Joseph Lowe

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Joseph Lowe (1845-1899), aka "Rowdy Joe" Lowe, was a gambler and saloon keeper/owner of the Old West. Although sometimes described as a gunfighter, he did not historically fit into that category.

Originally from Illinois, Lowe and his wife Katherine, aka "Rowdy Kate", moved to Kansas following the Civil War. They opened a saloon in Delano, Kansas, which at that time was a small town located across the Arkansas River from Wichita, a business venture that at first was extremely profitable. On October 27, 1873, Lowe shot and killed fellow saloon owner Edward "Red" Beard after Beard stormed into his saloon shooting at one of Lowe's "girls". Beard hit another girl with one shot, and a patron with another before Lowe shot him. This gave Lowe somewhat of a reputation.

However, after numerous complaints of cheating and under handed card deals, Lowe's business began to suffer. The couple moved to Texas, where they rode, on occasion, with the Sam Bass gang. The couple began drifting, gambling and occasionally working in saloons in numerous towns of the Old West. On February 11, 1899, Lowe was drunk in the Walrus Saloon in Denver, Colorado. He began insulting a man named E.A. Kimmel due to his disapproval of Kimmel being a policeman. Kimmel, knowing Lowe had a reputation as a gunman, drew his pistol shooting and killing Lowe, who turned out to be unarmed.

Another source tells the story of Rowdy Joe Lowes death being in 1874 of October. The following Newspaper <"The Wichita City Eagle, October 29, 1874>. Reads as follows: Mayor Hope received a letter from J. W. Brockett, now at Yankton, Containing the information that Rowdy Joe, alias Joseph Lowe so well known at Wichita was with the party which was en route for the black hills and which was attacked by Indians and a portion of its number killed. The notorias Rowdy Joe fell first mortally wounded. We last published an account of the attack, but the dispatches had his name as John Lowe, instead of Joe. Thus this violent man met a violent death.... and it continues...