Robert Lowery was born March 10, 1830, in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, the son of Robert and Jemimah Rushing Lowery. At about the age of 10 or 11, he was taken by his parents to Tennessee for a couple of years before relocating to Tishomingo County, Mississipi. As a young teen, he went to live with his uncle, Judge James Lowery, of Smith County, Mississippi. As an adult he had become both a successful merchant and lawyer.
Robert was around 31 years of age when the War Between the States broke out. Enlisting as a private in Company B, 6th Mississippi Infantry (Rankin Grays), he was elected to the position of major at the company organization. Even after being wounded twice at the Battle of Shiloh, he was elected Colonel of the Company after the retirement of Colonel Thornton. In 1864, he was appointed Brigadier General and held that position until Major General Joseph Johnston surrendered to Sherman.
After the war, he served in both branches of the Mississippi legislature and was elected to the Governor's office in November of 1881. During his first term, the Industrial College for Girls was established, the East Mississippi Insane Asylum was put into operation, and a railroad commission created. He was easily elected to a second term. During his administration, there were more railroad tracks laid in Mississippi than all the preceding governor's administrations combined. After leaving the Governor's Mansion, Governor Lowery and William H. McCardle authored A History of Mississippi From the Discovery of the Great River By Hernando DeSoto Including The Earliest Settlement Made By the French Under Iberville to the Death of Jefferson Davis. The book was published by R.H. Henry and Company in Jackson, Mississippi, in April of 1891.
Robert Lowery died in Mississippi, January 19, 1910.