Source: The State Historical Society of Missouri - Research Center - Rolla

R Downing and Whinrey Families

Donated by Joanne W. Carson

49 Papers, 1837-1929.

11 folders, photocopies

Folder 2: 1850-1859


Transcribed by Lisa K. Gendron



This is a folder type letter having 4 pages and folded to be with the address on the outside. Click to see image 1, image 2

Malinda Washburn to Levi P. Downing.

August the 7th 1850

State of Missouri Jefferson County


Dear brothers and sisters and mother,

It is with respect to you that I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know we are all well at this time and do hope these few words may reach your hand and find you all doing the same. We received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear you was all well. Your letter which was dated in June and brother Wm.s that was wrote a few days before he started to California. I suppose it must have bin the same time but we had not bin to see for some time. I am sorry to think of someone of our people and friends and especially our father going so far from us for I fear we will never see them all again, but may it will be a satisfaction to me if I can hear of them getting home again if I never see them again myself, but I am in hope they will get home with money enough to do them at home and enough so as to come and see me and never miss their expense.


I have bin very neglectful about writing I know, but I wrote you a letter this summer and did not get to send it until it was so long I would not send it and thaut I would write another. I received brother Josephs letter he wrote the night he said he got my first letter, and your first one at the same time that had been dated sometime before he went a purpus to see and got both which give us much satisfaction.


Mother Washburn is dead she died the twentieth of last month and her funeral was preached last Sunday. She has bin lying in bed ever since I came back. She got bad directly after I came and has suffered more than any ten persons I ever saw. She was in a continual rack? of pain such as you never saw in all your lives on earth. I know I never did before. She never was easy one half hour without laudanum or some other medicine of the kind. They tried almost all the doctors near and they appeared to do no good and then they took her to the richwoods to doctor swan and kept her there about three months and he said at last he could not cure her and then they brought her home. She was at home about a month when she died. She died happy. She said she was going home to heaven but for all that it appeared she never could give up to dye for the sake of her little children. She would say to me often when I would be with her, Melinda what would become of my pore little ones if I was to die and could often ask me and others to pray that she might be raised once more to raise her little children.


I could write much more about her but William is waiting on me. He is going to start to Hillsboro to take it. I must be short.


The cholory is very bad in St. Louis, now we know it to be the case for uncle Jacob Haversticks. William lived thare and left thare last week on account of it and is now at uncle Jacobs. Him and his wife and child their condition is generally well. I believe there is no cholory near us now. It has bin very dry in the fore part of the summer but we have rain plenty now for some time. It was the latest spring I ever saw.


A few words to mother Louisa and the girls Ė particular old Bill Robisons daughter Clerisa has a fine daughter born some time in March last. She is Rudolph Washburns sister in law. I guess they will let me alone now and talk to their daughter.


I want all the news? you ____ from Father and the boys. Hear is another white spot my little children is busy playing with the pup. Lydia can talk a little and run any place she wants to.


I want to see you one and all very bad. I will write again if I live. Iíll look for a letter soon from some of you. My compliments to all and Tenn I wish you and Wm much joy. Write to me soon all of you.

Malinda C. Washburn to Levi P. Downing



Hillsboro, Jefferson County, Missouri. Malinda Washburn to Mary Downing. Click to see image

March 20, 1859

To Mr. Levi P. Downing

Mo Lawrence County

Springfield post office


It is not worth it to try to tell you my trouble and suffering this winter on this small bit of paper, though I will tell you some little. The 10th of January last I was confined to my bed with a boy baby which was dead born. It was buried the next day. I come very near going with it. I donít know all that took place for I was not in my senses all the time but when I would come to myself I would often think of my children and all of you but could not talk for want of breath. I new my baby was dead but that did not cause me any trouble at that time for I new it was better off than me or the rest. They could not turn me on my left side all day without letting me dye. The doctor was sent for or I should not bin hear now. I knew when he come to me and said I had no pulse. I felt like I could not get my breath much longer without help from the doctor which I soon got. I never will forget Elizabeth Bage when she found I was nearly gone not knowing the circumstances might be she come running down to me, took hold of my hand crying, asked me if I new her. I told her yes, give me her handkerchief but I could just begin to move my hands a little. Several of the women staid hear half the first week to wait on me, which I return them a thousand thanks for I am just getting able to sew and help the children about cooking. Everybody tell me they never saw me look so bad but I think I am getting well as fast as I could expect. I think I will try to take a little more care of myself this spring if the work goes undone.


I have just finished a fine cloth coat which I think to be a weding coat. I cut the pants and vest last week and who do you think it is. Well, it is Thomas Strickland and Ellen McKee. Tom is hired to John Null for one year. He gives him one hundred and twenty dollars. I think he will marry soon from what I heard Mrs. Null say last week, and you need not be surprised if there is a wedding next Sunday at Liberty. The old man Williams is to preach there next Sunday. You know old uncle Mews Vinyard has been wanting to marry some time and I believe he has got our cousin Betsy McKee in the notion at last. She was hear last Sunday. She told me if it suited him they would get married next Sunday at meeting. The McKees is all against her but Sam.


Tell me the name of the post office where William lives. I want to write him a letter. Direct your letter to Hillboro station on the railroad.



