See also

Dempsey Dowling (1783-1865)

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Dempsey Dowling

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SC Darlington Dist Cheraws Co 1785

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SC Darlington Dist 1800

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AL Dale 1830

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Dowling Dempsey T5R24 T6R23 T6R24

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Dowling Dempsey T6R24 S20 1839

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Dowling Dempsey T5R24

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Dowling Dempsey T6 R23 S13 1852

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Claybank Church

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Dowling Dempsey 1783-1865

 

 

Originally a heavily wooded area, the settlement of what is now Darlington Co began after 1736 and 1737 when the province of South Carolina set aside a vast area of land for the Welsh Baptists of Delaware. This Welsh Tract bordered both sides of the Pee Dee River. For almost thirty years, settlers concentrated on the banks and small tributaries of the Pee Dee River. Local government did not exist for the citizens of the area. All deeds, estate settlements, and other legal matters had to be taken to Charles Town.

Beginning in the 1760s, and continuing in the the 1770s, other groups made their way into present-day Darlington, and were granted lands on the Lynches River, Jeffries Creek, and a host of other water courses. These settlers included descendants of French Huguenots, Scots-Irish, and the English.

In 1769, the Cheraws District was one of the new districts formed in South Carolina to replace the Anglican parishes.

 

Dempsey Dowling1 son of John Dowling and Nancy Boutwell was born on Dec 14, 1783 in Jeffries Creek, Cheraws Dist, SC. He was the first child. The name they gave him, Dempsey, must have been the surname of some family friend. Absolutely nothing is known of his childhood.2,3

 

In 1785, the Cheraws District was divided into counties, Marlborough, Chesterfield, and Darlington counties.

Dempsey Dowling was listed in the household of John Dowling in the census in 1790 in St Thomas Par, Cheraws Dist, SC. male <16.4

In 1800, counties were renamed as Districts and Darlington Co became Darlington District.

Dempsey Dowling was listed in the household of John Dowling in the census in 1800 in Darlington Dist, SC. male 16-25.5

 

Dempsey married Martha Stokes daughter of John Henry Stokes and Nancy Patience Alford on Sep 22, 1803 in Darlington Dist, SC.1

 

 

Dempsey Dowling was the Head of Household in the census in 1810 in Darlington Dist, SC. Dempsey Dooling: males 2<10 (Wesley, Noel), 1 26-44 (Dempsey); females 3 (Lacy, Elizabeth, Millie) <10 , 1 26-44 (Martha).6

 

The War of 1812 set in motion a chain of circumstance which, in the years following it, would cause thousands of Dempsey's descendants to be Alabamians instead of Carolinians. Scores of men such as his brother Zacheus from the old colonies were sent to the edges of young America for defense against the British. Those who went 'to the West' (meaning such places as New Orleans) were enthralled by the sight of such beautiful woodlands, as lay in the un-civilized void between the Atlantic seaboard and the Mississippi river-towns.

 

In 1822, the year before daughter Elizabeth died, Dempsey was elected an elder in his church upon the recommendation of the Pee Dee District Conference that encompassed the Salkehatchee area. It was his reliance in God that prepared this father for such grief as present by this twin's death. Elizabeth was the only child of fourteen who did not live to adulthood and who has no descendants.The other daughters lived to an average age of 52 and the seven sons lived to an average age of seventy. This includes one who died 'early' in the Civil War.

 

Year after year, following the war, the stories around the hearths 'back home' grew richer in the tribute paid the land toward the setting sun.

 

In 1824, a South Carolinian, Elisha Matthews of Darlington District, had accompanied a group to the territory surrounding the confluence of the east and west branches of the Choctawhatchee River in what is now Dale Co AL. Young Matthews was hired there by a Mr. Mills to teach his children, and a few of some neighbors' children. This was the first school ever held in southeast Alabama. That same summer the first white man's craft ever to ply the Choctawhatchee came northward to the blockhouse that had just been erected. The blockhouse was less than a mile east from the point at which the four lane bridge crosses the river south of Ozark.

 

After returning to SC, Elisha married Lacy, the oldest child of Dempsey and Martha. Having received good reports about Dale Co AL from his newly-married daughter, Lacy Matthews, Rev Dempsey Dowling felt the need to go forth and spread the Methodist gospel as brother Zacheus was doing and as Bishop Asbury had brought it unto them. This was weighing heavily on his mind.

 

He sold his 330-acre farm in the Jeffries Creek area of SC (lying on both sides of Lake Swamp) on 27 Sep 1825 and proceeded to move to AL. The subsequent trip to AL took six months. The Dowling wagon train arrived at the Ft Gaines crossing over the Chattahoochee River on 1 Mar 1826 and a week later they were begining a new life at the Richmond (just north of Napier Field in Dale Co AL) settlement in AL. Richmond was the first 'Town' that Dale Co ever had. Richmond was five miles east of the blockhouse on a trail to a ford down-river from Ft. Gaines, where the town of Comlubia was to be founded.

