Hillsborough County, Florida


1836 - 1908

Henry Jackson Downing was born in Laurens County, Georgia on August 10, 1836. He moved to north Florida in the 1850's and was living near Jennings, Florida. Henry enrolled as a private at Alligator, Florida on July 23, 1857 in Captain W. H. Cone's Company, 1st Regiment of Florida Mounted Volunteers. His description at that time was age 21 years, 5' 10" with light eyes, light hair and brown complexion. He was stationed during August and September of 1857 at Fort Myers, Florida. Henry was mustered out at Fort Brooke, Florida on January 22, 1858.

Henry returned to north Florida and at Jasper, Florida on September 15, 1859, he married Miss Nancy J. Hendry. She was born in Lowndes County, Georgia in _________ 1839, daughter of John Hendry. Children of Henry Jackson and Nancy J. (Hendry) Downing:

1. John Henry Downing, born January 8, 1861; died December 25, 1907; married Ida C. Benns in Manatee County on December 10, 1896.

2. William P. Downing, born October 22, 1862; died April 13, 1916; married in DeSoto County on December 31, 1899, Margaret "Maggie" Amanda McClenithan, daughter of Tobias and Henrietta (Sauls) McClenithan.

3. George W. Downing, born February 16, 1866; died May 4, 1886.

4. James Hardy Downing, born February 27, 1867; died December 22, 1938; married Ida Christina Gilley.

5. Clarisy Elizabeth Downing, born August 2, 1868; married Samuel Huffham in Manatee County on March 12, 1891.

6. Nancy Jane Downing, born October 23, 1869; died August 4, 1909; married John F. Chancey on October 18, 1891 in Manatee County.

7. Mary Elizabeth Downing, born May 19, 1871; died April 16, 1889; married Maurice Johnson on December 18, 1888 in Manatee County.

8. Henry Jackson Downing, born December 5, 1872; died March 16, 1958; married in DeSoto County on September 11, 1898, Myram Jane Daughtrey, daughter of John and Rebecca Ellen (Williams) Daughtrey.

9. Priscilla Downing, born September 18, 1874; married J. A. D. Branch on November 10, 1896.

10. Wealthy V. Downing, born May 22, 1876; died August 9, 1909; married Eli G. Rogers on June 8, 1902.

11. Idella Downing, born April 25, 1878.

12. Alonzo Liberty Downing, born July 4, 1879; married on February 9, 1902 Mary Nancy Rogers, daughter of Eli G. and Sarah Jane (Keen) Rogers.

13. Oree V. Downing, born February 12, 1883; married Lessie Franklin.

Henry and Nancy were listed in the 1860 Hamilton County, Florida census. They moved to south Florida in the early 1860's settling in Hillsborough County. On March 27, 1865, Mrs. Nancy Downing and her sister, Miss Florida J. Hendry were baptized by Rev. J. M. Hayman at Alafia in Hillsborough County. Henry J. Downing was baptized at Alafia by Rev. Hayman on September 23, 1866. The Downings were listed in the 1870 Hillsborough County census but moved to Manatee County in the early 1870's, settling near Parrish. In 1880 they were listed in Precinct #2 along with James and Sarah Jones, James and Nancy Rogers and Eli and Sarah Rogers.

The 1885 census farm schedule showed that H. J. Downing owned 42 acres of improved land and 50 acres of woodland. He owned 4 horses, 40 swine and 24 chickens. During the past year he had planted 12 acres in Indian corn which produced 100 bushels, 2 acres in sweet potatoes which had produced 300 bushels and 2 acres in sugar can. Several of his neighbors in 1885 were A. M. Hand, Moses Keen and Jacob Keen.

Henry J. Downing was listed in Precinct 11 (Parrish) in the 1900 Manatee County census. His grandson, Oswell Huffham, was living with them. His married sons, James and John H. were living next door.

On August 16, 1902, Henry applied for a pension. He was listed as a resident of Rye, Manatee County, Florida. His pension was granted on certificate #4133. On October 20, 1902 he gave his present description as 6' 2", 160 lbs., blue eyes and dark hair.

Henry died February 18, 1908 at Tampa and was buried in the Parrish Cemetery. Nancy Downing applied for a widow's pension on April 29, 1908. She gave her post office as Parrish. Her pension was granted on certificate #7632. She died December 21, 1909 and was buried beside her husband.

Census: 1860 Hamilton County, Florida; 1870 Hillsborough County, Florida; 1880, 1885, 1900 Manatee County, Florida; H. J. Downing & Nancy J. Downing pension applications, National Archives; DeSoto County marriages; Manatee County marriages; H. J. Downing family Bible owned by Ferman C. Downing, Parrish, Florida; Fort Ogden and Parrish Cemeteries.

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