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Category: Harding

Expand the View 2

Expand the View 2

This is my maternal grandfather’s mother’s line.


Eliza S. “Lida” Harding [1869-1942] m. William H. Downing [1863-1903] m. John Rupp [1878-1935]
do
Benjamin Harding [1836-1915] m. Mary Ellen Clark [1847-1914]
so 
Daniel Harding [1798-1869] m. Elizabeth Wilson [1801-1884]
so
John Bennett Hardin [?-1849] probable but not sufficiently proven – his ancestors are known should proof surface


My maternal grandfather’s maternal grandmother’s line.


Mary Ellen Clark [1847-1914] m. Benjamin Harding [1836-1915]
do
Rev. Richard Winans Clark [1808-1854] m. Margaret Ann Clark [1808-1867]
so
Rev. David Clark [1776-1847] m. Rachel Rutter [? – c 1803] m. Sarah Winans [1788-1843]
so
David Clark [1737-c 1802] m. Sarah Winans [1737-1807]


Margaret Ann Clark was the daughter of Rev. David Clark’s brother John Winans Clark [1779-1859] m. Ann “Nancy” Isgrig [1783-1867]. The Isgrig line can be traced back to William Isgrig, son of William and Ann. William Isgrig was transported from Old Bailey in London to Maryland in 1740 instead of being hanged for stealing after his boss testified on his behalf. This record is online.


The Winans go way back and include early New Englanders as well as early Dutch. The ancestry of David Clark is 100% unproven. It’s a very common name. A fantasy version can be found online. My theory is he came from Scotland and brought the passion for the Methodist religion his descendants carried west with him.


I know nothing about Elizabeth Wilson except she also came from Virginia but they were married in Ohio. They had at least 13 children, most of whom apparently did not reach adulthood. One, Wilson, appears to be buried at Laenna with his wife Christena. I have no clue.


My maternal grandfather’s paternal grandmother’s line.


Delilah J. Downing [1842-1909] m. William N. Downing [1839-1865] m. David Shellhammer [1830-1912]
do
Robert Downing [1793-1887] m. Jane Morrow [1802-1882]
so
John Downing [1762-1838] m. Hannah Frakes [1766-1842]
so
James Downing [?-?] m. Nancy Gardner [?-?]
so
brick wall


Several Morrow children married Downings and Shoups [sister of John Downing] in Ohio. The Morrows were from New York. 


Hannah Frakes was the daughter of Robert Frakes, born in England about 1746, who married Mary Dawson in Pennsylvania about 1766. 


Some Downing, Frakes, Shoup and other families traveled from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Illinois together or in tandem.

Expand the View

Expand the View

I recently had a lengthy email correspondence with another transplanted Logan County native. We have different backgrounds and no ancestors in common but when we started talking our ancestors, collaterals and their families brushed at so many spots that I learned new things.


This indicates to me it would be worthwhile to expand our somewhat limited view and see what turns up.


If you have any connection to these lines or think you might – or know anything that might be interesting – I want to hear from you.


This is my maternal grandfather’s direct male line [with spouses]. This is what is used for most DNA, which will come up later. 


Ellis Downing [1888-1978] m L. Ethel Ryan [1892-1975]
so
William H. Downing [1863-1903] m. Eliza S. Harding [1869-1942]
so
William N. Downing [1839-1865] m. Delilah J. Downing [1842-1909]
so
Samuel Downing [1794-1866] m. Margaret Matthews [1797-1836] m. Mary Matthews Day [1800-1847]
so
George Downing [1867-1848] m. Elizabeth Bennett [1772-1802] m. Winifred Downing [1778-1841]
so
Timothy Downing [c 1744-c 1800] m. unknown m. Mary Chenoweth [1749-after 1791]
so
brick wall


Samuel Downing came to Logan County with his second wife Mary Matthews. Samuel was born in Maryland, lived many years in Ohio and came to Illinois. Mary was born in Ohio. Samuel’s first wife Margaret was Mary’s sister. Samuel’s brother Thomas, members of his assorted families and various members of the Matthews family also came to Logan County. According to family history John Matthews, father of Margaret, Mary and others, was born in Ulster, Ireland. This is important.


Samuel’s father and grandfather were also born in Maryland.


Note that there are two Downing-Downing marriages. Delilah is the daughter of Robert, son of John, all of Logan County. John came from “Virginia” which, at the time, could be about anywhere. Before his father James he is a blank.


Winifred is the daughter of Joseph, another Downing line living in Pike County, Ohio, but Joseph came there from Maryland. Before that he is a blank.


