Biography of James R. Downer
Rensselaer County, NY Biographies





Downer, James R., was born in the village of Castleton, February 1, 1840. He was educated in the public schools and Fort Edwards Institute. He was engaged in the forwarding and freight business for many years between Castleton and New York; Mr. Downer was associated with Joel D. Smith and Capt. J. V. D. Witbeck in the building of the steam propeller, Andrew Harder, which was chartered and used by the government as a transport during the Civil war. He became cashier of the National Bank of Castleton in 1874, which position he has since filled with marked ability and success. In 1864 Mr. Downer married Margaret N. Herrick and they have a family of three sons and one daughter: Frank H., Edgar J., Mary L., and Charles R. Mr. Downer's parents were John R. and Mary (Smith) Downer. John R. Downer came to this country in 1823 and purchased a mill property near Castleton. He was the inventor of the first revolving hay rake. Mr. Downer's grandfather, John Smith, kept the old Tammany Hall in New York city and had Aaron Burr as one of his boarders at the time Bun and Hamilton fought a duel. Mr. Downer has been interested at various times in property tending to the commercial welfare of Castleton, and is one of the leading citizens of the town Schodack. He has been identified with the Republican party and has been prominent in its counsels many years. His father, John R. Downer, is ninety three years old and hale and hearty.

From:
Landmarks of Rensselaer County
BY: George Baker Aaderson
Published By: D. Mason & Co. Publishers
Syracuse, NY 1897


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