The McDowell Family History Part 1 – Service in the Rebellion of 1837
This month’s family history features the McDowell family starting with John McDowell and his wife Mary Harris. According to the 1861 Census, John and Mary were living in Malden Township with their children John, Simuel, Samuel, Daniel, Mary Ann and Benjamin. Not mentioned in this census is their daughter Susan who, based on the evidence, was already married and living with her family in a separate household. Before discussing their children, I want to share John’s obituary from The Amherstburg Echo which was printed on November 12, 1886. It says “In Amherstburg, on Friday, November 5th, John McDowell, aged 74 years. His funeral took place from his son’s (Simuel’s) residence to the Baptist Church and thence to the cemetery on Sunday. His sons Simuel, of Amherstburg; Samuel, of Windsor; Benjamin, of Milwaukee, and Daniel, of Toledo, and his daughter, Mrs. Susan Lennox, of Windsor were all in attendance at the funeral. Deceased was born in Kentucky, on October 25th, 1812, and left his native place for Canada in 1829, coming direct to Amherstburg, where he resided continuously until the time of his death. He served as a volunteer in the rebellion of 1837, being stationed at this place. Mr. McDowell went through a long period of illness the last six years of his life, and for the past two years was entirely helpless.”
Mentioned in John’s obituary is his daughter Susan McDowell Lennox who is the first child of John and Mary I am going to discuss. I was unable to find a marriage record or obituary for Susan which would have revealed her husband’s name, but I did find a Susan Lennox listed with her husband Sep on the 1861 Census, along with a Joseph and Susan Lynex listed on the 1871 Anderdon Census. This would explain why Susan is not recorded on the Census with her parents and siblings. I also found a birth record for her son Arthur which shared that Susan Jane McDowell and Joseph L. Lennox were Arthur’s parents, meaning that Sep is a shortform for Joseph. Arthur was born in Windsor on February 19, 1878. I also found a WWI Draft record for Arthur Lenox (Lennox) which records his birthday as February 23, 1878. It says that he worked as a packer and cook for Swife Co., Union Stock Yards. It also states that his wife was named Grace and that they were living in Chicago. I could not find a marriage record for Arthur and Grace but, as will be shown in the following pages, many of the Lennox family relocated to Chicago. Along with Arthur, Susan and Joseph had several other children including Sarah, John, Cornelius, Joseph, Eliza, Caroline, Mary, and James.
Before I discuss their children, I want to share a few more details about Susan and Joseph. Susan J. Lennox passed away on September 24, 1892 in Chicago at the age of 63. Her death record also states that she was born circa 1829 in “A’burg” or Amherstburg. Joseph passed away a few years later on March 8, 1900 in Chicago and was roughly 83 years old.
I was able to find further information for three of their children: Eliza, Carrie/Caroline and James. Based on the records, I think Eliza was married twice. The 1900 Chicago Census lists an Eliza Smoots living with her daughter Ella and two brothers, Arthur and James Lenox. Eliza worked as a dressmaker, while Ella was a Domestic, and Arthur and James were Janitors. Eliza’s death records lists her as Eliza Carter, the wife of George Carter. It states that Eliza passed on January 30, 1935 and was born on September 14, 1865.
Eliza’s sister Carrie Lennox married Thomas Aaron Stanley, son of George Stanley and Mary Johnson, on December 20, 1889 in Detroit. The 1920 Chicago Census for Thomas Stanly (Stanley) also lists his wife Carrie and their children Thomas Jr., Edward, Corinne, Frederick, and Lathshie. They also had a son named Oscar. According to Lida Corine Stanley’s birth record, she was born on June 18, 1903 in Cook County, Illinois. I also found a death record for Corine’s brother Frederick Albert who passed away on March 21, 1971 in Chicago. Frederick was married to Jackie Wright. The Census record listed Carrie and Thomas’s daughter Lathshie, but I have also seen her name spelt Lactitia. She was born on September 15, 1912 in Chicago. Oscar Stanley, according to his death record, was born on November 13, 1901 and passed on February 21, 1944 in Chicago. His wife’s name was Julia and he worked as butcher.
Carrie McDowell Stanley passed away on June 25, 1947 in Evanston, Illinois. Her death record also says that she was born on April 20, 1871 in Detroit. Carrie’s brother James Lennox, according to his death record, passed away on May 8, 1957 in Chicago. It also says he was born on July 19, 1879.
Now that I have discuss John and Mary McDowell’s daughter Susan McDowell Lennox, I’ll discuss their other children (John, Simuel, Samuel, Daniel, Mary Ann, and Benjamin). I could not find any information for John, and the only information that I could find for Daniel was that he was living in Toledo, Ohio. It is likely that Daniel’s sister Mary Ann passed away following 1861 when she is recorded in the Census because she is not listed in her father John’s obituary from 1886. If she was alive, she would have been mentioned. Mary Ann’s brother Benjamin is recorded as living in Milwaukee. It also appears that Benjamin worked on a steamer as is mentioned in The Evening Record on December 17, 1907 which reported “Benjamin and Simuel McDowell arrived home on Thursday after laying up the flag-ship of the steel trust fleet, the ‘Cole.’”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 2.
