Born in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, he immigrated to the United States with his parents, who settled in New York City. He attended private schools, engaged in the building and contracting business, and served in the Civil War as a captain in the One Hundred and Thirty-second Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, in 1862 and 1863. He served primarily in Virginia and North Carolina within the XVIII Corps.
He was chairman of the public-school trustees of New York City from 1882 to 1885, and was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-ninth Congress and served from March 4, 1885, until his death in New York City in 1886. Interment was in Calvary Cemetery, Long Island City.
- Abraham Dowdney at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2008-02-14
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