William J. Downing is one of the men of strength and successful record as a farmer in Ogden Township, and his name has also been identified with that locality in a civic way.
He was born in Ogden Township, a son of Alvin and Serene (Hayden) Downing. His parents were natives of Indiana. Mr. Downing was one of two children, his only sister dying in infancy. Mr. Downing received his education in the Ogden schools and at the age of twenty-three he married Miss Cora Freeman. She was also born in Ogden Township, a daughter of Edmond Freeman and member of one of the pioneer families of Champaign County.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Downing settled on eighty acres in section 17 of Ogden Township, a place belonging to Edmond Freeman. This has been developed as their permanent home. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Downing, one of whom died in infancy. The other three are Chester, Verna and Virginia. Chester and Verna are of school age and are bright and intelligent students in the Ogden schools. In October, 1915, Mr. Downing was bereft of his beloved companion and wife, who died after an illness of six weeks. Thus left alone Mr. Downing has continued to live on the home place and has kept his children with him and is carefully directing their education and training.
Mr. Downing is an attendant of the Christian Church of Ogden and his wife was a member of the same denomination. He was reared a Republican and has always voted that ticket and fraternally is identified with the Knights of Pythias. He is a very successful farmer, raising large crops of oats, corn and wheat and is giving much attention to live stock. His record is that of a worthy and honorable citizen, one who enjoys a large circle of friends, and his name stands high among the men of Champaign County.