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Surnames: DOWNING, BEAUX, DUNHAM, BUDD, BOYD, SCOTT
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b 21 Apr 1835
DOWNING, BEAUX, DUNHAM, BUDD, BOYD, SCOTT
Capt. John Downing, Warden of the County Jail and Deputy Sheriff of Jackson County,
holds a prominent position among the enterprising, energetic and honorable citizens of
Andrew. He is well and favorably known throughout this part of the State, his tall,
commanding figure, the embodiment of manliness, always attracting attention, and his
frank, pleasant face, expressive of force and resolution, at once gaining the confidence
Our subject is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Beaver County, near Newcastle, April
21, 1835. John Downing, Sr., father of our subject was born in Saratoga County, N.Y., in
the year 1793, being the son of a farmer of that place. He remained on the home farm
until eighteen years of age, when he enlisted for a term of five years in the regular
army. The ensuing year, 1812, war with England was declared, and he took an active part
in the battles of Stony Point, Ft. George, Lundy's Lane, and other engagements, and
was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant for brave conduct. He was a favorite of Gen.
Scott, and when his brave commander was wounded at one of the battles he nursed him back
to health. At the close of the war Lieut. Downing engaged in contracting on the Ohio and
Beaver extension of the Erie Canal, and continued employed in public works for several
years. He subsequently bought a farm of 100 acres in Mercer County, Pa., where he lived
In the spring of that year he removed with his family to Iowa, locating in Fairfield
Township, Jackson County, among its early settlers, and investing some of his money in a
160-acre tract of wild land. He improved a fine farm, and resided on it until his removal
to the village of Andrew, where he lived, free from active care, until his death, in 1881,
at the advanced age of eighty-eight years. He was a gentleman of fine character, was
honored for the part he had borne as a pioneer of the county, and was held in high respect
by all. In his political views he coincided with the Democratic party.
The maiden name of his wife, to whom he was married in 1816, was Anne Beaux. She was
a native of Ireland, born in the county of Armagh, in 1802. Her father, John Beaux, was a
weaver by trade, and remained in Ireland until 1806, when he emigrated to the United
States and located in Vermont, and engaged in farming there until his death. He was an
esteemed member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
To Mr. and Mrs. Downing were born eleven children, namely: William, Thomas, and
Robert, are all deceased; Nancy, living in Trumbull County, Ohio; Jane, deceased; Susan,
living in Maquoketa; Margaret and Elizabeth, both deceased; John, Mary, and George W. The
latter served in the late war from 1861 to 1864, being a member of Company B, 1st Iowa
Cavalry, and was at one time Chief of Transportation, under the command of Capt. Butsey.
John, of this biographical sketch, grew to manhood on his father's farm,
obtaining his education in the public schools of Pennsylvania, and when seventeen years of
age removed with his parents to Jackson County. They came by boat from Beaver Point to
Bellevue, being ten days on the way, rather a quick journey for those days. The first
three years after coming here our subject assisted his father in clearing his farm. Then,
taking charge of the lath mill in Lyons, Clinton County, he continued thus employed until
1860, when he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits.
On the 5th of May, 1861, he nobly responded to the first call for three-years men to
assist in suppressing the rebellion, and, enlisting in Company B, 1st Iowa Cavalry, was
mustered into service at Keokuk. He was for some time engaged in scouting and skirmishing
in Missouri, taking part in the battles of Blackwater and Lexington, and remained with his
regiment about a year, when, being injured by his horse falling on him, he was mustered
out of service in June, 1862. He had been at home but a short time before he began
recruiting men for the army, and raised one hundred men in his own county, organized a
company, was commissioned Captain of it by Gov. Kirkwood, and mustered into service at
Davenport, in July, 1862, under the command of Gen. Sherman. His regiment was sent into
Mississippi, and took an important part in the battles of Coldwater, Haines Bluff, the
first attack on Vicksburg, and in the engagement at Atkansas Post. Capt. Downing was also
present at the b!
attles of Grand Gulf, Fourteen Mile Creek, Jackson (Miss.), and in front of Vicksburg
during the forty-seven days siege of that city, prior to its surrender in July, 1863. He
was subsequently with his company in the second battle of Jackson, and at Clinton, from
there falling back to Vicksburg, where he was taken ill and sent home on a furlough. He
afterward joined his regiment at Woodville, Ala., where his resignation was accepted, and
he received his honorable disability.
