John M. Dowling


Among the few remaining veterans of the Civil war and early settlers of Allamakee county is John M. Dowling, residing on section 10, French Creek township. A native of Somersetshire, England, he was born February 4, 1836, and when a young man emigrated with his brother to America, coming in 1859 to Allamakee county, where he purchased a tract of eighty acres of wild land. However, when the demand for troops became insistent he patriotically offered his services to his country and on October 10, 1861, enlisted at Lansing, Iowa, in Company B, Twelfth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He discharged his duties faithfully and distinguished himself for bravery and courage, and during his enlistment was promoted to the rank of corporal. The rendezvous of the company was at Dubuque, Iowa, and from there they proceeded to St. Louis, where the winter was spent. The following are some of the engagements in which Mr. Dowling participated: Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and the battle of Shiloh, after which he was taken prisoner and underwent the hardships of incarceration from April 6th until October, when he was discharged and again joined his company. He then took part in the sanguine battles of Nashville, Spanish Fort and Tupelo (Miss.), at which latter place he received a gunshot wound in the thigh, as a result of which he spent two or three months in a hospital at Memphis, Tennessee. During the battle of Tupelo the man on his right was killed and his comrade on the left has his teeth shot out, while he himself was left on the battlefield to die or to be taken prisoner, when one of his comrades insisted on taking him with him and carried him from the field. This man was Adam Decker, who still resides in Allamakee county. Frank Hancock, a brother of the well known editor, was also in his company and Dr. Earle of Waukon was his first captain. After serving for three years Mr. Dowling was veteranized and continued in service until January, 1866, when he was mustered out with honorable discharge at Memphis, Tennessee.

Returning to Allamakee county, he disposed of the eighty acres of land, to which he had acquired title before the war, and purchased from a brother an adjoining eighty acres, to the breaking and cultivation of which he gave his entire time. Following progressive methods, his labors soon resulted in financial returns and gradually all of his land was brought to a high state of cultivation. He erected suitable and substantial buildings, giving his active labor to the work of the fields until age compelled him to turn over the arduous duties to a younger generation. All his buildings were destroyed by fire at one time, but undaunted by this misfortune he again set to work to rebuild his barn and outhouses and residence, and his farm today must be numbered among the most productive of its size in the county.

Mr. Dowling was twice married, his first union being with Miss Charity Hartley, a native of England, who passed away soon after her marriage. He then married Mrs. Russell Lane, who died May 10, 1913. She was in her maidenhood Miss Ester Pollard and a native of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her parents were John and Sarah (Buckley) Pollard, who in 1866 became residents of Allamakee county. Both have passed away. By her former marriage Mrs. Dowling had two sons: Russell Lane, who married Barbara Hahn, by whom he has four children, Verne, Florence, Jessie and Russell; and Charles Lane, who married Kate Smith, by whom he has three children, Ethel, Lillian and Esther. Both Russell and Charles Lane live on the Dowling homestead and the latter looks after the active management of the farm.

Mr. Dowling is highly respected and esteemed in his locality, not only for what he has achieved along material lines but for the splendid service which he rendered his country at the most critical period of its existence. The principles which caused him to take up the Union cause at the time of the Civil war he has always upheld politically and has ever voted the republican ticket. Many years ago her served several terms as township assessor, but otherwise has not actively participated in political life. He is a member of the Grand Army Post of Waukon. His religious faith is that of the Presbyterian church, of which denomination he has been a lifelong adherent and in the work of which he takes a helpful interest. Viewed from every point, the life record of John M. Dowling shows that he has fulfilled his duties in every respect to the best of his ability; that he has contributed to agricultural growth; that he has given evidence of his patriotic spirit, and that he has accomplished something which has a part in the advancement the American race has made.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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