The McDowell Family History Part 2 – Steward on a Steamer
Benjamin’s brother Simuel McDowell is the next child of John McDowell and Mary Harris. He married Emma Rudd on July 26, 1876 in Detroit. Simuel is mentioned several times in The Amherstburg Echo because of his work as a steward on steamers. On May 18, 1894 The Amherstburg Echo wrote “Simuel McDowell has shipped as steward on the Dominion steamer Petrol.” A few years later, on May 10, 1907, The Amherstburg Echo shared “Sim McDowell jr., assistant steward leaves this week for the steamer Thomas C. Case, flagship of the steel trust, which is being built at the Great Lakes Engineering works, Detroit.” Later that year, on December 17, 1907 it was reported in The Evening Record that “Benjamin and Simuel McDowell arrived home on Thursday after laying up the flag-ship of the steel trust fleet, the ‘Cole.’” On March 24, 1911 The Amherstburg Echo wrote “Simuel McDowell has gone to Loraine, O., to fit out the big steel steamer, Princeton, of the Pittsburgh steamship fleet, on which he will be chef. Willie Adams, who will be assistant, left the same day.” Later that year, on September 15th, The Echo reported that “Sym McDowell chef the Str. Princeton of the Steel Trust fleet, rejoined his boat this week after a few holidays in town.”
Simuel McDowell passed away on September 27th, 1909 and his obituary was printed in The Amherstburg Echo on October 1st. It says “In Amherstburg, Monday, September 27th, Simuel McDowell, aged 58 years. In death of Mr. McDowell, Amherstburg lost one of her best known and highly respected colored citizens. Born in Malden township, he spent his whole life in this vicinity. His father was the late John McDowell, and of a family of seven only one is now living, Samuel McDowell of Windsor. The parents died in Amherstburg where they came to reside a number of years ago. The subject of this sketch was married to Miss Emma Rudd, whose father lived in Buffalo. She came to Amherstburg with her step mother who afterwards became Mrs. Henry Jackson. Mrs. McDowell died seven years ago. To Mr. and Mrs. McDowell were born nine children. All of whom are living as follows: Alonzo, of Cleveland; Myrtle, Mrs. Richardson, of Detroit; John, in Amherstburg; Ben and Simuel, Mariners; Ray, Rudd, Emma and Ethel at home. Mr. McDowell was seized with lung trouble about a year ago and has had a lingering illness. The funeral took place yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.” Simuel’s death record also shares that he was born on April 5, 1850.
Simuel’s wife Emma passed away a few years before, on March 28th, 1902, as was reported in The Amherstburg Echo on April 4th, 1902. The Echo wrote “In Amherstburg, on Friday, March 28th, Emma Jane, wife of Mr. S. McDowell, aged 46 years. Deceased’s maiden name was Emma Jane Rudd, and she was married to Simuel McDowell, on the 25th of August, 1875 – 26 years ago. For seven months, deceased was confined to her bed, and she bore her suffering with Christian fortitude. For 20 years she was a member of the First Baptist church, and always took an active part in church work. Besides her husband, she leaves nine children to mourn her loss, the eldest of whom is Mrs. Myrtle Richardson, and the youngest 6 years of age. The funeral took place on Easter Sunday afternoon to the First Baptist church, and was very largely attended by all classes of the community, the building not being of sufficient capacity to accommodate the large congregation, which had assembled to pay their last tribute to the deceased.”
Simuel and Emma’s children include Myrtle, Alonzo, John, Benjamin, Simuel, Emma Jane, Raymond, Ethel and Samuel. I will start with Myrtle. She was born on October 28, 1880 in Amherstburg. She married twice. Her first marriage was to Joseph Richardson, the son of Edward Richardson and Rebecca Burt, on April 5, 1900 in Detroit. She also married Edward Hulbert, the son of Harvey Hulbert and Ellen Norris. According to the Museum’s family history binders, Myrtle and Joseph’s children include Alberta, Russell, Clifford, Rebecca, Elizabeth and Simuel, while her marriage to Edward resulted in two sons named Ralph and Lester. Myrtle’s daughter Alberta Richardson was born on September 4, 1902 in Amherstburg, while Alberta’s brother Simuel was born on April 11, 1907 in Amherstburg. I also found Russell Richardson’s obituary from January 24, 1973 which says “Russel Richardson, 72, son of the late Joseph and Myrtle McDowell Richardson, who lived in Amherstburg at the time, died in Detroit, January 14th. He was a nephew of the late Mrs. Norman G. Wilson (Ethel McDowell). Amherstburg. The funeral was in Cleveland, Thursday. Surviving is a sister, Mrs. Alex Harris in Cleveland and cousins in Amherstburg.”
