DOWNEY, John
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DOWNEY, JOHN, the son of John and Sarah Downey, was born at Germantown, Pa., in the year 1765. The elder Downey was an officer of the Revolution under Gen. John Tracey and was inhumanly massacred at the battle of Crooked Billet. The son received a classical education in the old academy there, and in 1795 located at Harrisburg, where he opened a Latin and grammar school. At this period, in a letter to Governor Thomas Mifflin, he proposed a ""plan of education," remarkably foreshadowing the present common-school system, and which has placed him in the front rank of early American educators. He was for many years a justice of the peace, and served as town clerk for a long time. He was the first cashier of the Harrisburg Bank, largely instrumental in securing the erection of a bridge over the Susquehanna, and one of the corporators of the Harrisburg and Middletown Turnpike Company; was a member of the Legislature in 1817-18, and filled other positions of honor and profit. He died at Harrisburg on the 21st of July, 1827, and the Oracle speaks of him as "a useful magistrate and pious man." He wrote much for the press, and a series of articles published in the Dauphin Guardian, entitled "Simon Easy Papers," were from his pen—sparkling with wit; they are worth a permanent setting, as a valuable contribution to literature. Mr. Downy married, June 5, 1798, Alice Ann Beatty, daughter of James Beatty, Esq., one of the first settlers at Harrisburg. She died in Ashland county, Ohio, May 14, 1841. Their daughter, Eleanor Downey, born 1811, at Harrisburg; died 1869, at Springfeld, Ohio; married April 5, 1851, Hon. Daniel Kilgore, of Ohio.