Bio of Fred N. Dow
As found in REPRESENTATIVE MEN OF MAINE
A Collection of Biographical Sketches.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher
1893

FRED N. DOW, a son of General Neal and Maria Cornelia Durant (Maynard) Dow, was born in Portland, Dec. 23, 1840. His ancestry was among the earlier settlers of New England, prominent in the civil affairs ol the colonies, and contributed officers to the colonial troops in three wars. On his mother's mother's side, he is of Huguenot decent and through her father is a descendant of Sergeant John Maynard, the famous lawyer in the Commonwealth period of English History. On his father's side he descends from John Dow, who died in Tylemouth, England, in 1540, whose grandson, Henry Dow, was the first of the family to settle in this country, and the father of that Henry who was active in the civil and military service of the colony of New Hampshire.

Mr. Dow attended the Portland Academy, Portland High School, and the Friends' School, of Providence, Rhode Island. Always fond of books, he has supplemented his school course with systematic and extensive reading. He left school at sixteen years of age, to fit himself for business which his honored grandfather, the late Josiah Dow, then ninety years of age, was about relinquishing, and to which his renowned father, because of his devotion to the cause of temperance, was thereafter to give but little attention. In this business, that of tanning Mr. Dow served in every capacity from that of "boy" to managing partner, until, owing to his failing health, he retired from it in 1874. In October, 1864, he married Julia Dana, daughter of the late William Hammond, Esq., a prominent citizen of Portland. Their children are William H., Vice-President of the Evening Express Publishing Company, and Marion Durant.

In 1874 Mr. Dow read law in the office of Generals James D. and Frank Fessenden. Admitted to the Bar, a few years later, upon accession to the care of important business interests, he was obliged to relinquish practice.

At the outbreak of the war for the Union, being still in his minority, Mr. Dow volunteered in the first company of militia which offered its services to the State. But his father, believing his strength unequal to a soldier's life, objected to his enlistment, and entering the service himself made it impracticable for the son so to do.

Mr. Dow early became interested in public affairs, and before he was thirty served several years in the City Government and School Committee of Portland. In 1871 he was appointed on the staff of Governor Perham with the rank of Colonel. In 1872-4 he was a member, and in the latter year chairman, of the Executive Council of the State. During his service in this body, he was particularly interested in the Reform School, and to his efforts, as much as to any other agency, is to be attributed the substitution of the reformatory for the cell and penal system, which until then obtained in that institution.

In 1874 be was unanimously nominated by the Republicans of Cumberland County for State Senator, but was not elected. Growing out of his defeat, came the loss next year of the entire Republican County ticket, and at the request of all factions in his party, Mr. Dow, in 1876, became a member of the Republican State Committee, devoting himself, with marked success, to harmonizing and reorganizing the Republicans of Cumberland County. The same year he was appointed by Gov. Dingley one of the Commissioners from Maine to the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. He served as a delegate at large to the Republican National Convention at Chicago in 1880.

On the retirement of James G. Blaine from the chairmanship of the Republican State Committee, Mr. Dow was chosen Chairman of the Executive Committee. In this capacity he had charge of the exciting and successful Republican Campaign of 1882, adding thereby materially to his reputation as a political leader and organizer.

A ready and effective speaker, a forcible writer, and enjoying an extensive acquaintance throughout the State, Mr. Dow secured an influential position in the councils of his party. Active and influential in political affairs, of strong convictions, and positive in the expression of his opinions, it was natural that he should arouse antagonism. But he has never allowed political differences to disturb personal relations, and it has been often said that he has at once more earnest political opponents and friends than any other man in Portland.

In February, 1883, President Arthur, in response to a request of the citizens of Maine, unprecedented in unanimity and without regard to party, appointed Mr. Dow to the Collectorship of the Port of Portland, to succeed the late Hon. Lot M. Morrill. Under his administration the business of the office was brought to the highest Point of efficiency, and Collector Dow received commendations therefor from all quarters. In the campaign of 1884 he was very active, and was removed for "offensive partisanship" in 1885, by President Cleveland.

In 1886 Mr. Dow was largely instrumental in measures which culminated in the general organization of permanent political clubs through the country. He was the first president of the Portland Club. which was the first of its kind in the State and the second in the country. He was also the first President of the Maine State League of Republican Clubs. About this time, with James G. Blaine and others, he became interested in the Evening Express, making of it an earnest Republican organ and widely extending its circulation and influence.

In the fall of 1886 Mr. Dow was unanimously nominated for the Legislature by the Republicans of Portland, and was elected, receiving a larger vote than any of his associates on the ticket In the House he served on the Judiciary and Library Committees. Re-elected in 1888, he was chosen Speaker, having been unanimously nominated by the Republicans. In this position he enjoyed the confidence and respect of his associates, who, without regard to party, united in most flattering testimonials to his ability and impartiality as a presiding officer.

Upon the accession of President Harrison in 1889, Mr. Dow's friends desired the latter's restoration to the Collectorship, from which he had been removed, but Mr. Dow refused to have action in that direction taken until the expiration of the term for which his successor had been appointed. In October, 1890, he was nominated by President Harrison for Collector and instantly confirmed by the Senate without the almost invariable formality of a reference to a committee. This position he still holds.

Mr. Dow is actively engaged in various enterprises, giving full employment to his time and energy. There are few busier men in Portland, and very few who are at their places of business earlier in the morning or more hours in the twenty-four than he. He is largely interested in real estate in Portland, he is President of the Evening Express Publishing Company, President of the Portland, and a Director oethe Casco, Loan and Building Association. He is a Director of the Westbrook Manufacturing Co., of the Portland Gas Light Co., of the Casco National Bank and C. U. Telegraph Co., and was formerly a Director of the P. & 0. R. R.


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