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George W. Downs


Posted By: Debbie Clough Gerischer (email)
Date: 10/16/2004 at 14:41:55

G. W. Downs

Among the residents of Palo Alto county who have gained enviable reputations
because of their progressive and enterprising methods, and whose efforts have
been rewarded with a goodly measure of success, stands George W. Downs,
secretary of the Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Palo Alto county and special
agent for a number of other mutual insurance companies. Mr. Downs was born in
Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, on the 19th of July, 1853, and is a son of
John and Mary S. (Kuhn) Downs, the father a native of Ireland and the mother of
Westmoreland county. John Downs came to this country in young manhood and
for a number of years was employed on the construction of the York & Erie
Railroad. In 1854 he came west, locating in Allamakee county, Iowa, where he bought
a tract of government land, on which in later years he engaged in farming.
He lived in his seventy-fifth year, long surviving his wife who died at the
comparatively early age of thirty-tow years.

George W. Downs attended at the Upper Iowa University. He then engaged in
teaching school for a number of years, after which he began farming. In 1878,
with twelve or fifteen companions, he came to Palo Alto county, walking from
Algona to Emmetsburg, the railroad not having yet been constructed through this
locality. Their object was to secure work on the building of the railroad and
Mr. Downs was so employed for one summer. During the period, he and his
brother, James P., bought a quarter section of land near the town of Emmetsburg on
the south, and they farmed this land in partnership for eighteen or twenty
years. He then sold his interest to his brother and bought two hundred acres,
located two miles west of his first farm. Later he added eighty acres to this
tract and cultivated that place until 1915, when he moved into Emmetsburg,
where he has since lived, though he still owns the farm. For a number of years
before leaving the farm he had been actively interested in the Farmers mutual
Insurance Company of Palo Alto County and in 1916 was made secretary of this
company, for which reason he moved into the town in order to keep in closer
touch with his office. From that time he has been a conspicuous figure in
insurance circles of this locality, also representing other mutual insurance
companies in this field. he is a man of sound and reliable judgment and is energetic
and progressive in his methods, his record in the insurance business being one
that reflects very creditably on him.

In 1879 Mr. Downs was united in marriage to Miss Sarah J. Dungan, of
Allamakee county, Iowa, and to them were born nine children, of which number eight
survive, namely: Mary Irene, James F., Margaret C., Charles J., Leo A., Ruth
Estella, Blanche I. and Harold D. Mr. Downs is a member of Palo Alto Lodge, No.
252, Knights of Pythias, and the Modern Woodman of America. His religious
faith is that of the Roman Catholic church. He is a man of sterling character,
takes a commendable interest in everything pertaining to the progress or the
welfare of his locality and by his life and achievements he has merited the high
place which he holds in the estimation of the public.

-Transcribed by Debbie Clough Gerischer, coordinator of the Iowa History Project

(transcriber is not related)

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Allamakee Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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