Halford-Fender Family Matters

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  • ID: I00369
  • Name: Samuel DOWNING
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 29 NOV 1761 in Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA 1
  • Death: BET. 27 JUN 1866 - 18 FEB 1867 in Edinburgh Twp, Saratoga Co., New York, USA
  • Burial: 20 FEB 1867 Clarkville Cemetery, Edinburgh Twp, Saratoga Co., New York
  • Military Service: Rev. War veteran Enlisted in Weare NH
  • Event: Moved 1794 From Antrim NH to Edinburgh NY
  • Baptism: 1 DEC 1764 Newburyport, Essex Co., Massachusetts
  • Census: 1790 New Hampshire, Hillsborough Co., Antrim, pg 1
  • Census: 1830 New York > Saratoga > Edinburg, image 5 2
  • Census: 1840 New York > Saratoga > Edinburgh, pg 5 3
  • Note:
    Samuel DOWNING 6, born Nov 29 1761 Newburyport, Essex Co. MA This date preceeds his parent's marriage and his baptism and is questionable. He was baptised on 01 Dec 1764 Essex Co., Massachusetts and either kidnapped, ran away, or was apprenticed out as a small child and taken to work in a spoke factory in New Hampshire. When the Rev. War broke out, he tried to enlist but was judged too little & probably too young. I wonder if he lied about his age or wasn't exactly sure how old he was because he had never been allowed to attend school and was so young when he was separated from his parents. He persisted and eventually was allowed to join the army. So was he really born in 1761 or in 1764 and was just baptised later? Did he use the 1761 year on his pension because that was the birth year he gave when he enlisted?
    He married his 1st cousin Eunice George daughter of Susanna DOWNING
    Parents of 13 children(or more), only 2 still living when he died in Feb 18, 1867, the last living soldier of the Revolutionary War (New York Times, Feb 20, 1867) Buried at Edinburgh, NY.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    "Great Grandfather Downing had his 3rd set of teeth. They were double teeth all way around. After 105 yrs. his pension, the goverment doubled his pension every draw." (Edith Downing Fender - notes written on margin of the LIFE article cited below)
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Sam Downing was interviewed and photographed at the age of 102 for a book about surviving Revolutionary soldiers written by Elias Brewster Hillard in 1864 . Life Magazine published highlights and pictures May 31, 1948.entitled "Last Soldiers of the Revolution" Excerpts follow:

    "Sam Downing .. lived in the first frame house in the town of Edinburg, in New York, which he had built himself 70 years before. To get to Edinburg in 1864 you took the railroad to Saratoga, rode a stage some 20 miles from Saratoga to Luzerne on the Hudson River and then made your way up the valley of the Sacandaga 25 miles more. ... The day before...."one of the hottest of the season, so much so that coming by stage from Saratoga, we could scarcely endure the journey' - Downing had walked 2 1/2 miles "over a very tedious road" to the shoemakers, got his boots tapped and walked home again."
    The author found him out tending his bee hives at noon. and asked "What do you think he [General Washington] would say if he were here now?".[Civil War still being fought]
    "Say!.... I don't know. But he'd be mad to see me sitting here. I tell 'em if they'll give me a horse I'll go as it is. If the rebels come here I shall sartingly take my gun. I can see best furtherest off"
    "He remembered guarding wagons from Exeter to Springfield, and the fighting in the Mohawk Valley and General Benedict Arnold and General Horatio Gates."
    "Arnold was our fighting general, and a bloody fellow he was. He didn't care for nothing; he'd ride right in. It was 'Come on, boys!' twasn't 'Go, boys!'
    He was as brave a man as ever lived. He was dark-skinned, with black hair, of middling height. There wasn't any waste timber in him. He was a stern looking man, but kind to his soldiers. They didn't treat him right; he ought to have had Burgoyne's sword. But he ought to have been true."
    General Gates - "was an 'old granny' looking fellow."
    George Washington - "you never got a smile out of him. He was a nice man. We loved him. They'd sell their lives for him."
    "When peace was declared ... we burnt thirteen candles in every hut, one for each state."
    He said his "father and his wife's father had been out in the French war. His grandson had fought in 'the present rebellion from the beginning.


    Letter to the editor regarding Sam Downing (1761-1867), printed in LIFE magazine
    July 5, 1948. Also included on the IBM Aptiva "The Face of LIFE" CD., Creative
    Multimedia, Time Inc., 1994