 

But Richmond's death-knell had been sounded when Dale Co was formed. Henry Co officials were evacuating its courthouse as Dempsey arrived. They would have to build another 'town' to replace this old one which now lay in the wrong county. It had been decided that its seat of government should be in the central part of the county.

 

Rev Dowling only stayed in Richmond for two years and then he moved to a new, double-pen round log house on Hurricane Creek, two miles southwest of present-day Ozark, where he spent the remainder of his long life, raising his large family there. (in the SW 1/4 of the SW1/4 of Section 1, Township 5, Range 24). Some years later, Dempsey paid the government $50.18 for this forty acre tract. The price indicates that it was the choicest.

 

There was very little preaching or religious services being conducted in Dale Co during the 1820s. Apparently the Rev John McDonald, a Methodist preacher who later settled near Skipperville, preached a sermon in the open air as early as 1818. Rev McDonald was followed by Rev Dempsey Dowling. Occasionally a missionary passed through the county holding services at the homes of the settlers.

 

About the time he moved to his last home, Dempsey helped found Claybank Church. He, two brothers, three sons, and numerous other descendants preached there. The century old trees that were hewn square for its construction came from son Edward's land. The supporting blocks came from son John Sr.'s land. Rafe, the negro slave of Edward, did most of the log hewing. It is a certainty that no work was done on the Sabbath for a early edition of the 'Alabama Historical Quarterly' states that Dempsey did not even allow meals to be cooked on Sunday. He always had his family walk to the three miles to Claybank services so that his beasts of burden might rest.

 

Claybank church was built in 1829 and 1830. (Dempsey's son Noel married John's daughter Sarah). 'It had no denominational ties, as denominational differences disappeared in the desire to have a house for God and for His servants.' In 1829 the SC Conference of the Methodist Church sent William Steagall to the Chattahoochee Mission. It is known that he preached at Claybank as one of the early circuit riding ministers.

 

 

The three Dowling brothers were strict in their lives and in their teachings going beyond the standard of religious work usually recognized in pioneering. But they had the courage of their convictions and persisted in planting the seeds of the gospel along with evil which was springing up on all sides.

 

Their course often brought criticism which occasionally ripened into bitter persecutions. Rev Dempsey, being the most prominent, as well as the most progressive, came in for the large share of persecution. God seemed to have set His seal of approval on the life and works of this Martyr to his cause, for while the name and posterity of his most rabid persecutiors have almost

 

The three Dowling brothers were strict in their lives and in their teachings going beyond the standard of religious work usually recognized in pioneering. But they had the courage of their convictions and persisted in planting the seeds of the gospel alongwith evil which was springing up on all sides.

 

Their course often brought criticism which occasionally ripened into bitter persecutions. Rev Dempsey, being the most prominent, as well as the most progressive, came in for the large share of persecution.God seemed to have set His seal of approval on the life and works of this Martyr to his cause, for while the name and posterity of his most rabid persecutiors have almost faded from among men, the posterity of Rev Dempsey Dowling, like that of Abraham, have 'become as the sands of the sea, and the stars of the heavens', and possesses a goodly portion in the land of our fathers. Very few if any of them are homeless and they are generally considered good citizens.

 

In 1832 the Methodists created the Alabama Conference out of a part of the old Tallahassee District, and 41 year old Zacheus Dowling, Dempsey's brother, was assigned to the Choctawhatchee Circuit which extended up to Eufaula, at the edge of the Creek Indian Nation. The Rev Dempsey Dowling helped organize a religious camp meeting in 1832 and 1833 at Claybank Church, and he helped organize one at old Westville Beat in the late 1830s.

 

 

An indication of the pay received by Dempsey for his pioneer preaching may be gained by our knowledge that a contemporary, just north of Dale Co in the Pea River Mission, received fifty dollars for his year of work. Therefore, Rev Dowling's major occupation had to be farming. By 1850, he owned thirteen slaves. Their worth probably consittuted the major of his personal worth of $15,070 as recorded on the 1860 census.

 

 

Wife Martha died in 1859.

 

The Dale Co Tombstone Book shows that Dale Co AL contains more Dowling graves that those of any other surname.

 

Many of Dempsey's descendants followed his calling. Great-grandson Will C. Hughes, a Texas minister, stated that he knew of forty-two preachers who descended from this patriarch. One of these forty-two, Angus, was reported by the 'Alabama Christian Advocate' to have made over 2,000 conversions during his ministry.

 

Rev Dempsey Dowling died two weeks after the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox on the day that South's final force surrendered to Sherman at Greensboro, SC on 26 Apr 1865.

