James John Dowling was born at Cloonageeragh, Kilrooskey, County Roscommon. He was one of 8 children born to Patrick Dowling and Margaret Kelly. They were members of St. Mary's Church in Ballagh, part of the Kilgefin Parish. James emigrated to St. Louis, Missouri, USA in 1876. In St. Louis, he owned and operated a wholesale grocery, a bank and a real estate brokerage.
James married Margaret Marion (Mary) Kelleher on 29 December 1881 in St. Louis, Mary was raised by Edward Ned Dowling and his wife Ann Maher. They had thirteen children. The oldest, John James, returned to Ireland several times in the 1940s and 1950s. John donated the money to build the new church (St. Mary’s) in Ballagh. In 1952, he contributed about half the funding for the new Ballagh National School, located about 100 yards east of St. Mary’s Church.
On the Ballagh National School website it says:
"In about 1850, a native of Cloonageera, Co. Roscommon, James J Dowling immigrated to Missouri, America. He never forgot his roots and passed on his love of Ballagh and the surrounding area to his children. Mr Dowling’s son, John J Dowling, made a contribution of £1,000 to the parish to erect a new school. The school was erected as a memorial to the late James J Dowling by V. Rev Canon M J O’Reilly in 1953."
|Date of Birth||1850|
|Date of Death||9th Aug 1929|
|Associated Building (s)||Ballagh National School|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Patrick Dowling|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Margaret Kelly|
|Townland born||Cloonageeragh, Kilrooskey, County Roscommon|
|Number of Siblings||Seven|
|Names of Siblings||Timothy b.1835 d.1907 John b. 1843 d.28 August 1918 Bridget Kate Thomas b. 1852 d. 10 June 1916 Ann Matthew|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||1. Margaret Marion Kelleher b.10 April 1865 d. 22 February 1916 2. Margaret Mary Moran b.12 June 1876 d. 21 February 1933|
|Place & Date of Marriage||1. 29 December 1881, St. Louis, Missouri, USA 2. 1918, St. Louis, Missouri, USA|
|Number of Children||Thirteen|
|Names of Children||John James Thomas E. Mary Margaret Agnes Ann Michael J. Mary Margaret Elmyra Belle Kate Ellen James Joseph Edward Patrick Joseph Daniel Clement Joe Marie Claire|
|Occupation||Wholesale grocer; banker; real estate broker|
|Place of Death||Kirkwood, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA|