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James W. Townsend
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Birth: 1843
Union County
Indiana, USA
Death: Jun. 23, 1893
Miami County
Indiana, USA

James W. Townsend, 50, died June 1893 in Miami County, Indiana. He was the loving son of Joseph L. and Mary Rogers Townsend. He had seven siblings: Adaline G. Townsend Hulce (1843-1924), Ellen Eveline Townsend (1846-?), Charles N. Townsend (1850-1920), Lydia Elizabeth Townsend Richardson (1854-1923), Elijah E. Townsend (1856-1939), John Townsend (1859-1942), and Mary Almeda Townsend Dillman (1861-1944).

James married two Skinner women . He married Sarah Ann Skinner on September 8, 1870 in Cass County, Indiana. She died in 1872. They had no children. Then he married Sarah's younger sister, Matilda on March 5, 1874 in Cass County, Indiana. They had two children: Elizabeth and Marvin Townsend. This married ended in divorce which was granted on September 27, 1879 in Cass County, Indiana. He married for a third time to Clara B. McGinley. On June 11, 1890. She died in January 1893. They had no children. James married for a forth and final time. He married the widow Mary E. Eisbrenner in April 1893.

James is seen living with his father in Cass County, Indiana on the 1880 Census. He then married Clara B. McGinley in Miami County, Indiana on June 11, 1890. She died due to abscess of the kidneys in January 1893. He married secondly to Mary E. Eisbrenner, widow of Andrew Eisbrenner, who survives him, April 1893.

This lovable rogue did not know how much he was loved by his friends and family. He chose to escape his overwhelming pain and anguish and left this world.

Obituary from the Miami County Sentinel, June 1893


James W. Townsend, for several years past resident of Peru, committed suicide by hanging himself at his home on West Seventh Street, last Friday morning. he arose about 5 o'clock and after dressing himself neatly went to his room and told his wife, who was still in bed, that he was going out awhile. He left the house by the rear door and was not seen again until after 6 o'clock when he was found hanging in the wood-house. The first person to see him, as far as known, was Frank Watts, who boarded with the Townsend family.

Watts occupied an upper room of the house. He arose about 6 o'clock and soon after that went out to the wood-house. On entering the door he saw a figure resembling a very tall man (as he expresses it) standing in the shed. He was slightly frightened and returned at once to the house and reported to the worn folks what he had seen. They were at first disposed to doubt the statement, but Watts insisted that there was a man there. In order to decide the matter, Mrs. Eisbrenner, who came the evening before to pay the Townsends a visit, went down to the shed and looking through the openings in the side of the building saw the body of Townsend hanging there.

The alarm was given at once and people from the neighborhood began to gather in. Those who reached the place first say the body was warm when they got there but life was entirely extinct.

Townsend may have gone about the planning of the contritance with which he was to end his existence very deliberately. He first carried an old sewing mating in from the years and placed it against the wall of the shed immediately underneath the rafter which he afterward attached the upper end of the rope to. He then placed two small boxes at east end of the machine near the wall. On the boxes he laid the foot-board of a ?beadstool with one end resting on the ground.
This he is supposed to have used as a gang plank to aid him in getting on top of the machine table. From the table he could reach the rafter. He took a piece of cotton clothesline several feet in length, doubled it, then fastened a small harness ring in the lower end of the double rope. He made the loop or noose by drawing the rope through the ring. Then after tiring the rope securely to the rafter and adjusting the noose about his neck, apparently using great care to place the ring just back of the left ear, he swung off. The neck was not broken, but death, no doubt, resulted from strangulation in a very short time on account of the easy working of the rope through the little ring.

A messenger was immediately sent to notify Coroner Grandstaff, who resides six miles south of the city. Under the impression that it would be unlawful to take the body down until the arrival of the coroner, the ghastly corpse was allowed to hand where it was first found for nearly or quite three hours. During that time hundreds of curious men, women, and children from all parts of the city gazed upon the repulsive sight. Constable William Seeley with the assistance of some bystanders took the body down between 8 and 9 o'clock and took it to the house.

Townsend was born in Ohio in 1843 and therefore fifty years of age. He came to this state with his parents when a boy. He had no trade and worked at anything he could get to do. In his younger days he followed farming some. He enlisted in Co. E twenty-ninth regiment Indiana volunteer infantry at Logansport in 1862. He served three years and two months in the army. At the battle of Chickamanga his eyes were badly injured by being powder burnt. On account of defective eyesight he received a government pension of twenty-four dollars per month.

Townsend came to Peru from Hoover's Crossing, in Cass County, in the spring of 1889. In June of that year, he was married to Miss Clara McGinley with whom he is said to have lived happily until the 10th of January of this year when she died at the family home on East Third Street in this city. He remained single but a short time, having been married to Mary E. Eisbrenner, widow of Andrew Eisbrenner, who survives him, last April.

Soon after the death of his first wife, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Townsend, father and mother of the deceased, came to Peru at their son's request to provide him a home. His parents and other relatives here were not pleased with his second marriage and ceased to be friendly with him, in fact, entirely discarded him. This together with indebtedness which he was unable to meet and other troubles are suppose to have preyed upon his mind until he became unbalanced and determined to end his life by his own hands. The coroner concluded the inquest and found a verdict of suicide Friday evening. The relatives of Townsend, however, were not fully satisfied with the verdict on account of rumors to the effect that the body did not present the appearance of a hanged person. The _____ _____ _____ of W. B. Reyburn, Post G. A. R., of which deceased was a member. Rev. Sol C. Dickey conducted the services and the remains were buried in the G. A. R. lot at Oak Grove Cemetery (now included in Mount Hope Cemetery, Peru, Miami County, Indiana).

Considerable gossip has been indulged in by people generally as to the disposition of the pension which Townsend was drawing at the time of his death. We have been informed by a competent pension attorney that the pension stopped on the date of Townsend's death. The widow will get the amount due from the last pay day up to last Friday, about thirty six dollars. But the government ceases to pay on that day. Prior to 1890 the widow would have been entitled on appliention to eight dollars per month, but having married deceased after 1890 that net cuts her out entirely.

James died from sadness. He probably suffered from what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 
Family links: 
  Joseph Townsend (1826 - 1905)
  Mary Rogers Townsend (1828 - ____)
  Mary L. Eisbrenner (1861 - 1917)
  Sarah Ann Skinner Townsend (1848 - 1872)*
  Matilda Emeline Skinner Grether (1856 - 1915)*
  Clara B. McGlinley Townsend (1854 - 1893)*
  Elizabeth May Townsend Smith (1873 - 1946)*
  Marvin Townsend (1875 - 1889)*
  James W. Townsend (1843 - 1893)
  Adaline G. Townsend Hulce (1843 - 1924)*
  Charles N. Townsend (1850 - 1920)*
  Lydia Elizabeth Townsend Richardson (1854 - 1923)*
  Elijah Townsend (1856 - 1939)*
  Mary Almeda Townsend Dillman (1861 - 1944)*
*Calculated relationship
Mount Hope Cemetery
Miami County
Indiana, USA
Plot: Section D space 4; unmarked grave
Created by: Heattown
Record added: Feb 23, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 125530088
James W. Townsend
Added by: Heattown
James W. Townsend
Added by: Heattown
James W. Townsend
Added by: Heattown
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Unmarked Grave
- The Townsend Family
 Added: Jul. 24, 2016
Thank-you for your service.
- Robert E. Townsend
 Added: May. 3, 2014

 Added: Feb. 23, 2014
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