Baylor University Poage Library

John V. Dowdy, Sr.
Biographical Chronology


Born February 11 in Waco, McLennan County, Texas
Lived early years in Rusk, Texas


Graduated from high school in Henderson, Texas


Attended College of Marshall (now East Texas Baptist University)


Court reporter and private study of law


Married Mary Ellen "Sunshine" Fite of Carthage, Texas


December 3 - Daughter Carol Sue born


Admitted to the bar and began law practice in Athens, Texas while still Court Reporter


July 3 - Son John, Jr. "Skipper" born


December 6 - Wife died following death of a third child


Elected District Attorney, 3rd Judicial District of Texas
Served until his election to Congress in 1952


Married Johnnie Deana "J.D." Riley in August


Member of Congress for 7th Texas District, served in 83rd through 92nd Congress

Committee assignments:

  • 83rd Congress - Post Office and Civil Service
  • 84th Congress - Post Office and Civil Service, House Administration
  • 85th through 92nd Congresses - Judiciary, District of Columbia Subcommittee


March 31st - Indicted by federal grand jury in Baltimore, MD on charges of conspiracy, perjury, and promoting bribery

The circumstances of the case are as follows:

  • 1965, Sept. 22 - Dowdy allegedly accepted a $25,000 bribe to intervene in the federal investigation of Monarch Construction Company of Silver Springs, MD.
  • 1970, April 10 - Dowdy arraigned on the indictment
  • 1971, November 8 - Trial began
  • 1971, December 30 - Convicted on eight counts: two counts of conspiracy, one count of transporting a bribe over state lines, and five counts of perjury
  • 1972, January 18 - Announced retirement from Congress
  • 1973 - Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA overturned bribery and conspiracy convictions. Washington Observer and Liberty Lobby contended that Dowdy was the victim of a "vicious frame-up by the Justice Department in collaboration with a clique of housing racketeers. The ulterior motive was to stop Dowdy's subcommittee investigation of housing and Urban Renewal frauds." [Washington Observer, April 15, 1973]
  • 1974, January 28 - Began serving six month prison term stemming from his conviction
  • 1974, June - Released from prison. Retired to Athens, Texas

May 18 - J. D. Dowdy died in Athens, Texas, age 85


Dowdy died in Athens, Texas


Sources of information concerning Dowdy's indictment:
Congress and the Nation, Vol. 3, 1969-1972,
Congressional Quarterly Service, 1973
Houston Post, August 18, 1974
Liberty Lobby Newsletter, 1973
Newsweek, April 13, 1970
Time, January 10, 1972
Washington Observer, April 15, 1973