Biography of Harry Van Dorn Downs
North Central Ohio Biographies

Harry Van Dorn Downs, who is superintendent of the Richland County Children's Home, is a representative citizen of Mansfield, where he was born, June 18, 1871. He is the son of William and Sarah (Seigfried) Downs.

William Downs was born in Mansfield in 1828. He served throughout the Mexican and Civil wars. He was one of the escorts that brought back the remains of General McLaughlin to Mansfield. An interesting incident in connection with Mr. Downs' war record was the fact that when he applied for a pension the record showed that he was never discharged. However, he later received an honorable discharge. Mr. Downs was a carpenter by trade but for several years engaged in the grocery business at Mansfield. He was a Democrat, a member of the Methodist Church and belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic. He died in 1889. His wife, born near Greensburg, Pa., in 1832, died in 1925. Both are buried at Mansfield. Harry Van Dorn, the subject of this sketch, was the only child born to Mr. and Mrs. Downs.

Harry Van Dorn Downs obtained his education in the public schools of Mansfield. He spent eight years in the employ of the Eclipse Stove Company of Mansfield, and two years with the Baxter Stove Company. In 1904 he established the McVey & Downs Smoke Shop, in partnership with Carl McVey, and was identified with this enterprise continuously until 1926. In that year he was appointed superintendent of the Richland County Children's Home.

In 1909 Mr. Downs was united in marriage with Miss Grace McGinty, the daughter of William J. and Mary (McClane) McGinty, of Mansfield. Mr. McGinty died in 1929; his widow resides in this city. He was a locomotive engineer on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. To Mr. and Mrs. Downs one child was born, Norma Elizabeth, who died in infancy.

Mr. Downs is a Republican, a member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, of which he is deacon and financial secretary, and he has the following lodge affiliations: Venus Lodge, F. & A. M., No. 152; Mansfield Chapter, R. A. M., No. 28; Mansfield Council, R. & S. M. M., No. 94; Mansfield Commandery, K. T., No. 21; Dayton Consistory, 32d degree; Mansfield Scottish Rite Society; Baku Grotto, M. O. V. P. E. R.; Al Koran Temple; B. P. O. Elks, No. 56; Knights of Pythias, Madison Lodge, No. 26; Sons of Veterans, McLaughlin Camp, No. 12, and Junior Order of United American Mechanics. Mrs. Downs is past president and a member of the Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of Veterans, McLaughlin Camp, No. 12. She is secretary treasurer of the Richland County Chapter of the American Junior Red Cross, and president of the Council of Social Agencies.

History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

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