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Samuel Reed Downey

Alexander C. and Samuel R. Downey Scrapbooks
5 vols.
Manuscript Section, Indiana Division
 Indiana State Library

Processed by: Christina Baich, April 2006


Biographical Note:

Alexander Cummins Downey was born on September 10, 1817, in Hamilton County, Ohio. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Dearborn County, Indiana. He was admitted to the bar in 1841 and practiced with Amos Lane and Theodore Gazlay. When Ohio County was formed in 1844, Downey moved to Rising Sun, the county seat. On April 19, 1846, he married Sophia Jane Tapley with whom he had eight children, including Samuel, Daniel, Harry, George, Anna, and Frank.

Downey quickly ascended to the judge’s bench, becoming president judge of the 3rd circuit in 1850. He held this post for two years before moving to the 1st circuit (1852-1858). Downey then resigned his post to return to the practice of law. He also organized the law school at Indiana Asbury (DePauw) University and was a professor there from 1854 to 1858. During the Civil War, he served as a brigadier general with the 4th Brigade, Indiana Legion (1861).

In 1862, Downey was elected to the State Senate and served until 1866. He then became commissioner and manager of the newly established Indiana House of Refuge for Juvenile Offenders (1867-1870) and continued to practice privately. In 1870, he was elected to the Indiana Supreme Court and served one six-year term. Downey declined renomination, choosing to return to private practice instead. He took the bench once more from 1891 to 1897 for the 7th circuit court. He died on March 26, 1898, in Rising Sun, Indiana.

Samuel Reed Downey, son of Alexander C. Downey, was born on May 26, 1847, in Rising Sun, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana Asbury (DePauw) University with an A.B. in 1867 and an A.M. in 1870. He then practiced law in Rising Sun for the remainder of his life. On January 24, 1871, Downey married Henrietta B. Ashford. He was also editor of “Indiana Statutes at Large” from 1884 to 1887. He died on February 3, 1893.


Ridpath, Martha J., ed. Alumnal Record, DePauw University. Greencastle, IN: DePauw University, 1920.

Ancestry Library. Indiana State Library. 8 May 2006.

A Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men of the State of Indiana, Volume I. Cincinnati: Western Biographical Publishing Company, 1880.

Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Indiana State Bar Association, held at Indianapolis, Indiana, July 11 and 12, 1922. Indianapolis: Harrington & Folger, 1922.

Shepherd, Rebecca A., Charles W. Calhoun, Elizabeth Shanahan-Shoemaker, and Alan F. January, comp. A Biographical Directory of the Indiana General Assembly, Volume 1, 1816-1899. Indianapolis: The Select Committee on the Centennial History of the Indiana General Assembly, 1980.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists of a memorandum book and four scrapbooks. The memorandum book contains notes of Samuel Downey’s business. Some of the pages have been pasted over with recipes from the newspaper. The scrapbooks contain clippings of interest to the Downeys, some of which pertain to the family and Alexander and Samuel individually.

Volume Listing:

44-1 Memorandum book of Samuel R. Downey, Jan.-Apr. 1876
44-2 Scrapbook of Alexander C. and Samuel R. Downey, 1870-1873
44-3 Scrapbook, 1872-1896
44-4 Scrapbook of Samuel R. Downey, 1885-1887
44-5 Scrapbook, 1889-1891

Collection Information:

Size of Collection:
5 volumes
Collection Dates:
Alexander C. Downey
Access: This collection is open for research.
Reproduction Rights:
Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript Section, Indiana State Library.  Possession of a reproduction from an Indiana State Library collection does not constitute permission for use.
Language Materials are entirely in English
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