Blackwell Genealogy

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The Family of Charles Nelson Downing             Photos Courtesy of Robert Downing

Downing 1    Downing 2    Downing 3

Note:  The Downing Number System is only used for the purpose of these Downing Pages.  Blackwell Numbers are shown also for Charles and Josephine.

Photo 163a was taken during their 60th Wedding Anniversary in Portland, Oregon.
March 17, 1947
Text Box: Photo 163a was taken during their 60th Wedding Anniversary in Portland, Oregon.
March 17, 1947
     Charles Nelson Downing & Mary Josephine Blackwell    
                                        Photo 163

Wedding Notice    Overview    Addie's Comments    History from 1906    Robert M Downing


Charles Downing and Mary Josephine Blackwell
Charles N. Downing and Mary Josephine Blackwell
Photo Provided by Renee Thomsen
Photo 163a

The Family of Charles and Josephine
D7. Charles Nelson Downing
b. 18 Sep 1858  Monroe, Monroe, Michigan.
d. 11 Nov 1954  Portland, Multinomah, Oregon  (Buried on the 15th)
Married:  17 Mar 1887  Litchfield, Meeker, MN. (St. Patrick's Day)
Mary Josephine Blackwell  (
She is the daughter of John Blackwell & Mary Jane McGannon (        See: Information on the Life of Charles and Mary Josephine


14th Generation

Children of Charles Downing and Mary Josephine Blackwell
The Children of Charles Nelson Downing and Mary Josephine Blackwell
D7. Charles C. Downing   (
Charles C. Downing  (
b.  8 Aug 1889    Peever, Roberts, South Dakota
d.  4 Jan 1983    Portland, Multinomah, Oregon
Married: 23 May 1933    Portland, Multinomah, OR.
(1) Dorothy Estey  (
(2) Ethel May Henderson  (
(3) Ella Buck  (

D7. Katheryn Downing  (
b.  7 Sep 1891    Peever, Roberts, South Dakota
d. abt 1992    Merritt, BC., Canada.
Married: abt 1912    Saskatchewan, Canada     (Possibly Swift Current)
(1) Percival Matteson 1912   Note:  Percival died in 1917 fighting in Europe during WW1.  
(2) Jacob Jontz  1920 

D7. Addie Downing   (   
b. 21 Mar 1893    Browns Valley, MN.
d. 13 Sep 1992    Longview, Washington.
Married: 20 Mar 1912    Swift Current, Saskatchewan
Eilt Johnson Lehna

D7. John Blackwell Downing  (
b. 19 Oct 1894    Peever, Roberts, South Dakota
d. 18 Nov 1983    Longview, Washington.
Married: 23 Apr 1928    Vancouver, BC., Canada
Jeanette Mary Wheelhouse

D7. Grace Downing  (
b.  4 Jun 1896    Wilmot, Roberts, South Dakota
d.  3 May 1983    Swift Current, Saskatchewan
Married:  2 May 1914    Bone Creek, Saskatchewan
Robert James Freeborn

D7. David Downing  (
b. 14 Nov 1898    Wilmot, Roberts, South Dakota
d. 21 Jul 1987    Vancouver, BC., Canada
Married:  6 Jun 1928    Vancouver, BC., Canada
Annette' Marie Cousineau

D7. Edward Downing  (
b.  8 Feb 1900    Peever, Roberts, South Dakota
d.  9 Nov 1995    Portland, Multinomah, OR.
Edward never married.

D7. Paul Downing  (
b. 26 Apr 1902    Aitken Co., MN.
d. 22 Apr 1989    Portland, Multinomah, OR.
Married:  14 Jun 1929    Everett, Washington.
Elaine Dickerson

D7. Lucille Pauline Downing   (
b.  4 Jul 1903    Aitkin Co., MN.
d. 30 Mar 1982    Apache Junction, Arizona
Married: 19 Oct 1923    Regina, Saskatchewan.
Edward Hilding Holmquist

D7. Robert Malcom Downing   (
b.  8 Jan 1906    Aitkin Co., MN.
d.  3 Jul 1951    Coos Bay, Coos, OR.
Married:  21 Apr 1926    Abbotsford, BC., Canada
Ethel Maude Mitchell


15th Generation

Children of Robert Malcolm Downing and Ethel Maude Mitchell    
Children of Robert Malcolm Downing and Ethel Maude Mitchell                Photo Shirley Eleanor Downing
Married: Date Unknown
Lyndel Beverly Smith Lois Doreen Downing Robert Stewart Downing John Charles Downing

Ethel Maude Downing nee Mitchell
Wife of Robert Downing
Photo 163b



Charles and Mary visiting the old Homestead
Photo 164
Charles and Mary
Charles and Mary celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on March 17, 1947

When they came up from the United States they settled at the Swift Current.  A town later became named - Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  It is located on Canada's No.1 Highway about 109 miles West of Moose Jaw or 150 miles West of Regina.  It was a big change for the young couple but hard work and dedication made it a reality.   Here is a photo of the original homestead many years later.

