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John Dow [bbbfab] [RN3491] of Oromoncto, New Brunswick

        As noted in the Sixth Generation page, John Dow b. 12 January 1783, bbbfab (b in the Sixth Generation  table), was regarded as the "head of the family".  By this it is meant that he was considered the head of the Joseph Dow & [RN3282], bbbfa, family of children that started and operated the shipping building enterprise in Oromoncto, Sunbury County, New Brunswick, as described in the material  immediately below (Pages 561 through 565).  The description that follows below are extremely important to the understanding of why many our Dow line, that at first all went to New Brunswick from New England, ultimately left to return to New England.  It explains why our direct Dow line (i.e., William Dow [RN 620], bbbfaab, was in the Oromoncto area of Sunbury County and later the Kingsclear area of York County, NB, and why our direct line ultimately moved away from that area and went to Carleton County, NB.  Although the author of The Book of Dow, described our direct ancestor, Joseph Dow & [RN3282], bbbfaa, (a in the Sixth Generation table), as "genealogically untraced", he did note that Joseph was "surely the grantee of 1810 (i.e., he was the "Joseph Dow" in New Brunswick land records that was granted land from the Crown in 1810).

        Our Joseph was closely associated in partnership with his brothers in the ship building operations in Oromoncto in Sunbury County (at the junction of the Oromoncto and St. John Rivers) and when that operation failed, he failed too.  It was Joseph's two son's, William Dow [RN 620], bbbfaab, (my great great grandfather) and John Dow [RN 1432], bbbfaac, (as well as their three sisters), though who did not return to New England like many in the associated family did.  They remained in the general area of Oromonto (i.e., in or around Kingsclear, York County, NB) and then both moved their families upriver to Carleton County, NB, where they both remained until their deaths.  William Dow [RN 620] bbbfaab and John Dow [RN1432] bbbfaac, who were members of the seventh generation, remained in New Brunswick.  It was not until the eighth generation of our direct line, i.e., some of William's and John's children, that some of our direct family emigrated back to the United States.  Included below are pages 571, which gives some added insight into John Dow bbbfab under the description of his son Henry Dow bbbfae, and 572, which gives some insight in the oldest brother that did not go to New Brunswick, Thomas Dow bbbfax.  

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 [Pages 561-565, 571-572]

Contributed by Sterling Tucker Dow, Kennebunk, Me

        For the benefit of the family and for the preservation of what information we have, there are gathered here the fragments of knowledge we have of John Dow.  The records of some of his children are not easy to trace, even though they come within the ken of relatives now living.   No written word of him, of his times and environment exists, so that our sole source of information is the stories and accounts which have been handed down by word of mouth.  More than a century has passed since his departure from Haverhill, Mass, to (what must have been) the wilds of New Brunswick, and 65 years have rolled around since his death at New Limerick, Me.  How quickly we pass on and are forgotten and how many difficulties bestrew the path of him who attempts to reconstruct the lives of those of his line who passed on but a few years before!  How much of interest would be added to this meager narrative could we but know the characteristics of John Dow, who his associates were, what motives actuated him and why; in fact, a thousand and one things of human interest which would picture him to his descendants.  No one of his 17 children is now alive, so that the opportunity for securing first hand information about his home and business life is gone and we are forced to rely upon the scraps - and few enough they are at that - which these children have passed along to the next generation. 

        Even the parentage of John Dow is obscure, and while it is believed that he had brothers and sisters, the records of his native Haverhill reveal the names of none of them.  Possibly in course of time it will be established that there were such, through a search of the parish records of Oromocto.  Family tradition says his father was an immigrant to Ipswich, Mass, in 1773, but does not give his father's name. The same source names two brothers, Absalom and Ipswich, and one sister, Eunice.  We have the record of Joseph Dow and of his marriage to Judith Emery in 1768 in Haverhill.  The name of Emery had been well known in Haverhill for a century and this representative of the family is described as a woman of very superior character and of great native, worth.  Our Genealogist assigns these two to John Dow as his parents and much color is given to the assignment because the name of Emery persists to this day in the family.  Indeed, no name has been used more, as may be seen if you have the interest and patience to read on.  Obviously Joseph Dow could not have been an immigrant in 1773 and married Judith Emory in Haverhill in 1768.  Assuming, then, that Joseph Dow was the father of John, one naturally asks: "How much farther back can his ancestry be traced?"  Here again we refer to our Genealogist, who writes:

        "You are descended from Thomas Dow and Phebe, his wife, original grantees of Newbury, Mass, 1639.  We do not know whence he came; he was a Puritan." 

