An American Family History

Cora Edna Smith Downard

In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.

Cora Edna Smith Downard was born in Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa on November 11, 1879. She was the daughter of Josiah Smith and Sarah Pitts.    

She married Frank Benjamin Downard in December, 1899.  Frank was born on November 4, 1877 in Van Buren Iowa. He was the son of Isaac Newton (Bud) Downard and Anna West. He was a one of the first mail carriers in Russell, Iowa.

Mr. Frank Downard and Miss Cora Smith, both of Benton township, were married in Russell last Thursday afternoon. From there they went to Ottumwa for a few days visit with his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Davenport.

The bride is a charming young woman, fully capable of presiding over a home. The groom is a son of Isaac Downard and wife and is an honest, industrious young man, enjoying the respect of the community in which he lives. They will go to housekeeping in Benton township and their friends wish them a happy and prosperous life.

Cora and Frank's five children were:
Clell Franklin Downard (1900),
Lester Everett (1902),
Iceal Florence Downard Bailie (1905)
Eva Eloise Downard Hubbell (1907, and
Herbert Tarvin Downard (1915). 

They appeared in the 1900 census in Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa.

Frank died in 1935. Cora died on December 19, 1955. She is buried in Russell Cemetery, Washington Township, Lucas County with her husband Frank.


Children of Josiah Smith, Sr.
and Sarah Pitts
  • Elizabeth Jane Smith Frank
  • Allison Woodrow Smith
  • Nancy Ann Smith Wilson
  • Mary Ellen Smith Widaman Dixon
  • David Henry Smith
  • Josiah Allen Smith
  • John Smith
  • George Washington Smith
  • William Smith
  • Ida Belle Smith Hoops
  • Sarah Catherine Smith Hoops
  • Charles Elmer Smith
  • Cora Edna Smith Downard
  • downards
    Frank, Clell and Cora

    Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

    Bill, Twyla and Maryon White, 
    Icyle and Cora Downard, Faye Wood, Icyle's friend about 1940



    Cora Edna Downard, daughter of Josiah and Sarah Smith was born in Lucas County, Iowa, on November 11, 1879 and departed from this life on December 19, 1955 at the age of 76 years.

    On December 21, 1899 she was united in marriage to Frank B. Downard, who preceded her in death on September 24, 1935.

    To this union were born five children, Clell of Russell, Lester Everett who also preceded his mother in death in 1933, Iceal Florence Bailie of Olympia, Washington, Mrs. Eva Hubbell of Des Moines and Herbert Tarvin of Eureka, California.

    She became a member of the Russell Presbyterian church on March 27, 1921.

    Besides the immediate family she leaves to mourn her death nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

    Burial was made in the Russell cemetery.


    The Chariton Leader, Chariton, Iowa
    Thursday, April 12, 1906

    Isaac Downard's house on East Armory Avenue was completely destroyed by fire. The structure was a story and a half frame building, valued at about $850. and was only insured for $350. The contents of the lower story were saved but everything upstairs was destroyed. It is not known exactly how the fire originated; it may have caught from a defective flue, or a lamp which had been left burning upstairs may have exploded. When the fire was discovered the flames were bursting through the roof. The fire department arrived on the scene but the members were powerless to render any assistance as there was no water supply that could be reached with the hose. And still there are people who insist that we do not need water works. The people who live in the outskirts of the city are compelled to pay taxes just as high as if they lived within a few blocks of the square and they should have fire protection.

    Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.


    The first U.S. railroad opened in the 1830s. In 1869 the first transcontinental railway was completed.

    The Chariton Herald-Patriot
    Thursday, January 2, 1997

    Clell Downard, son of Benjamin Franklin and Cora (Smith) Downard, was born May 27, 1900, in Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa. He passed away on Dec. 21, 1996 at the Chariton Nursing and Rehab Center at the age of 96.

    Clell moved to Russell when he was two years old. His father was one of the first rural mail carriers out of Russell, while his grandfather was a carrier out of Chariton. Clell substituted on both routes, riding on horseback or using a team of horses with a buggy or bobsled to deliver the mail.

    Clell lived most of his life in Russell and Lucas County. He attended Russell schools until his junior year when he broke his leg playing football. He left school at that time but later shared that it was a mistake to have left.When Clell was about 17, he left Russell to work on a dairy farm in New York state, for a former Russell mail carrier. He traveled by train to New York by way of Chicago to his destination near Syracuse. Clell shared the memories of his train trip with his family. He remembered the box lunch his mother had packed for him, only to have it picked up by a stanger at one of the stations. Clell had left it on the bench while he went to inquire about the train schedule.When Clell finally arrived at the dairy farm, which was owned by former Russell resident, Roy Wilsie, he found plenty of work to be done. Mr. Wilsie, his wife, and Clell milked 43 head of dairy cows twice a day, by hand, until Mr. Wilsie finally bought a gasoline powered milker. Clell also hauled the milk in ten gallon milk cans to the creamery each day. He was able to use the brand new Ford the Wilsie's had bought to make the trips. He was also allowed to use the truck for other purposes, such as dating and eating out, which was quite a thrill for a young man in those days.

    Clell returned to Russell after a couple of years to help his Dad and others deliver mail.Clell assisted his Dad in buying wool and furs and chauffeured doctors and salesmen around the community with horses from the Russell Livery Stable. Clell went to work as a custodian for the Russell School in the early 40's and worked there until about 1970. In the early days, they unloaded coal from railroad cars and hauled it to the school to fire the furnace. They did all this work by hand.Clell did a lot of umpiring at ball games and had to be at all games to take care of things.

    His hobbies included fishing, hunting, gardening and visiting family members. He also liked to play croquet, pitch horseshoes, cribbage, other card games and pool, especially snooker. He had been known to give some others an education in some of these activities.

    On March 20, 1927, Clell was united in marriage to Nellie B. Reeves, the daughter of Theodore F. and Iva Josephine (Dovenspike) Reeves. They were married in Russell by Rev. Archie Beals.

    To this union seven children were born, five sons and two daughters. The family made their home in Russell.Clell and Nellie moved to the Northridge Living Center in Chariton in April 1988. Clell had been a resident of the Chariton Manor since 1996.

    He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter Dorothy Lutteneger in August 1976; his wife Nellie on May 31, 1995; brothers Lester and Herbert; and sisters Icyle Jane and Eva Hubbell.

    Clell is survived by five sons, Max Downard of Corning; Donald Downard of Montgomery, Ill.; Theodore (Ted) Downard of Des Moines; Verle (Dean) Downard of Tucson, Ariz.; and Dale Downard of Silver Lake, Wash.; one daughter, Barbara Hansen of Burlington; 15 grandsons, five granddaughters; 26 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Clell shared his birthday with great-grandson Andrew Downard. He is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Hazel Davidson of Boise, Idaho, and Dorothy Perkins of Chariton.

    Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28, 1996, at the Fielding Funeral Home in Chariton. Pastor Larry Prosser officiated. Burial was in the Russell Cemetery. Serving as bearers were his grandsons, Dennis Downard, Ronald Downard, Craig Downard, Michael Lutteneger, Daniel Lutteneger, Timothy Lutteneger, Douglas Hansen and Richard Downard.
    Obituary courtesy of Charles M. Wright 

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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