Grandfather Michael Edward Downey
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Grandfather: Michael Edward Downey (dates - unknown)



Michael Edward Downey (dates - unknown) --- My paternal Grandfather,  migrated to Chicago from Cohoes, NY as a young man on his way to Alaska to strike gold.  He walked into a candy store on the southside of Chicago and behind the counter was a young girl, Ellen Sue Whitehead, age 16.  He fell in love with Ellen and Michael never left Chicago, marrying Ellen Whitehead in 1902 when she was only 17 years old.  Michael then found work as a railroad switching engineer.  Later, my father, Eugene Harold Downey, would tell of his father, Michael, taking his oldest son, my Uncle E. Phay Downey, with him to the railroad yard so that Uncle Phay could blow the whistle, but Grandfather Michael never took my father with him and so my father never got to blow the whistle.  Sometime after my Uncle Ervin was born, Grandfather Michael took to drinking and the older Downey boys (Phay, Gene, and Gerald) would have to go to the neighborhood bar to get their father to come home.  Grandfather Michael became very abusive to Grandmother, Ellen Whitehead Downey, and to their children---so much so that Uncle Phay left home and went to live with Grandmother Ellen's brother, Robert Whitehead and his family.  Grandmother then divorced Michael Downey and things got so tough that for a time my father and his younger brother, my Uncle E. Gerald Downey, were put into a foster home at a cost of a dollar-a-week , while Grandmother got a job as a domestic where she could take care of then baby Uncle Ervin Downey in her employer's home.  Uncle Gerald never forgave Grandmother for the temporary split-up of the family and later, after the family was reunited, Gerald and Ervin would always fight with one another to the point that one time my father recalls Uncle Gerald knocking his younger brother, Uncle Ervin, out cold.  Later on, however, both Uncle Gerald and Uncle Ervin became true brothers, playing semi-pro baseball together and going to the local tavern after the games with their ball playing buddies.
Grandmother subsequently married Sherman Butler Black in 1918 when she was 33, and together, they had two children---twin boys, my Uncles Bill and Bob Black, born on July 26, 1920 in Craddock, VA.  Sherman Butler Black's dates were 1888 - 1936.  Sherman Black died in an accident, falling from a house he was woking on.  For the most part Grandmother Ellen Black then lived out the remainder of her life living with her son, my Uncle Ervin Downey,  and she died in 1964 at the age of 79.
 ...written by Michael Edward Downey's Grandson, H. Bruce Downey, November, 2003 

"An Irish Tune from the County Derry:--- Danny Boy" played here by the Richard Hayman Orchestra ------------>

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Grandfather: Michael Edward Downey (dates - unknown)