Myrtle passed away in 1916 and her obituary was printed in The Amherstburg Echo on September 22, 1916. It says “There died in Detroit early on Sunday morning Mrs. Edward Hulbert, a former resident of this town, in the 38th year of her age. She had been ill for some weeks, following the birth of a child. The remains were brought to Amherstburg by special car Tuesday afternoon, and after service in the First Baptist church burial was made in Rose Hill. Mrs. Hulbert was formerly Miss Myrtle McDowell, daughter of the late Simuel McDowell, and was born in this town. She was first married to Jos. Richardson, of Ypsilanti, who died. Two years ago she was married to Edward Hulbert. Besides her husband, she leaves six brothers and two sisters: Simuel and Benjamin, of the steamer Lynn; Alonzo and John, of Detroit; Ruddy, of the steamer Alex McDougall; Ray, Ethel, Mrs. Norman Wilson and Emma, of Amherstburg.”
I could not find anything for Myrtle’s brother Alonzo, but I did find information for their brother John who was born on March 24, 1885 in Amherstburg. John married twice. He was first married to Lucretia Highwarden, the daughter of William Highwarden, on July 20, 1903 in Detroit. John and Lucretia had a son named Feardon who was born on November 29, 1913 in Detroit. Feardon passed away on February 12, 1935 in Detroit at the age of 21.
John also married Adella Day, the daughter of Samuel Day and Sarah Hunt, on November 22, 1918 in Lucas, Ohio. According to her birth record, Adella Day was born on February 20, 1877 in Colchester. I was unable to find a death record or obituary for John McDowell, but in the 1940 Detroit Census Adella is listed as widowed. Adella passed away on June 2, 1949 in Detroit at the age of 70.
John’s brother Benjamin Douglas McDowell is the next child of Simuel McDowell and Emma Rudd. He was born on October 24, 1886 in Amherstburg. His WWI Draft Record states that he was a cook for the Pittsburg Steamship Co. and that he had a wife and child. With further research, I found Benjamin’s marriage record. He married Edna Jones, the daughter of Frank Jones and Nelina Wesley, on August 26, 1912. According to Edna Louise (Jones) McDowell’s Naturalization Record, she was born on February 9, 1894 in Amherstburg. It also mentions that Edna and Benjamin had a daughter named Gladys who was born on July 14, 1913 in Amherstburg. The 1940 Census records Benjamin McDowell and his wife Edna, along with their daughter Gladys and her husband James Bailey. Also listed is Edna and James’ son Robert. I was able to find Gladys’ marriage record to James D. Bailey which states that they married on November 3, 1931 in Ohio and that James was the son of James Bailey and Eva Gay.
I was unable to find a death record of obituary for Edna McDowell, but I did find an In Memoriam which says “We treasure the memory of our beloved mother, sister and grandmother, EDNA MCDOWELL, who passed away on May 21, 1966. We missed you but God had other plans for a richer life beyond the unseen shore. Sadly missed by daughter Gladys Bailey, grandchildren Donald, Dennis, Robert and great grandchildren Sherry and Terry.” Benjamin McDowell passed away several years before Edna, on February 20, 1948 in Detroit.
Benjamin’s brother Simuel Jr. is next. He married Inez Beck McKinnery, the daughter of Ed Beck and Elizabeth Pogin, on November 1, 1934 in Manhattan, New York. The 1940 Census still lists them as residing in New York.
Simuel Jr.’s brother Raymond was born on March 16, 1894 in Amherstburg. He married Carrie (Cummings) Jackson, the daughter of Abel Cummings and Laurie Allan, on June 1, 1918 in Windsor. Raymond passed away in 1924 as was reported in The Amherstburg Echo on February 15, 1924. His obituary says “Raymond McDowell passed away Monday at his home on Seymore street, aged 29 years. Three years ago he suffered a severe attack of influenza and out of this developed tuberculosis, which proved a lingering illness, the last six months of which he was bedridden. He suffered a great deal from weakness. Mr. McDowell was born in Amherstburg, being a son of the late Simuel McDowell. His parents are both dead, but he is survived by five brothers and two sisters; Simuel, of Chicago; Ben, John, Alonzo and Ruddy, of Detroit; Emily at Home, and Ethel, Mrs. Norman Wilson, Brock street. He was married in 1918 to Miss Carrie Cummings, of Detroit. They had no family. The funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon at the First Baptist church by the Rev. B. A. Shaw and burial in Rose Hill cemetery. The family is extended the sympathy of the community.”
Raymond’s sister Emma Jane was born on May 14, 1890 in Amherstburg. According to her death notice from The Windsor Star she passed away at age 79 on March 14, 1969 in Amherstburg. It does not mention any children and says that she is survived by nieces and nephews. Additionally, she is listed as Emma Jane McDowell, which means it is likely that she never married.
