Saturday, August 30, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ Emanuel Downing of Salem, Massachusetts

from the Peabody Essex Museum, dated about 1819
The Emanuel Downing mansion on Essex Street in Salem,
This house was taken down in 1753. 

Emanuel Downing (1585 – 1658), my 10th great grandfather, is a fascinating ancestor who seemed to be related to lots of historic figures from New England history.  Because he touched so many historic events and knew so many important figures, it is easy to find information on his life and genealogy.  His lineage goes back to the time of the Magna Carta in 1215, and he descends from one of the sureties Saire de Quincy, Earl of Winchester.

Emanuel Downing graduated from the University of Cambridge in England.  He first married Ann Ware in 1614 and had three children.  He then married Lucy Winthrop, sister of Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and his famous son, George, was born in 1623.  George Downing, brother to my 9th great grandmother, Lucy Downing (1625 – 1697), graduated from Harvard and was the Ambassador to the Netherlands under Cromwell and Charles II.  He lived at Number 11 Downing Street, which is now the residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.   Samuel Pepys was his clerk.  George Downing was knighted in 1661 and became Secretary to the Treasury.  He became a baronet in 1663.

One of Emanuel’s daughters, Anne, married first to Joseph Gardner, and second to Governor Simon Bradstreet.  Simon was a Cambridge University graduate, and a founder of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He was Secretary of the United Colonies of New England, and an envoy to King Charles II in 1661.  He was deputy Governor of Massachusetts from 1673 – 1679, and Governor from 1679 – 1686, and again from 1689 to 1692. 

Emanuel Downing lived in Salem, in what is now Peabody, Massachusetts.  He had a tavern on the Ipswich Road, and a house in Salem he bought from Governor Simon Bradstreet.  He returned to England in 1656 and rented his tavern in what is now Peabody to John Proctor (1631 – 1692).  John Proctor is also my 8th great grandfather, and was hung as witch on 19 August 1692 during the Witch Hysteria.

On a sad note, Emanuel Downing is infamous for penning a letter in 1645 to his brother-in-law, Governor John Winthrop, "A war with the Narragannsett is verie considerable to this plantation... if upon a Juste Warr the Lord shall deliver them into our hands, we might easily have men, women, children enough to exchange for Moores... For I doe not see how we [white men] can thrive until wee get into a flock of slaves sufficient to doe all our business".  He advocated trading the native Indians of New England for black African slaves. [Emanuel Downing to John Winthrop, August 1645, Massachusetts Historical Society Collection,  Winthrop Papers, 5: 38 - 39]

After Emanuel Downing returned to England he was made Clerk of Council of State to Scotland. He removed to Edinburgh, where he died on 26 September 1660.  He was buried at St. Martin’s in the Field in London.  Lucy, his wife, removed to England to live with her son Sir George and died in London on 10 April 1679. Emanuel Downing had several famous descendants, including William Tecumseh Sherman,  US President John Quincy Adams, and Vice President Aaron Burr (who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804).  He is also the ancestor of Reverend Johnathan Edwards, Puritan theologian. 

For more information:

You won’t find Emanuel Downing in any of the volumes of The Great Migration series by Anderson, but you will find several of his children there.  He is mentioned in several local history books, including The History of Salem by Sidney Perley, and in books about the Winthrop and Bradstreet families.

Emanuel Downing, by Frederick Johnson Simmons, 1958 

The Ancestry of Dr. J. P. Guilford, Volume I: Seventeenth Century New England Colonials, by Joan S. Guilford, Orange, CA, 1990, pages 253-258 are about Emanuel Downing.

The American Genealogist, Volume 74, pages 161-174, and 299 – 308) for the English ancestry of Emanuel Downing.

My DOWNING genealogy:

Generation 1: Emanuel Downing, son of Reverend George Downing and Dorcas Bellamy, was born 12 August 1585 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, died 26 July 1658 in Scotland; married first on 7 January 1614 in Edinburgh, Scotland to Anne Ware (three children); married second on 10 April 1622 in Groton, Suffolk, England to Lucy Winthrop (five children).  Lucy was the daughter of Adam Winthrop and Anne Browne.

Generation 2: Lucy Downing, daughter of Emanuel Downing and Lucy Winthrop, born in 1625 in Salem, Massachusetts, died on 2 May 1697 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married to William Norton, son of William Norton and Alice Browest.  (five children)

Generation 3: Bonus Norton m. Mary Goodhue
Generation 4: Elizabeth Norton m. Benjamin Swett
Generation 5: Elizabeth Swett m. David Batchelder
Generation 6: Elisha Batchelder m. Sarah Lane
Generation 7: Jonathan Batchelder m. Nancy Thompson
Generation 8: George E. Batchelder m. Abigail M. Locke
Generation 9: George E. Batchelder m. Mary Katharine Emerson
Generation 10: Carrie Maude Batchelder m. Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 11: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Hey cousin-- Emanuel Downing was my 12th great. I descend for him through his daughter Susan, who married Robert Roberts. Susan was the youngest child by his first wife, Anne Ware. I also descend from a John Downing, who married Mehitable Braybrook, but he may not be the son of Emanuel. Apparently there were at least two or three John Downings in MA at the time...

    Emanuel was descended from the Wingfield family, who were descended from Plantaganet royalty to Edward I. On this line you'd be a 21st great-granddaughter of Longshanks! We're also related to Valerie Bertinelli.

    1. I know this comment is three years old, but I did a pretty exhaustive study on John Downing. There were three of them: John, the son of Emanuel, John, the son of Nathaniel (this John died in Boston in 1694) and another John Downing who claimed that he was kidnapped in Ireland. Nothing else about this John or his brother is preserved in any record. John, the husband of Mehitabel was titled "planter" which means he owned about 300 acres of land. Also, this John died after 1694 because he and Mehitabel signed over property to their two sons in the early 1700's.

  2. Hi Cousin. Emanuel is my 9th great via his daughter Mary Ware and Anthony Stoddard. Do I assume correctly the home pictured is the one leased to John Proctor, who was hanged for witchcraft? The entire 2nd act of The Crucible took place in Emanuel's living room.

    Peter Stoddard
    Lake Lanier GA

    1. Proctor lived on Downings farm land in what is now Peabody, Massachusetts. Neither building is standing today.

  3. Emanuel is my husbands 10 ggf. Through Mary>Soloman>Christian>Israel>William>Jeremiah>Carolyn>James>Allie>>Franes>Lester>Lester