John DOWNEY, "Up from County Down", Ireland, to the Ottawa Valley (Sheen)
and his wife, Jane SMITH
January 4, 2002:
HELLO AL THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORK ON THIS SITE. I WONDERED IF YOU COULD
DIRECT ME TO ANY INFORMATION ON THE DOWNEY'S FROM THE SHEENBORO AREA. MY
GG GRANDFATHER JOHN EMIGRATED FROM DOWNPATRICK, COUNTY DOWN. HE WAS BORN
IN 1795. HE MARRIED JANE SMITH AND THEY HAD 10 OR 11 CHILDREN. ONE WAS
JOHN , MY G GRANDFATHER WHO MARRIED 3 DIFFERENT TIMES AND HAD 26 OR 27
CHILDREN. I HAVE SOME BASIC INFORMATION BUT WOULD LIKE TO GET A LITTLE
MORE DETAIL AND TRY TO TRACK THEM BACK TO IRELAND. HOPE YOU CAN HELP.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. SINCERELY WILLIAM J. DOWNEY
April 8, 2002:
I have been researching my family history in the Ottawa Valley. John Downey from Ireland
married Jane Smith in Bytown in 1825? He was my great great grandfather. His son John Jr.,
was one of ten children & was my great grandfather. His son Lorne was my grandfather.
I have made other contacts in British Columbia & Quebec with Downey's interested.
Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
John Downey Jr., was my great grandfather too. His son Lorne was my grandfather.
I have some information through the archives in Ottawa but like you I don't know how he
came to Canada or exactly when. I don't know either what happened to his two brothers.
I'm sending this email to two Downeys I found on the internet. One is Bob from BC & the
other is Brian from Quebec (Hull). Bob's great grandfather was John Jr.'s brother -
Patrick (both sons of John's from Ireland). Brian's great grandfather is the same as
ours also & his grandfather's name was Patrick, my grandfather's half brother. Hope to
hear from you. I found a web site www.mrcpontiac.qc.ca/archivesmrc/1847.htm you might find interesting.
April 10, 2002:
My great grandfather John Downey's first wife Ellen Tallon died and he married Ellen Brennan
in 1872 and had four children named Martha - Jane 1872, Patrick 1874, Christopher 1877,and
Clara-Mary Downey, 1879. I'm not sure about her connection to your's but Brennans are still
present in Sheenboro Quebec neighbours still to the Downey farm originally started by John of
Ireland and owned by Leo (see obituary below, posted on March 24, 2010) today.
also on April 10, 2002:
Hi William and Al:
The following information re John Downey and family was obtained from microfilm No.c1132
showing the census records of Sheen Township, where Fort William is located. For those
interested in pursuing studies in genealogy ,you may obtain such material from the national
archives in Ottawa.
Perhaps you will be as surprised as I to learn that the enumerator for this report was
the great great grandfather himself In spite of the fact that he has himself down as owning
800 acres of land and details of the farm ,he has himself down as labourer, whereas he
classifies others owning land as farmers. Here is the account:
Name (status)Occupaton Place of Birth Age House
John Downey M Labourer Ireland 56 Log
Jane Downey F Housewife Ireland 49
Michael M Bytown 25
Edward M Bytown 23
John Jr M Goulborn 21
Thomas M Goulborn 19
Patrick M Sheen 14
Richard M Sheen 12
Hugh M " 9
Nancy F " 17
Jane F " 15
Catherine F "
John Downey...Concession 2 Held by each member of the
Lot 25 family 800 acres
Under cultivation 80 acres
Under crops Pasture Woodland Wild
70 10 720
Wheat Peas Oats Indian corn Potatoes Hay Wool
10ac. 5ac 12ac 2ac 3ac 25tons 301lb.
10ac. 5ac. 12ac. 2ac 3ac 25tons
Bulls,Oxen,Steers Cows(milk) Horses Calves Pigs
6 10 4 2 9
I (John's signature) enumerator of enumeration division------? of the Township
of Sheen in the county of Ottawa (Gatineau Valley) maketh Oath and with that the sheets hereunto
annexed marked Personal Census 1 to 5 consecutively, and agricultural cencus
contain the full and particular enumeration of the said district Township and
that the same was diligently and faithfully taken by him in accordance with the
instructions that he received touching the same and that to the best of his
belief the said return is correct and true.
Sworn before me at Aylmer
this 6th day of Feb.1852 (officials signature) (John sr's)
The enumerator having now brought the duties required of him to a close to the
best of his ability, it only remains for him to advise that there are two creeks
in the township which at certian times of the year furnish enough water for two
moderate sized grist mills.
The land is light and sandy and when the marketable timber is cut and taken
away it is the opinion of the enumerator that the present selling price...........?
shillings, is more than its net value.
There followed in the record names we have heard spoken
Andrew and Jane Keon, Kelly, Hayes , Sullivan, Berrigan Donnelly and
This research was done by a great granddaughter, Bernadette Downey, Sister Gabriella
C.S.J.(daughter of Patrick Downey),son of Michael , son of John , for the benefit
of her nieces and nephews in the hopes that they will carry on the study for
the benefit of their decendants.