Emma Jane’s brother is the next child of Simuel McDowell and Emma Rudd. I found a birth record for Samuel Rudd McDowell who was born on September 12, 1896. Immigration papers for Ruddy McDowell states that he was a cook and was going to see his wife Laura. I could not find a marriage record for Ruddy and Laura, but I did find a marriage announcement from The Amherstburg Echo for Rudd McDonald McDowell and Genevieve Scott, the daughter of George Scott. The couple was married in February 1947.
According to Ruddy S. McDowell’s obituary from The Windsor Star (May 12, 1949), “Ruddy S., 52 years, May 12, 1949, at Hotel Dieu. Beloved husband of Geneva Scott McDowell, 106 King St., Amherstburg. Dear brother of Mrs. Norman Wilson, Miss Emma McDowell, Amherstburg: Simon and Alonzo of Detroit. Funeral arrangements incomplete.”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 3.
The McDowell Family History Part 3 – Baptist Missionary Society
The last child of Simuel McDowell and Emma Rudd is Ethel McDowell. She married Norman George Wilson, the son of Albert and Margaret Wilson. Norman was born on January 22, 1894 in Amherstburg. The 1921 Census for Norman and Ethel lists their children Alva, Margaret, Marietta, Arnold and Herman. Also found was a death record for June, the daughter of Norman and Ethel, who sadly passed at 9 months old on January 19, 1926.
Before sharing information on their children, I will share Ethel and Norman’s obituaries. Ethel’s passing was reported in The Windsor Star on July 30, 1966 and says “Mrs. Ethel Lillian, 74, of 202 George St., Amherstburg died Friday at home. She was born and raised in Amherstburg. Mrs. Wilson was a member of the First Baptist Church and its missionary society. Surviving are her husband, Norman George; sons, Arnold, Herman, both of Amherstburg; daughters, Mrs. Ralph (Alva) McCurdy, Mrs. Alvin (Margaret) McCurdy, both of Amherstburg, Mrs. Lyle (Marietta) Talbot, Windsor. Mrs. Floyd (Violet) Jones, Detroit, Miss Isabelle at home; sister, Mrs. Emma McDowell of Amherstburg; 23 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren. The body will be at the James H. Sutton Funeral Home, Sandwich and Gore Sts., Amherstburg, until 11 a.m. Monday, then to the First Baptist Church for 1:30 p.m. service with Rev. Banks Clark officiating. Burial will be in Rose Hill Cemetery, Amherstburg.”
Ethel’s husband Norman Wilson passed away a few years later on July 1, 1970. The Windsor Star wrote “WILSON – Norman G., 77 years, July 1, 1970, at Grace Hospital, late of 295 George St., Amherstburg. Predeceased by his wife Lillian (July 26, 1966). Dear father of Arnold and Herman, Amherstburg; Mrs. Ralph (Alva) McCurdy, Mrs. Alvin (Margaret) McCurdy, Amherstburg; Mrs. Lyle (Marietta) Talbot, Windsor; Mrs. Greene (Isabelle) Clarke, Mrs. Floyd (Violet) Jones, Detroit. Dear brother of Mrs. Rebecca Kersey and Norval, Windsor; Albert, Neil, Ira, of Harrow and William of Amherstburg. Resting at the James H. Sutton Funeral Home, Sandwich and Gore Sts., Amherstburg, until Friday morning, thence to the First Baptist Church until time of service, 1 p.m. Friday, July 3, Rev. Banks Clark officiating. Interment Rose Hill Cemetery.”
I was also able to find information for each of their children Alva, Margaret, Marietta, Arnold, Herman, Violet, and Isabelle. According to Alva Wilson McCurdy’s obituary from The Windsor Star (November 20, 1971), “Amherstburg councillor’s wife dies – AMHERSTBURG – Mrs. Alva McCurdy, 56, the wife of Amherstburg councilman Sheldon Ralph McCurdy, died today at IODE Hospitals Windsor, following a lengthy illness. Mrs. McCurdy, a lifelong resident of Amherstburg was the former Alva Wilson, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Norman Wilson. Besides her husband, Mrs. McCurdy is survived by two daughters, two sons and nine grandchildren, plus four sisters and two brothers.”
Alva’s sister Margaret also married into the McCurdy family. Her obituary was printed in The Windsor Star on October 27, 1995 and says “McCurdy, Margaret E. 79 years, October 26th, 1995, at Windsor Regional Hospital, Western Campus. Late of Amherstburg. Beloved wife of the late Alvin (1989). Dear mother of Mary Margaret and husband John Payne, Detroit; Michael and wife Margaret, Toledo, Ohio; Alvin and wife Ruth, Amherstburg; Emily and husband Alonzo Wheeler, Oak Park, Mi. Also survived by 16 grandchildren and 17 greatgrandchildren. Dear brother of Alonzo Wilson, Amherstburg; Mrs. Isabelle Graham, Windsor; Mrs. Marietta Talbot, B.C. Predeceased by brothers and sisters Herman Wilson, Violet Jones, and Alva McCurdy. Also survived by numerous nephews and nieces. Mrs. McCurdy was a member of the Evangelical Baptist Church.”