 

Dempsey Dowling was the Head of Household in the census in 1820 in Darlington Dist, SC. Dempsy Dowling: males 4 <10 (Noel, James, Zinnamon, Fletcher), 1 10-15 (Wesley) , 1 26-45 (Dempsey); females 2 <10 (Frances, , 3 10-16 (Lacy, Elizabeth, Millie), 1 26-45 (Martha), engaged in commerce3.7

 

Dempsey Dowling was the Head of Household in the census in 1830 in Dale Co, AL. Demcey Dowling: males 1 <5, 1 5-10, 2 10-15, 1 15-20 (James), 2 20-30 (Wesley, Noel), 1 40-50 (Dempsey); females 1 <5, 1 5-10, 1 10-15, 1 15-20, 1 40-50; slaves 4.8

 

Dempsey Dowling was the Head of Household in the census in 1840 in Dale Co, AL. Dempy Dowlin: males 1 10-15, 2 15-20, 1 20-30,1 50-60 (Dempsey); females 1 5-10, 1 15-20, 1 20-30 , 1 50-60 (Martha).9

 

Dempsey Dowling was the Head of Household in the census in 1850 in Dale Co, AL. Dempsey Dowling 67 SC farmer,Martha 64 NC. Real estate worth $1,000. Slaves 13, more than any other Dowling in Dale Co.10

In the slave census in 1860 in Dale Co, AL Dempsey owned. 20.11

 

Dempsey Dowling was the Head of Household in the census in 1860 in Newton, Dale Co, AL. Dempsey Dowling 83 SC farmer, real estate $6,5000, personal property $15, 070.12

Dempsey died on Apr 26, 1865 in Ozark, Dale Co, AL.1 He was buried in Claybank Cem, Ozark, Dale Co, AL. Find A Grave Memorial # is 6299513.13

 

 

 

Martha Stokes1 was the daughter of John Henry Stokes (1756-1836) and Nancy Patience Alford (1765-1830). She and Dempsey Dowling had the following children:

 

Sources

1.

Sons of the American Revolution Application. Custom Id: 9; ancestry.com.

2.

Ancestry Family Trees. Custom Id: 29; ancestry.com.

3.

A Dowling Family of the South. Custom Id: 10; Ozark City Library, ,, Ozark, Dale Co, Alabama.

A Dowling Family of the South

4.

1790 United States Federal Census, Cheraws Dist, SC

District: Cheraws District

Division: St Thomas Parish

 

Pages

15

Page-#

Head

ID

M

<16

>1784

M

>16

<1784

F

 

2-95

John Dowling

12996

2

1

2

2-97

James Dowling

23764

3

1

5

4-303

John Stokes

13692

1

2

6

4-306

Saoni Boutwell

7259

2

3

3

4-315

Robert Dowling

12820

0

2

3

 

5.

1800 United States Federal Census

6.

1810 United States Federal Census, Darlington Dist, SC

Place: Darlington District 1810

pgs

35

Name

Sam's

ID

m

<

10

m 10

15

m

16

25

m

26

44

m

>45

f

<10

f

10

15

f

16

25

f

26

44

f

>45

sl

13a

Dempsey Dowling

12997

2

1

3

1

0

13a

William Dowling

1

1

4

1

1

0

Henry Stokes

8462

1

1

1

4

1

1

0

John Stokes Sen

13692

1

1

1

1

0

16b

John Dowling

12996

3

2

1

1

1

1

1

0

William Cox

3

2

1

1

1

1

 

Margaret Stokes

1

1

1

1

1

0

 

7.

1820 United States Federal Census, Darlington Dist, SC

Place: Darlington District 1820

pgs

21

Name

m

<10

m

10

15

m

16

25

m

26

44

m

>44

f

<10

f

10

15

f

16

25

f

26

44

f

>44

sl

3a

Dempsey Dowling

4

1

1

2

3

1

 

3a

John Dowling

3

1

1

1

1

 

3a

Elias Dowling

 

4b

William Dowling

1

1

2

2

1

1

 

5b

William Hudson Sr

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

 

8a

Hasting Stokes

1

1

1

2

2

11a

Margaret Stokes

1

1

 

13a

John Stokes Jr

3

1

1

1

 

15a

John Stokes Sr

1

2

1

 

 

8.

1830 US Federal Census - AL Dale Co.

Place: Dale Co 1830

pgs

22

Name

m

<5

m

5

-

9

m

10

-

14

m

15

-

19

m

20

-

29

m

30

-

39

m

40

-

49

m

50

-

59

m

60

-

69

m

70

-

79

m

80

-

89

m

90

-

99

m

100

+

f

<5

f

5

-

9

f

10

-

14

f

15

-

19

f

20

-

29

f

30

-

39

f

40

-

49

f

50

-

59

f

60

-

69

f

70

-

79

f

80

-

89

f

90

-

99

f

100

+

sl

17- 5

William Young

1

1

1

6

17-17

William Maund

2

1

1

1

0

17-23

Dempsey Dowling

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

1

 

 

9.

1840 United States Federal Census

10.

1850 United States Federal Census. Custom Id: 237; ancestry.com.

11.

(no text)

12.

1860 United States Federal census. Custom Id: 248; ancestry.com.

13.

Find A Grave. Custom Id: 48; online.