Old Downing Homestead in Saskatchewan
Photo 165
Original Homestead
Click on Photo to Enlarge

Near Swift Current is the small village of Webb, Saskatchewan.
There was a Blacksmith Shop located in Webb back in the early days and it would probably have been here that Charles would have his Smithing' done.  Here is a photo from those days of that Blacksmith Shop.

Blacksmith Shop in Webb Saskatchewan
Photo 166
Blacksmith Shop
Click on Photo to Enlarge
Photos Courtesy of Robert Downing

Downing - Blackwell
Downing - Blackwell
Mr. Charles N. Downing of Roberts County, Dakota and Miss Mary J. Blackwell of this place, were married at the residence of the brides mother, March 17, (1887) by Lewis A. Pier.  The ceremony took place at 9AM in the presence of a number of relatives and friends.  After congratulations, a wedding breakfast was served and at 10:52 AM Mr. Downing and bride took the West bound train for their future home in Dakota.  Mr. Downing is a farmer living just across the line in Dakota.  About four miles South of Browns Valley, and has the reputation of being a fine young man.  His bride is deserving of a good husband and has numerous relatives and friends in this county, who unite in wishing them abundance of joy in their new relations.
.............. As written in the:  LITCHFIELD SATURDAY REVIEW - March 19, 1887
After their marriage, they lived on the farm near Peever, South Dakota.  Seven children were born there.  In 1900, they moved up to the woods of North MN., built a log house and had three more children.  The family left in 1910 for Saskatchewan, Canada and settled near Webb.  Kate, Addie & Grace married there and had families.  Family moved on to Vancouver, BC., in the early 1920's.  Mary Josephine graduated from Beauty School in 1920 (Rhode Island).  She taught most of the children the trade.  Mary and her sister were both mid wives and helped each other and many other women give birth.

Mary Josephine Blackwell ( from Litchfield, Minnesota was a school teacher at Brown's Valley School in Minnesota when she met Charles Nelson Downing.  His family were early pioneers of the area.  He had come with his folks from Monroe, Michigan about 16 years previously.  Charles and Mary were married March 17, 1887 and their first of ten children was born three years later.

The "awful drought" of the 1890's forced them to another homestead in northern Minnesota in 1899.  Being of a pioneering spirit, they decided to relocate on a homestead in Saskatchewan.  Mr. Downing came first, got his homestead which was SW 5-12-16 W3.  He shipped a car with the cattle and enough lumber to build a house.  His wife and their ten children arrived later at Webb and traveled south to their new home near the Swift Current Creek.  This was September 1910 and it was beautiful fall weather.

The Downings put up a tent for the first few nights and then lived in an abandoned shack near by until Mr. Downing, who was a carpenter, could build their home.  "We were fortunate that the weather was so good.  There was a snow storm the later part of September that was pretty bad, but when that cleared up it stayed nice until November.  We found it quite different here, as we came from the timber in Minnesota where there were log houses.  Of course, we were young so everything looked kind of rosy to us, and there were so many of us we entertained one another."

Addie Downing's Comments
Addie Downing's Comments

Comments written by Addie Downing about her family. 
"My Aunt, Mrs. Minnie Olney" ( - First born of John Blackwell 10.2.3) moved up shortly afterwards.  She had a large family and lived just across the creek from us.  So there was always a house full.  We had an organ and my father played the violin.  We used to sing a lot.  My brother, Jack, also played the violin and played for dances.  The older children received their education in Minnesota.  we had beautiful schools there.  The younger ones attended Seederstrom School after it was built.  My mother taught Seederstrom School during 1914 and 1915."
"Mother also was a mid-wife.  She brought about half the children in that area into the world.  When she went nursing she would always do up the washing and bake a bath of bread before leaving the family.  Then, if possible, she would go back every day for awhile to look after the mother and baby." 
A written History from 1906
A Written History from 1906
PLINY, Minnesota
January 9, 1906
Aitkin County, Minnesota