To the best of anyone’s knowledge and all research to date, these three lines are not related.


Enter DNA. DNA testing indicates that all three [and one or two others tested] have a common ancestor back about the above Timothy’s grandfather. This totally ruins my theory that they came by UFO, a theory which conveniently explains some relatives. 


Further, testing indicates they came from Ulster. It appears likely, from research in yet another DNA matched line which my ancestors did not marry, that this common ancestor came in through District 96, South Carolina. This will come up again. Sarah Kirby and Humphrey Scroggin were married there. But that’s another line.


See, we already have circles.

William Henry Downing Probate

William Henry Downing Probate

William Henry Downing’s probate file came from the Logan County Circuit Clerk. Parts of it could be found at IRAD and the whole probate would be in the FamilySearch files.


On December 2, 1903, in the typhoid epidemic, William Henry Downing died. He was the only child of William Nelson Downing, who died in the Civil War, ironically of “typhoid pneumonia,” and Delilah Downing Downing. He was 40 years old, not expecting to die and had no will.





His heirs were his widow Eliza Harding Downing, sons Clarence, Charles Ellis, Ennis and Floyd. Clarence was 17 and Floyd was 7. [Floyd isn’t in the picture.]


The widow was named Administrix on December 8, 1903. David Shellhammer, husband of Delilah Downing Downing, and James Shellhammer, Delilah’s first son by her second marriage, stood as sureties. Appointed as appraisers were Lewis Upp, Charles Brooker and William Beckers, all three very close neighbors. Brooker would become the father in law of the eldest son Clarence. Upp was married to a Lincoln, descendant of the same immigrant ancestor as the more famous Lincoln.


They finished up their work promptly and reported on December 28, 1903, valuing the property of the estate at $4,700.25. The list is four pages long and is quite specific at times – “6 rocking chairs, 1 bay mare named Brownie, 1 red steer, 1 gray mare, 66 hogs” – and less specific at others – “1 lot of chickens” [which I first read as “a lot of chickens”]. 


The value of the widow’s property as prescribed by law, which included school books, a sewing machine, beds, one fourth of a cow for every family member [fortunately for the cow there were four members], two sheep for every family member, one horse, etc., was $1,281.50. 


The Administrix reported on March 23, 1907. There was $4,700.25 in receipts which included $599.37 for “property not sold but kept…to make up amount shown on appraisement bill.” In the long list of bills totalling $3,704.76 we learn that funeral expense was $263.75 and the stone cost $1,140. The balance after all bills was $995.49, less than the widows’ amount.





The land apparently passed separately. It is not mentioned. Each son received 80 acres which was farmed by son Ellis until the early 1970s. Most of it is now farmed by his grandson, Roy Downing.

Scanning Update

Scanning Update

Ok, Ms. Smarty Pants, are your files perfect someone asked? Nope. And my system is not perfect to begin with, rather it is one that works for me and may work for you.

In my defense I have computer files dating back to 1987. Most have had had their file form changed a couple times. I used WordPerfect then – and still do – but I didn’t have Windows. I don’t remember if they had Windows yet at that time. Yes, hard to believe. These days when I have time I convert non photo files to pdf and try to rename them at that time.

I also have multiple lines with the same name. I have maternal and paternal Wood lines, unrelated. Ditto Harding and others. There are the Downings who were unrelated until about 1855 when they began intermarrying. Then there are common ancestors where I have multiple lines of descent. Abraham Lucas and David Clark [the mystery man who never got out of New Jersey] are two examples.

You need to make a basic plan, using logic that makes sense to you and that you can remember, and adapt it to your situation as these things arise. Consistency is the most important element.

How are the pictures coming? I have maybe – maybe – half of the boxed photos scanned. We are talking literally thousands of pictures. Only a small portion are named. I have an idea for the that when the scanning is done. I have found duplicates and pictures that there is no reason to save – I had a fine time when I first got a digital camera. Not all of the pictures are genealogically related of course.

I have found some amazing old photos I didn’t even know I had. There are people I don’t know who are probably related. There are people I don’t know but I am certain they are not related. And there are so many photos of one cute little girl that even I am getting tired of her. At this point I feel like just scanning and naming all the pictures will keep me busy until at least 2025. And with the SnapScan the scanning is now easy.

Why name in the same order, ie, surname, first name, type, date, location? One reason is to make sure you put everything in the name. Another useful reason is to sort them. Example, if named properly the following files will sort as follows:

Downing John census 1790 Westmoreland Pennsylvania.pdf
Downing John census 1810 Madison Ohio.pdf
Downing John census 1820 Madison Ohio.pdf
Downing John census 1830 Logan Illinois.pdf
Downing John land 1803 Madison Ohio.pdf
Downing John land 1821 Logan Illinois.pdf

and so on. It makes it handy to see what you have.

