Colonel Joseph McDowell of Boyle County

The McDowell name is well known to those of us in Mercer and Boyle counties.  The Danville hospital, Ephraim McDowell, is visited by many in the area, named for the eminent doctor of the same name, and brother to Colonel Joseph McDowell.  Following are a couple of old newspaper articles about the McDowell family, the first concerning the colonel’s daughter, Anna.

The Olive Branch and Danville Advertiser, Boyle County, Kentucky

Thursday, December 15, 1825

Married – On Thursday evening last, by he Rev’d Samuel K. Nelson, Mr. Abram I. Caldwell, to Miss Ann McDowell, daughter of Col. Joseph McDowell – all of this vicinity.

The second concerns family members moved from a family cemetery to Bellevue Cemetery in Danville.

Interior Journal, Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky

Friday, June 3, 1892

Col. Nicholas McDowell, commissioner of agriculture, completed Tuesday the removal of two of his ancestors from the old Gov. Adair farm, in Mercer County, to the Danville Cemetery [Bellevue].  They were Samuel McDowell, who died in 1830, and his wife, who died in 1816.  A portion of Mrs. McDowell’s coffin was well preserved, showing the walnut wood and velvet bound to wood by brass tacks.  From this same Mercer County farm the remains of Gov. Adair and wife were 16 years ago taken to the Frankfort Cemetery.  In the Danville cemetery, in addition to those placed there Tuesday, and in the same lot, are the bodies of Col. Joseph McDowell and wife, Judge Samuel McDowell, the eminent jurist, and wife.  The dust of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, another of this prominent pioneer family, is in the old cemetery, now called McDowell Park, adjoining the First Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Samuel McDowell, the father of the commissioner, who died in 1859, and his wife, are also buried in the Danville cemetery.

I checked my photographs taken in Bellevue Cemetery, but had none for the McDowell family – I see another trip there in the future!

Historic Families of Kentucky, Green, 1889

Colonel Joseph McDowell of Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

The fifth son of Judge Samuel McDowell and Mary McClung, Joseph, was born September 13, 1768.  A child when the Revolution commenced, and still a boy when it ended, yet was his character molded by the stirring events transpiring around him, and by the patriotic deeds to the narration of which he was an eager listener.  Coming to Kentucky, with his father, in 1784, his youth was passed in intimate association with the men who, in Danville conventions, prepared the way for separation from Virginia, and who established and gave its peculiar tone to the commonwealth.

In the Indian campaigns, in which Kentuckians were engaged in the North-west, between the dates of his attaining the age for military service and the treaty which followed the victory of ‘Mad Anthony’ Wayne, he was a prompt and brave participant.  He was a private in Brown’s company, in Scott’s expedition of 1791.  He was in both expeditions under General Hopkins, 1812.  The reputation for good sense, sound judgement, military capacity and courage won therein, induced his appointment, by Shelby, to the position of adjutant-general upon the staff of that hard fighting commander.  He served from the beginning to the close of Shelby’s campaign in the North-west, and was at the Thames, where Tecumseh fell.  For good conduct and valuable service rendered in that campaign and battle, he received complimentary mention, not only by his immediate commander, but also from General Harrison.

The occupation of Colonel Joseph McDowell was that of a farmer.  Disdaining all shams, and himself one of the most unassuming of men, his was eminently a veracious character; in the perfect uprightness and simplicity of his life, there was a constant beauty.  One of the most amiable, quiet and unobtrusive of men, of all his sex there was none more resolute and determined.  A ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church for many years, and devoutly religious, in his observance thereof there was no parade.  In the decline of his honorable life, after he had withdrawn from all active participation in public affairs, the writer was witness to the respectful deference shown him by the entire community among whom he lived.  He died, in Danville, June 27, 1856, at the good old age of eighty-eight years.

The excellent wife of Colonel Joseph McDowell was Sarah Irvine, sister to Anne Irvine, who married his brother, Samuel – a relative, whose symmetrical character made her, in every way, worthy of such a man.  Samuel, their oldest son, married, first, Amanda Ball, granddaughter of John Reed, already mentioned, and a cousin of James G. Birney.  Of this marriage, the sole issue was a daughter, who was the wife of Dr. Meyer, of Boyle County.  This Samuel McDowell, married, secondly, Martha Hawkins, by whom he had children, among them Samuel and Nicholas, both farmers in Boyle County.

Colonel Joseph McDowell’s oldest daughter, Anna, married Abram I. Caldwell, descended from one of the most reputable of the Scotch-Irish families of the Valley, and a farmer of Boyle; they have a number of children living in that county.

Sarah, the second daughter of Colonel Joseph McDowell, married Michael Sullivant, of Columbus, Ohio.  Of wonderful energy and the most sanguine temper, Mr. Sullivant engaged in gigantic agricultural enterprises, first upon his inherited acres in Ohio, and afterwards in Illinois.  He is best known to the world as the once owner of the princely estates of ‘Broadlands’ and ‘Burr Oaks,’ in the latter state.  Throughout the most tremendous operations, and amid the saddest vicissitudes, he preserved an untarnished honor and the sunniest of tempers.  Large hearted as well as of herculean stature; free handed as he was unreserved and cordial in manner; frank, generous, hospitable and cheery, his image will continue with the living as the most pleasant of memories.  The only son of Sarah McDowell and Michael Sullivant, Joseph McDowell, is a prosperous farmer near Homer, Illinois.  Annie, one of their daughters, is the wife of E. L. Davison, now of Louisville; and Lucy, another daughter, is the wife of Wm. Hopkins, a grandson of General Samuel Hopkins, and resides in Henderson, Kentucky.

Margaret Irvine McDowell, the third daughter of Colonel Joseph, of Danville, was the first wife of Joseph Sullivant, of Columbus, a younger brother of Michael.  Mr. Joseph Sullivant’s second wife was Mary Eliza Brashear, granddaughter of Judge William McDowell.  He was a man of cultivated tastes, devoted to scientific pursuits, too public spirited for his own welfare in a pecuniary sense, and did much to develop literary and scientific ambitions and enterprises in his native Columbus.  In many ways a public benefactor, in all ways he was a useful citizen, and at all times a gentleman.  He lived to a venerable and respected old age.  His first wife died in giving birth to their only child, Margaret Irvine Sullivant, the wife of Henry B. Carrington, a brigadier-general of volunteers in the Union army, colonel of the Eighteenth Regular Infantry, now on the retired list – a gallant and capable officer.  Mrs. Carrington is dead; two worthy sons survive her.

Magdalen, the fourth daughter of Colonel Joseph McDowell, of Danville, married Caleb Wallace, a lawyer, of Danville; her husband was a grandson of Judge Caleb Wallace, of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, whose wife was a sister of Colonel William Christian.  Mrs. Magdalen Wallace is still living, in Danville, blessed with two manly sons, McDowell and Woodford.

One thought on “Colonel Joseph McDowell of Boyle County”

  1. Such an interesting article. This piece from “Historic Familied of Kentuck” is so well written…very enjoyable!

Any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s