        What then do we know about John Dow?  No personal picture of him is extant, so that we know nothing of his appearance, manner, or traits of character.  The reader can only deduce, however, from the following that he was a man of more than average intelligence and ability.  He was born in Haverhill, Mass, Jan 12, 1783.  If, as it is believed, he was the son of Joseph, it is altogether probable that other children preceded him in the 15 years since the marriage of Joseph and Judith Emery.  In 1803 he went to New Brunswick.  Family tradition steps in once more with a reason for this change - because he was a Tory.  This may have been, although the large number of Tories left New England at about the time of the evacuation of Boston by the British in the War of the Revolution.  Without doubt feeling against the mother country still ran high in 1803, and in going to a British province he might have let it be known that he had tory sympathies in order to secure peace in his new surroundings and to keep on good terms with his neighbors.  It is not believed that he became a British subject as he afterwards held town office in New Limerick, Me.  The lack of record of his brothers and sisters in Haverhill leads to the belief that they accompanied him to the Province.  At the junction of the Oromocto River with the St John he settled and became a builder of ships.  His business prospered and he became a man of substance and of local prominence at least.  Several full rigged ships came from his yard, among which are remembered the names of three: the "Rival," the "Sir Howard Douglass," named for the Governor of the Province, and the "Phoebe," named for his wife.  Some of the vessels he built he operated himself between the Province and British ports.  The Phoebe was one of these and was lost on a voyage to Liverpool, with no insurance.

        On his 26th birthday John Dow was married to Phoebe Smith in Watertown Parish, Queens Co, New Brunswick.  She was but sixteen, the date of her birth being Aug 30, 1793.  Miss Margaret A Swift of Brunswick, Me (her great granddaughter) writes thus of Phoebe Smith: "Mother tells us that her grandmother Phoebe Smith Dow's father was a rich man, so she was well educated and  brought up in affluence, with her own pony and carriage, etc. 

        Another extract:

        "After which they came to New Limerick to farm and Phoebe went right into the work to help retrieve, is even said to have picked up stones for their boundary, and how she was a very busy woman, was very generous in helping every one and gifted in many ways.  They finally built themselves a fine new house and were in readiness to move in when fire destroyed their possessions.  She (Mother) remembers her grandfather as a very grand old man, had very beautiful white hair worn longer than usual, and was of a very religious turn of mind."

        Here is another picture from the capable pen of Mrs Mary E Dow of Briarcliff Manor:

        "_____used to tell me a great deal about the Dow family and I have a vivid impression of the patriarchal life in your great grandfather's family.  Your grandmother told me that when she visited this large dignified house the farm laborers were all fed in a large basement dining room - often as many as sixty men at a time, and that your great grandmother, still young, very handsome and very "capable", managed the whole great establishment.  She also found time in her leisure moments to hemstitch the ruffles for her little girls' white gowns and very possibly your great grandfather's ruffled shirts.  I often wonder whether a large part of the good looks and great physical vigor of the Dow family did not come from her.

        Here is portrayed a woman of no ordinary mould, and when it is remembered that seventeen children were born to her between 1811 and 1835 at Oromocto (eleven of whom reached adult age) our wonder increases.  She is described as being of very slight physique but her strength must have been nothing short of marvelous.  Just stop and review for a moment: brought up in affluence, married to a man who had his own way to make and whose successes and failures were large, the management of large establishments at Oromocto and New Limerick, the hardships incidental to life in a new country and the care of a family the size of which is well nigh unheard-of in these days, do you wonder that she lived to only 48?