Daniel Harding

Daniel Harding


Benjamin Harding was born June 7, 1836, in Belmont County, Ohio. He fought in the Civil War in the 106th Illinois, lived in Logan County, moved to Iowa with all but one of his adult children in 1894. He died there June 29, 1915. He married Mary Ellen Clark on March 30, 1866, in Logan County. She was the daughter of the Rev. Richard Clark and his wife Margaret Ann Clark Clark. There were five children, only two of whom had descendants. One was Lida Harding. She’s on the left in the picture.

Benjamin Harding came to Logan County with his parents Daniel and Elizabeth Wilson Harding. They were married March 21, 1822, in Belmont County, Ohio. It is believed there were 13 children, including at least one set of twins, although we only know about six of them and what we know about five of those is very little. We know six married in Logan County, two into the Clark family. Some researchers have concluded that the other seven died before reaching adulthood. They apparently did not go to Illinois.

We know nothing about Elizabeth except she told the 1880 census taker she was born in Virginia as were her parents. Virginia at the time of her birth [October 30, 1801] included territory north into Pennsylvania and west into the unknown.

Daniel was also born in Virginia, on April 29, 1798. He died August 19, 1869, in Logan County, Illinois, so he didn’t get to tell the census taker where his parents were born.

Harding is a very common name. It is also spelled Hardin, Harden, etc., often in the same family. One of the theories is Daniel was the son of John Bennett Hardin, baptised in Stafford County, Virginia, in 1761. He was the son of William Harding and Clarissa Million.

John Bennett Hardin was living in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1820 as was Daniel. John Bennett Hardin was living in Knox County, Ohio, in 1830 and died there on August 18, 1849. Daniel was living in Knox County at least by 1838. He was living there in 1850 after which he left for Illinois. John Bennett Hardin had a son named Daniel whose birth date is the same as Daniel Harding’s. No proof has been located.

Lida’s Life

Lida’s Life

So many people have asked me what happened to young Lida Harding. It seems appropriate to tell it in pictures.

Lida married William Henry Downing, a neighbor. Their fathers served together in the 106th out of Logan County, Illinois. His father died at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He never knew his father. According to William Henry’s obit, they went to Springfield to marry. No marriage record exists in any county in Illinois. Did the minister fail to return the marriage documents or was it lost? We will never know.


They moved to a house on William’s land northwest of Mt. Pulaski. William built a new house on the land and about 1900 the family, William Henry, Lida and their four sons: Clarence, Ellis, Ennis and Floyd moved in. Clarence and Ellis got typhoid in the epidemic of 1903. William helped nurse his sons and caught the disease. Clarence and Ellis survived by William did not. He died, ironically, of the same disease that killed his father at Pine Bluff. Lida was left alone with four sons. The picture above does not include Floyd who was 7 when his father died.

On January 19, 1910, in a double wedding, Clarence married Lena Drake and Ellis married Ethel Ryan. The brides were friends. Ellis met Ethel on her 16th birthday at a dance at the Mt. Pulaski Christian Church. The adult Downing boys, who came from a line of Methodist ministers, had left the Methodist Church because they liked to dance and play cards. The Methodists frowned on both at that time.

Ellis and Ethel moved into the house and Ellis took over farming the land. Clarence and Ennis went into business. Eventually Floyd joined the US Postal Service.

In 1915 Lida married John Rupp. She was 46. He was 37. [You go girl!] Both had lost their spouses. He had a daughter. She had four sons. They had a prenup!

Lida wrote: Our honeymoon was spent on the Rupp farm out in the vicinity of Latham where we lived 6 yrs. then we moved to the Rupp Home near Mt. Pulaski where we lived 5 years. When Johns father died and as he had willed this farm to his wife her lifetime we then had a sale & moved to Mt. Pulaski living here almost ten years when John Passed on to the other world, Apr 18th 1935 with mystery surrounding his going.

Clarence and Lena had one son Darwin. The marriage did not endure. Ellis and Ethel had three sons and two daughters. They were married 65 years. Ennis and his wife Reta had one son Julian who died before his parents. They were married 59 years. Floyd and his wife Lena had one son Richard. Floyd died at 54 and Lena lived to 102.


Lida continued to live in town after John’s death. She spent her time with her children and grandchildren. As she had done throughout her life, she failed to follow all the rules. She died on St. Patrick’s Day, 1942.