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Carroll County Biographies

NORMAN SUMNER DOWNING
Written and Contributed by Alice Horner

Norman Sumner Downing, the invited guest of the invitation featured below , was the son of Sumner and Isabel (Thompson) Downing. His parents lived in Section 15, Mt. Carroll Township. Norman was born March 15, 1843 in Mt. Carroll Township, Carroll County, Illinois and died October 9, 1864, probably also in Mt. Carroll Township. He went to school in the schoolhouse on Preston Prairie (Mt. Carroll Township) on the hill just north of Stephen Kneale’s farm; Stephen Libby was the teacher.

Although one family source reports he served in the Civil War with Company C of the 92nd Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Army, I don’t think that’s true. He’s not listed with them in the History of Carroll County, Illinois published in 1878 by Kett, nor in other online Civil War Veterans lists. His cousin Andrew Downing’s letters to Samuel Preston tell of how he’s trying to get Norman to enlist but that his father won’t let him because he needs him to work on the farm. I have been unable to determine how Norman died.

From the History of Carroll County, Illinois published by Kett in 1878, Samuel Cormony was a farmer and stockraiser and owned 80 acres in Section 11 of Mt. Carroll Township. He was born March 14, 1814 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and was a tailor by trade. He came to Carroll County in 1846 and lived there 31 years. He married Sarah Gates from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and they had two children, William and Mary.







This undated party invitation was addressed to Norman S. Downing and reads:
Your company is solicited to a Basket Picnic, on Tuesday, July 12, 9 A. M. on the premises of Samuel Cormany. One mile south west of town. An addition of Coffee, cup and spoon are desired.

Mrs. S. Cormany
Wm. Cormany
J. P. White
J. Hallett
B. H. Hallett
John Irvin, Jr.



The hostess didn’t write the year of this invitation,
but it is likely to have been before the start of the Civil War.

Note: This photo of Norman S. Downing was probably taken between 1860-1864, and then colorized after his death.
The Portrait And Biographical Album of Jo Daviess and Carroll County, Illinois (published in 1889 by Chapman and riddled with errors) gives Norman S. Downing’s date of death as October 9, 1854 but it’s a typo.

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