1819  — 1847

Walter Lowrie

American missionary and translator.

Born in the U.S. in 1819, William Lowrie was sent by the American Presbyterian Mission to Macao in May, 1842. His father, Walter, had resigned from being a U.S. Senator in order to become Secretary of the American Presbyterian Mission. In Macao, Lowrie studied the language and investigated the desirability of moving the mission base from Singapore to newly opened Chinese ports. 

When the opportunity came, he moved to Ningbo in 1845, along with Henry Rankin, to join Divie Bethune McCartee. Lowrie was also a friend of Hudson Taylor. In 1847, he joined the Delegates’ Bible translation committee in Shanghai, which was led by Medhurst and Bridgman. They completed translation of the New Testament in 1850 and the Old Testament in 1853. Lowrie never saw its completion, however, for in 1847, on his way from Shanghai to Ningbo, he was seized by pirates and drowned in the sea.


  • A.J. Broomhall, Hudson Taylor and China’s Open Century: Barbarians at the Gates, 308, 310, 401.
  • A.J. Broomhall, Hudson Taylor and China’s Open Century: Over the Treaty Wall, 273, 397.
  • Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christian Missions in China, 245, 249.
  • R.G. Tiedemann, Handbook of Christianity in China, Volume Two: 1800-present, 364 n. 9.

About the Author

Laura Mason

Research Assistant, Global China Center.