WILLIAM DOWNING (deceased), son of George Downing, was born in Maryland, in 1797, of English parentage. He was reared on a farm in Pike County, Ohio, received a good English education and, from his youth, was engaged in agricultural pursuits. He served in the war of 1812. He came to this county in 1830 and helped organize Blanchard Township. William Downing was appointed the first postmaster in Blanchard Township, this county, and served in that capacity for many years; the office was established in 1848 and was kept in his house. Mr. Downing was twice married, the first time to Elizabeth Henderson. His second marriage was in 1858 with Margaret Thompson, daughter of Isaac and Anna Underwood, the former a native of Virginia, of Irish descent, and the latter of Pennsylvania, of English descent. As a farmer Mr. Downing was successful, owning 180 acres of valuable land at the time of his death, which occurred in 1863. He was a member of the M. E. Church: in politics a Democrat. His widow is the owner of 206 acres of land on which she resides, and she has managed the farm since her husband's death. [Source: "A History of Hancock County, Ohio...", By Robert C. Brown, Warner, Beers & Co. (Chicago, Ill.)]
JOHN GUTHRIE, late of Butler township, Miami county, Indiana, belonged to a class of sturdy pioneers who cast in their lots with this section of the country and to whose pluck and energy is due its present development. He was born in Pike county, Ohio, August 20, 1821, son of John and Margaret (Sauders) Guthrie, John Guthrie being a pioneer of Pike county. He died and his widow subsequently became the wife of James Allison. She died at about the age of eighty years, in Warsaw, Indiana. By her first husband the children were John, Moses and William, and her children by Mr. Allison were Alfred and James. John Guthrie, the subject of this sketch, was four years old when his father died, and in his youth he had only limited advantages for obtaining an education. The home, however, was not broken up after the father's death. The mother kept her little children together, and, as stated, married again. John remained on the home farm until he was nineteen, and the next five years worked out by the month, doing farm work in the neighborhood. At the age of twenty-four he married Miss Delilah Thompson, their marriage being consummated May 1, 1845. She was born August 22, 1825, in the same neighborhood and they grew up playmates together. A few months later, in the fall of 1845, they said good-bye to home and kindred and came over into Indiana to seek a home in the green woods of the "Miami Reserve," now Butler township, Miami county. Arrived here, Mr. Guthrie took claim to a quarter section of land, upon which he resided up to the time of his death. He purchased this land at two dollars per acre and it did not come into market until about two years after the pre-emption was made. Here he commenced the battle of life and manfully and successfully was it fought. When the time of payment for his land drew nigh he was about eighty dollars short of the amount required. This amount was furnished him by his stepfather, and thus he secured title to his land. With renewed energy he carried forward the improvement and clearing of his land, year by year increasing its value, and at the time of his death he was the owner of a fine property. He died May 9, 1881, at about the age of sixty years. In all his dealings he was honorable and upright, taking the Bible for his code, and was identified with the Christian church.
Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie reared a large family, most of whom are living, occupying honored and useful positions in life. Their family record is as follows: Nancy A., born May 31, 1846, died December 4, 1872; James W., born November 9, 1847, died February 10, 1865; Rebecca, born September 10, 1849; Margaret, October 17, 1851; John M., August 15, 1853; Moses, August 27, 1855; Perry, January 10, 1857; Susannah, April 8, 1860; Harvey, May 17, 1862; Marrictte, March 27, 1864; Cyrus S., October 9, 1867; and Hiram, November 6, 1870. Rebecca is the wife of Eli Blevins, whom she married January 15, 1870, and they reside in Johnson county, Iowa. Margaret was married September 15, 1871, to John B. Lemon. Other members of the family are in the home neighborhood, except Harvey, who is in the west.