        John Dow prospered in his shipping business. His sons helped in rafting logs down the St John River to the mills which sawed them into lumber which constituted the outgoing cargoes of his ships.  With increasing means came an increased establishment and we can readily understand why the family grew into the ways and habits of the well-to-do.  Why should they not enjoy the fruits of their labor?  One recorder reports that they became quite aristocratic, holding themselves in high esteem.  We have all seen the like, have we not?  About 1835 prosperity began to wane, due to two probable causes.  The first was the loss of the good ship Phoebe uninsured [another vessel, the Eliza Ann (named for Eliza Ann Emery), is also spoken of as lost under similar circumstances].  No doubt this was a severe blow to the family finances.  The second cause is given as the remission of duties on lumber entering British ports from the Baltic Sea, with which the provincial product could not compete.  This put a quietus on the lumber export trade of New Brunswick, and, along with many others, John Dow failed.

        The date of the departure of the family from Oromocto to found a new home at New Limerick is not known, but inasmuch as all but one of the children were born at Oromocto, it must have been very shortly after 1835.  Knowing something of the farm he conducted there, it is inconceivable that his failure deprived him of everything.  He had passed the age of 50 and had the numerous family hereinafter recorded.  Some of the children were old enough to be of material help.  We have read of the patriarchal home he and his able wife made for themselves at New Limerick, and it is difficult to believe that something was not saved with which to start it.  The farm is known at this date as the Edward Hennigan place.  As Phoebe Smith died Nov 27, 1841, she did not live long after leaving Oromocto. John Dow lived on at New Limerick, his daughter Mary Frances taking the mother's place, and on Apr 21, 1852, surrounded by his family singing When I can read my title clear To mansions in the skies, he passed on to the higher life.

        The 1850 census finds John in No 5, Range 3, Aroostook Co, the place not yet having been officially named New Limerick.  Two dau were then with him, --- Mary and Eleanor.

        The children of John and Phoebe, record made by Absalom Smith Dow of New Limerick, and copied by Margaret A. Swift:

            a    Eliza Ann b Feb 1, 1810
            b    John Emery b Apr 13, 1811
            c    Henry b July 14, 1812
            d    George b Mar 7, 1814; d Oct 2, 1815
            e and f    twins b Apr 18, d Apr 19, 1815
            g    Mary Frances b June 11, 1816
            h    Elijah Smith b Feb 11, 1818
            i    Absalom Smith b May 27, 1819
            j    Phoebe Amanda b Mch 25, 1821
            k    Eleanor Amelia b Feb 11, 1823
            l    Margaret Taylor b Jan 12, 1825
            m  Oliver Smith b Dec 3, 1827
            n    Arthur b May 5, d May 6 1829
            o    Catherine Leonard b Apr 5, 1830; d young
            p    Catherine Annie b Mch 1, 1835
            q     ---- not named, b New Limerick

        Henry Dow bbbfae. His son in 1892 wrote to Edgard R Dow what he could recall about his grandsire.  We are certain of our identifications because he and Absalom Smith Dow bbbfabi agree that their grandfather was Joseph Dow and grandmother Eliza Ann (Emery).  This proves that Joseph m her prior to 1783.  He is recalled as riding each morning from his home to the shipyard, generally with a dau on the saddle with him.  He wore his pure white hair a little longer than was customary, in a queue tied with a ribbon.  His silver breeches buckles are still a family heirloom.  His son recalls that he was fond of expressing his tory sentiments.  It is evident that he himself established the great shipyard, of which his son John became the head.  What connection Henry Dow had with it is not apparent. He m Mary McMonegal.

        Thomas Dow bbbfax. His d rec gives him b 1768, and he was surely an original settler in Southport.  Thomas Dow bcdig is untraced but was 9 years older.  There seems no other place possible to Thomas of Southport, and the more we cogitate, the more probable it seems that our identification is correct.  He was a man grown when his parents moved to N B; his interests were at Wiscasset, his wife presumably preferred it to the plan of pioneering all over again at Oromocto; moreover, he could not foresee the prosperity which Oromocto was to give.  He was a ship calker, about the hardest job in all ship building.


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