Woman of the Century/Mary E. H. G. Dow
DOW, Mrs. Mary E. H. G., financier, born in Dover, N. H„ 15th December, 1848. Her maiden name was Mary Edna Hill. She is a daughter of Nathaniel Rogers Hill. She was educated partly in Dover. While she was yet a child, her parents removed to Boston, Mass., and it was there she got the larger part of her schooling. When seventeen years of age, she was graduated with high honors from the Charlestown high school. For some years she was a successful assistant principal of the Rochester, N. H., high school, and after went to St. Louis, Mo., where for three years she was instructor in French and German in a female academy. When twenty-five years old, she was wooed and won by a wealthy resident of Dover, George F. Gray, part owner and editor of the Dover "Press," a Democratic weekly paper published there. They spent two years in Europe Three children were born to them, and after a few years Mr. Gray died. Before her marriage she was correspondent for several newspapers, among them the Boston "Journal" and "Traveller," "New Hampshire Statesman," the Dover "Enquirer." and some southern papers. Five years after the death of her first husband she became the wife of Dr. Henry' Dow, of Dover. They spent some time in England. Returning to Dover, Mrs. Dow began to attract attention as a financier. In January, 1888. she was elected president of the Dover Horse Railway, an event that caused much commotion in railway circles. She was perfectly familiar with the affairs of the road and had secured a majority of its stock The story of this occurrence is interesting The road had been a failing enterprise. The patrons found fault with the accommodations and the excessiveness of fares, and the stockholders growled at the excessiveness of expenses and the small receipts. For years it had paid but a small dividend. A Boston syndicate made overtures for possession of the whole stock, and with such success that the board of directors reached the point of voting to sell. Mrs. Dow was out of town during these negotiations, but returned as the sale was about to be consummated. She held a small amount of the stock, and was approached with an offer for it at something like one-third the price at which it had been bought. With characteristic promptness she at once decided that, if the stock was so low, and yet the Boston syndicate expected to make the road pay, any other able financier might reasonably indulge the same hope; that, if there were any profits to be obtained, they ought to be saved to Dover, and that she would try her own capabilities in the matter. Her attitude interrupted the syndicate's scheme, and for some weeks there was a contest of wits to see who would get control of the most blocks. When the next meeting was called, it was supposed that the property would be transferred to the Boston party, but it transpired to every one's astonishment that Mrs. Dow was master of the situation; she had acquired more than half the stock. Her election to the presidency was certain. As her own votes would elect the directorate, that body would lie necessarily of her own choice. Several among the Hover gentlemen, who desired to be on the board, said that they would not vote for a woman for president. It was simply preposterous and meant bankruptcy. But the matter presented itself to the ambitious gentlemen in this form : Agree to vote for Mrs. Dow, and you can hold office; otherwise you can not. They succumbed, but with chagrin and trepidation. Mrs. Dow at once demonstrated her ability to manage the road so as to make it a paying property. She did that to perfection, showing herself the equal of any male manager in the country.