Charles M. Dowlen biography

It is befitting to present in brief an outline of the effort expended by our worthy subject upon Texas soils during the comparatively brief period of his independent career and to set out at some length, the genealogical record of this industrious and thrifty family.

The Dowlen family was founded in Texas, in Lamar county, by a Mr. Dowlen, in 1853. He brought his family into this state from Knox county, Tennessee, and opened up a farm in the then new country about Honey Grove. His efforts were expended in the growing of crops and in other ways usual to that early day and he died about 1874, leaving a widow, who had borne him the following children: John W., William H., of Windom, Texas; Samuel M., Channing, Texas; Alexander, of Honey Grove; Lewis, of Petty, Texas; Vance A., of Oklahoma; Eliza, widow of Owen Bryan; and Nancy, wife of Judson Harold of Hall county, Texas.

Vance A. Dowlen was fifteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to Texas. He was a freighter during the Civil War and has been a man with many and varied avocations since. He is a resident of Wallace, Oklahoma, at present, and has reared a large family by Julia A. Ragsdale, whom he married in Lamar county, Texas. Mrs. Dowlen was a daughter of Robert R. Ragsdale, an early settler of that county who died at the advanced age of ninety-seven years in 1900. Mr. and Mrs. V. A. Dowlen’s children are: Robert A., of Potter county; Texas; John W., of Clay county; Charles M., of this notice; William A., of Oklahoma; May, wife of William Roberts; Lucy, wife of Fulton Brown, of Canyon City, Texas; Thomas, of the same place; Mary who married Ural Brown and resides at Amarillo; Samuel H., of Oklahoma; Marvin, of Oklahoma; Lewis C., of Canyon City, Texas, and Belle, wife of Robert J. Lester, of Oklahoma.

Charles M. Dowlen acquired a smattering of education in the country schools of Lamar county and aided his father at farm and other work during his youth and early manhood. Upon reaching his majority he began life on his own account. By day’s work he provided himself with the means toward preparing himself for his initial work on a rented farm and when he did begin to plow and sow for himself it was as the owner of a team and a plow, largely bought on time. He broke sod at odd times to replenish his fading treasury and remained in Lamar county till 1891, when he went to western Texas and lived first in Randall, then in Potter and finally in Deaf Smith county. He filed on a school section, worked it three years, with only fair success because of the droughty character of the seasons. He disposed of this real estate out west and came to Clay county in 1895 and two years later bought a part of his present farm. His first purchase was one of two hundred and ninety and one-half acres in conjunction with a brother, which was subsequently divided. He then purchased tracts of one hundred and five acres, and one hundred and eighty-five acres twice, one hundred and sixty acres and two hundred acres, and form these holdings he sold one hundred and five acres, leaving him with six hundred and forty acres, leaving him with six hundred and forty acres of rich alluvial soil. Stock and grain farming have been the chief occupation of Mr. Dowlen. He broke out his farm and fenced it and the other improvements which are coming along in the course of time and convenient and appropriate. While doing all the preliminary work toward farm cultivation and improvement he also conducted a bachelor’s establishment which grew more irksome and monotonous and unsatisfactory day by day. He tired of this condition about the opening of the new century and proffered his hand and half his estate to Miss Birdie Wade and they were married October 30, 1901. Mrs. Dowlen is a daughter of John K. and Gertrude (Phillips) Wade who came from Clay county, Texas, in 1900, from Pike county, Illinois. Mrs. Dowlen preceded them two years and made her home with the family of I. S. Lightle.

Mrs. Dowlen was born on the 3rd day of September, 1879, and is one of six children, namely: Birdie, Edna, wife of Henry Musgrove, of Wichita county, Texas; Flossie, Lena, Eugenia and Celia. Mr. and Mrs. Dowlen’s only child is Glenn Wade, born July 28, 1902. Their home is hospitable and comfortable and they divide their substance with their fellows with a wise liberality. They are progressive within their means and expect nothing that their labor and a wise Providence does not bring them.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 418-419.



Submitter Linda Self
Date 30 January 2006; updated 3 October 2008
Notes “I have a photo of Richard Francis Self, my husband’s great-grandfather, sitting in a wagon in front of a store named ‘Dowlen & Ballingers.’ We thought the photo was taken approximately 1895. We believe Mr. Dowlen or Mr. Ballinger is in the photo, along with several other Self men. However, due to the dates, we feel it must be one of Charles Dowlen’s sons. The Self community was named after George Washington Self and his son, George Thomas Self.”