Pages 321-322, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




SAMUEL E. DOWNS passed the Psalmist's span of three score years and ten. He was an honored veteran of two wars and one of the pioneer settlers of Allen county, having long been identefied[sic] with the work of improvement and development in Cottage Grove township. He claimed Virginia as the state of his nativity, his birth having occurred in Culpepper county, on the 14th of February, 1825, his parents being William H. and Cynthia (Bean) Downs. The father died in the Old Dominion, and the mother afterward removed to Illinois when her son Samuel was ten years of age.

Amid the wild scenes of frontier life in the Prairie state, Mr. Downs


was reared and after arriving at years of maturity he was married, on the 15th of October, 1857, to Martha A. Savage, a daughter of Moses P. Savage, who was born in Albemarle county, Virginia, and who wedded Sarah Lee, a native of Virginia. He died in 1885, at the age of seventy-eight years, and his wife passed away when seventy-six years of age. They were the parents of thirteen children, of whom seven are now living, as follows: F. M., who is in the Indian Territory; C. A., of Danville, Illinois, Mrs. Etta Nye, of Chanute, Kansas; Mrs. Laura Bans, of Saybrook, Illinois; Mrs. Florence Howe, of Bloomington, Illinois; and Mrs. Downs. By the marriage of our subject and his wife eight children were born, the living members of the family being Mrs. Laura F. Matsler, of Chanute; Charles L.; William E., now of Lafayette, Indiana; Harmon E. of Humbo]dt, Kansas; Nettie J., and W. H. Savage, a resident of Allen county, Kansas.

Mr. Downs followed farming in Illinois until after the inauguration of the Civil war. He entered the service with a knowledge of military tactics, for he had been numbered among the loyal defenders of his country throughout the Mexican war. When the South refused to acknowledge the supremacy of the national government at Washington, he joined the army for the preservation of the Union, becoming a member of Company C, One Hundred and Seventh Illinois Infantry, in which he served for three years, participating in many hard fought battles. He was for four months under constant fire, though many bullets pierced his clothes he escaped without wounds or injury. Truly this was a remarkable record. He was never absent from the regiment until the war was over, and participated in all of the engagements down the Mississippi river and through the south to Nashville. When the stars and stripes were planted in the Southern Confederacy he received an honorable discharge and returned to his home.

Soon afterward Mr. Downs started with his young wife for the new west, arriving in Kansas in the fall of 1865. He secured a claim on Vegetarian creek, five miles southeast of Humboldt, and has continually made his home here, having one hundred and twenty acres of good land under a high state of cultivation. Prior to the war he voted with the Democracy, first supporting James K. Polk, for the presidency, but since the Civil war he has been unfaltering in his advocacy of Republican principles. His life has been an active and useful one, characterized by fidelity to duty in all relations and he justly enjoyed the esteem and respect of his fellow men. Mr. Downs died April 1st, 1901.

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