Margaret’s sister Marietta is next. The Windsor Star printed her obituary on December 17, 2010 which says “TALBOT, Marietta – Born on September 4, 1918 in Amherstburg, Ontario, went to be with the Lord on December 15, 2010 in Kelowna, BC. Survived by her loving husband of 73 years, Lyle; five children: Marilyn (Ian) Hamilton, Carol Talbot, Jerald (Amy), Cheryl (Jeff) Evans, Sandra Talbot … Sadly predeceased by two brothers and fours sisters.”
Marietta’s brother Arnold’s obituary appeared in The Windsor Star on January 28, 2001 which said “WILSON, Arnold E. 81 years on January 5, 2001 at Malden Park Continuing Care. Predeceased by his wife Viola Wilson (1993) and his friend Annette Rogers (1991). Dear father of Ann Jones, Arnold Wilson Jr. and wife Joanne, Curtis Wilson and wife Marion, Sheila Harris, Deborah Turner and husband Timothy, Monica Wines and Husband Michael and Jason Wilson. Will be missed by a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Survived by his sister Marietta and husband Lyle and predeceased by several brothers and sisters.”
Arnold’s brother Herman’s obituary was printed in The Windsor Star on April 14, 1972. According to the article, “WILSON – Herman G., 51 years, April 13, 1972, at the residence, George St., Amherstburg. Predeceased by his wife Wanda. Dear father of Gordon, Amherstburg; Ralph, Vancouver; Mark, Windsor; Blake, Detroit; Brent, Gail and Katherine, at home. Dear brother of Arnold, Amherstburg; Mrs. Alvin (Margaret) McCurdy, Amherstburg; Mrs. Lyle (Marietta) Talbot, Ottawa; Mrs. Floyd (Violet) Jones and Mrs. Greene (Isabelle) Clark, Detroit. 10 grandchildren. Friends may call the James H. Sutton Funeral Home Sandwich and Gore Sts., Amherstburg, from 2 p.m. Saturday.”
I could not find an obituary for Violet Wilson, but I did find a document that says she was living in Ypsilanti, Michigan and her husband’s last name was Jones. It also shares her middle name: Manola.
The last child of Ethel McDowell and Norman Wilson is Isabelle. Her obituary from The Windsor Star, which was printed on March 24, 2000, states “CLARKE, Isabelle (nee Wilson) 78 years, March 21, 2000 at Windsor Regional Hospital, Met. Campus. Late of Harrow. Beloved wife of the late Greene Clarke and the late Charles Graham. Dear mother of Wayne and wife Mary Jane Wilson, Harrow; Gerald Talbot of Toronto …Dear sister of Arnold Wilson of Windsor and Marietta Talbot of B.C. Predeceased by sister Alva McCurdy, Margaret McCurdy and Violet Jones and brother Herman Wilson.”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 4.
The McDowell Family History Part 4 – Central Citizens’ Association
The last child of John McDowell and Mary Harris that I will discuss is Samuel McDowell. He married Mary E. Smith, the daughter of Captain James A. Smith and Mary Ann Underwood, on May 10, 1882 in Amherstburg. Mary and Samuel had several children including James, Samuel Lyons, Roman Lafayette, Mary Gertrude, Benjamin Arthur, Frederick Robert, Ethel/Edith Eloise, Sherman, Lawrence and May. James was born on December 9, 1882 in Windsor, but sadly passed away the same day. Samuel Lyons was born on May 14, 1884 in Windsor, while his brother Roman Lafayette was born on January 4, 1886, also in Windsor. Roman married Anna/Rosanna Ward, daughter of James Dennis and Esther Crump, on June 19, 1924 in Detroit. She was born on August 18, 1880, in Colchester South. Her marriage record to Roman lists her as Anna Ward, but her maiden name is Dennis. This is because she was previously married to Virgil M. Ward, son of Virgil M. Ward and Mary E. Snowden. The couple married on October 25, 1905, in Detroit.
