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Below is a family biography included in The History of Darke County, Ohio published by W. H. Beers & Co. in 1880.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES L. DOWNING, farmer, Sec. 10; P. O. New Madison; was born Feb. 20, 1852, on the farm where he has since and at present resides; he is the son of John E. and Sarah M. Downing; John E. was born in South Carolina, and came with his parents to Darke Co. when a boy; Sarah M. (Morrison-Brawley) Downing was born in Preble Co. and came with her husband to Darke Co. in 1833; they settled upon the farm upon which the son, James L., now lives, his mother living with him, the father having died Oct. 27, 1872; the Downings were very early settlers and are noticed at some length in the township history; the farm upon which Mr. James L. and his aged mother now live, was partly cleared and improved by John Tibbs, a pioneer of Harrison Township, from whom John E. purchased it. The old log cabin with stick chimney which Mr. Tibbs built, still stands where he placed it, as a reminder of the limited accommodations and privations of the early settlers; since the time it was built, the dense forest has been cleared away and cultivated fields now greet the eye; a neat and commodious house has been built, also a frame barn and other buildings for the accommodation of stock and storage of grain, implements, etc., evidences of industry, economy and practical wisdom. Mrs. Sarah M. Downing is the mother of nine children by her first husband, John Brawley, viz.: Thomas S., born May 29, 1836, now married and resides in Kansas; Martha Ann, born Oct. 10, 1837, died Sept. 16, 1838; Levi P., born Jan. 19, 1840, was married to Louisa J., daughter of Patterson Purviance, died April 13, 1862; by her second husband, John E. Downing; Louisa J. born Nov 29, 1843, now Mrs. Allen Tyler of Preble Co.; Mary C., born March 19, 1846 died Dec. 31, 1876; Melissa E., born Nov. 7, 1849, died Aug. 19, 1876; James L., born Feb. 20, 1852; Margaret E., born May 2, 1855, died April 20, 1877; infant son born March 9, 1858, died Sept. 6, 1858; Florence A., born Dec. 11, 1859, died July 24, 1879; Ruth A., born August 15, 1862. Mr. Downing is the inventor of “Downing’s Hand Planter,” which bids fair to excel all other hand planters. In politics he has been a lifelong Democrat; he cast his first ballot for Andrew Jackson; he was a member of the School Board for more than twenty years, and has always been an intelligent, useful citizen, and, although somewhat advanced in years is now a very intelligent, social, agreeable gentleman.

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This family biography is one of 659 biographies included in The History of Darke County, Ohio published in 1880 by W. H. Beers & Co.  For the complete description, click here: Darke County, Ohio History and Genealogy

View additional Darke County, Ohio family biographies here: Darke County, Ohio Biographies

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