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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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Joseph W. Dow

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 325 - 326

Joseph W. Dow is President of the State Bank of Plymouth, which bank was established in 1873 by him and his son Edward A., under the title of Dow & Son. It was incorporated October 1, 1890, under its present name, with a capital stock of $25,000. E. A. Dow has been its Cashier since the start. This bank does a general banking business, and has been successful and prosperous from the beginning. Its policy has always been conservative, which fact, together with the high business standing of it proprietors, has established it firmly in the confidence of its patrons and the general public.

The subject of this sketch was born in Boston, Mass., on the 17th of June, 1814, his parents being Simeon and Elizabeth {McClure} Dow, who were originally from New Hampshire, both being descended from old New England families. They settled in Boston early in the present century, where Mr. Dow, Sr., owned and conducted a wharf on the present site of the Old Colony Railroad depot. Both father and mother died in Boston.

Joseph W. Dow was reared and educated in his native city, and received his early business training there as a merchant's clerk. At the age of nineteen he set out for the West to seek his fortune, and reached Chicago in 1833. That place was then a mere hamlet, stuck in the mud of a flat and wet prairie. History states that in 1832 (the year prior to the time of Mr. Dow's arrival), the place contained five stores and two hundred and fifty inhabitants; and in 1837, five years later, it was incorporated, and had a population of four thousand. Its marvelous transformation to the Chicago of to-day is only one of the wonders that our subject and those of his years have seen. Mr. Dow settled himself on a farm in Earlsville, La Salle County, where the succeeding twelve years were passed in agricultural pursuits.

On the 23rd of November, 1837, Mr. Dow was united in marriage with Miss Alice B. Champney. Mrs. Dow was born in Charlestown, Mass., almost under the shade of Bunker Hill Monument, and is a daughter of Samuel Champney. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dow, of whom three only are living. Sarah E., is the wife of L. W. Tillottson, of Plymouth; Josephine became the wife of Albert T. Barnes, of St. Louis; Susan died aged nineteen; Edward A. married Ida J. Hotchkiss, and resides in Plymouth (see sketch); and Alice, the youngest, died in infancy.

In 1864, Mr. Dow removed to Ottawa where he served as Deputy Sheriff and Postmaster, and where he was also engaged in merchandising. He was appointed Postmaster under President Lincoln, but was commissioned by President Johnson, soon after the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, and held the office four years. About 1870 he removed to Marseilles, where he established the First National Bank, of which he was President, and which he conducted until 1873, when he removed to Sheboygan and established the First National Bank of that city, now the Bank of Sheboygan in which he is still interested. The following year he removed to Plymouth and engaged in the banking business, as previously stated.

In politics, Mr. Dow was a Whig in early life, and joined the Republican party at its organization in 1836. He has taken an active part in politics, and has served one term as Mayor of Plymouth. He is a Master Mason, a member of Acassia Lodge No. 167, and with his wife belongs to the Episcopal Church.

Mr. Dow is now in his eightieth year, and is well preserved, both physically and mentally. Each business day finds him at his desk in his private office, giving attention to the direction of the banking and insurance business with which he has been associated so many years. His life has been an active and useful one, and his children may justly take pride in the knowledge that during the sixty years of his business career, his course has been distinguished by strict integrity and a due regard for the rights of others.

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