1880 US Census - family of William Downie

Name Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father's
Wm. DOWNIE Self M Male W 60 SCO Miner SCO SCO
Adaline DOWNIE Wife M Female W 50 PR. E. IS Keeping House PR. E. IS PR. E. IS
Adeline DOWNIE Dau S Female W 12 BRITISH COLUMBIA At School SCO P. E. IS

Census Place Nevada City, Nevada, California

PR. E. IS. is Prince Edward Island, Canada (off the East coast of Canada)

Vancouver Daily World, September 4, 1890

"Married on August 17th, Adeline, youngest daughter of William Downie to H.K. Barnhart, native of Whatcom. Born in Downieville, Calif. Adeline of late years has lived on the Sound* where she was one of the shining belles of Tacoma, Seattle, Whatcom and Townsend. They are to live in Whatcom, we understand."

*(probably Puget Sound - Doug Thom)

1855 Death Certificate of William's mother Mary Bell

1855 Deaths in the Burgh of Kilmarnock Registration District in the County of Ayr Registered by James Smith Gregory Registrar District 597 page 2 no 6
(Downie) Mary Maiden Name Bell [(illegible)] Female age 72 yrs born County of Tyrone Ireland 15 years in Kilmk.
Parents John Bell Pleacher[?] Mother unknown
Husband John Downie Weaver Glasgow decd
1 William living
2 John do
3 James do
4 Mary decd
5 James living
6 Robert do
7 Thomas do
8 Margaret do
Died January 1855 Seventh 4 P.M. Strand St Kilmarnock
Cause of Death Apoplexy 1 Hour U As Certified by Docr. Bothad [?] who saw deceased January 7
Burial Place St Andrews Burying ground as Certified by Thomas Hendry [?] Sexton
Informant Margt. Downie her X Mark Daughter J. Gregory Witness Thomas [illegible] Witness
Registered 1855 January [day missing] at Kilmarnock Jas S Gregory Registrar

1890 Death Certificate of William's sister Margaret Downie (widow of Robert Kerr)

1890 Deaths in the District of Irvine in the County of Ayr 595 page 82 no 246
Margaret Kerr (Widow of Robert Kerr Muslin Weaver)
died 1890 November thirteenth 7h 0m am Hill Street Irvine
Female age 63 years
Parents John Downie Muslin Weaver (deceased) Mary Downie M.S. Bell (deceased)
Cause of Death Acute Bronchitis; Cardiac Failure as Certified by James Thomson M.D.
Informant Mary Black Her X Mark daughter James Gilmour Registrar Witness
Registered 1890 November 13th At Irvine James Gilmour Registrar


Undated Application for Membership of Society of California Pioneers

Society of California Pioneers
H. T. GRAVES Secretary
EDW’D E. CHEVER Com. of Request for Completion of Records:
In compliance with your request, the information asked for is given below:
Name, in full, William Downie
Date of Birth, June 13th 1820 [circled and, in a different hand ‘1819 changed by request of Wm. Downie’]
Birth place, Glasgow, Scotland
Present Post Office Address, 859 Market Street, San Francisco
Occupation, Miner
Date of Arrival in California, June 27th 1849
Name of Vessel, Ship “Architect”
Signature W.. Downie
[in a different hand 'Died On the Steamer City of Puebla December 27th 1893']


The National Tribune (Washington) January 25 1894 page 4

Maj. William Downie died In San Francisco Harbor a short time ago under pathetic circumstances. He was one of the most noted pioneers of ‘49. At the Midwinter Fair there is a 49 mining camp with a number of the original cabins in which some of the famous miners llved. Maj. Downie's cabin is among them, and he was on his way from Victoria. B. C., to occupy it. A committee went aboard the ship to welcome him and were telling of the pleasure In store for him in meeting his old partners of pioneer times, when an attack of heart failure, which is attributed to emotion, caused him to fall dead on the deck.


Victoria BC newspaper Aug 8, 1902

"Mr. Downie of San Francisco, son of the late Major Downie, pioneer of the Pacific Coast, after whom the town of Downieville, CA is named, was in the city yesterday. The young man was born in Victoria 36 years ago, but left when quite young. He has been on a visit to his mother and sister at Whatcom, Washington, and is returning to San Francisco by steamer Queen."

I am indebted to Doug Thom for the information from British Columbia and San Francisco about William Downie, to Babs Spicer for the clipping about William's death and to Laura Patterson for the information about Mary Bell and William's sister Margaret.

back to Major William Downie

back to "Major" William Downie

page updated 18 October, 2017 by Ian Downie