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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 2
James H. Dowdell

Of inestimable worth to a community is the man who aids in developing the natural resources of the country, utilizing the advantages that nature has stored up and converting a raw commodity into a product that is of general use. Into this field of activity James H. Dowdell has directed his labors and is now one of the well known coal operators of the province of Alberta. Since 1920 he has made his home in Edmonton, coming here as one of the officials of the Crown Paving Company, since which time he assisted in organizing the Crown Coal Company, of which he is the president. He continues his connection with both enterprises and is one of the representative and progressive business men of the city. He was born in Lanark district, Ontario, on the 6th of October, 1880, and is a son of Thomas and Eliza (Deacon) Dowdell, who were also natives of Lanark district, where the father still resides but the mother Passed away in October, 1918. The father was a son of John Dowdell, who was born in Ireland, became a pioneer settler of Ontario, and married a Miss Cameron, who was a native of Scotland. The maternal grandfather of James H. Dowdell was Thomas Deacon, also a native of the Emerald isle

and a pioneer settler of Ontario, where he became prominent as a farmer and miller, meeting with substantial success in the conduct of his affairs. Thomas Dowdell, the father of James H. Dowdell, was a successful farmer and drover. Starting on a brush farm he cleared the land and converted it into a rich and productive field. In addition to the production of crops he conducted a dairy and was a stockholder in a cheese factory. He holds membership in the Presbyterian church and in politics is a Conservative. He filled the office of councilor for a number of years, was also justice of the peace and has occupied other positions of public honor and trust, including that of road commissioner. He has always kept abreast with the trend of public thought and progress, broad reading keeping him in touch with all that was vital to the interests of the community and of the country at large. He has ever found his recreation as a follower of Nimrod and has displayed considerable prowess as a hunter. He and his wife had a family of eleven children, ten of whom are living, James H. of this review being the ninth in order of birth.

At the usual age James H. Dowdell became a pupil in the country and high schools of Perth, Ontario. He was first employed on his father's farm, thus working until he reached the age of nineteen years, when he went to New Ontario and there conducted a warehouse for three years. About 102 he made his way westward to Manitoba and became identified with cement work. He devoted his energies to business of that character in Manitoba until he removed to the province of Alberta, settling in Medicine Hat, where he engaged in laying cement sidewalks. He afterward went to Calgary and with a gang of men laid twenty miles of sidewalk in that city in one season. He was the representative of the Crown Paving Company, which he assisted in organizing in 1910 and of which he became the first vice president. He is still identified with this company and it was in that connection that he came to Edmonton in 1920, having been engaged in paving here, however, for a number of years before he took up his abode in the city. In partnership with Jack Starkey he opened the Penn mine under the name of the Crown Coal Company, which was organized as a subsidiary of the Crown Paving Company. This company handled coal for a number of years before purchasing the mine. Mr. Dowdell is the vice president of the coal company and president of the Penn mine, which is being operated to full capacity at the present time. It is thoroughly modern in every way and employs one hundred and twenty-five men, turning out about seven hundred tons of coal per day. The development of the business is attributable in large measure to James H. Dowdell, who has also been an important factor in the successful conduct of the interests of the Crown Paving Company.

In 1910 Mr. Dowdell was united in marriage to Miss Mabel Cummings, who was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and there was reared and educated. They have become parents of two children: Clarence and Reggie, both in school. The family attend the Baptist church. Mr. Dowdell belongs to the Masonic fraternity and is a loyal follower of the teachings and purposes of the craft. In politics he maintains an independent course, voting according to the dictates of his judgment. He finds recreation in various sports, especially hunting and has killed all kinds of wild game. In his younger days he won fame as a boxer and was regarded as the best amateur boxer in the whole countryside. The major part of his time and attention now is devoted to his coal interests and in this connection he has developed one of the most important industries of this section of the province.


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