In order to gain a bit of perspective about Charlton Hall, we need to take a look back at the first owner's father, David Dows, Sr. He was born a farmer's son in 1814. When he left his father's home in 1828 to work in a dry goods store, there were fewer than 20 miles of railroad tracks in the country. The nation was poised for expansion and railroads played a major role, not just by physically opening up access to the West, but economically as well. Dows was heavily involved in the growth of the railroad and all of the profits that could be reaped from previously untapped markets.