I'm looking for ancestors & descendants of Capt. William Downing who sailed from Bristol, England in 1651 with his wife (name unknown) and two sons, William & John. They settled in the USA up the Chesapeake Bay in Northumberland County, Virginia in "Northern Neck" up the Great Wicomico River.
"Northern Neck" lying between the Potomac and the Rappahanock Rivers was the home of many famous families. George Washington, the Lees, the Balls, the Damerons and many other famous families during the Colonial Days.
Capt. William Downing was a member of the court of Northumberland County during 1678, 1679, & 1680. You can purchase copies of the orders of this court for $1.00 per order at www.northernneckfamilies.com I have nothing to do with this site. It just became available and I think it gives a way of life during those years. The court awarded rewards, payments, and penalties to their citizens, all payable in pounds of tobacco. 130 pounds for killing a wolf. 13,333 pounds for payment for the year to the local preacher for ministry to his church in Fairfield Parish. Many dealings with businessmen in Bristol, England. Very interesting reading.
William Vincent of Northumberland County was given land for bringing him to America.
"They" say he is either from England or Ireland, but the shipping records in the Custom House at Bristol were destroyed in the riot of 1831.
We have many "cousins" researching his descendants. They are all over, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Idaho, California, etc.
Capt. William left his land to his two older sons, William & John. John's decendants have the only male descendants that carried the Downing name to the present time. Capt. William had other children by his first wife and married a second time and had more children. It is John that I am descended from. His descendants migrated across the Chesapeake Bay to Oak Hall, Virginia in what is now the lower Del-Mar-Va Peninsula. They owned all the land where Oak Hall now stands. They founded the Downing Methodist Church South in 1772 which is still holding services and has many Downings in their cementery. The church bulletin describes how the Downings founded their church.
Later my ancestors migrated to Pitsville, Maryland then to Waltersville (now Bivalve), Maryland, then to Salisbury, Maryland, and then to Milford, Delaware where I am from.
Many of my "cousins" belong to "The Downing Family Historical Society of America" which has a great quarterly newsletter "The Downing Family Times". The DFHSA is open to all Downing clans in the USA and has a web site describing it with links to other Downing sites.
I have a list of "cousins" researching the Capt. William Downing line. We hope to pool our knowledge and someday break the barrier to the Captain's ancestors and home lands.
If you are interested e-mail me at:
All "cousins" are welcome.