|DOW, Neal, politician, soldier, temperance worker. Nickname: "Grand Old Man in the Temperance Cause."
Born 3/20/1804 in Portland, Maine, to Quaker parents. Attended the Friends School of New Bedford, Massachusetts, where Longfellow was a classmate of his. Was trained in mercantile and manufacturing pursuits.
[An unreferenced Wikipedia article states that Dow was a founding member of the Maine Temperance Society in 1827 and that in 1837 he helped found the Maine Temperance Union.]
Returned to Portland in 1829 and became the Chief Engineer of the fire department in addition to continuing his father's tannery concern. His house in Portland was built in 1829 prior to his marriage to Maria Cornelia Durant Maynard.
In 1841, Dow attempted to lead a drunk man out of a grog shop, but others stepped in to stop him. Following this event, Dow started on his temperance career. Eventually, he began travelling through Maine in an open buggy to speak against alcohol. At the time, Maine was reported to have had the largest per capita consumption of alcohol in the United States.
[An unsourced Wikipedia article states that the Maine legislature passed a prohibitory law in 1849 which the governor refused to sign.]
Mayor of Portland 1851-1852; drafted the prohibition bill the same year which was approved by the Maine legislature and named the Maine Law of 1851. [An unsourced Wikipedia article states that Dow again served as Mayor in 1855-1856. During his term, the "Portland Rum Riot" took place, in which a judge issued a search warrant against Dow - who ordered the militia to fire on a mob organized nearby. Dow was tried; future U.S. Senator William P. Fessenden was Dow's attorney. The following year (1856), the Maine Law was repealed.]
At the beginning of the Civil War, Dow volunteered to serve and was appointed Colonel of the 13th Maine Volunteers, which came to be called the "temperance regiment." Appointed Brigadier General while serving on Ship Island and was transferred to the command of Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip. Later was the commander of the District of Pensacola. Served at New Orleans and Port Hudson; wounded at Port Hudson, where he was captured by Confederate soldiers and taken to Libby Prison. After being exchanged for Confederate soldier Wm H.F. Lee, Gen. Robert E. Lee's son, Dow's health was so impaired from his imprisonment that he was sent back to Maine.
After the Civil War, Dow travelled to England and spoke to the United Temperance Society (1866 and later in 1874). Wrote many letters and addresses on the subject of temperance.
[Unsourced Wikipedia article: In 1865 he joined with James Black in establishing the National Temperance Society and Publishing House and became a leading figure in the propaganda campaign in favour of preventing people drinking alcohol.]
Candidate for US President, 1880 (Prohibition Party). Just before the national election, major national newspapers reported incorrectly that Dow was dropping out of the race and endorsing Garfield. It is thought that these reports resulted in Dow's poor showing (he won only 10,305 votes).
Dow played a major role in the adoption of a constitutional amendment in Maine in 1884.
Maried in 1832; wife died in 1883. One son (Frederick N. Dow) and three daughters.
Dow died in Portland ME on 10/2/1897 at 3:30 p.m. after an illness of two weeks. His last words were "I am very weary. I long to be free." Dow was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
New York Times 10/3/1897