Family information on the Washburn/Downing families


William H. Washburn, son of James W. & Elizabeth Washburn was born 20 Oct 1820 in MO and died 24 Feb 1912, Victoria, Jefferson Co., MO. He married Malinda Carolina Downing, daughter of James Downing and Lydia Williamson, was born 24 Mar 1822 in TN and died between 1900 and 1910 in Jefferson Co., MO.


1850 Jefferson Co, MO Census, District 42

Wm H Washburn††††††††††††† 29

Melinda C Washburn 28

Sarah Jane Washburn 5

George W D Washburn 3

Lydia C Washburn†††††††††††† 1


U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 about William H Washburn

Name:†† William H Washburn

Issue Date:††††††††† 1 Oct 1856

State of Record:†††††††††††††† Missouri

Acres:††† 40

Accession Number:††††††††† MO1020__.241

Metes and Bounds:††††††††† No

Land Office:††††††† St. Louis

Canceled:††††††††††† No

US Reservations:††††††††††††† No

Mineral Reservations:†††† No

Authority:††††††††††† April 24, 1820: Sale-Cash Entry (3 Stat. 566)

Document Number:†††††††† 23473

Legal Land Description:††

SectionTwp†††††† Range††† Meridian††††††††††††† Counties

20†††††††††† 40-N††††† 5-E†††††††† 5th PMJefferson


1860 Jefferson County Missouri Census, Valle Township, Avoca Post office hh#227

William Washbern 38 MO

Malinda 28 TN

Sarah T. 15 MO

Elizabeth McKey 78 MO

George B. Washbern 13 MO

Cathrine 11 MO

Paulina P. 9 MO

Ervin 7 MO

Samuel 5 MO

Virginia 3 MO

Another possible son is living in the next household#228 as a farmhand.

T.B. Peru 32 Merchant England

Louisa 29 PA

Isbell 8 MO

Thomas 4 IN

Thomas Washben 16 MA


U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 about Wm H Washburn

Name:†† Wm H Washburn

Residence:††††††††† Valle, Missouri

Class:†††† 2

Congressional District:††† 2nd

Age on 1 July 1863:††††††††† 42

Estimated Birth Year:†††††† abt 1821

Race:†††† White

Place of Birth:††† Missouri


1870 Jefferson Co., MO Census, Valle township

W H Washburne 50

Melinda Washburne†††††††† 48

Ada Washburne 19

Levi Washburne 17

Samuel Washburne††††††††† 15

Alice Washburne†††††††††††††† 13

Clara Washburne††††††††††††† 11


1880 Jefferson Co., MO Census, Valle township

William Washburn††††††††††† 59MO GA PAFarmer

Malinda C. Washburn††††† 58TN TN TN

Virginna A. Washburn††††† 22 daughterMOTeacher


The Democrat May 1883

As Capt. W.H. Washburn was sitting on the steps of the Jefferson House, in DeSoto, one day last week, a shutter fell from the upper story and struck him on the head, cutting his scalp so that it had to be sewed up. Dr. Farrar did the sewing.


Goodspeeds History of Jefferson Co., MO

Biographical Appendix - 1888

Capt. William H. Washburn, a retired farmer of De Soto, was born in what is now Jefferson County, Missouri, before the state was admitted to the Union, October 20, 1820. His father was James Washburn, a native of Georgia, who settled in Missouri in 1810. William H. Washburn received his education in the old log schoolhouse, where the seats were made of split logs, and the desk consisted of a board upheld by pins in the wall, puncheon floor and a huge fireplace in one end of the room, with stick and clay chimney, and under the eyes of the most exacting teachers, the pupils learned reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic. Mr. Washburn was reared on a farm, which occupation he has followed nearly all his life. During the late war he served as captain of Company B, Eightieth Missouri Militia, until the close of the struggle, participating in the battle of Locust Grove, on the Black River, where six (6) prisoners, forty-two (42) horses and equipments, arms, ammunition, etc. were captured by Capt. Washburn and Lt. Snell. Mr. Washburn had been engaged in railroad work some time prior to the war, and followed the same when off military duty. He subsequently engaged in farming, and still owns a farm of 120 acres in Central Township, Jefferson County. October 19, 1843, he married Malinda C. Downing, daughter of James Downing (deceased). Mr. and Mrs. Washburn are the parents of the following children: Catherine (Mrs. S. A. Bage), Adaline (Mrs. J. W. Staples), Alice (wife of Perry Anderson), Emma (married Samuel A. Seat), George W. L. and Levi P.; Samuel and Sarah J. (Mrs. J. Preston Beard) are deceased, and also two infants. Capt. Washburn served as road commissioner for several years, but has never sought official position. Mrs. Washburn has been a member of the Baptist Church for the past thirty years.


William H. Washburn was a Captain in Company E, 80th Missouri Militia during the Civil War. He was commissioned 23 Aug 1862 to 12 Mar 1865.

Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 about William H Washburn

Name:†† William H

State Filed:††††††††† Missouri

Roll Number:††††† T288_499


Jefferson Democrat March 10, 1892

Capt. WASHBURN and wife were in town last Saturday on business.The Captain is 71, and Mrs. WASHBURN is 70 years of age.Both are hardy and strong and bid fair to live to be centurions.


1900 Jefferson Co., MO Census

Wm S Washburn†††††††††††††† 79Oct 1820Married 56 years

Melinda Washburn†††††††††† 78Mar 1822


1910 Jefferson Co., MO Census, Central township

W H Washburn†† 89widowed

Levi P Washburn†††††††††††††† 57widowed, son