Friday Family: Louisa (Bowe) Downs of Middlesex Co., CT

Louisa7 (Obadiah6, Amos5, Amos4, Samuel3, Samuel2, Alexander1) Bowe was born circa 1817 in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut to Obadiah and Hester (Markham) Bowe.  She is probably their fifth and final child.

On Monday the 17th of May 1847 Louisa married Derwin Deming Downs of West Troy, New York in Middletown where they remained for the rest of their lives.

Luther and Lydia Downs, Derwin’s parents, moved from Middletown to Amenia, Dutchess County, New York circa 1805 where they farmed.

About 30 years later they moved to West Troy, known today as Watervliet in Albany County, New York.  Luther worked as a shoemaker so perhaps they moved because he was getting a bit old to be farming and Troy (on the other side of the Hudson River from West Troy) was a booming city.

Lydia (Markham) Downs died in West Troy on August 19th of 1854 at the age of 70.

Luther continued his work as a shoemaker and lived with his widowed daughter Clanthea Hosford and her children until his death in the 1860s.

Obadiah and Hester Bowe, Louisa’s parents, spent their entire lives in the South Farms area of Middletown and raised at least five children.  Obadiah Bowe died at age 85 and Hester (Markham) Bowe died at age 91.

Louisa and Derwin share maternal grandparents: Jeremiah and Amy (Deming) Markham.  Yes, their mothers are sisters which makes Louisa and Derwin first cousins. Louisa’s mother, Hester, is Jeremiah and Amy’s third child and Derwin’s mother, Lydia, is their eleventh child.

Following their nuptials Derwin and Louisa lived with her parents and became parents themselves in less than a year.  Clementine was born on Tuesday, February 15th of 1848.  Below is the Derwin Downs family living with his in-laws for the 1850 census.

In the 1860s Derwin and Louisa had three more children: Frances Deming (called Fannie) in 1851,  Mary Elizabeth in 1857, and Julia Ann in 1859. As mentioned previously, Louisa’s father died in 1855 and in the 1860 census the Downs family is still living in Louisa’s childhood home with her mother.

Some sort of sickness must have infiltrated the Downs home at the end of June 1863.  Little Julia Ann died on the 27th at the age of three.

Six year old Mary Elizabeth died less than a week later.

Hester passed away the next summer at the grand old age of 91.

The Downs home was considerably smaller by the 1870 census. Derwin continued farming, Louisa worked at home, Clementine was working at a suspender factory, and Fannie was a school teacher.

At some point after the 1870 census Fannie married Charles Moody and died shortly afterward on May 14, 1877. She is buried next to her two little sisters in Old Farm Hill cemetery.

Clementine became the wife of John Wesley Briggs in 1872.  They had two children: Martha in 1873 and Eva in 1876.

For the first time in their married life Derwin and Louisa are the only members of their home for the next census (1880).

Derwin died on September 1, 1884 in Middletown.

Derwin and Louisa’s grandchild Eva died the following year.

Only five short years later their other grandchild Martha died.

Louisa continued to live alone in her childhood home until the autumn of 1898 when she fell ill while visiting her daughter Clementine.   Louisa remained at her daughter’s home and died there the following summer.

After the deaths of her daughters and mother, Clementine (and John) took in female boarders, mainly young teachers and nurses and even unofficially adopted one of the boarders perhaps to try and fill the void. Clementine never fully recovered.  She wrote her will on December 18, 1900.

Clementine died two days later.

John remarried two years later to Clementine’s second cousin Ella.  Ella died in 1910 having no children.

John married for a third time but no record has been located to determine who his bride was.  John died in January 1917.

Clementine C. (Downs) Briggs was the last living descendant of Louisa Markham (Bowe) Downs and her husband Derwin Deming Downs.

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