THE WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION PRESENTS:
WILLIAM WALLACE McDOWELL
William Wallace McDowell was born in 1823 in Burke County (now McDowell County), North Carolina. He came to Asheville in 1845, married James McConnell Smith’s daughter Sarah Lucinda one year later, and eventually became Smith’s business partner. After Smith died in 1856, McDowell and his wife acquired this house and moved into it in 1858. The McDowells had ten children. Before the war W.W. McDowell was a farmer, a director of the Asheville Mutual Insurance Company, and an Asheville town commissioner. In 1857 and 1858 he was also an official weather observer for the Smithsonian Institution.
THE BUNCOMBE RIFLEMEN
In December of 1859 in response to the raid on Harper’s Ferry, W.W. McDowell organized a local volunteer company known as the Buncombe Riflemen. With McDowell as its captain it left Asheville in 1861 and as Company E of the North Carolina First Volunteer Infantry participated in the Battle of Big Bethel on June 10, 1861. This was the first major land battle of the Civil War.
W.W. MCDOWELL IN CONFEDERATE OFFICER UNIFORM
After his early service to the Confederacy in 1861, W.W. McDowell fell ill and was forced to return home. He went back to the war the next year to serve as a major in the North Carolina 60th Infantry Regiment and participated in the Chickamauga and Bentonville campaigns.
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The Western North Carolina Historical Association and Smith-McDowell House Museum