He returned home, and, as soon as he became able, engaged in farming on the old
homestead, buying it from his father. It consists of 160 acres of fine land, lying on
section 6, Fairfield Township, and section 31, Jackson Township, and is well adapted to
general farming. Capt. Downing remained on this place, meeting with prosperity, until the
fall of 1881, when he was appointed Deputy Sheriff. Renting his farm, our subject moved
to Andrew the following January to enter upon the duties of his office. He has filled the
position with signal ability, and given such general satisfaction throughout the county
that he has been re-appointed four consecutive terms.
Capt. Downing was married to Miss Cordelia Dunham, in Jackson Township, Aug. 5, 1860.
She was born in Mercer County, Pa., Dec. 29, 1838, being the daughter of James and
granddaughter of Azariah Dunham, the latter having been a farmer in Trumbull County, and
serving in the War of 1812, although he was a Quaker. The ancestors of James Dunham came
over in the "Mayflower."
Her father was born in 1812, and in early life learned the trade of a tanner and
shoemaker. In 1850 he removed with his family to Jackson County, Iowa, and buying 200
acres of wild land in Fairfield Township, began the constuction of a farm. He now owns
160 acres of land near Spragueville, on which he has made good improvements, and has a
pleasant and valuable homestead. He is a man of sterling worth, has served as Justice of
the Peace for more than thirty years, and has been several times elected Township Trustee.
In politics he is a strong Democrat, and in religious views is a Baptist, being a member
of the local church. The maiden name of his wife was Sarah Budd. She was born in
Trumbull County, Ohio, in 1816, being a daugher of John and Eunice Budd.
Mr. and Mrs. Dunham have a family of six children: John S., Martin, Cordelia, Daniel
(deceased), J. Wilford, and Barker B. Three of the sons served in the late war - John was
Lieutenant in the company raised by our subject; Martin enlisted in the Nebraska Cavalry,
and fought Indians on the frontier; Daniel enlisted in the 5th Iowa Infantry in the spring
of 1861, and lost his life in the siege of Vicksburg in July, 1863.
Mrs. Downing was eleven years old when her parents came to Iowa, and well remembers
the tedious three weeks journey made by teams. She was a fine scholar, and continued the
advancement of her education until the age of fifteen years, and at that youthful age
began teaching school, and continued in that profession until her marriage with our
subject. She was a most successful teacher, and, after removing to Andrew, Mrs. Downing
again resumed teaching, and taught five years in this city, thus pleasantly devoting
fourteen years of her life to educating the young. To her and her husband have been born
six children - Cora A., Ione F., Zora L., Frances S., Francis J., and Myra E. Cora is the
wife of A.P. Boyd, dealer in agricultural implements at Hurley, Dak. Ione, a graduate of
the State Normal School at Cedar Falls, teaches in Dakota. Zora, formerly a teacher, is
the wife of J.A. Scott, of the firm of Scott & Boyd, dealers in agricultural
implements at Hurley, Dak.
Capt. Downing is a man of influence, good judgement and excellent business capacity,
and has served in various local offices, having been Township Trustee several years, and
for a number of terms School Marshal. Socially, he is a member of Hermitage Lodge No.
298, A.F. & A.M., of which he has been Master; he also belongs to the R.M. Smith Post,
G.A.R. at Andrew. In politics he is an honest Democrat, and has been a delegate to County
and State Conventions, and has served on the grand jury. In religion both he and his
estimable wife are member of the United Presbyterian Church, the latter being a member of
the Ladies Missionary Society. Capt. and Mrs. Downing are held in high regard in social
and literary circles, and their pleasant home is rendered very attractive to a large
circle of friends by the genial hospitality of the host and hostess.
("Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson County, Iowa", originally published
in 1889, by the Chapman Brothers, of Chicago, Illinois.) Transcribed by Donna Moldt
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