9, 1864.
On August 28, 1864, from near Petersburg, Virginia, Clarence wrote his father that he recently received his
letter of the 25[th] and I was glad to hear that the folks was all well but was sorry to hear that you was sick, but I hope that you will come out all right in the end.
I will send you 40 [dollars] more as soon as we get paid and I will be more careful and get it home but what [is] done cannot be helped. Well pa this is the first time I have heard from you since I was on the other side of the James [river] and I began to think that you had forgot me.
I was sorry to hear that Mortimer had enlisted but I hope that he will like it but I don’t think that he will. I hear that Mr. John [?] is not expected to live. I hope that he will get well for I have taken quite a liking to him for he was good enough to try and get me a furlough when I was wounded and when I did not care whether I ever got home again or not for I was well and would not give a straw whether the next day I commenced bleeding and bled until I was so weak that is all over and I am all right again.
I was in a battle a week ago yesterday and got hit with a spent ball in the knee and it lamed me . . . but it did not last long for the next morning joined the company again and then we came here.
Well tell Mortimer to fetch me a couple of shirts and get good ones . . . for I have only got one and it keeps me washing all the while to keep clean but tell him not to fetch much of a load for he may find us. I not going on a long march. Well I must close give my love to all and be good.
Clarence was reportedly taken prisoner on October 27, 1864, at Boydton Plank road, near Petersburg, Virginia. In fact, it seems that Clarence was killed in action. Some years after the war, former Company I Captain Simon Brennan stated that Clarence had in fact been killed in action on October 27.
In 1870 his parents were still living in Georgetown, Ottawa County. In 1889 his mother was apparently residing in Utah when she applied for and received a dependent’s pension (no. 341,460).