Mrs. Delilah Guthrie is a daughter of Wheeler and Frances (Hibbs) Thompson. Mr. Thompson was a Virginian, who at an early day established his home on the frontier in Pike county, Ohio. There Mr. Thompson cleared eighty acres of land and was successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits at the time of his death. He was struck by lightning and killed in May, 1834. He was the father of fifteen children, all by one wife, of whom ten reached maturity, namely: Samuel, Joseph, William, Wheeler, John, Mary, Sarah, Rebecca, Nancy and Frances. Mr. Thompson was in the war of 1812. Mrs. Guthrie is one of the few remaining of the brave pioneer women of Indiana. She saw this part of the country in all its wildness, and by her faithfulness, self-denial and labor helped to make their pleasant home in this now prosperous locality. She is now of venerable age, and the 10th day of October, 1898, represented the fifty-third anniversary of her taking up her residence on the old homestead where she now lives,—the place being hallowed by the association of more than half a century. She has been a faithful member of the Christian church for forty-two years. She has done her full quota of work as a pioneer of the county, and when young she worked with her husband in the clearing, aiding in reclaiming the farm from the wilderness, assisting in the cultivation of the fields and doing her share in making the homestead the valuable and attractive farm which it now is.
[Source: Biographical & Genealogical history of Cass, Miami, Howard & Tipton Counties, Indiana, Vol. 2, 1898, Lewis Publishing Co.]
Hon. P. H. James, a prominent agriculturist of Highland township, Gage county, Nebraska, is numbered among the veterans of the Civil war and is a worthy representative of the early pioneers of this region. He was born in Pike county, Ohi0, on the 4th of July, 1842, a son of Samuel James, also' a native of the Buckeye state, and the latter's father was born in Virginia, where the family were early represented and its members took part in the early wars of the country. The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Catherine Taylor, and was a descendant of Wolfenbarger, a Revolutionary soldier. Ten children were born to Samuel and Catherine James, six sons and four daughters, and three of the sons served as soldiers in the Civil war,—Marion, P. H. and Gilbert, all members of Ohio regiments. Mr. Samuel James was called from this earth at the early age of forty-six years, and the mother survived until her seventy-fifth year, both passing away in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which they were worthy and consistent members, and the father was a life-long farmer. P. H. James was reared and educated in the public schools of his native state, and on the 13th of July, 1861, before reaching his twentieth year, he offered his services to the Union cause, enlisting in Company I, Twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under Captain W. C. Appier and Colonel E. P. Fife, having been the first to enlist from Marion township, and remained in service longer than any other man in that township. For a time he was stationed in \Yest Virginia, under Generals Cox and Rosecrans. Later he was in the forced march under General Buel to Shiloh. Thence to Corinth, then luka and returned to Kentucky and participated in the campaigns of that state; was in battles of Stone River, Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge and shortly afterward returned home on a furlough. Mr. James then took part in the Atlanta campaign, under Generals Sherman and Thomas, and later under General Thomas returned to fight General Hood's forces at Franklin and Nashville, during which time he had charge of his company. From Nashville they were ordered to Texas, via Louisiana and the Gulf, and there he was honorably discharged from the service as a non-commissioned officer, October 14, 1865. Out of the twelve men who left Marion township to fight for their country only two returned, Mr. James and Samuel Umphreys. Though only nineteen years old at the time of his enlistment, Mr. James performed his arduous tasks with the steadiness and discretion of a man twice his age, and his military record is one of which he has every reason to be proud. He draws a meager pension of six dollars per month.
In 1871 Mr. James left his Ohio home and with team and wagon set out for the then new country of Nebraska, being accompanied on the journey by his wife and two children, and twenty-eight days were spent on the road. On arriving here they located first in Johnson county, but in 1872 came to Gage county and secured his present homestead in Highland township. His valuable homestead now consists of three hundred and twenty acres of as good land as can be found in the entire commonwealth, all of which he has placed under a fine state of cultivation and has erected all the commodious buildings which now adorn the place. He is devoting his efforts to general farming and stock-raising, and in both occupations is meeting with a well merited degree of success. He is also well known as a public-spirited citizen and as an active worker in the ranks of the Republican party. For a number of years he held the office of postmaster, and was also the representative of his district in the state legislature in 1892, in which he served with honor and credit.
