Sherman William Downs was born on October 4, 1869, in Belvidere, Illinois, his father, Edward, was 27 and his mother, Zella, was 17. He married Lillian Mable Wise on May 28, 1893, in Allison, Iowa. They had three children during their marriage. He died on October 28, 1943, in Greene, Iowa, at the age of 74, and was buried there. Lillian Mable Wise was born on June 7, 1876, in Greene, Iowa, her father, Martin, was 32 and her mother, Adaline, was 24. She died on October 16, 1965, in Charles City, Iowa, at the age of 89, and was buried in Greene, Iowa.