Zacheus Downer – Tales of a Brick Wall (Part 1)

Zacheus Downer is my 4x great grandfather and one of my brick walls.  Below is a quick listing starting with my paternal grandmother to Zacheus Downer.

+ Nancy Jean Rogers (b: 1924)

+ Julia Margaret Morris (b: 1893)

+ John Morris (b: abt. 1861 )

+ Julia Ann Downer (b: abt. 1831)

+Zacheus Downer

Starting Out

When I began searching for Zacheus Downer, I started with trying to find a published genealogy to use as a guide.  I quickly able to find a The Downers of America with Genealogical Record by David Robinson Downer.  Page 93 lists my Julia Ann Downer (no. 928).  The book lists her birth date as 5 February 1831 and her birth place as Silver Creek, New York.  I had yet to find a birth record for Julia Ann Downer, although based on the census records that I do have, this birth year makes sense and the state of New York as her place of birth makes sense.  However, what I was most interested in was Julia Ann Downer’s parents.  This book lists her parents as Zaccheus Downer and Harriet M. Thatcher.

The Downers of America lists Zaccheus Downer as being born at Springfield or New Lisbon, New York on 8 March 1799 (pg. 88).  The book also lists him moving to Perrysburg, New York and then moving to Sullivan, Indiana in November 1864.  His death is listed as being in Sept 1876 in Sullivan, Indiana.

Searching the Census

The first census I searched for was the 1870 U.S. Federal Census.  Zacheus is listed as living in Hamilton Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.  He is living with his wife, Harriet and a son, Augustus.  Zacheus is listed as 71 years old which places his birth year as 1799 and his birth place is listed as New York.

Then I found Zacheus and family living in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.  Zacheus and family are living in Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio.  In this census, Zaccheus is listed as being 61 years old, which places his birth year as 1799.  Once again, his birth place is listed as being in New York.  Also in the family household is his wife, Harriett, a son, Augustus, and a daughter Ava.  Both children are born in New York.

I then decided to check the 1850 census.  I found Zacheus and family living in Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio.  This census lists Zacheus as being 51 years old, which places his birth year as 1799) and being born in New York.  Living in the household is his wife, Harriett and his children: Sanford, Julia, Augustus, and Ava.  However, in this census, Ava is listed as a male.

What I Know Thus Far

Name: Zacheus Downer

Birth Year: Abt. 1799

Birth Place: New York

Spouse: Harriett (born about 1802 in Canada)

Children: Sanford Downer (born about 1829)

Julia Downer (born about 1831)

Augustus Downer (born about 1832)

Ava Downer (born about 1841)

Sources:

  1. David R. Downer, The Downers of America with Genealogical Record (Baker Print. Co., 1900). 93 (no. 928).
  2. David R. Downer, The Downers of America with Genealogical Record (Baker Print. Co., 1900). 88 (no. 841)
  3. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Hamilton Township, Sullivan County, Indiana, Dwelling 204, Family 203, Zachus Downer household, image, (Online: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, , accessed 18 June 2010
  4. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio, Dwelling 1151, Family 907, Zaccheus Downer household, image (Online: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, , accessed 18 June 2010
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio, Dwelling 42, Family 43, Zacheus Downer household, image (Online: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, , accessed 18 June 2010.

In the next post, I will discuss the other census images that I’ve found and trying to differentiate between three different Zacheus Downer.

Further Reading:

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4 Responses to Zacheus Downer – Tales of a Brick Wall (Part 1)

  1. Very interesting Elyse. It sounds like you have a good research plan laid out for your work and I look forward to reading more about your research find! I always find reading your blog inspiring into my own research. :)
    Alanna Fant´s last blog post ..Gottlieb Piltz

  2. I am Grandson of Harry Augustus – [sister Hattie]
    Harry is Grandson of Zaccheus {II}
    Harry’s father was Ara Cummings Downer
    I had trouble discerning Ava, Asa or Ara for a 1st name. [your Gr Gr Uncle?]
    I’ve never traced Ara’s siblings, however.
    Nice Blog

    • Hi David! We should definitely talk and share information! Would you email me (on my contact page)?

      Thanks! I look forward to hearing from you!

      • David R. Downer

        I once visited Ara Cummings Downer’s 2nd wife’s tombstones in MO.
        HER 2 children were buried there. [died young]
        HIS daughter by her, was Esther, buried a few miles up the road.
        I found a new relative. Later, my 2nd cousin Janet, found ARA’s military stone, to complete my search. [Info was all in the Book!]
        C ya, Dave

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