The Late Nicholas Dowling, Esq.
One week ago, Mr. D. was at his foundry, superintending some work, had taken off his coat, and was actively engaged therein. During the progress of the work, while heated with exercise, he was called away upon some business, and going into the open air suddenly, took the severe cold, which has resulted in his death, and cast a gloom upon our city. Deceased was born in Dublin, Ireland, Nov. 24, 1811. His father, John Dowling, emigrated from Dublin to Baltimore, from thence to Kaskaskia, in the southern part of this state. When about 16 years of age, in 1828 or 1829, Nicholas, in company with his father, came to this city, and the latter erected the stone building on Diagonal street, where he opened a grocery and provision store. Nicholas remained in his father's employ until 1832, when having married his first wife, Miss Brophy, he removed to Indiana, where he remained two years, during which time his wife died.
In 1836 he returned to Galena, where he has resided permanently up to the time of his death. Mr. D. was an officer in the army during the Indian troubles in 1832, and discharged his duties as such faithfully and well. In 1838 the elder Dowling erected the present building occupied as a hardware store, and on his decease in 1843, Nicholas settled up the estate and took charge of the business which, under his guidance, has grown into colossal proportions, and made him the second wealthiest man in Jo Daviess county.
Mr. D. has served the city of Galena in the various capacities of trustee, alderman and mayor since 1840, at which time he was first elected trustee, and continued as such until the present city government was formed in 1841, when he was elected alderman for two terms, and in 1843 was first elected mayor, which position he shortly after resigned in consequence of the death of his father. He was re-elected mayor in 1851 and 1852, and discharged the duties of that position in such a masterly manner that, as our contemporary truly says "much of our present exemption, as a city, from the pecuniary difficulties that now sorely embarrass other towns, may be ascribed to his sagacity and forethought."
In 1851, Mr. Dowling married Miss McFadden, who, with two children, survive him. A prominent member of the Roman Catholic Church, Mr. Dowling has contributed liberally of his abundant means to the support of the church and ministry, as also to the erection of schools; and in all matters of public improvement and private beneficence, has stood first and foremost on the list. Self-reliant, whatever be proposed, after deliberation, he executed, which trait of character enabled him to surmount the difficulties of life and leave behind him not only wealth, but the reputation of an enterprising, substantial, and honest man-one whom Galena, as a city, will miss as a Galenian, as well as her citizens, a true-hearted friend and neighbor.
As a husband and father, none could excel him in the duties of home; while at the social gatherings, his gentle manner, winning ways and fund of humor, made him the head and center of the company.
A firm Democrat in politics, his opinions and counsels were never unheeded, but always sought after with an earnestness sure of good reward. A friend in need, as in deed, his hand was always extended to those in distress, and the poor will miss a truly benevolent friend. Frank, open and firm, the grasp of his hand was indicative of the man, while his uniform, smiling face brought sunshine, and dissipated gloom. We can say truly, and the hills of Galena will re-echo the response, our city has lost an upright citizen, the church a devoted and true Christian, and his family a model husband and kind father.
Galena Daily Gazette
2 April 1860
Funeral of Mr. Dowling
The funeral of Nicholas Dowling Saturday was more numerously attended than that of any person heretofore. The places of business were generally closed, the bells were tolled and there were none who did not wish to show respect to the memory of the deceased. The procession formed at the late dwelling of the deceased and proceeded to the Catholic Church on Bench street, and thence to the cemetery. The services at the church were conducted by Father Mazzuchelli, of Benton.