Oct. 2, 1897: Former Portland Mayor Neal Dow, renowned for his lifelong crusade against alcohol consumption, dies in Portland at 93.

Dow served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives. He also was the Prohibition Party’s candidate for president in 1880.

Portland’s Daily Eastern Argus newspaper, whose political leanings in the 19th century often were opposed to Dow’s, lionizes him by saying that “the record of his life is a record of which his native city has good reason to be proud.”

The newspaper calls particular attention to Dow’s service in the Civil War.

“It is with pride that his fellow citizens recall how, on the outbreak of hostilities, although nearly sixty years of age – or fifteen years beyond the subsequent draft limit – he, as a volunteer, raised a regiment, took the field, was twice wounded in battle, was for nine months the victim of all the horrors of Libby Prison (a Confederate military prison in Richmond, Virginia), and became a brigadier general after having enlisted at a time … when he was old enough to be the father of nearly every distinguished commander on the Union side.”

Dow’s former house at 714 Congress St. in Portland is the headquarters of the Maine Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and is a museum showcasing Dow’s life and career.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


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