History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by  Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 287
The farming interests of Benton township find a worthy representative in John B. Dowell, who is living on section 22.  He is one of the progressive, active and enterprising farmers and stock raisers of the community, his time and energies being given to the cultivation and development of two hundred acres of land, constituting a neat and well-improved farm pleasantly located within two miles of Bedford.  He has resided on this farm since 1895, in which year he came to Taylor county.  He was born in Menard county, Illinois, August 22, 1865, and is a son of Thomas F. Dowell, also a native of the same county.  The father was there reared and after attaining his majority married Ann Goff. He was a farmer of Menard county and later removed westward to Missouri, settling near Hopkins in Nodaway county, where he purchased three hundred and sixty acres of land.  There he engaged in farming and spent his last years upon that place, his death there occurring in July, 1906.  For some time he had survived his wife, who died in 1887.
J. B. Dowell was reared to the age of about seventeen years in Illinois and pursued his education in the public schools there and in Hopkins, Missouri, having accompanied his parents on their removal westward.  He remained with his father until he had attained his majority and then went to California as a young man, spending one year on the coast as an employee on an orange and lemon ranch. In 1886 he returned to Missouri and on the 4th of December of that year was united in marriage to Miss Nettie Allen, who was born and reared in Nodaway county and was a daughter of Austin Allen, one of the early settlers of the county, and a sister of Mrs. Horace Jones of Parnell, Missouri.  Mrs. Dowell (page 288) was reared in the place of her nativity and acquired her education in the district schools, and in Illinois.
Following his marriage Mr. Dowell engaged in farming in Nodaway county for six years, purchasing a farm of eighty acres of land.  In 1895 he bought one hundred and sixty acres in Benton township, where he now resides and with characteristic energy began to improve and cultivate this place.  He has since extended its boundaries by the purchase of an additional tract of forty acres, and is now the owner of an excellent property of two hundred acres in the midst of which he has erected a large and commodious frame residence.  He has likewise built two good barns and ample shelter for grain and stock is afforded in sheds and other outbuildings, which he has put up.  He has some twelve hundred rods of woven wire fence, which is hog-tight, much of this being used to divide the farm into fields of convenient size.  He has also planted an orchard, and altogether the farm presents a thrifty, attractive appearance.  He has a herd of twenty-eight head of registered Hereford cattle and he also owns fine Chester White and Poland China hogs.  At a sale which he held in March, 1900, he sold stock hogs to the amount of seventeen hundred dollars.  He is regarded as one of the leading live-stock dealers and representative farmers of the county and his capable conduct of his business affairs is evidenced in the excellent farm which he owns and in the improvements which he has made upon it.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dowell have been born five children, Jesse, Austin, Ross, Anna Lois and Ethel Ruth.  All these children have been pupils in the Bedford schools, the eldest son having graduated there in the spring of 1909.  Mr. Dowell and his children are members of the Baptist church of Bedford, while his wife belongs to the Presbyterian church.  The family is prominent socially, having many friends in this part of the county.  Politically Mr. Dowell is a democrat but has never sought nor desired office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs.  He has thus become well known as an active, prosperous and progressive farmer of Taylor county and his success is well merited, for it has come as the legitimate reward of his earnest and persistent effort.