Pages 549-551, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




DR. WILLIAM H. McDOWELL, M. D., one of the well known physicians of Iola, was born in Lawrence county, Indiana, April 12, 1841. His father, John McDowell, was a farmer and the Doctor's youth and early manhood were passed in the pursuits of agriculture. John McDowell went from North Carolina to Indiana with his father, James McDowell, in 1818. There they opened up a farm in the woods of Lawrence county. James McDowell died in Lawrence county in 1821 at the age of forty-five years, leaving the care of the family to the two boys, John aged eleven years and William aged thirteen years.

The McDowells are descended from the Highland Scotch McDowells. Just what date this branch of the family emigrated to America is not definitely established but it is known that they were here in the early Colonial days and that they were in the South at that time.

James McDowell married Susan Gainey, an English lady. Their children were: William; John; Rachel, wife of James Murray; Lydia, who became Mrs. William Crook; Sarah, wife of John Irwin, and Ann, who


married John Phipps. John McDowell died in 1878 at the age of sixty-eight years. He married Ann Owens, was a man of some means, a Whig and Republican in politics and an active member of the Christian church. His children were: Sarah, who married John Pitt and died in 1890; Elizabeth, who became the wife of John Byers and died in 1891; Mary, who married Lilburn Owen and died in 1867; Dr. W. H.; James, of Lawrence county, Indiana; Milton P., same place; Jennie, wife of Milton Beatty, of Christian county, Illinois; Nancy A., wife of Horace V. Phipps, Adair county, Missouri, and Lucinda G., who married James H. Lowder, of Bloomington, Indiana.

Until 1861 Dr. McDowell was engaged in farming as a business. He enlisted August 24 of that year in Company H, 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The regiment was ordered first to Calhoun, Ky., then to South Carolton, and back to Calhoun. They went on to Forts Henry and Donelson, found Fort Henry captured and then engaged in battle at Fort Donelson February 13th and 16th, 1862, when the enemy was taken, then continued their march toward Shiloh. They lay in camp there till the 6th of April when the battle opened. On the afternoon of the same day our subject was wounded in the left arm and shoulder. He was sent to the hospital at Evansville, Indiana, from which place he was furloughed home the middle of the same month. In August, following, he returned to Evansville where he was in the marine hospital until the 7th of February, 1863, when he was discharged and sent home. In April following he entered the Indiana State University, remained one term and July 9, the same year, was married. For the next ten years he taught school winters and farmed summers, and the testimony of his old neighbors was that he was one of the most earnest and competent country school educators of his county. In 1873 he began his preparation for medicine. He took a course of reading with Dr. F. W. Beard, Harrodsburg, and attended the medical department of the State University in 1874-5. He went back to his preceptor and opened an office in the same town. He practiced two years there and located then in Jonesboro, Indiana, where he practiced nine years. In 1885 he decided to settle in Kansas, and January 1, 1886, he departed for Iola. From 1886 to 1891 his practice was uninterrupted. The latter year he thought he saw an opportunity to improve his condition and he applied for and was appointed physician to the Mojave Indians on the Colorado River Reservation in Nevada. This position was a disappointment to him and in July 1892 he resigned and returned to Iola.

As a Republican Dr. McDowell is well known in Allen county. He dates his fealty to the party from its organization, although he was not a voter. He cast his first presidential vote for Mr. Lincoln and finds as much reason for supporting the candidates of that party now as he did in 1864. In 1890 the Doctor was elected County Coroner and became chairman of the Pension Board the same year. Since his return from the west his practice has made such demands on him that little else has received his attention.

Dr. McDowell married Martha A., a daughter of Linden and Mary


(Short) Lowder. The children of this union are Thomas H., who married Ella Tozer and has a daughter, Fay; Ralph W., who married Maggie Brogden and has two children. Ruth H. and Grace; Ralph McDowell enlisted in Company Z, Twenty-second Kansas in the Spanish-American war in April 1898, where he served until his regiment was mustered out in November of the same year. He is now one of the partners of the Record Publishing Company, of Iola, Cragie J. McDowell, with the Northrup National Bank of Iola; Miss McDowell graduated from the Iola High School, finished stenography in Topeka and held a position with the State Evangelical Association of the Christian church of that city. She is now president of the Christian Endeavor department of the church for Kansas; John and Lucinda G. McDowell are the two younger children and reside with their parents. Thomas H. McDowell is a blacksmith by trade and is employed by the Lanyon Zinc Company.

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