Alexander T. Downing, a physician of Adams Township, was born in Harrison County, Ky., on February 19, 1815. He is the son of Alexander and Mary (Bracken) Downing, both relatives of Pennsylvania, the former of Scotch-Irish and the latter of German-English descent. Soon after their marriage in Pittsburgh, Penn., they came to Kentucky, where the mother died in 1824. In 1826 the father broke up housekeeping, and accepted a position in the surveying department of the United States, a business he continued for a number of years. Before this he had been engaged in the mercantile business in Kentucky. He was appointed surveyor-general by President Harrison or Tyler, and did a great deal of work in Missouri. He was a fine mathematician, and was widely known in the West. He died in Vicksburg, Miss. He and wife were both members of the Presbyterian Church, in which he was a ruling elder for a number of years. Alexander T. was the second of five children—four sons and one daughter. His education, begun in Kentucky, was finished at Bloomington College, Ind., from which he graduated in 1835. He taught school for several years, during which time he read medicine. He graduated in the medical department of the Transylvania College, Lexington, Ky., in 1842, after which he returned to his native county, and practiced his profession at Cynthiana up to 1849. He then came to Missouri, and was soon living where he now resides, being one of the first settlers of this township. He continued actively in the practice of his profession until a few years ago, when he virtually retired. He is an extensive farmer, and since 1856 has been a breeder of Durham cattle. He has been twice married: first in 1848 at Warsaw, Ky., to Miss Margaret Conrad. She died May 28, 1851, having borne one son and one daughter, of whom the daughter is living. She was a member of the Methodist Church. He was next married to Miss Mary E. Own, who was born in White County, Tenn. Six children have blessed this union—three sons and three daughters. Politically, Dr. Downing is a Democrat. He has been judge of De Kalb County court. He and wife are members of the Christian Church.
Source: History of Andrew and DeKalb Counties, Missouri (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1888), pp. 558-559.