JAMES E. DOWLING - James E. Dowling, a member of the Springfield bar, was born in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, April 19, 1844. His parents, Patrick and Anna (Dolan) Dowling, were both natives of Ireland, were married in their native land and came to America in their early married life. The father, engaging in business as a railroad contractor, graded the Pennsylvania Central Railroad through what is now the city of Altoona, and built the first house in that place.
James E. Dowling began his education in the country schools of his native county and in 1859, when a youth of fifteen years, became a resident of Illinois. He entered the high school at Freeport, where he attended for three years, a member of the class of 1860, and in 1864 he was graduated from Albany Law University, of Albany, New York. His early life was that of the average young farmer of Illinois. He possessed a studious disposition and gained much pleasure from the mastery of various branches of learning. On leaving high school his attention was directed to farming pursuits and he also engaged in teaching school, first in Christian county and afterward in Menard county. He was admitted to practice in 1865. The same year opened a law office in Petersburg, Illinois, and soon became an active member of the legal fraternity. He was appointed assistant secretary of the state senate in Springfield and in 1867 was again on the committee of banks and corporations in the state legislature.
Mr. Dowling was married in Petersburg in 1865 to Miss Sivila Davis, whose parents were early settlers of Menard county, having settled at Cleary Grove, in that county. Her father was one of the first merchants in the county, conducting a general store as a member of the firm of Davis & Adams, at Petersburg. It was necessary that Mr. Dowling, following his marriage, should have an immediate source of income and to this end he taught school for a number of years, but devoted his leisure hours to the reading of law and to the mastery of the principles of jurisprudence. In 1865 he was admitted to the bar of Springfield and entered upon the practice of his profession, in which he has since continued. In 1877 he removed from Menard County to Springfield, where he has since been in active practice. For a number of years he has maintained an office in Judge McGruder's building on the north side of the square in Springfield directly opposite the court house. His clientage has grown to his satisfaction and his law business has become of an important character. He has manifested the strong trait of the successful lawyer, preparing his cases with great thoroughness and care and presenting his arguments in the strong clear light of common sense and reason.
Mr. Dowling owns one of the best country homes in Illinois, situated in the west part of Springfield near Washington Park where he has resided for the past quarter of a century, and upon this place is a large orchard. As his home was near the present site of Washington Park he was anxious to have the park established and gave a strip of land for this purpose. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dowling have been born nine children: William E., who married Katherine Ellis; Effie Jane, the wife of P.J. Ryer; Ira T., who married Mildred Dereicott; Lois, deceased; John P., who married Matilda Stevens; Bertie, who married Julius Dongee; Maud and Mable, twins, who died at the age of seventeen years; and Neva. Mr. Dowling is a stanch Republican in his political views and a Methodist in his religious faith.