Rev. John Dowling, A.M., D.D. was born in England; he came to this country with his wife and two children in the year 1832. At this time the cholera was raging as an epidemic. Leaving his family in New York to pay a flying visit to Catskill, he returned to find his wife and one of his children dead from this dreadful disease -already in their coffins, prepared for burial. Overwhelmed with grief, he returned with his remaining child to Catskill, where he became the pastor of the Baptist Church of that place. While laboring here he met and married Maria S. Perkins, daughter of a prominent gentleman of that town, and who afterward became the mother of John, who became a homeopathic surgeon
He has stood for years at the head of the denomination, and is author of the celebrated work entitled "Dowling's History of Romanism: from the Earliest Corruptions of Christianity to the Present Time ." For over forty years he has successfully labored and preached the Gospel, holding pastorates in New York, Philadelphia, Providence and Newport, R. I. Upon leaving Catskill he accepted a call to the Tabernacle Baptist Church, of New York. Here he remained for several years, during which time his son was born. From here he removed to Providence, R. I., to become the pastor of the First Baptist Church of that town. During his labors in Providence the degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon him by the Trustees of Brown University. From here he removed to New York city, where he labored not only as a pastor, but as a powerful opponent of Popery. Having enjoyed a liberal college education in his own country, he became a formidable opponent, and entered the list in public discussion with the renowned Archbishop Hughes, at the same time penning the "History of Romanism," which obtained for him the degree of D. D. from two celebrated theological seminaries. This great work has been through four editions, the last of which was revised and carried up to the present time. It is now the most complete history of Romanism extant, and stands as an acknowledged authority. On leaving New York he removed to Philadelphia, succeeding the celebrated Dr. Stoughton as pastor of the Sansom Street Baptist Church. Here he was as popular as elsewhere, ministering to one of the largest congregations in the city, and maintaining his high position as a leader in the Baptist denomination. He once more returned to New York, where he still officiates in his holy calling, though with less demonstration. At this date he is sixty-five years of age and in the enjoyment of good health, using his vast influence for good, as he has never failed to do. His fortune being ample, his family have enjoyed the benefits of a superior education.
Samuel H. Ford said concerning the History of Romanism in 1888:"Thirty thousand copies of his great book have been sold. It is a monument to his industry and learning and together with his "Nights and Mornings," his"Power of Illustration," his "Judson Offering," gives him a permanent place among the great men who have shed a luster on the Baptist people of these United States.
[From Egbert Cleave, Cleave's Biographical Cyclopaedia of Homaeopathic Physicians and Surgeons , 1873.This essay is part of an article about his son. Ford's comments are from the Christian Repository and Home Circle, 1888, via the J.H. Spencer Journal, 2016. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More Baptist Bios
Baptist History Homepage