Paul Downs, 1922, Newburgh, Cleveland

Paul Downs,

This website includes a picture of the 1922 second grade class at Holy Name Parish on Broadway on the southeast side of Cleveland. My mother was in that class and identified most of the children in the picture. She identified the fifth young man from our left in the second last row as Paul Downs. There was a Paul Downs living in the area, described below, who is probably him.

Paul Downs was born October 7, 1912, most likely in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of Michael Downs and Mary Elizabeth "Bessie" Perdew. Paul's mother died in January 1919 of influenza–probably the Spanish influenza outbreak–and his father moved to Cleveland with his three remaining children—Beatrice, Paul, and William. His oldest daughter, Amy, died as an infant in Youngstown.

Michael Downs re-married in 1921 to Bridget McCartan, a widow with no children. Bridget's first husband, John McEvoy, had died in 1912. The Downs family settled at 9536 Meech Avenue, in the Newburgh section of Cleveland. Paul's father died on Meech Avenue in 1936, but Paul and his brother William were still there in 1940 with their mother Bridget. Their sister, Beatrice had married Louis Ptak about 1928 or so.

Paul was "single, with dependents" when he enlisted in the Army in 1942, and remained single the rest of his life. His death notice in the Cleveland Press of February 3, 1972, mentions his brother and sister as survivors. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery.

Michael Downs

When I write these articles on the members of the 1922 second grade class, I usually try to learn their ancestry as well. I wasn't very successful with the Downs side of the family.

Michael's death record–with his daughter Beatrice Ptak providing the information–said that he was born January 1, 1873, in Warren, Ohio, the son of Thomas Downs and Mary Daley. I found two sisters of Michael who were born in Warren as well, Mary and Celia, and a possible third, Sarah, who was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. The three girls all died in 1872 or 1873, Mary at age 7, Celia at 2, and Sarah at 22. If Sarah is part of this family, then Michael must have been the youngest or nearly youngest child.

But there the trail ended. I couldn't find a trace of Thomas Downs and Mary Dailey in Youngstown or Wheeling except for the death records of their daughters.

The Perdews

Paul Downs' mother, Bessie Perdew, was born most likely in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, about August 1882, the daughter of Urbanus "Vance" Perdew and Elizabeth Keefer. She had two younger brothers Herbert and Charles, and a younger sister Effie.

I did about as well with the Perdew family as I did with Michael Downs' parents, namely not well at all. About the only conclusion I came to was that the Perdews seem to be based in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, which is where Urbanus might have been born. Based on the births of his children and the remarriage of his wife, I figure that he died between 1891 and 1899, probably in Fayette County.

The Keefers

There was a lot more information to be had on the Keefer/Keifer/Kiefer family. Bessie Perdew's mother Elizabeth Keefer was born about August 1859, again probably in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Godfrey Keefer and Amy Ann Whipkey. After her husband Vance Perdew died, Elizabeth married William H Channing, a widower. Together they had two children, Sarah and John.

An interesting side point that tied Elizabeth Keefer's records together was a note I found on the "Younkin profiles" page on regarding Sarah Channing's marriage. It read:

Edward C. Showman (1902-1974) was born on March 29, 1902 in Springfield Township. On July 5, 1922, at the age of 20, he was united in holy matrimony with 20-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Channing (1902-1984), a native of Springfield Township and the daughter of William Henry and Elizabeth Keefer (Perdew) Channing. Their nuptials were held in Cleveland, Ohio, with a brief announcement published in the Connellsville Daily Courier."Younkin profiles" page on

And guess where Sarah Channing said was her residence in Cleveland? 9536 Meech Avenue, the home of the Downs-McCartan family.

This family tree at has a lot of research for Elizabeth Keefer's parents. Rather than just copying it all here, I will refer you to:


There is a bit more about the Downs, Perdews, and Keefers in the Trees > OH Families section of this site. For those interested, there is an article about Bridget McCartan here: Bridget McCartan—Kilkeel to Cleveland.