Randolph  County,  Indiana

John  L. Downing

            There are always valuable lessons to be gained in pursuing the life histories of such men as the late John L Downing, one of Randolph county's well-known and highly-respected citizens of a past generation, whose life forcibly illustrated what energy, integrity and a fixed purpose can accomplish when animated by noble aims and correct ideals. During the years of his residence in this locality he held the unequivocal confidence of those with whom he came into contact, for he was a man whom to know was to trust and admire owing to his many commendable attributes of head and heart. When the "reaper whose name is death" gathered him in his sheaves while in the fullness of his strength and prime of life, his loss to the community was keenly felt.
            Mr. Downing was born November 29, 1862, in Randolph county. He was a son of Dennis and Emiline (Lenington) Downing. The father was born in Henry county, Indiana, and soon after his marriage moved to Randolph county, where he died when our subject was a small boy. The mother was also a native of Henry county. Her death occurred in August, 1891. Dennis Downing devoted his life to farming, and politically he was a Republican. His family consisted of four children, namely: Frank is living; Mary and Jennie A. are both deceased, and John L., of this memoir.
            John L. Downing grew to manhood on the home farm and he received his education in the common schools. On March 17, 1887, he married Maggie C. Gettle, who was born in Randolph county, June 25, 1870, and she is a daughter of John N. and Caroline (Maurer) Gettle. She was reared in her native community and was educated in the public schools. Her father was born in Germany, from which country he emigrated to the United States when a boy, first locating near Winchester, Ohio. He came on to White River township, Randolph county, Indiana, fifty-eight years ago, being among the early settlers here, and, being a man of thrift he soon had a good home established. He was born September 2, 1822, and his death occurred June 6, 1897. The mother of Mrs. Downing was born in France, October 30, 1833, and when fourteen years of age she emigrated to the United States, being forty-one days on the Atlantic ocean; her death occurred June 12, 1912.
            To John L. Downing and wife thirteen children were born, ten of whom are living at this writing, namely:  John N. is living;  Lena Eleanora is deceased;  Dora and  Ethel are both living;  Jennie is deceased;  Mary and  Magdalene are both living;  Frank is deceased;  Alta,  Agnes,  Ardis,  Adolph and  Margaret are all living.
            John L. Downing devoted his life successfully to general farming and stock raising. However, the last eight years he was in failing health and did little active work, keeping his farm rented. His place consisted of ninety-four and three-fourths acres, which is productive and well improved, including a good dwelling and numerous outbuildings. Here the widow and children still reside but the land is still rented.
            Politically, Mr. Downing was a Republican, and was a member of the Methodist church. He was called to his eternal rest on October 15, 1913. He was an honest, upright man and liked by all who knew him. He bore his long sufferings patiently and with rare Christian courage.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

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