Caswell County Genealogy

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Dowdy, John Lawrence

Male 1890 - 1955  (64 years)

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  • Name Dowdy, John Lawrence 
    Birth 11 Aug 1890  Chatham County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Reference Number I74748 
    Death 17 Jan 1955  Danville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I74748  Caswell County
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2023 

    Father Living 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Beal, Mary Louise,   b. Abt 1858, Chatham County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 26 Oct 1925, Durham, Durham County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 67 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Family ID F51962  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Martin, Mary Linnie,   b. 1921 
     1. Living
    +2. Dowdy, John Lawrence Jr.,   b. 12 Oct 1934   d. 18 Mar 2008 (Age 73 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    Family ID F51961  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2023 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 11 Aug 1890 - Chatham County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 17 Jan 1955 - Danville, Virginia Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Notes 
    • Dowdytown Is Raided Again: Brew Seized

      Caswell Officers Have a Busy Day -- 13 Arrested in Two Raids

      (Special to The Bee.)

      Yanceyville, N.C. Aug 18 -- Caswell county officers became conspicuously active yesterday making two raids during the course of the day during which time they arrested thirteen men for various violations, most of whom are now in jail here.

      One of the raids centered on Dowdytown -- one of several made recently by officers and it resulted in eleven men being taken into custody. Three officers made the descent, W. C. Taylor, deputy sheriff of this township, aided by Herman Smith, of Dan River, and J. Cullen Bryant, game warden and a physical giant with it. They made their way by circuitous route to a branch near Dowdytown and report surprising eight negroes who were engaged in rolling dice. None of them got away and were made secure.

      From there, the officers went to John Dowdy's place of business and reported capturing nearby an automobile in the rumble seat of which they found home brew on ice and about 7 gallons of liquor in the front seat. John Dowdy was arrested as were Peyton Lunsford, another white man whose condition was such that repeated questions of him for his name, the officers reported, drew little but a blank stare. With this load the officers returned to this place where Dowdy gave $300 bond for appearance Monday. He was already under another bond at the time. The others were put in jail.

      Doubling back, Taylor accompanied by Sheriff Gunn, J. C. Long and H. A. Smith, went to a point near Park Springs and there arrested Joe Fogleman, of Burlington, and W. E. Boggs, a Danville barber, who were arrested for inebriety and who gave bond for appearance.

      While all this was going on a well organized manhunt was in progress in another part of the county. C. E. Diamond deputy of Stony Creek, and Stokes Butler was [sic] notified that the store of T. R. Minor had been broken into and that the storekeeper had surprised the two alleged burglars who fled, leaving their automobile and some goods taken from the store. The two men made a dash for some heavy woods and the two officers ringed the woods with a posse of forty hastily summoned men. As they closed in they flushed their alleged quarry but there was no escape. One gave the name of Attress Sutton, of Alamance and the other gave the name of Shambley of Lexington, N.C. Both are in jail.

      Source: The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 18 August 1928, Saturday, Page 1.

      Dowdytown Was a Rough Place Back in the Day

      Dowdytown Negro Dies of Old Wound: Injury Inflicted by John Dowdy Proves Fatal: 1931

      Police today were investigating the death of Alexander Henderson, a 24-year-old negro who succumbed yesterday morning in Providence Hospital to a gun shot wound in the leg inflicted September 26th, the injury becoming progressively worse until a final operation for the amputation of the leg proved fatal.

      The negro died without making an ante mortem statement, but police today were in possession of the name of the man who, the negro is said to have stated, shot him one night in Dowdytown. City Coroner J. E. Taylor was also pursuing an inquiry today. The only reference to the man who shot Henderson was made to hospital attendants whose word now is relied upon to form the basis of whatever process follows. He was quoted as saying he was shot at Dowdytown. The case was not reported to the authorities chiefly because of the intermittent visits which Henderson made to the hospital.

      The wounded man was brought to the hospital on the night of September 26th with a bullet wound above the knee. The bullet had ranged down, however, and was removed from the muscles of the calf. Henderson seemed to make progress and left the institution on September 30.

      On October 21st he was again brought to the hospital for treatment. The leg did not appear to be mending and he was suffering hemorrhages from the wound. He continued to take treatment until October 26th. Then he left the institution to be brought back on December 1st, this time in serious condition. He was in weakened condition and there were symptoms of gangrene. The immediate effort was to build him up for the shock of an operation for the removal of the limb. This was undertaken on Sunday evening by Dr. Julian Robinson who was called in the last desperate resort to save his life with small chance of his recovery because of his general weakness and the condition of his system.

      While local hospitals have been more prompt of recent weeks in reporting all violent injury admissions to the police, the local authorities today still pointed to any mandatory provision in the city ordinances which would compel such action by the hospitals.

      Chief of Police J. H. Martin said today that there had been no mystery about the shooting and that it had been investigated promptly at the time by Sheriff Gatewood, of Caswell County, also by local police. The version at the time is that he had a quarrel with John Dowdy on the night of the shooting, that the negro left the scene and returned later with a shot gun whereupon Dowdy fearing that the negro was about to shoot him, fired and wounded him in the leg. Dowdy is said to have given this explanation of the shooting at the time.

      The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 8 December 1931, Tuesday, Page 2.

      The Hendersons lived less than a mile away, and the man was drunk. My Grandfather ran a liquor still and sold liquor where it happened. Source: Randy Dowdy 15 March 2020 post to the Caswell County Historical Association Facebook Page.

      There are multiple versions of this shooting. One is that John Lawrence Dowdy attempted to stop a fight between two black men when one of the men lunged at Dowdy with a knife. That was when the knife-lunging black man was shot by Dowdy. This was the story related to the police by Augustus Swain Dowdy, who purportedly witnessed the event.

      North Carolina Marriage Records
      Name: John Dowdy
      Gender: Male
      Race: White
      Age: 21
      Birth Year: abt 1880
      Marriage Date: 15 Sep 1901
      Marriage Place: Caswell, North Carolina, USA
      Spouse: Emma Barber
      Spouse Gender: Female
      Spouse Race: White
      Spouse Age: 18
      Event Type: Marriage