The Lowry Building that housed the abolitionist The True American was owned by state Senator Morrow Barr Lowry, in the Civil War era one of Erie’s most successful businessmen, but far more than that. Known as the “Moral Conscience” of the senate, Lowry advocated abolition in the state legislature, as well as debt forgiveness for the poor. An acquaintance of John Brown, Lowry visited the radical abolitionist in Charles Town, Virginia while he awaited execution for the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry that helped trigger the Civil War. When the war arrived, Lowry donated $2,000 to those enlisting in the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry and pushed for arming free black men as soldiers for the Union Army. Lowry later championed the establishment of the Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home, and his farm on what was then Cooper Road eventually was sold to the Sisters of Mercy to establish Mercyhurst College.