It was cold that day ninety six years ago but the fire inside the log house was warm and the children huddled close to the hearth as they waited for the birth of yet another baby brother or sister.  Oh what would it be?  They all wondered and some made their predictions; it will be a brother said one, no it will be a sister said Lucille, just 2 1/2.  The older children had been through all this before more than once.  They understood that only God knew and not until Papa or Aunt Minnie came out of the room with that little bundle all wrapped up in a warm blanket would they know.  Aunt Minnie had come from Benson, Minnesota to deliver the baby and visit with her sister.  She would move later that year with her family to a place just about five hundred yards to the South.  Minnie was a midwife and was there for Mama when the babies came.  Brother Charles, the oldest was sixteen, he helped Papa with the men's chores.  Now he was making sure the wood bin was full and that the fire place had a good supply of dry logs.  He was proud of how well he could use the axe, he had the working of an expert woodsman and he knew it.  Sister Kate was the next oldest, she was fourteen and a half now and was boiling water on the stove.  She laughed to see the younger children so excited.  She was a big help to Mama and knew exactly what to do on this day.  Addie was twelve and helped with the smaller ones.  Brother John was eleven now and he was already able to hook up the wagon and take care of the horses.  Next came Gracie 9 1/2, David 7, Eddie almost 6, Paul not yet 4 and then little Lucille, the last baby to be born in that same house just two and a half years earlier.  With the new addition, the total number of children would be ten.  This was a busy house in Pliny.  Mama made sure that they all did their school work; she knew the value of a good education.  She had been a teacher and her father, John Blackwell, was instrumental in forming the school system in Litchfield.  He had been the superintendent of schools for Meeker County before his early death in 1875.  Grandpa Nelson lived with the family; he was ninety eight years of age and blind.  He had come with them when they moved from the farm in South Dakota back in 1900 and it was there at that he died on the second day of February, 1908 and Papa took him in the wagon to Superior where he was buried.

My father, Robert Malcolm Downing, was born that day of January 9, 1906 in the log house in the North Woods of Minnesota that my Grandfather built.  He would be the last child born to Charles and Mary Downing.  Robert's life was for just forty five years but he would leave his mark.  He married young to Ethel Mitchell who was just eighteen and they produced four children.  Shirley Eleanor arrive first on February 21, 1928.  On November 24, 1929, Lois Doreen was born.  Mother was assisted by Grandma Downing, midwife for the birth of both girls.  After a move to Everett, Washington, a son, Robert was born on December 1, 1931.  Finally, in Seattle, Washington, October 21, 1928, John Charles came into the family.

That year of 1906 was a time when Theodore Roosevelt was President of our United States, our Country was digging the Panama Canal and the Union Pacific Railroad just introduced electric lighting on its luxury passenger train running between Chicago and San Francisco.  Nickelodeons were the hottest thing going.  San Francisco would be ravaged by an earthquake and fire and over 1000 lives would be lost on April 18th & 19th and W.K. Kellogg of Battle Creek accidentally discovered Cornflakes when some cooks left some boiled grain unattended and found that it broke into crispy flakes.
My Father Bob Downing
My Father Bob Downing
Robert Malcolm Downing was a man with patience and compassion.  He was a man with a vision and was constantly working toward the "next level".  He was a master craftsman and could accomplish the most difficult tasks in a very short time.  He took his hair cutting profession to the ultimate level and during his lifetime he had no equal.  He was the inventor of the "Wavy Hair Cutter" which was more than a tool.  He sold it as a system and taught hundreds of hair cutters to cut and style hair using his method as well as the tool.  Razor cutting as it is called today is still the preferred technique used by many of the best professionals.  Dad was very energetic and had the drive to get things done.  He had a tremendous amount of confidence and a positive attitude and he always looked at the bright side of every issue.  He believed that he could do anything and he must have told me at least a thousand times when I was growing up that I too could accomplish anything that I put my mind to.  He loved his family and worked very hard to give us the best life he could.

Happy Birthday Dad, it was great being your son for the first nineteen years of my life.  You were a good teach and I think of you often.  I remember so vividly the times you taught me how to use a ruler and how to saw a board and how to use the axe safely.  We were a team when we went to Coos Bay in 1946 to build your shop in the Tioga Hotel. The little cafe where we had breakfast every morning is gone but when ever I go through that town I still see the places that we knew back then and I think of us.  You gave me a lot of good times and wonderful memories to last my life time.  Thanks Dad...

Downing 1    Downing 2    Downing 3



Man's law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same.

                                                                                                                            Crow Indians