City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Nicholas Low (3/30/1739 - 11/15/1826)
Nicholas Low (March 30, 1739 – November 15, 1826) was an American merchant and developer from New York City. He developed properties in upstate New York, including Lowville (in Lewis County) which was named for him.
Nicholas Low was born in the Raritan Landing section of Piscataway Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey and was the younger brother of Isaac Low. Their father, Cornelius Low Jr., was a well-established merchant and shipper who had brought prominence to the community of Raritan Landing. The elder Low also had built the Cornelius Low House, a magnificent 1741 Georgian mansion. Like his brother, Nicholas became a prominent merchant (Low & Wallace) in New York before the revolution. Unlike Isaac, he remained a supporter of the rebel cause during the American Revolution.
Low became active in civic and state affairs for a decade. A power vacuum was created in the city when the Loyalist population, including his brother Isaac, left with the British Army evacuated in 1783. Nicholas served in the New York state assembly from 1797 to 1799 and attended the state's 1788 convention that ratified the United States Constitution.
In the turmoil that followed the revolution, Low acquired several large tracts of land in upstate New York. At first these were purchased as speculations, but Low turned his attention to their development. He laid out townsites and divided his holdings to sell both land and lots. He is particularly tied with the early development of the City of Watertown and the Town of Lowville.
In later years Low turned his attention to developing his own properties. He built a hotel and factories in the Town of Ballston (Saratoga County).
His daughter, Henrietta Liston Low, married Charles King, son of U.S. Senator Rufus King. Nicholas was married to Alice Halliburton. Nicholas Low died in 1826 at his home in New York City.