Roman’s wife Rosanna is mentioned in The Border Cities’ Star on March 1, 1932, because of a concert presented by the Baptist Church in Amherstburg. The program included “an interesting paper on ‘Woman’s Place in the Federation of Churches’ which was presented by Mrs. Roman McDowell. The Windsor Star also reported on July 13, 1929 that Rosanna was elected as Chairman of the Program Committee and Assistant secretary for the Colored Citizens’ Association (later the Central Citizens’ Association) of Windsor. The CCA was established in 1828 and among their goals, the CCA lobbied governments for legislative change and employment opportunities, lobbied employers for job opportunities for Black Canadians, worked with other organizations inside and outside of the African Canadian community, and fought discrimination in all aspects of life. This was in addition to pushing for integration and fair treatment at establishments such as hotels, restaurants, in housing and community institutions. Rosanna was re-elected in 1930 which was also when Robert L. Dunn was President of the organization. Robert L. Dunn was a very impressive figure, becoming a City Councillor for Windsor, being re-elected seven times, in 1893, 1894, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1902 and 1903. He was also the first Black Canadian to run for Mayor of Windsor in 1897.
The same year that Rosanna was re-elected secretary, 1930, she is mentioned in The Windsor Star in the article “Ask Lights” where she calls for proper street lighting. The article says “Asking that lighting be provided on the newly extended part of Tuscarora street, from Windsor to Ouellette avenue, the Colored Citizens’ Association of Windsor has written Mayor Jackson and the council. The association’s secretary, Mrs. Rosanna McDowell, points out that an increasing amount of traffic is found on the new portion of Tuscarora, and since it is a central thoroughfare, proper lighting is needed.”
As the secretary of the CCA, Rosanna also wrote a letter requesting that a person of colour be hired as the caretaker at a Windsor school. In The Border Cities’ Star article titled “Colored People Ask School Job -Would Have One of Race Made Janitor” from January 14, 1931, it says “Suggestions of the Colored Citizens’ Association of Windsor and vicinity that a colored man be appointed as caretaker for one of the Windsor public schools will be considered by G. Stanley Adams, superintendent of maintenance for the schools, according to a recommendation passed by that management committee of the Windsor Board of Education last night. A letter received from Mrs. Rosanna McDowell, secretary of the association, of which R.L. Dunn is president, asked that consideration of a colored caretaker be given at the next appointment. The letter stated that the association had recommended George Coats, Charles Garrell, Rev. T.E. Woodcock and James Jacobs as being suitable for the position.” Roseanna was the secretary for the CCA from 1929 until at least 1933, possibly longer. She was also a member of the Lydian Musical Association and is mentioned in The Detroit Tribune on August 9, 1941 when the Lydians held tea and music in the Detroit Federation of Women’s Clubs. The article lists Rosanna McDowell as the President of this organization.
Rosanna’s husband Roman served in WWI based on an article from The Border Cities’ Star which, on December 20, 1918, printed “Wreath of Flowers from Flanders Field – In the front room window of the home of Mrs. Mary McDowell, 131 Windsor avenue, hangs a Christmas wreath made of holly from France, in which are woven many flowers from the battlefields of Flanders. The wreath was sent to Mrs. McDowell by her son, Pte. R. McDowell, now overseas, and who, previous to his enlisting, was well known in Windsor.” I believe that Pte. R. McDowell is Mary’s son Roman and this is confirmed in his obituary. His obituary appeared in The Windsor Star on October 31, 1950 and says “Roman L. McDowell, 64, died yesterday at Receiving Hospital, Detroit, after a short illness. Mr. McDowell was born in Windsor and lived here all his life prior to moving to Detroit 15 years ago. He was a member of the First Baptist Church, Windsor, and a veteran of World War I. Survivors are his wife, Mrs. Rose McDowell; two brothers, Arthur and Sherman McDowell, of Windsor; and one sister, Mrs. Eloise Taylor, of Windsor. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday at the First Baptist Church, Windsor, with Rev. M. Brown officiating. Burial will be in Windsor Grove Cemetery. The body will be at the Bristol Funeral Home, Detroit, until the funeral service in Windsor.” In Roman’s obituary it mentions that his wife was named Rose. This is a shortform for Rosanna, also mentioned previously as Anna Ward. I can confirm that Rose and Anna are the same person because of Roman’s naturalization record which lists Rosanna as his wife, whom he married on June 19, 1924. This is the same date that he married Anna, confirming that they are the same person.
Roman’s sister Mary Gertrude McDowell was born on September 2, 1887 in Windsor. Her death record states that she passed on December 13, 1907 in Windsor at the age of 20. She is also listed as single. The Amherstburg Echo wrote on December 20, 1907 “Miss May McDowell, 20 years old, daughter of Samuel McDowell, Windsor avenue, died Thursday night after a lingering illness. Deceased was a niece of Mrs. Wm. Bush and Simuel McDowell, of Amherstburg, and a cousin of Messrs. And Misses Foster, of Malden. The funeral took place on Saturday. Deceased was a general favourite.” Gertrude’s brother Benjamin Arthur McDowell was born on July 15, 1889. His brother Frederick Robert was born on June 14, 1891, but sadly passed away the following month on July 22, 1891.
