Mt. Carroll Township

Sumner Downing, a prominent farmer of Mt. Caroll Twp. is a native of South Hadley, Mass., born May 15, 1817 and is a son of Abner & Emeranei (Preston) Downing; the former a native of Connecticut. After their marriage this couple first located in South Hadley, but after a time removed to Rome, NY where the father was engaged in farming. They stayed there but a short time, however, when they returned to South Hadley, remaining on a farm there until 1836. At this time the father decided to come West, and accordingly removed to Princeton, Bureau Co IL, staying there about two years, and then coming to Carroll County, and locating on section 10 in Mt. Carroll Twp. in which township both the parents died; the father in 1845 and the mother in 1859. They have seven children, four sons and three daughters.

Our subject was the sixth child in order of birth, and when about ten years of age went to live with "Old Deacon White," of South Hadley, and two years later was taken to be reared by his uncle, Asahel Brewster, of the same place, remaining with the latter until he was 21 years of age. Upon becoming of age he came West to his parents home in Carroll Co IL and has now for more than half a century been a resident of the county. When he first came here, however, Carroll was a part of Jo Daviess county.

March 10, 1842, Mr. Downing was married to Miss Isabella Thompson (photo on the left), daughter of George and Mary Thompson of Hunter, Greene Co NY, where she was born Jan. 7, 1814. After their marriage the young couple settled upon a farm in this county, which has ever since been their home. Of their union two children have been born; Norman S. born March 15, 1842, died Oct. 9, 1864; Harvey L. was born April 6, 1844 and was married Dec. 8, 1869 to Miss Ellen E. Preston, of Mt. Carroll IL and a daughter of Samuel Preston, of whom a biographical sketch will be found on another page of this volume. Three children have been born of their union; Norman S., born March 8, 1871, died Sep. 21, 1873, H. Loomer born July 26, 1873 is at home with his parents; as is also Clifford Sumner born Feb. 4, 1879.

Sumner Downing, our subject has been a farmer all of his life, and since his settlement in Illinois has taken a prominent part in public affairs. In 1844 he was elected Sheriff of Carroll County; serving two years. He had the honor of calling the first court ever assembled in the old stone court-house at Mt. Carroll. He has also served as Assessor two years, and as Town Collector for three years, and while Sheriff was ex officio County Collector. In the latter position his fee was 3 per cent on all sums collected, and his total receipts the first year amount to between $8 and $10. He had also been commissioner of Highways and has served as School Director for several terms. Nothwithstanding the prominent positions to which he has been elected in the county, Mr. Downing has never taken a very active part in partisan politics; but ever since its organization has been a supporter of the Republican party, and a believer in its principles. He has been a member of the I.O.O.F. and is now a member of the Carroll County Agricultural Board, of which he has been a Director. Mrs. Downing is a respected member of the Presbyterian Church, is very social and ladylike in her manners, and is held in great esteem in the society of this section, in which she bears a prominent part.

The success in life achieved by our subject is due entirely to his own efforts, supplemented by unusually sound judgment, and a character for integrity which has given him the confidence and esteem of his fellow-men. Starting in life poor, and with but a limited education, he has raised himself in the world, occupying a position second to no man in Carroll County. He is the owner of 193 acres of good land, 130 of which are under cultivation and with good buildings. Besides general farming he gives some atention to stockraising, and breeds some few Shetland ponies. In early times he was somewhat of a noted huntsman, when deer and other wild game were plentiful.

Sumner Downing and his Racine & Mississipi Railroad Transcation

Portrait & Biographical 1889 Pg 998
Photos and railroad information contributed by Alice Horner

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