William H. Dowds (Sometimes spelled Douds) was a carpenter by trade and lived in Mobile. Alabama. He was married and had two children. His wife was Elizabeth Wright. He was born in Kentucky in 1836. William married Elizabeth on September 30, 1859, in Mobile. His first child was Laura Lydia Dowds, born in 1866, and a son. William Henry Dowds Jr., born about 1867.
William and his family decided to make the move to Brazil and signed up with the group led by Lansford W. Hastings. Major Hastings had worked out with the Brazilian government for a colony to be set up at Santarem on the Amazon River - about halfway between Belem to the east and Manaus to the west. The group set sail on the "Margaret" in July of 1867. To their disappointment, many of the representations made to the colonists did not pan out and the Dowds family was put in a precarious situation. Shortly after their arrival, Elizabeth died on May 1, 1868, in Para, leaving William with the young children. He was for a long time out of employment and finally landed a job with Admiral Tucker of the Brazilian navy who was conducting an expedition up the Amazon. When William left Para, where he had been living, he was indebted to the innkeeper of an Italian boarding house for a considerable amount of money for his board, and being unable to pay, he hired his two children out for servants to the Italian. Dowds accompanied the expedition as far as Aqitas, a Peruvian military post on the Amazon, where he died September 16, 1876 in Iquitos, Loreto, Peru while in prison, where he was sent for killing a soldier.
In the meantime, the children had been taken away from the Italian by an American surgeon who was connected with the Brazilian army, on account of their having received very cruel treatment. The doctor kept the children for some time when he found a suitable home for them, and a gentleman who would make his home in Rochester, New York, took the girl. A few months later, the gentleman returned to New York taking the girl with him. The girl, Laura, would be baptized in Rochester on April 16, 1881. No information on the boy who had remained in Brazil.
William H Dowds
Name: William H Dowds
Enlistment Rank: Private
Muster Place: Alabama
Muster Company: C
Muster Regiment:3 2nd Infantry
Muster Regiment Type: Infantry
Muster Information: Enlisted
Side of War: Confederacy
Title: Index to Compiled Confederate Military Service Records
Alabama, U.S., Civil War Muster Rolls, 1861-1865
Name Wm H Douds
Military Unit 32nd Alabama Infantry Regiment
Military Unit - Company H
Enlistment Date 12 Feb 1862
Place of Enlistment - CountyMobile
Place of Enlistment - StateAlabama
Archive Collection #SG025042-9