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Dowling, Michael John "M.J."

House 1901-02 (District 22)

Party when first elected:  Republican

Counties Served:  Renville

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 2/17/1866
Birth Place: Huntington, Massachusetts
Birth County: Hampden
Birth Country: United States
Date of Death: 4/25/1921
Gender: Male
Religion:
Reported Minority: None Reported
Other Names: M.J.
City of Residence (when first elected): Renville
Occupation (when first elected): Real Estate Business/Former Publisher and Editor, The Renville Star Farmer/Former Country Banker/Former Teacher and Principal

EDUCATION

St. Louis Schools, Missouri; Elementary School;
New York Public Schools; Elementary School;
Massachusetts Public Schools; Elementary School;
Wisconsin Public Schools; Elementary School;
Dore School, Chicago, Illinois; Elementary School;
Granite Falls High School; Secondary;
Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota; Attended College; 1 Year

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

Municipal Mayor: Olivia, Minnesota; 1??? to 1???
School Board/Administration: Renville County, Minnesota (Superintendent of Schools); 1??? to 1???
Judge: Renville, Minnesota (Justice of the Peace, 4 years); 18?? to 18??
Municipal Government: Renville, Minnesota (Village Recorder, 1 term); 18?? to 18??
U.S. Executive Branch: United States Education Commissioner (Appointed by President William McKinley); 189? to 1??? [Appointed]
State Legislative Staff: Minnesota House of Representatives (1st Assistant Clerk of the House); 1893 to 1894
State Legislative Staff: Minnesota House of Representatives (Chief Clerk of the House); 1895 to 1898
U.S. Executive Branch: Phillippine Islands (Special Commissioner); 1900 to 1900

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Johanna "Jennie" Leonora Bordewich/Bordewick (married on October 2, 1895; she was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Legislature; she helped found a camp for the disabled that became Camp Courage)
Children: Three children: Dorothy, Marjorie, and Kathleen (daughters)
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:

GENERAL NOTES

He was of Irish ancestry.

He moved to Chicago, Illinois with his parents. Their house was burned in the great Chicago fire in 1871. He came to Minnesota in 1877.

He was out herding cattle and suffered frostbite in the October 15th blizzard of 1880 which resulted in the loss of parts of both legs, his left arm and fingers. (Mpls. Star Tribune, 10/15/2006; and "A True Story of a Self-Made Man.") Progressive Men of Minnesota, 1897 says it was a December 4, 1880 blizzard.

"The blizzard of 1880 descended on Minnesota with such speed and ferocity that young Michael Dowling -- then a 14-year-old farmhand in Canby, Minn., along the southwestern edge of the state -- was caught outdoors without shelter. He survived the snow and frigid temperatures but suffered frostbite so severe that a doctor amputated both legs and his left arm. He lost the fingers of his right hand, too." (Kimball, Joel. "Council's Sesquicentennial Brochure Highlights Lives of Early Minnesotans with Disabilities." MinnPost, June 24, 2008.)

"Michael Dowling was just 17 when he made a deal with the Yellow Medicine County commissioners: If they'd buy artificial limbs for his two legs and left arm (which had been amputated after he was caught in a blizzard) and send him to college for a year, he'd vow to live independently the rest of his life." (Kimball, Joel. "Council's Sesquicentennial Brochure Highlights Lives of Early Minnesotans with Disabilities." MinnPost, June 24, 2008.)

"Michael Dowling, the triple amputee, led the first legislative effort to provide state aid to children with disabilities and the first public hospital for those children was created in 1897; it came to be called Gillette Children's Hospital." (Kimball, Joel. "Council's Sesquicentennial Brochure Highlights Lives of Early Minnesotans with Disabilities." MinnPost, June 24, 2008.)

He ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate.

He was a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), Knights of Pythias, and Ancient Order Of United Workmen (A.O.U.W).

The Dowling School in Minneapolis, Minnesota was named after him.

He was buried in the Cemetery in Olivia, Minnesota.

Total Days Served: 728

SESSIONS SERVED

32nd Legislative Session (1901-1902)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 22
Elected: 11/6/1900
Residence: Renville
Term of Office: 1/8/1901 to 1/5/1903
Counties Represented: Renville
Occupation: Real Estate Business/Former Publisher and Editor, The Renville Star Farmer/Former Country Banker/Former Teacher and Principal
Party: Republican
Committees:
Leadership Position: Speaker of the House
Articles & Books By
Dowling, Michael J. A True Story of a Self-Made Man, More Interesting and Fascinating Than Any Fiction. Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Articles & Books About
Parker, Dick. "It Seemed Like a Season in Siberia." Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 15, 2006, p. B3.

"Writer Revives Inspirational Story of Olivia Hero Michael Dowling. Star Tribune, February 22, 1998.

Cherveny, Tom. "A Life Most Extraordinary." West Central Tribune, February 14, 1998.

Lehmann, Lynn R. Blizzard. Quikread Press, 1997.

"M. J. Dowling." The History of Renville County, Minnesota. Chicago: H.C. Cooper, Jr. & Co., 1916, p. 697.

Shutter, Marion Daniel. "Michael John Dowling." Progressive Men of Minnesota, Minneapolis: The Minneapolis Journal, 1897, p. 163.