The following information was provided by Mrs. Sheila (McMahon)
(Follis)in reply to a request to her father John J. McMahon,of Sheenboro at the
time for information on the family of John jr.
Record of the family of John Downey( ll ) born 1830, son of John Downey Sr. and
Jane Smith both of whom were born in Ireland.
John Jr was married to Ellen Tallon June 16 1856 she died May 10 1868
Children Mary born April 22 1857
Thomas " May 25 1858
John " Sept 4 1860
Ellen " Feb 13 1862
Michael " May 1 1864
Hugh " April 13 1866
James " May 6 1868
Second family: Married Ellen Brennan Jan 1872 she died April 20?
Children Martha-Jane Sept 20, 1872
Patrick Nov 25 1874
Christopher Dec 21 1877
Clara- Mary May 18 1879
Third family: Married Johanna Holden in 1880
Chidren Hugh Jan 17 1881
Alexander Dec 27 1884
Stella June 14 1883
Simon Dec 13 1885
Ida-Mary Nov 23 1887
Joseph-Lawrence Nov ? 1889
Sylvester Dec 15 1892
Leslie Oct 25 1893
Cecilie Mar 3 1897
Anna Feb 5 1898
Wilbert Dec 9 1899
Lorraine Mar 10 1903
That's it. Hope any of my Downey family and others find this of some help and thanks to those who
researched it. Passing it along was the easy part.
Till later, Maurice Downey Jr (Moe),
son of Maurice Sr,son of Lawrence-Joseph( Lorne), son of John Jr, son of
John of Ireland.
April 14, 2002:
I was wondering if anybody can shed light on a couple of things.According to the
(Flax Grants) of 1796,there is a listing for County Down a John ,James and Patrick Downey. Does
anyone know anything about this document or list as I have had no luck. These names are the
names I have always heard as being brothers but have no real proof. A Tim Houlihan states in a
message board posting (which is free for all to read and post) that in( Crosses And Shamrocks)
John came to Canada with two brothers, landed at Quebec City, separated and went their own
way,one to the west....other to southern Ont. John went to Bytown ,met and married Jane Smith
and had two children and moved to Goulbourn. They had two more children left Goulbourn and went
up the Ottawa to what is now called Downey's Bay. John built a shanty on the shore spent
the first winter there and then moved inland beside which is now called Downey Lake where his
grant of 800 acres was located. I would like to contact Tim Houlihan. Any help with (FLAX GRANTS),
(CROSSES AND SHAMROCKS)and proof of Johns two brothers names so I can begin their search would be
November 8, 2002:
I know of a Mrs. Meehan (nee Brennan) in Sheenboro, Que. She is a descendant and
she may be able to help you. I am also a descendant of John Downey and Jane Smith. Jane
Downey m James Tallon and they are my gg grandparents. I have some other names but no dates
for births, marriages, etc.
Hope this helps.
Zita (Tait) Valliquette
November 19, 2005:
New E-mail address for Zita: email@example.com
January 2, 2003:
Have been searching Smith family from Sheenboro. Jane Smith married a
Downey. Interested in Jane Smith parents. I am searching Owen Smith and
Mary McAndrew from Sheenboro. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Smith/McAndrew site on "Bytown or Bust" Any help so greatly appreciated.
I may have pictures of the Downey headstone in Sheenboro. Almost sure
have headstone when 5 brothers drowned at Christmas.
... Merle Smith
Note: There is another Downey / McAndrew connection on the William Downey page.
January 26, 2003:
I have recently started my genealogy research on my Downey family line.
From information that I have collected I have read that our roots here in America
started with a John Downey who immigrated to Ottawa Canada from Ireland. I am trying
to find the link that ties him to the Downeys in Virginia. My email address is:
I am hoping you could add me to your Bytown or Bust website.
February 6, 2003:
I was wondering if anyone would talk with me about the Johanna connection?
Kerry Kennedy Butler
March 24, 2010:
Obituary for Mr. Joseph Leo Downey
Ottawa Citizen, March 23, 2010
September 17, 2010:
Hi Al: Maurice Downey here. I have changed my email to email@example.com .
Could you change it on the site?
I have some photos of Downey’s from Sheen I would like to send. One is of Johanna Holden Downey of interest
to Kerry Kennedy Butler.
Thanks for letting me know. I've changed it in the list of names, below.
October 25, 2010:
This is a picture of Johanna Holden Downey - John II, third wife. Behind her you can see Downey Lake & Manny Lake,
Sheenboro, Quebec. She was mother to Hugh, Alexander, Stella, Simon, Ida Mary, Joseph, Sylvester, Leslie, Lorne
(my grandfather), Martin, Cecilie, Anna, Wilbert, Lorrain.
... Moe Downey
E-mail Barbara, William Downey, Maurice Downey, Zita Valliquette, Merle Smith, Kerry Kennedy Butler and Al Lewis
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