Jennie Low Fund

Family and friends of Jennie started this fund in her memory after her death in 1999. Jennie was a familiar and much loved figure, trundling along neighborhood streets on her signature three-wheeled bicycle, often carrying an offering of banana bread or her famous kievlings to a friend in need, or performing pick-up and delivery service.

The History of the Low Family in Scotland and Canada, by Bruce Taylor

I have known Jennie Low for most of my 62 years. I was probably about ten years old before I realized that she was not a Taylor, as she seemed to be involved in many family gatherings and picnics at Twin Lakes.

I have many fond memories of Jennie. She seemed to take a particular interest in the kids in our family and, I am sure other Taylor kids as well. I remember when I was about ten or twelve, I started collecting stamps, and Jennie made a point of having the Taylor Hardware employees in the mail room keep any envelopes with stamps on them, and I would go around once a week and collect them. I still have many of them in an album at home. And even after I had graduated from University and was living in Scheffervill, or Atikokan, and was visiting with my kids in New Liskeard, my mother would always say "Make sure you go down and visit Jennie while you are here."

Jennie never talked much about her family. I knew that she had relatives down east, but that was all she ever told me. Others, who were close to Jennie will tell you that she was very reticent, almost to the point of being eccentric on the subject of her family. So, it came as a revelation of sorts, when I had an opportunity to talk to her brother, Robert Low, to discover that she had quite a large family in Canada, although they did not appear to be very close.

Jennie Low was born Janet Lennie Low in Alloa, Scotland, in 1906. the fourth of six children born to Robert Lennie Low and Katherine MacGregor. The Low family has deep roots in Scottish history and is associated with the Clan McLaren, a war-like clan that had found it's share of feuds with it's neightbours. Alloa is a town in the County of Fife, on the north shore of the Firth of Fourth, near Stirling, and not far from the town of Dunblane of more recent repute.

Ironically, Jennie had some Taylor in her ancestry, as her maternal grandmother was Margaret Taylor, born in Scotland in 1851, and her eldest sister Margaret Taylor Low inherited the Taylor moniker.

The "Lennie" name came from Jennie's paternal grandmother, Janet Lennie, born in Scotland in 1835, who married Alexander Low. The Lennie name is associated with the Clan Buchanan.

The story of how the Low family emigrated from Scotland to Canada and became dispersed throughout the country is an interesting one,and not dissimilar to what manyt  other families experienced. Most of the details I am citing are from Jennie's brother, Robert Low, of Hamilton, who was kind enough to spend some time with me talking about the family's history.

Like many other of his class, Jennie's father, Robert Lennie Low immigrated to Canada to escape poverty and to improve his opportunities. Jennie's mother, Katherine Low had been working in Alloa as a personal maid to a Mrs. Paton, whose husband was with the firm of Paton and Baldwin, Yarn Merchants. Mrs. Paton held shares in Canadian Pacific Railways, and was able to arrange for Robert Low, who had some experience in the field, to obtain a position as an accountant in the Montreal offices of the CPR. He afterwards worked for the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company in a similar capacity. He travelled alone to Canada, and after he became established, brought his family out in 1912.

Jennie's mother, Katherine, died during a flu epidemic in Montreal in 1916, and Robert Low, unable to look after the family, dispersed them to various relatives, Margaret Taylor Low (born 1901), Janet (Jennie), Katherine MacGregor Low (born 1908) and Robert Lennie Low (born 1913  - the only child born in Canada), lived with George and Jean (MacGregor) Breutnall, in North Cobalt. Jean was their maternal aunt. While Jennie, Robert and Katherine attended primary school in North Cobalt, Margaret "went into service" with the Fairleigh family of Cobalt.

The two oldest boys, Alexander Ross Low (born 1902) and David MacGregor Low (born 1904) were sent off to other relatives, and contact with them has been lost.

Jennie Low started her first job, as a stenographer at the Cobalt branch of the George Taylor Hardware in 1921, at the age of 16. The Cobalt branch had been established in 1905, when George Taylor's youngest son, Ralph S. was sent to open up a store in that booming mining town. By 1921, the silver boom was virually over, although Cobalt was still a very active town with a lively social scene, Jennie lived for a while with Mae and Errol K "Bunnie" Neal. Mr. Neal was a salesman and later the store manager for George Taylor Hardware in Cobalt, and lived at 9 Cobalt Street. She later boarded with a Mr. and Mrs. Archie MAcDonald at 77 Galena Street. Mr. MacDonald was a foreman at the Cobalt Reduction Company.

Ralph S. Taylor was recalled to the firm's head office as Secretary Treasurer in 1926. Jeannie stayed in Cobalt for a few years after, and reluctantly transferred to New Liskeard in about 1929. (The Mighty Directory for Cobalt - 1928 lists "Low, Jennie L. Stenographer George Taylor Hardward Limited). She subsequently worked for the firm until it was sold to Acklands in 1969 - a total of 47 years. 

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