Middleport in Meigs County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Major John B. Downing
Major John B. Downing was born in Rutland in February 1834, son of Rodney and Marian Black Downing. Educated at Marietta College, he spent 27 years as a pilot and boat owner on the Mississippi River, operating between St. Louis and New Orleans. Downing became one of the most experienced river boat pilots on the Mississippi. As such, he was sought after by Mark Twain to teach him piloting. Later Twain gave him the name "Alligator Jack" and referenced him in his book Life on the Mississippi. Downing also played a role in the Civil War, piloting the fleet in cooperation with General U.S. Grant past the Vicksburg fortress during the famed 1863 Vicksburg Campaign. Downing married Romaine Miller in 1868, and they had two sons, Miller R. and John B. Jr. An accomplished violinist, marksman, and hunter, Downing died in March 1914 and was buried in Middleport Hill Cemetery.
Erected 2008 by Meigs County Historical Society and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 20-53.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection marker series.
Location. 39° 0.207′ N, 82° 2.863′ W. Marker is in Middleport, Ohio, in Meigs County. Marker is Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 232 N. 2nd Street, Middleport OH 45760, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rear Admiral William W. Outerbridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Middleport Medal of Honor Recipients (about 600 feet away); The Ohio River / Historic Middleport (about 600 feet away); General James V. Hartinger (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rear Admiral Arthur Clark (approx. 0.3 miles away); Morgan's Raid Route / Meigs County Courthouse (approx. 1.8 miles away); Spanish Cannon (approx. 1.8 miles away); Meigs County Civil War Memorial (approx. 1.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Middleport.
Also see . . .
1. Downing House History. (Submitted on March 11, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
2. Downing and Mark Twain. (Submitted on March 11, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Notable Persons • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 1,208 times since then and 90 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photo of Downing's grave site. • Can you help?