AS RECORDED IN: COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES.
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903 P. 1338
MARTIN DOWLING is a native of the land that has given to the world some of its greatest men, statesmen, military and social leaders and giants in literature, having been born in Queen's County, Ireland, Jan. 1, 1839, a son of Patrick and Elizabeth (King) Dowling, natives of the same locality. The father was a coal miner by trade, and hoping to better his condition, with his wife and two sons, James and John, came to America, in 1848, and went to the coal regions of Pennsylvania, settling at Silver Creek, in Schuylkill county, where by the time two years had passed away the rest of the family joined them. The children of Patrick and Elizabeth Dowling were: James, a miner, who lived and died in Shenandoah City; John, a miner, and later a stone mason, who died in Vernon; Dennis, who died at Sugar Notch, near Wilkesbarre, Pa.; Martin, our subject; Patrick, who was killed by a sharpshooter at Armstrong Farm, Va., while on picket duty, during the Civil war; Kate, who married John Dowling and died in Shenandoah; Mary, who died young in Ireland; and Julia, who is Mrs. Fenton McCarty, of Holyoke, Mass. Patrick Dowling died in the Keystone State, and after his death, Mrs. Dowling came to Vernon, Tolland Co., Conn., where she died.
The education received by Martin Dowling, in Ireland, was very meager, and he was but eleven years of age when he came with an aunt to the United States, sailing from Liverpool on a vessel named after the patron Saint of the land, spending nine weeks and three days on the water, during which time they were nearly shipwrecked in a collision with another vessel, matters being made more serious on account of the cargo shifting, but at length they safely arrived in New York on Christmas Eve. The great city probably presented no great attractions to the tired voyagers, for they immediately set off for Silver Creek, which they soon reached, and the family was re-united. As soon as possible our subject went to school in the new home, as he was anxious to learn, but his father's death changed the family arrangements, and soon after, the mother, with John, Martin and Julia, moved to Vernon, Conn. A short time in a school in Dobsonville finished his educational career. Realizing that his mother was poor, the lad attempted to get work of any kind, and finally decided to return to the mines in Pennsylvania, and was employed in the colliers at Silver Creek, Coal Castle, and Minersville, later returning to Connecticut, where the more healthful work of agricultural labor awaited him.
Where the great tall buildings now stand, in South Brooklyn, N.Y., was at that time located a farm, nearly opposite to Greenwood cemetery, on Hamilton avenue, and there he secured employment, later laboring in the brick yards at Haverstraw and Perth Amboy, but later returned to Connecticut, and took up the trade of weaver at Dobsonville, working at this at the outbreak of the Civil war, when he was engaged to weave tent canvas for the soldiers' tents. Some time after this he worked for a short time for Henry King, of South Haven, on his farm, but returned to the weaver trade in Windermere and other places. During the progress of the war he did some driving for J.W. Thayer, who was conducting the Windermere Mills, and after three years with Mr. Thayer he engaged his services to Cornelius Farmer, of Ellington, where he remained one year. Whatever Mr. Dowling attempted he seemed able to do well, and during the next few years he worked in the engine room of the Florence Mill, drove a team for the manager of the Windermere Mills, returned then to the Florence Mill, and finally became employed by H.L. James, where for seventeen years he remained the efficient and careful custodian of his horses, carriages and belongings of the stables, only leaving his employ to engage in a trucking business on his own account.
Mr. Dowling was very successful in this new enterprise, the work consisting in hauling materials for many of the largest and best of the business houses in the city of Rockville, his perfect reliability causing him to be regarded as one of the very best in his line, for no matter what the distance might be, or the lateness of the hour, Mr. Dowling was always ready with his teams, according to promise. In connection with this work, our subject naturally added a coal business, and was also in the hay and feed line, but in 1898 he wisely considered that the time had arrived when he should shift his business burdens to younger shoulders, and his son, Edward M., relieved him of it. Retirement, however, did not mean for our active subject a loss of interest, as his various real estate holdings need much attention, and to them he is now able to give more time than formerly.
When Mr. Dowling bought the property on the south-west corner of Union and Ward streets, it needed improvement, which he has given it, also enlargement, and he has also built adjoining it, on Ward street, a four-story tenement, and also the same on Union street, and he is also the owner of a fine hay lot, on Windermere avenue, in Ellington.
On Jan. 27, 1861, Mr. Dowling was united in marriage to Miss Julia Costello, in Rockville, by Rev. Bernard Turley. Mrs. Dowling was born in County Kerry, Ireland, had come to the United States when but a girl, and was reared in Dobsonville. A large and intelligent family has been born to our subject and his most worthy wife: Mary A. is Mrs. Edward Fitzsimmons, of Rockville, and has two children, Grace and Mary; William is the agent of the Adams Express Co., and has two children, Alice and Sedrick; Katy married William Fitzsimmons, and died in Holyoke, Mass., leaving two children, Rav F. and Ruth; Julia, a graduate of the High school, is at home; Edward M., is his father's successor in business; Alice, a high school graduate, is a stenographer; Nellie, also a high school graduate, is at home; and James, Clara May and Martin all died in childhood.
The first vote cast for President by our subject was for a Democrat, but in 1896 he became convinced of the superior principles of the Republican party, and since that time has been a stanch supporter of it, although no office seeker. The whole family are valued and consistent members of the St. Bernard's Catholic Church. For twenty years Mr. Dowling was a member of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Co., and for eight years was a member of the 1st Conn. N.G., serving five years and receiving and honorable discharge, and he again became a member of the organization, remaining until it was disbanded. Mr. Dowling has lived an active and useful life, and has reared a creditable family, to whom he has given advantages which were denied him. His name is respected in Rockville, and he is considered one of the most substantial of her citizens.
Reproduced by: Linda D. Pingel
Biographies of Tolland County