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Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
Samuel A. McDowell


SOURCE: Biographical Annals of Cumberland County Pennsylvania -- containing Biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and of many of the early settled families. -- illustrated -- Chicago, The Genealogical Publishing Co. 1905, pages 23 - 24

DR. SAMUEL A. McDOWELL passed away in Carlisle in 1887, and his widow has since resided in that place, where she also had her early home. Through the Doctor lived abroad many years, returning to his native land but a short time before his death, he was well known and much esteemed in Carlisle and Cumberland county, and as a dentist who had the reputation of being a leader in his profession in Europe for many years he enjoyed considerable renown on the Continent.

Samuel A. McDowell was born in 1828 in Cumberland county, and was a son of John McDowell, a native of the county and a lifelong agriculturist, who lived near North Mountain in the neighborhood of McClure's Gap. John McDowell married Margaret Laird, who was, like himself , of Scotch-Irish descent.  Samuel A. was but five months old when his father died, and he remained with his mother, spending his boyhood and youth on a farm in Cumberland county.  He first attended the district schools, and later was a student at Tuscarora Academy, in Juniata County, Pa., after which he took up the study of dentistry with Dr. I. C. Loomis, of Carlisle. His first location for practice was at Toledo, Ohio, but his health failing there he moved South, settling at Goldsboro, N. C. When the Civil war broke out, in 1861, he was forced to flee to the North, and left everything, household goods, office fixtures, and all, to reach a place of safety. They were eleven days and nights getting to their northern destination, at Norfolk, Va., having been refused a pass to the north, so that they were obliged to retrace their steps and go through Tennessee and Kentucky, passing through Bowling Green, in the latter State. They went to Pittsburg, Pa., and thence to Carlisle. Dr. McDowell then went abroad, going to Basel, Switzerland, and practicing there five years and in London, England, for a year. His next move was to Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany, where he remained, in active practice for ten years, until his return to America. Dr. McDowell was recognized as one of the leading dental practitioners of Europe, and counted among his patrons many scions of the English, German and Russian nobility, as well as famous wealthy families, the Rothschilds among others.

Though a successful man in every sense of the word Dr. McDowell remained to the end an unaffected, lovable character, a Christian of the highest type, and a saintly man in all the relations of life. While in North Carolina he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. In politics he was originally a Whig, but after his return to America he allied himself with the Prohibition party.

In 1860 Dr. McDowell was married, in Carlisle to Hester M. McClellan, who survives him, and makes her home in Carlisle, one of the most respected residents of that place. Mrs. McDowell comes from the same family as Gen. John B. McClellan, being a descendant of Sir Robert McClellan, a native of Scotland who was banished from that country because of his faith or political views, and came to America. He returned to Scotland, where he died, but he left two sons here. The McClellans originally settled in New Jersey, later in Chester county, Pa., but John McClellan, Mrs. McDowell's grandfather, was a farmer of York County, owning 200 acres of land. He died there. Mitchell McClellan, her father, was the first of the family to come to Cumberland county, where he was engaged in farming, near Carlisle, to which city he removed on retiring from active life. He died on the homestead there in 1885, at the advanced age of eighty-five years, and his wife, Mrs. Susanna (Black) McClellan, survived until 1890, reaching the age of eight-six years. Her father, Thomas Black, was an officer in the Revolutionary war.  Mr. and Mrs. McClellan were the parents of eight children, namely: John S., who is a resident of Philadelphia, Pa.; Martha, who married James Stuart and is deceased; Elizabeth; Jane, who died young; Hester M., Mrs. McDowell; Margaret, who died in 1898, unmarried; James M., who died in Montgomery county, Pa.; and Virginia H., of Carlisle. James M. McClellan left three sons and one daughter: George B., Arthur J., Samuel A., and Henrietta, of Philadelphia. These boys are being educated by Mrs. McDowell. George B. and Arthur are attending Dickinson College, and Samuel A. is a student at the Grammar School.


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