Biographical Sketch of John S. Downer
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JOHN S. DOWNER, son of Benjamin Sr. and Elizabeth (Slaughter) Downer, was born in Woodville, Culpeper Co., Va., June 19, 1809; married Miss Elizabeth W. Cabaniss (daughter of George L. and Catherine Cabaniss), at Princeton, Ky., November 19, 1832; died while on a visit to his son, L. A. Downer, of Barren County, Ky., February 10, 1873. Subject’s mother was a daughter of Col. John Slaughter, of Revolutionary days. John S. was one of eleven children who arrived at maturity, and when but a child was brought by his parents to Christian County, Ky. At an early age he evinced a fondness for horticulture; this culminated in after years in his becoming an eminent pomologist and nurseryman, in which capacity he did valuable service in correcting the nomenclature of fruits, as well as producing and introducing new varieties. Though a great lover of flowers, and a thorough botanist, he gave most attention to apples, peaches, and strawberries, of which the popular Charles Downing and Kentucky strawberries are results of his labor. He was a ready and forcible writer, and was favorably known throughout the United States by pomologists, and was highly esteemed among his own people. To him and wife were born four children, all now living. The eldest, Lerond A., married Miss Mary E. Bradley, and had six children, viz.: Jennie, Maude, John S. Jr., Lela, Louis B. and Bert. The second, Preston E. (see sketch). The third child and only daughter, Cloantha E. married Aaron F. Williams and had five children, all girls, viz.: Bessie (who married Thomas W. Long), Jennie (who married Thomas Rodman), Ida D., Cloe and Sada. His fourth was Robert W. (see sketch). In religion our subject was a Baptist, and during the rebellion was loyal to the stars and stripes.