Ethel Eloise McDowell is the next child of Samuel McDowell and Mary Elizabeth Smith. She was born on June 21, 1892 in Windsor. According to her marriage record, she married Louis Franklin Taylor, the son of Frank Taylor and Doshea Wilson, on October 23, 1920. Ethel sadly passed away on July 22, 1984 as was reported in The Windsor Star on July 25th. Her obituary says “TAYLOR – Eloise Ethel, 96 years, July 22, 1984 at Beacon Hill Lodge, formerly of Windsor Ave. Predeceased by her husband Louis Taylor (1957). Dear mother of Louis (a former member of the National Parole Board) Willowdale. Two grandchildren also survive. Resting at the Anderson Funeral Home, 895 Ouellette Ave. from 7pm Tuesday. Will rest at the First Baptist Church, (Mercer at Tuscorora St.) from 12 noon Wednesday, July 25, until 1 pm, time of Service. Rev. Mack Brown officiating. Interment Windsor Grove Cemetery.”
Ethel’s brother Sherman was born on February 12, 1896. He married Ida Mae Brooks, daughter of Daniel Brooks and Eliza Lewis, on May 31, 1924 in Windsor. On January 9, 1964 The Windsor Star reported that Sherman McDowell passed away. His obituary says “Hotel Figure Dies at 67 – Sherman Smith (Chief) McDowell, 67, former head porter at the Prince Edward Hotel, died Wednesday at IODE Memorial Hospital. He lived at 1093 Windsor Ave. ‘Chief’ as he was called by his fellow workers and hotel guests, was employed by the hotel for approximately 32 years. During his years as head porter of the downtown hotel, Mr. McDowell’s main job was setting up travellers’ display rooms. He worked at his job until he became ill in September, 1960. During the First World War, he served overseas with the 18th Battalion, CEF. Surviving are his wife, Ida Marie; a brother Arthur, of Windsor; a sister, Mrs. Eloise Taylor, also of Windsor, and three nieces.”
I could not find a birth record for Sherman’s brother Samuel Lawrence, but he is referenced a few times in the press. On September 4, 1908, The Amherstburg Echo shared “S.L. McDowell, son of Samuel McDowell, of Windsor, and C.L. Wells, of Sandwich have been ordained preachers of the colored Baptist Church by Western Ontario. Ordained at the age of 23, Lawrence S. McDowell has the distinction of being the youngest clergyman in Canada. The ordination service took place in the McDougall street Baptist church Thursday evening, the young candidate having passed the ministerial council examination in the afternoon. Rev. L.S. Hughson, of the Bruce? Avenue Baptist church preached the ordination sermon and he was profuse in his praise and congratulation of Mr. McDowell. That the latter did so well in college and before the council is no surprise to those who know him. He was one of the brightest pupils at the Windsor Collegiate Institute and his teachers predicted a brilliant future for him. He preached in the McDougall street Baptist church on Sunday morning. In September, he will return to college for further preparation. Mr. and Mrs. Samuel McDowell, Windsor avenue, are the parents of the youthful minister. They and his friends are naturally quite proud of him.”
Not long after this article was printed, The Amherstburg Echo wrote, on October 2, 1908, “Lawrence McDowell, one of Windsor’s best known colored men and a graduate of the Collegiate Institute, left on Monday for Richmond, Va., where he will continue his studies for this ministry.” He is mentioned again on June 3, 1910 when The Amherstburg Echo reported “Samuel Lawrence McDowell, son of Mr. and Mrs. S.L. McDowell, Windsor avenue, Windsor, formerly of Amherstburg, has sent word to his parents that he has passed his final examination in theology at the Virginia Union University at Richmond, Virginia, where he has been studying for the past three or four years. At the graduating exercises Mr. McDowell was literally showered with presents from fellow students and the professors. He was popular with his different classes and the teachers. In all his examinations he passed with honors, and during the past year was frequently called on to teach the class in theology in the temporary absence of the professors. Mr. McDowell immediately after being graduated left for Toronto, Ont., where he becomes pastor of the University Avenue Baptist church, a large and influential congregation. Mr. McDowell was a bright student while at the Windsor Collegiate Institute and his friends predicted he would shine in his college course.”
The Amherstburg Echo mentions Rev. S. Lawrence McDowell on April 19, 1912, writing “Rev. S. Lawrence McDowell … The pastor of the University Avenue Baptist church, Toronto, delivered a lecture at the First Baptist church, McDougall street, Windsor, Friday night on the subject, ‘Have the sons of Ham a place in history?’ Rev. Mr. McDowell is a son of Mrs. Samuel McDowell, Windsor avenue, Windsor, and received his preliminary education in Amherstburg and Windsor. His career in the ministry has been marked with a considerable degree of success.