    Sir,
    I was very much interested in your article about the "Last Soldiers of the Revolution" in the May 31 issue of LIFE. Samuel Downing's daughter Margaret married my great-grandfather, James Barker. My grandfather told me that Mr. P.T. Barnum had the four living veterans of the Revolution - James [.illegible.], James Cook [the May 31,1948 story called him Lemuel], William Hutchings and Samuel Downing - come to Philadelphia in 1865 to participate in a 4th of July parade. When Mr. Barnum's emissary came to grandfather Downings house to ask him if he would make the trip to Philadelphia he found the old gentleman up in a pear tree sawing off a dead limb.
    A carriage was driven to the hotel door to take the four in the procession. Mr. Downing looked at the equipage and said to his host,"How far is it?" The answer was "6 miles" whereupon my vigorous ancestor remarked, "I'll walk it."
    According to an old newspaper clipping he did walk it and received salvos of applause all along the route.
    The final scene in Mr. Downings life combined comedy and tragedy. On his 106th birthday Nov. 30, 1867, all of his neighbors came to his house to greet him. During the evening, the host remembered that he had some very good hard cider in the cellar, which he thought would be appreciated. He immediately started down the steep cellar stairs to fetch it, caught his heel and fell the whole length of the flight. When the neighbors picked him up, he was dead. Merle T. Barker, Taunton, Mass.
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    Will of Samuel Downing
    https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YCZ-9HS?i=190&wc=Q7PD-SPN%3A213302501%2C214699301%3Fcc%3D1920234&cc=1920234
    Written Jun 27, 1866 - probated July 9, 1867 Said to have died on Jun 27, 1866 age 104, and on Feb 18, 1867 and on his birthday in November 29 or 30. I don't think he knew his exact birthdate and James Madison Downing was senile and didn't remember what date he had died by the time the will was probated. Except for $100 to son George, the farm and all the property is willed to Melinda, James M's wife and their 4 youngest children. All the other heirs except the Barkers in Taunton, MA are residence unknown, (Though some lived not far away)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Downing Samuel
    Husb of Eunice Downing
    1762
    1867/02/18
    105y 02m 18d
    Clarkville Cem.

    Downing Eunice
    Wife of Samuel Downing
    1766
    1851/04/06
    84y 07m 11d
    Clarkville Cem.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    "He was the last one of the Revolutionary Pensioners". Sylvester in "History of Saratoga County" says Samuel "fought in the Revolution. Early settler in the western part of Edinburg." In 1797 he worked on Providence roads district 22 which in 1801 became part of Edinburg. Per Sylvester he lived to the age of 103 years.(Note: 105 years on the stone !). On his 100th birthday he went to the woods and felled a tree to celebrate. Also supposedly he built the first frame house in the town in 1795. It was on the south side of King Road NW of town. Fred Farrington bought the farm after Downing.




    Father: David DOWNING b: 8 MAR 1737/38 in Newbury (or Portsmouth), Essex Co. Massachusetts
    Mother: Susannah BEECHEM b: ABT. 1730 in ?

    Marriage 1 Eunice GEORGE b: 25 AUG 1766 in New Hampshire, USA
    • Married: ABT. 1783 in Antrim, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire
    Children
    1. Has Children Eunice "Susannah" Downing b: 14 DEC 1784 in Antrim, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire, USA
    2. Has Children Anna Downing b: 12 NOV 1786 in Antrim, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire, USA
    3. Has Children Margaret Downing b: 5 AUG 1788 in Antrim, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire
    4. Has No Children Charles Downing b: 1790 in Antrim, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire
    5. Has No Children Elizabeth Downing b: 1791 in Antrim, Hillsborough Co,, New Hampshire, USA
    6. Has Children Hannah Downing b: 20 JAN 1794 in Antrim, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire, USA
    7. Has No Children Samuel Adams Downing b: 1 OCT 1795 in Edinburgh, Saratoga Co., New York, USA
    8. Has No Children Thomas Downing b: 1 OCT 1797 in Edinburgh, Saratoga Co., New York, USA
    9. Has Children Thomas Jefferson Downing b: 1 SEP 1800 in Edinburgh, Saratoga Co., New York, USA
    10. Has Children Mary Downing b: 3 NOV 1802 in Edinburgh, Saratoga Co., New York, USA
    11. Has No Children Elizabeth II Downing b: 25 JUL 1805 in Edinburg, Saratoga, New York
    12. Has Children George Washington Downing b: 9 DEC 1807 in Edinburgh, Saratoga Co., New York, USA
    13. Has Children James Madison DOWNING b: 15 AUG 1811 in Edinburgh Twp, Saratoga Co., New York, USA

    Sources:
    1. This date preceeds his parent's marriage and his baptism of Dec 1 1764 and is questionable.. He also said he was 2 years older that his wife and she was born in 1766.
    2. Title: 1830 U.S. Census Records
      Publication: official enumeration day - 1 June 1830
      Repository:
      Media: Census
      Page: New York > Saratoga > Edinburg, image 5
      Text: Samuel Downing 60-70 & spouse 60-70, woman 30-40, son (James M) and girl 15-20
    3. Title: 1840 U.S. Census Records
      Publication: official enumeration day - June 1 1840
      Repository:
      Media: Census
      Page: New York > Saratoga > Edinburgh- Samuel and Eunice age 70-80
      Text: woman 40-50, 1 boy 15-20
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