EDWIN O. DOWNING

Carroll & Bureau County IL



Edwin O. Downing, deceased, was at one time connected with farming interests in Bureau county and was a representative of one of its old and leading pioneer families. His birth occurred in Mount Carroll, Carroll county, Illinois, December 4, 1839, and in 1856 he came to Bureau county in company with his parents, Heman and Rachel (Holbrook) Downing. The father was born at South Hadley,, Massachusetts, in 1810, and the mother's birth occurred near Keene, New Hampshire, in 1812. The paternal grandfather, Abner Downing, was a native of Connecticut, but at an early day removed to Massachusetts and about 1837 arrived in Illinois, becoming one of the earliest settlers of Carroll county, while Enos Holbrook, the maternal grandfather, came from New Hampshire and permanently located at La Moille in Bureau county, Illinois, in 1839.

It was in the year 1834 that Heman Downing arrived in Bureau county and for a time engaged in carpentering in Princeton, erecting some of the first houses of that place. Two years later he was married in that city, where he continued to make his home until the fall of 1837, when he removed to Carroll county, locating on a farm in Carroll township. He built the first frame barn in the county and was closely associated with other interests that indicated the early pioneer development of that part of the state. In March, 1856, he returned to Bureau county and located upon a farm south of Princeton, where he resided until his death in April, 1882. He and his wife both took an active part in the work of the Congregational church, of which they were members and throughout the community where they lived they were widely known as earnest and zealous Christian people, whose 1ives were in harmony with their professions. The father was a republican in politics and for years served as road commissioner. Unto him and his wife were born nine children, of whom five are now living: Angela, Andrew, Edwin O., Elizabeth, David, Stephen, Enos, Mary Eliza and Flora.

Edwin O. Downing was educated in the common schools of Carroll and Bureau counties and was reared to farm life, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. Throughout his entire business career he carried on general farming and as a companion and helpmate for life's journey he sought and won Miss Susanna Greenamyer, to whom he was married on the 23d of December, 1862. She was a native of Portage county, Ohio, and a daughter of Solomon Greenamyer, now deceased, who came to Bureau county in 1856 and resided upon a farm near Princeton. Mrs. Downing is one of a family of seven children, six of whom yet survive, and at the time of her marriage she went with her husband to a farm near Princeton and settled upon the farm where she now resides. They became the parents of five daughters and two sons who are still living: Mary Angela, now the wife of George Evelhoch, a resident farmer of Dover township; Adelaide, the wife of Mason Sisler, of Minnesota; Mabel, Nora, Olive, Harvey E. and William, all at home. Two children died in infancy, one of these being Flora, the fifth in order of birth; while the second died unnamed.

Mr. Downing was the owner of two hundred and seventy-five acres of fine land on sections 20 and 21, Princeton township, and he and his son did all of the work of improving the place and cultivating the fields, which Mrs. Downing still owns. In polities he was ever a republican, who kept well informed on questions and issues of the day and took a deep interest in the political situation of the country. He served as school director and road commissioner and local advancement and national progress were both causes dear to his heart. The family all attend the Congregational church. Mr. Downing continued to make his home upon his farm until his demise, which occurred June 19, 1903. His widow still resides upon a farm in Princeton township and is a most estimable lady. Mr. Downing was possessed of many good qualities, including fearlessness in defense of his honest convictions, marked enterprise and integrity in business circles and an unfaltering devotion to the interests of his family and to the ties of friendship.

Past and Present of Bureau Co., Illinois by George B. Harrington. Chicago: Pioneer Pub. Co., 1906

EDWIN O. DOWNNG who is successfully operating a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 20, Princeton township, is a native of Illinois, born in Carroll county, December 4, 1839, and is a son of Heman and Rachel (Holbrook) Downing, the former born at South Hadley, Massachusetts, in 1810, and the latter in 1812, near Keene, New Hampshire. The paternal grandfather, Abner Downing, was a native of Connecticut, but removed to Massachusetts at an early day. He came to Illinois about 1837, becoming one of the earliest settlers of Carroll county; while Enos Holbrook, the maternal grandfather, came from New Hampshire and permanently located at Lamoille, Bureau county Illinois, in 1839.

It was in 1834 that the father of our subject came to Bureau county, and for a time engaged in carpentering in Princeton, erecting some of the first houses of that place. Two years later he was there married and continued to make it his home until the fall of 1837, when he removed to Carroll county, locating on a farm in Carroll township, and building the first frame barn in that county. In March, 1856, he returned to Bureau county, this time settling upon the farm now owned and occupied by our subject, and there resided until his death in April, 1882. His wife, who is still living, now resides at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Both took an active part in the work of the Congregational church, of which they were members and were earnest Christian people. The father was a republican in politics and for years served as road commissioner.

The parental household included nine children who grew to years of maturity, namely: Angela, now the wife of Eli L. Shugart, of Council Bluffs, Iowa; Andrew, of Topeka, Kansas, who served as first lieutenant in the Seventh Kansas Infantry during the civil war ; E. O., of this review ; Elizabeth, wife of Zachariah Shugart, of Nevada, Iowa; Stephen, of Ainsworth, Nebraska ; Enos, of Barber county, Kansas ; Mary Eliza, wife of George Fetrow, of Harper county, Kansas ; Flora, wife of Walter Clay, of Iowa, and David, now deceased.

In the common schools of Carroll and Bureau counties, Mr. Downing of this sketch, acquired his education, and was reared to farm life. On the 23d of December, 1862, he married Miss Susanna Greenamyer, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Solomon Greenamyer, deceased, who came to Bureau county in 1856. They began their domestic life upon the farm which is now their home, but in 1864 removed to Wyanet township. The following year was again spent upon the old homestead, after which they removed to the John Shugart farm on section 28, but in 1866 again returned to their present farm. In the spring of 1867 they removed to Hickory Grove, in Manlius township, and on selling out there in 1870 went to Princeton, where the following year was passed. After three years spent upon a little farm in the river bottoms, Mr. Downing purchased the old Pendleton farm on section 32, Princeton township, which he made his home until 188o, when he returned to his present farm and there has since resided, devoting his time and attention to general farming.

Our subject and his wife have become the parents of seven children, as follows: Mary Angela, now the wife of George Evelhoch, of Coffey county, Kansas, by whom she has four children; Adelaide, wife of Mason Sisler, of Itasca county, Minnesota, by whom she has three children; Mabel, Nora, Olive, Harvey and William.

Mr. Downing takes a deep interest in political affairs, always casting his ballot in support of the principles of the republican party, has served as school director for years; and for twelve years was road commissioner, during which time he was instrumental in the establishment of the gravel roads in the county. In 1892 Mr. Downing commenced the dairy business, supplying milk and cream to the citizens of Princeton, running two wagons, and meeting with fair success. He is public-spirited and progressive and has the welfare of the community at heart.

- The Biographical Record of Bureau County, Illinois

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