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Oklahoma Family Tree Stories

This beautiful sculpture of three redbud trees with gold and silver leaves by artist Robin Starke is located just outside the Eleanor & John Kirkpatrick Research Center in the Oklahoma History Center. Each leaf of the "Oklahoma Family Tree" memorializes an Oklahoma family with the family surname, first name(s), and the town or county where they lived. In addition, a short family history will be preserved in the digital family history book at the base of the tree. This is a great way for your family to make history and benefit future generations at the same time. To find out how to honor your own family with a leaf visit the Oklahoma Family Tree Project page.

Downing Family

Daniel Downing, the son of James and Lucy (née Walker) Downing, was born in Saline District, Cherokee Nation, on January 1, 1888. His father died in 1889, and his mother followed him in death in 1894. Daniel was raised in the Chewey Community of Goingsnake District by his mother's first cousin, Noah Sand. For this reason, he was often called Dan Sand.

Dan was married on February 14, 1910 near Gore, Oklahoma, to Viola Catherine Lewis. She was born near Gore on August 1, 1894, to Thomas and Talitha (née Condra) Lewis. They were the parents of four children: Ellen Deloris; Audrey Mae; Carl Howard; and Margaret Eunice.

Deloris Downing was born October 20, 1911, near Vian, Oklahoma. The house where she was born had been the old Tahlontuskee Council House of the Old Settler Cherokees. She and William Crittenden, son of Nelson and Jennie (née Bat) Crittenden, were the parents of one son, Kenneth Wayne, born on April 6, 1941, at Talihina, Oklahoma. Kenneth later lived in Tulsa. Deloris and Ed Baker, son of John and Lucy (née Jones) Baker, were the parents of one son, Jackie Darrell, born on May 5, 1944, on Dan Downing's Cherokee allotment at Chewey. Jack later lived in Oklahoma City. Deloris and her husband, Ed, lived in Westville.

Audrey Downing was born on February 12, 1916, near Vian. She married William Thurman, son of Andrew and Sallie (née Gibson) Thurman, on February 5, 1936, at Fayetteville, Arkansas. They were the parents of two children: Vivian Joyce, born on January 1, 1940; and William Ted, born on February 23, 1942. Both were born at Talihina. Vivian (later, Hayes) lived at Southwest City, Missouri, and Ted lived in San Diego, California. William Thurman was killed in a horse accident in Mayes County, Oklahoma, on October 3, 1942. Audrey married Lester "Leck" Holt on February 10, 1957 at Tahlequah. They were the parents of one daughter, Billie, who was born on September 2, 1959, at Siloam Springs, Arkansas. She and her husband, William "Bill" Gipson, lived at Westville, where she was the editor of the Westville Reporter. Audrey died on January 28, 1980, and was buried in the Sand Cemetery at Chewey.

Howard Downing was born on June 30, 1919, near Gore. He married Lucile Lingle, daughter of Everett and Eva (née Bellew) Lingle on October 10, 1936, at Stilwell, Oklahoma. They were the parents of one daughter, Carolyn Ann, born on March 24, 1937, at Claremore, Oklahoma. Carolyn (later, Meeker) moved to Lawton, Oklahoma. Howard and Lucile were divorced. He then married Ruth Carter, daughter of Lester and Maud (née Kelly) Carter on March 9, 1938, at Fayetteville. They were the parents of three children: Marjorie Katherine, born on March 21, 1939, at Claremore; Danny Ray, born on March 1, 1941, at Claremore; and Robert Glenn, born on May 26, 1959, at Siloam Springs. Marjorie (later, Hill) moved to Midwest City, Oklahoma; Danny moved to Springdale, Arkansas; and Robert moved to Tulsa. Howard and Ruth lived in Chewey.

Margaret Downing was born on September 1, 1923, at Chewey in the old Sand home. She and Audrey Hastings, son of W. D. and Betty (née West) Hastings, were the parents of one daughter, Judy Sue, born on May 21, 1941, at Claremore. Judy married Grover Dale Wilkerson of Weston, Missouri on December 23, 1958, at Tahlequah. They were the parents of four children: Dale Ray, Pamela Sue, Robert Michael, and Rebecca Jean. Judy died on June 13, 1967, at Kansas City, Missouri and was buried at Weston. Margaret married Leroy Hunter, son of Albert and Addie (née Kelly) Hunter, on November 21, 1953, at Stilwell. They were the parents of three children: Steven Thomas, born on July 10, 1954, at Atchison, Kansas; Randy Bill, born on August 21, 1956, at Atchison; and Regina, born on November 18, 1958, at Tahlequah. Steven moved to Neosho, Missouri, and Regina (later, Peters) moved to Siloam Springs. Randy died on March 28, 1981, in Tulsa. Margaret died on July 4, 1989, in Tahlequah. Both were buried in Sand Cemetery at Chewey.

Daniel Downing and Rosetta Hogshooter, daughter of Abraham and Melinda (née Barrick) Mounce, were the parents of one son, Mick, born on September 12, 1909, at Chewey. Mick and Pearl Annie Crittenden, daughter of Bill and Rachel (née Starr) Crittenden, were the parents of one daughter, Christine, born on December 6, 1940. Christine (later, Davis) remained in Chewey. Mick and Marie Vann, daughter of Tom and Lydia (née Crittenden) Vann, were the parents of one daughter, Jackie. Jackie (later, Kingfisher) lived at Chewey. Mick died on April 28, 1988, at Westville and was buried in the Sand Cemetery.

Daniel Downing died on February 14, 1937, at Chewey. Viola (née Lewis) Downing married Charles Kelley on September 18, 1937, at Stilwell. She died on April 1, 1972, at Siloam Springs. Daniel and Viola were both buried in the Sand Cemetery.

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