History of Warren County, Iowa ... to
C - D
Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
JAMES N. CASADY
W. H. Downey, living on section 20, Lincoln township, is one of the prosperous and progressive farmers, stock-raisers and feeders of Warren county and is the owner of one hundred and twenty acres of land which is pleasantly and conveniently situated near Indianola. In fact, the property adjoins the corporation limits of the city, so that the advantages offered by the county seat are easily obtained, while at the same time he has the benefits and privileges of rural life.
Mr. Downey is a native son of Iowa, his birth having occurred in Monroe county April 23, 1855. His father, Alexander Downey, was born in Indiana and was there reared and married. He followed farming in that state until after the birth of two of his children, when he removed with his family to Iowa, about 1854, becoming one of the first settlers of Monroe county. There he opened up and developed a new farm, which he cultivated for some time, and on selling that property he established his home in Decatur county, where he spent his last years, his death occurring there about 1882. His wife survives him and is still living in Decatur county.
William H. Downey was reared in that county, upon the old home farm and was early instructed in the best methods of tilling the soil and cultivating the crops. He enjoyed good school privileges in his youth and on the home farm was instructed concerning the value of industry, economy and perseverance. When he started out in life on his own account he rented a farm in Decatur county, and as a companion and helpmate for life's journey he chose Miss Bertha Harsh, who was born and reared in Warren county and is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Harsh, who are now living in Indianola at the ages of eighty-three and seventy- eight respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Downey were married on the 8th of April, 1882, and located on a tract of land of eighty acres in Squaw township. He had built a house prior to his marriage, so that they at once began their domestic life upon the farm. Mr. Downey had improved and cultivated the property for five years, when he sold out and returned to Decatur county, where he purchased eighty acres of land, which he cultivated for three years. He then disposed of that farm and bought a place of one hundred and forty acres in Clarke county, Iowa, where he lived for four years. During that period he made many improvements upon the place and when he sold out, he removed to Ringgold county, where he purchased one hundred and twenty-eight acres.
For three years he continued to till the soil there and then again made sale of his property and became a resident of White oak township, in Warren county, where for two years he cultivated one hundred and sixty acres of land. He cleared sixty acres of brush land, sold at a good advance and purchased two hundred and forty acres in the same township, which he also farmed for two years. Again he embraced the opportunity of selling for a substantial advance over the purchase price and invested his capital in two hundred acres north of Indianola, which he cultivated for two years, when he traded the property for a farm and a town residence. He lived in town for a year, then sold his farm and purchased where he now resides. Here he has an excellent property, equipped with all modern conveniences and accessories. Although he started out in life empty handed, he has gradually worked his way upward, meeting with fair success in all business transactions, until he now has a valuable farm and a good home. He has made a business of raising and feeding stock and his fields are also well tilled, both branches of his business proving profitable.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Downey have been born three sons and two daughters: William Arthur, who has now started out in life for himself; Mary E., the wife of William Church, of Indianola; Robert L., James a., and Edith Zorelda, all at home.
Mr. Downey exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party and at local elections, where no issue is involved, he casts an independent ballot. He was elected and served as assessor of Squaw township, has also been highway commissioner and has been officially connected with the schools for many years. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. His life has been one of enterprise and activity and his labors have been of a character that have brought him a fair measure of prosperity. He is well known in Lincoln township and Warren county and the success that he has enjoyed has come to him as the direct result of his diligence.