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University Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
(caption title) A Memorial for William Carey Dowd
(journal title) North Carolina University Magazine, Vol. X, No. 2
John T. Jones, et al.
[Office of the "Weekly Post"]
From The North Carolina University Magazine 10, no. 2 (September 1860): 110-112
Call number C378 UQm v.10 c.2 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
LC Subject Headings:
|OF THE DIALECTIC SOCIETY.||OF THE PHILANTHROPIC SOCIETY.|
|JOHN T. JONES,||THOMAS T. ALLEN,|
|OLIVER T. PARKS,||ROBERT S. CLARK,|
|DAVID W. SIMMONS, JR.||JOEL P. WALKER.|
|Vol. X.||SEPTEMBER, 1860.||No. 2.|
WILLIAM CAREY DOWD, lately a Tutor in the University of North Carolina, was born in Tawborough, N. C., on the 9th of April 1835. He died in Christiansburg, Va., on the 30th of June 1860.
The life of a young man is a prophecy rather than a history. What is passing in his experience is interesting chiefly because of the future it suggests. Should he die young and we recall that which is past, the imagination is immediately quickened by the memory, so that we mourn not only for the loss of that which we have had, but for that also which we would have had. His father and his mother, his brothers and his sisters, the playmates of his childhood and the companions of his youth talk of him as one who promised to be rather than as he who has been, and they dwell upon what may be written of him as one delights in the memory of an unfinished melody, with a regret that it had not been heard to its close. But prophecy hath its powers for us to feel as well as its reveries for us to enjoy. He that hath a pure hope within him is purified thereby. And he who prophesies this hope at once pledges his good name and engages his constant efforts to secure his aim and vindicate his truthfulness. While they who love the prophet and rejoice in the prophecy cheerfully enlist as interested and zealous co-workers for the much desired end.
Such is the influence of the short career whose beginning and end we have chronicled above. He who ran it was the second son of the Rev. Patrick Dowd, a well known minister of the Baptist Church, and so a grandson of Cornelius Dowd, a prominent citizen of Moore county and for years one of its representatives in our Legislature. His maternal grandfather was Mr. Henry Austin, a thrifty merchant of Tawborough. His schoolboy days began with his earliest years and they soon revealed his aptness for learning. He was always at the head of his class whoever composed it or by whomever it was taught. From the Academy of Mr. D. S. Richardson, a teacher of no small repute in Eastern Carolina, he came to the University and joined the Freshman Class in 1854. At his graduation, in 1858, the highest honors in his class for scholarship were conferred on him by the Faculty, and no member of the Dialectic Society received from his associates more frequent or more honorable proofs of their esteem and affection than did young Dowd. Immediately on his graduation he was selected to fill a Tutorship of Latin in the University, a position wherein both pupil and colleague cheerfully granted him respect
and confidence. Failing health prevented his long continuance there, and compelled him to seek for a softer air in the genial climate of Florida during the winter of 1858, where he got little if any benefit. A trip among the mountains of North Carolina and a residence at the Red Sulphur Springs in Virginia refreshed and strengthened him greatly during the summer of 1859, but a return to the Springs in April 1860 was not accompanied by the benefits of the year before. He sank to his final rest while attempting to reach his home, that he might die where he was known and loved the best.
All who knew loved Carey Dowd. He was so gentle in his manners, so amiable in disposition, of so generous a judgment, so truthful and so conscientious in his dealings with others that those who but met with him trusted him without hesitation, while his companions mourn for him as for a much loved brother. His interest in scientific and literary pursuits and his success therein awakened the liveliest hopes that his labors on earth would be widely influential for good. And besides these gifts of nature and these fruits of early and well directed discipline, his character was adorned with a piety which was simple, sincere, unobtrusive, constant, full of faith and good works. He was admitted into the fellowship of the Baptist Church at Salem, in Wake county, by his father, during the fall of 1848, and his reputation as a Christian man was never sullied. His professions as a believer were put to many and sore trials. Bright were his prospects for this life wherever he might labor. Still he hoped that the great Lord of the Harvest would select him as one of His laborers to go forth and preach to all men the glad tidings of the Gospel. To this glorious and to him most attractive mission he was ready to devote all his talents and attainments. But he was obliged to turn his eyes from these alluring prospects to those of protracted and severe bodily sufferings. Nevertheless, during his long and hope exciting yet hope deferring decline, no one ever heard from him a murmur of regret or a sigh of despondency. Always cheerful he sought to cheer those around him whose tears showed them to be less equanimous than himself. To his mother especially he was ever loving, attentive, and tender. When she was full of solicitude for his comfort and praying anxiously for his recovery, forgetting his own weakness he would strive to strengthen her breaking heart by pointing her to the sympathy of their common Lord and Saviour, and enforcing his advice by his own patience, he would whisper--"Be patient, Mother, we must be persuaded that this is best for us. If we wait awhile all things will be right."
Doubtless all things are now right with Carey Dowd: and all thing will be right with his sorely stricken family if they abide by his exhortations; and all things will be right with his companions if, emulating his
example, they manifest his faith and patience; and all things will be right in our country when all her young men are as quiet, honest, sincere, courteous, intelligent and devout as was William Carey Dowd.
"Life's duty done, as sinks the clay
Light from its load the spirit flies;
While Heaven and earth combine to say
'How blest the righteous when he dies.'"
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