Friday, January 4, 2008

The Two Josephs McDowell

From History of the McDowells and Connections, by John Hugh McDowell, pub. 1918, C. B. Johnston, pp. 235-237:

    Joseph McDowell, of Quaker Meadows, was a handsome man, wonderfully magnetic, universally popular, and of more than ordinary ability. He was a born leader of men, and was represented by the old men of succeeding generations to have retained to his death the unbounded confidence and affection of the old soldiers. Margaret Moffitt was a woman of extraordinary beauty, as was her sister, Mary.
    After the battle of King's Mountain, in October, Joseph McDowell, of Quaker Meadows, remained in the field with 190 mounted riflemen, including the younger Joseph, as one of his officers, until he joined Morgan on December 29, and participated in the battle of Cow Pens.
    Joseph, of Pleasant Gardens, was a brilliant man, of more solid ability than his cousin, of the same name. The late Silas McDowell, who died in Macon County, but lived during his early life first in Burke and then in Buncombe, in discussing in an unpublished letter, of which I have a copy, the prominent men who lived west of Lincoln County, reaches the conclusion that prior to the day of D. L. Swain, Samuel P. Carson and Dr. Robert B. Vance, no man in that section had, according to tradition, towered far above his fellows intellectually, except Joseph McDowell, of Pleasant Gardens, whose "light went out when he was in his noonday prime, and in the last decade of the eighteenth century." He was born February 26, 1758 and died 1795. His widow married Colonel John Carson, whose first wife was the daughter of "Hunting John." Samuel P. Carson, the oldest son by the second marriage of Mary Moffitt McDowell, was a member of the Senate of North Carolina in 1822, and was born Jan. 22, 1798 (See Wheeler's Reminiscences, page 89). Joseph, of Quaker Meadows, was born in 1756, was two years older, and therefore must have been Joseph, Sr. Wheeler records the name of Joseph McDowell, Sr., as having served successively from 1787 to 1792, inclusively, as a member of the House of Commons from Burke County, but not after a later date (See list of Burke Legislators, Wheeler's History, Part 22, page 62). Joseph McDowell, according to the same authority, was a State Senator, succeeding General Charles from 1791 to 1795, inclusively, and during that time did not serve in Congress, though he unquestionably served later. These and other facts have led the writer to believe Joseph Jr., served one term in Congress from 1793 to 1795, when he died, and that afterwards, and up to the time of his death, the elder cousin was a member. Joseph McDowell, Jr., was not in public life after 1792, unless he served one term in Congress before his death. It is not probable that he lived from 1792 to 1795 without holding an official position.