Bio: William Henry Dows, 1836

Contact: Janet Schwarze


Surnames: DOWS, WITHUM


----Source: 1918 History of Clark Co., WI, by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge


----Dows, William Henry (17 Jun 1836 - 11Mar 1894)


WILLIAM HENRY DOWS, for many years a well known agriculturist of Grant Township, was born at Waterville, Maine, June 17, 1836, son of Jacob and Ada (Withum) Dows. The father, Jacob, who was a native of New York, was a mason and contractor by occupation, and settled in Maine, where he died at the age of 48 years. His wife died when her son William, the subject of this sketch, was quite young. The latter had but limited educational opportunities, as he had to begin work at an early age. For some years he was employed on farms along the Merrimac River, in New Hampshire, and at the age of 14 began working in the pine woods, also for some eleven months on the drive and later, after returning home, was engaged in collecting logs on the Kennebec River. During the next fall and winter he drove a horse team, after that resuming work on the Kennebec River, where he remained until it froze over. He then went back to the New Hampshire woods and later drove on the Merrimac for 105 days in succession. Then, after a visit home, he worked on Baker River, New Hampshire, peeling bark for the tanneries, and haying.


During the next three months he was sick with a fever and remained at home, but on his recovery went to Howellsville, Maine, where he worked in a mill until the fall and then drove a horse team until the following spring, when he did miscellaneous work until it was time to drive logs again. His next employment was in Brookline, Mass., a suburb of Boston, where for a year and a half he took care of horses in a livery stable. After that he worked on a farm near Lynn, Mass., for a year, subsequently going to Lyfield to work for his sister's husband, in whose employ he remained for three and a half years. At the end of that time he came to Wisconsin, locating at Pewaukee, where he worked out for a time.


The Civil war was now in progress and Mr. Dows enlisted for service in the 18th Wisconsin regiment, in Company A, being mustered in at Madison. The regiment was attached to the 15th Army Corps, from which it was later transferred to the 17th Corps, and Mr. Dows saw service at the Second battle of Nashville, Newbern, N. C., Wise's Fork, Pittsburgh Landing and other places. For sometime the regiment was in camp near Richmond, then marched to Alexandria and camped at Arlington Heights, being later ordered to Franklin, three or four miles out of Washington, where they stayed three weeks. The war being now over, they were ordered home and were mustered out at Madison, Mr. Dows having served one year and ten weeks. He received a wound in the right arm at the battle of Wiese's Forks, which lasted three days. Leaving Madison June 22, 1865, Mr. Dows took stage coach to Black River Falls, with a Mr. Slocumb, and from there set out at 7:00 p. m., to walk to Grant Township, Clark County, arriving in Neillsville the next morning, June 24. In Grant Township he selected land in Section 21, the tract consisting of eighty acres. On this he built a shack in which he took up his abode awhile, but that fall put up an upright.


On Sept. 23, 1865, Mr. Dows was married to Ann Duffy, a native of Scotland, and they took up their abode on his land and began housekeeping. After clearing up a part of this tract he sold it and got another of eighty acres in the same section, a part of which was cleared, and there being a log house and barn on the place. He and his wife had the usual pioneer experiences, but in time he developed the place into a good farm. Mrs. Dows died March 11, 1894, at the age of 59 years. She left one daughter, Mary Ellen, who married Warren Page, and died Aug. 9, 1908, at the age of 41 years. Some time after the death of his wife, Mr. Dows gave up farming to associate himself in the hardware business at Granton with his son-in-law. In the fall of 1906, he engaged in farming in Granton Township with his son-in-law, and in the spring of 1917 removed with him to Neillsville, where he died Nov. 23, of that year.




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