In Pike county, Ohio, in 1866, Mr. James was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Keppler, who was born, reared and educated in Pike county, a daughter of Conrad and Christena (Eherman) Keppler, both of whom died in Ohio. They were the parents of four children, two sons and two daughters. Mr. and Mrs. James have had six children, namely: David F., a resident of Beatrice, Nebraska; Alice Clare, of Lancaster, this state; A'ddie Clough, who makes her home in Gage county; Cora Randall, also of Beatrice; and Nelly, at home and a talented musician. A sad event in the life of Mr. and Mrs. James was the death of their son Morton who passed away when only sixteen years of age. He was an unusually bright boy, and had served as a page in the state house and as messenger boy to Governor Thomas Majors. Mr. and Mrs. James are numbered among the best known citizens of this community, where their friends are legion. [Source: A Biographical & Genealogical history of southeastern Nebraska, Vol. l By Lewis Publishing Co.1904]
John Wilbert Summers.
One of the most profitable industries connected with horticulture is that of growing roses for the market, the demand for these beautiful blooms being steady during all seasons. One of the men who is engaged in it at Springfield, and in this line has built up a well-deserved reputation for the excellence of his product, is John Wilbert Summers, of 271 Johnson Avenue. Mr. Summers was born in Pike County, Ohio, September 12, 1887, a son of James and Isabel (Stops) Summers, natives of Pike County, Ohio, and Illinois, respectively. James Summers was a farmer of Pike County, who died in 1890, and after his demise his widow moved to Highland County, Ohio.
After the death of his father John W. Summers lived with an uncle in Highland County, Ohio, and as he grew older worked for him in his grocery store. Subsequently Mr. Summers came to Springfield and entered the employ of Good & Reese, florists, with whom he learned the business, and fifteen years later bought two acres of land on Johnson Avenue, on which he erected his greenhouses, now having 15,000 feet under glass, and here he raises roses exclusively and disposes of them to local people. He also built a fine residence and has a very nice home.
On September 15, 1909, he married Charlotte McMillan, born at Springfield, Ohio, a daughter of David and Minnie (Tavener) McMillan, her birth occurring August 16, 1891. Mr. and Mrs. McMillan survive and make their home at 2545 Tecumseh Avenue, Springfield. Mr. and Mrs. Summers have three children, namely: John Wilbert, Junior, who was born July 18, 1910; Clarice, who was born April 20, 1914; and Lillian, who was born May 6, 1916. Mr. Summers is independent in his political affiliations, but he is interested in having good men elected to office and in securing needed improvements for his home city. He is a Blue-Lodge Mason. Hard-working and a good manager, Mr. Summers has built up a fine business and deserves the prosperity which has attended him. [Source: A Standard history of Springfield & Clark County, Ohio, Vol. 2, edited by Benjamin F. Prince, 1922]
VINCENT, S. M., Brown township, attorney, post office, Jelloway, a son of Robert and Jane Vincent, nee Miller, was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, on December 16, 1821. He accompanied his parents to Ohio in 1830, they locating on Dowdy creek, in Holmes county, where they lived about eight years. In 1838 they moved to this county and located in Howard township, remaining until 1856, when they moved to Pike county, where they passed the remainder of their days. Mrs. Vincent died in September, 1863, Mr. Robert Vincent surviving his companion until February, 1865.
Mr. S. M. Vincent, the subject of this sketch, is a self-educated man. In 1847 he commenced the study of law under the instructions of S. W. Shaw, attorney. In 1850 he was admitted to Ihe Knox County bar, and in 1859 he was admitted to practice in the Supreme court. At present he is located at Jelloway, Knox county, Ohio, and practices in the courts of Knox, Holmes, Ashland, and Richland counties. He is the attorney for the Home Fire Insurance company, and the Jelloway Mutual Aid Insurance company, both located at Jelloway, and does business for them in about twenty counties in the State.
In 1847 he married Miss Rosanna Lybarger, born in Knox county in 1825, daughter of Jacob and Sarah Lybarger. They settled at Ashland, Ohio, and remained one year, and then returned to this county. In 1850 they moved to Jelloway, where they have since resided.
They reared a family of six children: Sarah J., married B. W. McKee; Victoria, married Lyman Workman; John Fremont Vincent was born February 2, 1857, and died September 9, 1880; Martha A., married John L. Hildebrand; Jessie Q., and Lincoln are at home with their parents in Jelloway. [Source: History of Knox County, Ohio its Past & Present, By Norman Newell Hill, Albert Adams Graham, Graham, A.A. & Co., Mt. Vernon, O. 1881]