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Below is a family biography from the book, History of Kentucky, Edition 8a by J. H. Battle, W. H. Perrin and G. C. Kniffin and published by F. A. Battey Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM PRESTON McDOWELL was born in Louisville, Ky., May 28, 1838, and at the beginning of the late Inter-State war was engaged in the study of law in the Commissioner’s office of the Chancery Court of his native city. Before the President called upon Kentucky for her quota of troops, he, thinking that his State would, not furnish any soldiers for the Federal army, proceeded to Washington City and offered his services to President Lincoln. While in Washington he received a telegram from Col. Curran Pope, stating that he (Pope) had received authority to raise a regiment for the Union army, and that he desired his (McDowell’s) assistance, and tendering a position as field officer. On the advice of President Lincoln this offer was accepted, and he returned to Louisville and used all his energy in filling the Fifteenth Regiment Kentucky Infantry Volunteers, to facilitate which he resigned all pretension to a field office and accepted the position of adjutant, receiving commission as such September 15, 1861. He served with the regiment until August 3, 1862, when he was detailed on the staff of Major General Lovell H. Rousseau, then commanding the Third Division of the Army of the Ohio. At the battle of Chaplin Hills (Perryville) he served as aide-de-camp, and received much praise for his gallantry. After this battle he was appointed acting assistant adjutant general of the division, and served in this capacity until the battle of Stone River. In the first day’s engagement he was wounded severely in the left arm; but although the wound was painful, he refused to leave the field until loss of blood compelled him to retire. On the 15th of March, 1863, he was commissioned by the President, assistant adjutant general, with the rank of major, and continued in the service as such until near the close of the war, when, by the re-opening of his wound, he was compelled to resign. After the war he engaged in business in Louisville until 1871, and then accepted the position of treasurer of the Louisville Water Company, which he has held for the last fifteen years. His parents were Dr. William Adair and Maria (Harvey) McDowell, natives of Virginia. His father came to Louisville in 1837, and practiced till just before his death in 1854. He was a regular graduate of college; read medicine at Danville, and was some years professor in the University of Louisville. Subject was educated in the city schools of Louisville, and was deputy commissioner of Louisville Chancery Court when the war broke out. He was married in 1865 to Miss Kate G. Wright, daughter of John H. Wright, an old merchant of this city. He is the father of six children living.

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This family biography is one of 195 biographies included in the Jefferson County, Kentucky section of the book, The History of Kentucky, Edition 8a published in 1888 by F. A. Battey Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: History of Kentucky, Edition 8a

View additional Jefferson County, Kentucky family biographies here: Jefferson County, Kentucky Biographies

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