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Category: Matthews

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.

Samuel Day and Family

Samuel Day and Family

Samuel Day was the son of Mary “Polly” Matthews and her husband Thomas Day. They were married May 5, 1821, in Ohio and he died in a flood four months later in August. Samuel was born March 6, 1822. Mary’s sister Margaret was married to Samuel Downing. They had six children before she died in 1836. Mary and Samuel wed 16 months later and had two children, William Nelson and John Clark. The whole group migrated to Logan County and settled along the south side of Salt Creek on the Chester/Mt. Pulaski Township border. Also in the group were various Matthews, sometimes spelled Mathews. Mary died in 1847 and was buried in Downing Cemetery.

In 1850 Samuel is living four farms from Samuel, his uncle and stepfather, with his wife Sarah. In 1855 he is living next to Samuel. There are eight in his household. In 1860 there is a Samuel Day living in Lincoln. In the 1862 Military Census he is in Madison Precinct. In 1870 this Samuel Day is living in Aetna Township with wife Sarah, sons Thomas, 19, and John, 13, and daughters Lydia, 5, and Axey, 1/2 year. Neither he nor Sarah are in the 1880 census in Logan County or anywhere else that I could find.

Thomas is the only child who could have been counted in 1855. That leaves a total of eight children unaccounted for. What happened to this family?