Over a decade later, in 1923, The Border Cities’ Star reported “Dr. M’Dowell To Talk Sunday – Former Windsor Man Will Conduct Services In Church Here – Dr. S. Lawrence McDowell, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Brownsville, Tenn., will preach at the evening service in First Baptist Church, Windsor, Sunday. Dr. McDowell is a speaker of wide experience, having been stationed in several churches in the north as well as the south. He was formerly pastor of the University Avenue Baptist Church at Toronto. One Tuesday night at 8 o’clock Dr. McDowell will lecture on ‘The Negro Facing the Future.’ The meeting will be open to the general public. Dr. McDowell is a former Windsor man, being the oldest son of Mrs. Mary McDowell, 511 Windsor avenue. The morning service in the First Baptist Church will be conducted by the pastor, Rev. H.L. Talbot. His subject will be ‘The Three Survivors.” It was also reported on January 26, 1950 in The Amherstburg Echo that “Rev. S. Lawrence McDowell, a former moderator of the Amherstburg convention of the B.M.E. Church died Monday at Nashville, Tennessee, after a lengthy illness.”
Lawrence’s sister May is mentioned in The Amherstburg Echo on December 20, 1907 after her passing. It says “Miss May McDowell, 20 years old, daughter of Samuel McDowell, Windsor avenue, died Thursday night after a lingering illness. Deceased was a niece of Mrs. Wm. Bush and Simuel McDowell, of Amherstburg, and a cousin of Messrs. and Misses Foster, of Malden. The funeral took place on Saturday. Deceased was a general favourite.”
Now that I’ve discussed the children of Mary Elizabeth and Samuel McDowell, I’ll end this section with a few more details about Mary and Samuel. On November 4, 1910 The Amherstburg Echo printed Samuel’s obituary which says “The funeral of the late Samuel McDowell, whose death notice appeared in the last issue, took place Saturday afternoon to Windsor Grove cemetery and was largely attended by friends and relatives from this town. Mr. McDowell was a son of the late John McDowell, and was born in Anderdon fifty-five years ago. He was one of a large family, only one of whom is now living, Benjamin, of Toledo. He moved to Amherstburg as a young man and was here married to Mary Smith, daughter of the late Capt. James A. Smith. Mrs. McDowell is sister of Mrs. W.H. Bush and Clarence Smith, of this town; Roman Smith, of Cleveland, and J.L. Smith, of Marquette, Mich. Mr. and Mrs. McDowell moved to Windsor some 28 years ago, and became not only one of the best know chefs on the great lakes, but was one of the most highly respected citizens of Windsor. He had charge of the kitchen on the big steel steamer Amasa Stone, for years, and often catered to John D. Rockefeller, J. Pierpont Morgan, and other well known financiers on trips up the lakes. He was compelled to give up his position a short time ago owing to heart trouble, and this caused his death. Besides his widow, he leaves the following family: Rev. Lawrence, pastor University Baptist church, Toronto; Arthur B., clerk, Windsor postoffice; Roman, a mariner and Ella Louise, at home.”
Over a decade later, Mary’s obituary was printed in The Amherstburg Echo which said “Amherstburg homes were saddened by the death in Windsor, Sunday evening, of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth McDowell, widow of the late Samuel McDowell, of that city. She had been a patient sufferer for more than two years. Funeral services were held at the family home, 511 Windsor avenue, Wednesday afternoon, to the First Baptist there, followed by burial in Windsor Grove cemetery. Mrs. McDowell came from one of Amherstburg’s old families. Her maiden name was Mary Elizabeth Smith, and she was a daughter of the late Capt. James A. Smith, who is well remembered in Amherstburg. She was married here about 39 years ago to Mr. McDowell, and they spent all their married life in the Border Cities. Surviving her is the following family: Rev. Lawrence McDowell, of Durham, N.C.; Roman of Detroit; Arthur, mail carrier, of Windsor; Mrs. Lewis Taylor, of Detroit, and Sherman, at home. Besides she leaves the following brothers and sisters: John Smith, of Lorain; Joseph, of Marquette; Philo, of Waynesboro, Pa; Mrs. Wm. H. Bush, of Amherstburg, and Mrs. H. Weeden, of Louisville, Ky., to all of whom sincere sympathy is extended.”
The Border Cities’ Star also printed an obituary for Mary which shares further details. It says “Mrs. M. Mc’Dowell – Resident of Windsor for 42 Years Passes; Amherstburg Native – Mrs. Mary McDowell, 511 Windsor avenue, died Sunday at her residence. She was an old resident of Windsor, having lived here for 42 years, coming here from Amherstburg, her birthplace. The late Mrs. McDowell was active in church work, and was a member of the Board of Management of the Home of the Friendless. Surviving her are one daughter, Mrs. Louis Taylor, of Windsor, and four sons, Rev. Lawrence McDowell, of Durham, N.C., Arthur, Sherman and Roman, all of Windsor. Funeral services will be held at the First Baptist church, Wednesday, at 2 p.m. Interment will be made in Windsor Grove cemetery.”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week where we will celebrate another amazing family.