Silas DOWNER, one of the oldest and best known residents of Mt. Vernon,
died at the home of his brother, John Downer, at 409 South Breckenridge
street yesterday afternoon after a long illness.
Deceased was of New England stock and was born in Vermont, July 15, 1831.
He removed to Illinois with his parents when a small boy and settled in Jefferson county
where he was educated and where he resided the greater part of his life. In his boyhood
he was employed on a farm, but tiring of that means of earning a living after a few years
experience he decided to learn one of the mechanical trades, and at the age of nineteen be
began working at blacksmithing, to which he devoted a great deal of attention. He was an
inate mechanic and a natural worker in wood and most his life was spent in shops and mills,
of which he designed and erected a great many. For a score of years he had a wagon shop
on South First street, where he built and repaired a great number of wagons and other vehicles.
April 13, 1852, he was married in this city to Miss Harty L. Schanck. Some three or four
years ago Mrs. Downer died and subsequently the subject of this sketch was wedded to
Mrs. Kansas Vance, nee Allen, who survives him. Deceased was a devoted member of the
M. E. church of which during the latter ten years he was a regularly ordained and licensed
minister. He was at one time an A. F. & A. M. also a member of H. W. Hubbard Chapter
No. 160 R. A. M. but being unable to attend the meetings on account of ill health allowed
his membership to lapse some years ago. Mr. Downer was a Democrat in politics and formerly
served as an alderman from the third ward in the city council.
The funeral services will be held at the late home of the deceased on South Breckenridge
street at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
The interment will be in the family burial grounds at Salem cemetery.
March 6, 1899
Mt. Vernon Register News
Submitted by: Sharlet Bigham LaBarbera
Oct 18, 1997