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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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STILLMAN S. DOWNING, a worthy representative of one of the old families of Enfield and one of the few who have continued to reside on the homestead of their fathers, was born in Enfield, August 12, 1823, son of James and Roxana (Firbush) Downing.

James Downing was born in Boston in the memorable year of 1775. Early in life he learned the trade of a shoemaker, and followed that vocation for many years. He also engaged in farming on a small scale, moving to Enfield about 1814, where he settled on the farm now owned and occupied by his son, Stillman S. He reared a family of sixteen children. Of these four survive, and are as follows: George W. Downing, a successful agriculturist of Enfield; Smith Downing, a large fruit-grower and farmer in the State of New York; Jerome F. Downing, a large land-owner of Erie, Pa., where he is also engaged in the insurance business, being prominently connected with the North American Insurance Company; and Stillman S. Downing, who is next to the youngest of those now living. It may be further said of Jerome F. Downing that he is a very successful man. Besides his property in Pennsylvania, he owns seven thousand acres of land in North Dakota, six thousand of which are under cultivation. As general agent of the North American Insurance Company he has the direction of two thousand men. The father died on the old home farm, eighty-three years of age, and the mother in the fifty-sixth year of her age.

Stillman S. Downing received a good practical education in the district school. As a child he showed considerable mechanical ability in the erection of miniature chimneys and old-fashioned fireplaces from soft brick, which he cut up for the purpose. He was only seven or eight years old when he began to learn the trade of a mason. He has done a great deal of the mason work in Enfield and vicinity, and still continues to follow that avocation to a limited extent. He has also engaged in general farming. Besides enlarging the old farm left to him by his father, he has bought another of one hundred and fifteen acres in Belchertown, this county, making in all about two hundred acres. Mr. Downing is essentially a self-made man. During all his life he has enjoyed most excellent health, never having had occasion to call a doctor to his home. On October 8, 1856, he was united in marriage with Miss Ruth Carter, who was born in Canada in January, 1824. He has one daughter, Eliza Downing, just now absent from home. His wife died August 11, 1877. In his political relations Mr. Downing is a stanch Republican, while in matters concerning religion he is liberal.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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