Coles Townsend

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Coles Townsend was born about 1817 in New York City. He died in 8 October 1852 in Buffalo, Erie New York of cholera.

Coles was possibly related to the three Townsend brothers, who came to New Amsterdam from England circa 1640. After many difficulties with the Dutch, in 1661 they settled in Oyster Bay Cove on Long Island, which was outside of Dutch rule and at that time under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut Colony. (The Townsend Society based in Oyster Bay Cove is dedicated to preserving and cataloging Townsend family history.) However, no connection has been established.

Coles moved to Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, where he married Florence “Fanny” Eacret, daughter of George Eacret and Nancy Ann Kingsland, on 16 August 1838 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

In 1840, he was living in Lower St. Claire Township (now part of Pittsburgh). Around this time he had a butcher shop (or "provisions business)" in partnership with James Leonard Graham—perhaps this taken over from James' father, William Graham. (Coles would name his first-born son, James Graham Townsend, after him.) James L. Graham would become state senator.

During his time in Pennsylvania, Coles was also active in local politics as a member of the Locofoco movement within the Democratic party. In 1845, he was part of a committee that tried to intercept then President-elect and fellow Democrat James Knox Polk and convince him to visit their city.

He was frustrated with the Republican leanings of his area, and moved to Buffalo, New York about 1847 “since it was a Democratic city.” It was not an easy move. The trip was made by boat down the Ohio River and through the newly-constructed Erie Canal. Owing to some accident, the expected two weeks turned into three, and the food supply was exhausted. The boat made land in an unsettled area where they were fortunate to find a log cabin and the cook was able to make enough biscuits to hold everyone over for the rest of the journey.

In Buffalo, Coles ran a butcher shop and served as city street commissioner. His son James wrote that “he would have been elected mayor,” but the family was struck by tragedy during a cholera epidemic in September 1852. City officials at first claimed the epidemic was exaggerated, denouncing the fact that “people abroad can be made to believe such preposterous stories,” but soon they had to face the truth—during that month 500 deaths from cholera were recorded. Coles evidently was strong, ill for about a month before finally succumbing.

On September 2nd, The Buffalo Courier reported the death of Coles’ daughter:

“On the 1st instant, after a short illness, Ann Eliza, daughter of Coles and Fanny Townsend, aged 9 years. Funeral at 4 o'clock this afternoon, from the residence of her father, on Burton's Alley, between Oak and Elm Streets.”

On September 8th, the same paper reported:

On the 7th inst. of the prevailing disease, Henry, son of Coles and Fanny Townsend, aged 2 years, 9 months. Funeral this morning at 9 o'clock from the residence of his father, on Burton's Alley, between Oak and Elm streets. Friends are invited to attend.

We regret to hear that Mr. Townsend's family have been so deeply afflicted. This is the second child they have lost within the week. The father has been prostrated by disease and now the mother is lying in a critical situation although hopes are entertained of her recovery.

The Buffalo Daily Republic (Monday, September 20, 1852, p. 2) reported the children's deaths together:

On the 1st inst., of cholera, ANN ELIZA, and on the 7th inst., HENRY K., children of Coles and Fanny Townsend, the former aged 9 years and the latter 2 years and 9 months.

The same paper recorded Coles' death on the 8th of October (p. 2):

DIED. Suddenly last evening, 8th instant, Mr. COLES TOWNSEND, aged 36 years.

Coles’ son James later recounted, “in three days my father, brother, sister and uncle were dead and my mother was an invalid.”

It is not clear who the brother was—the best candidate seems to be the Robert G. Townsend who was listed in the 1840 census in Buffalo, mentioned in the 1844 Buffalo city directory as as butcher at 266 Franklin, and mentioned in the newspaper alongside as one of the Democratic Electors of the city [25 Oct 1847]. Coles also named a son Robert in 1847, soon after moving to Buffalo. Robert G. Townsend died of cholera 23 Jul 1849, a resident of Black Rock (near Buffalo), leaving a widow and "numerous small children."

After Coles died, Fanny (Eacret) Townsend moved in with an "uncle" (relationship unclear), the Rev. David King of Vernon, Trumbull, Ohio. She met and married William Andrew Lafferty, son of James Lafferty and Orpha Alexander. He was born 24 Dec 1818 in Trumbull County, Ohio. He died 19 Oct 1875 in Brookfield, Trumbull, Ohio.

William had six children from a previous marriage. He and Fanny had two children together:

Fanny died 11 January 1908 Feb 1938 in Warren, Ohio. A tribute to her, published 18 November 1905 in the Warren Daily Tribune, stated:

Her parents were earnest Methodists and their open-hearted hospitality made their residence a home for the early itinerant Methodist preachers . Because of this, she came into intimate acquaintance with many of the most prominent men in the early history of Methodism, including Bishops Soule, Kingsland, Andrews and Simpson and Reverends Wesley Smith, William Bronson, and William Browning. Most of these served as her pastor or presiding elder; and, during the ministry of the last-named, she was converted and joined the old Smithfield Street Church.

[S]he was well acquainted with Andrew Carnegie. His parents, who were very poor and made their living by weaving, lived in a small house owned by a sister of Mrs. Lafferty. 'I'he house being so small, young Andrew slept in an attic room over her father's cabinet shop, and Mrs. Lafferty cared for his room.

Mrs. Lafferty has always been a great reader and few women know the history of their country and their church as she does. … Her life has been a useful one, full of deeds of charity; wise as a counselor, true as a friend, consistent and devouted as a Christian, her life has been a benediction to her home, in the church, and in the community in which she lived.

Generation One

  1. Coles1 Townsend was born about 1818 in New York, New York. He died 8 October 1852 in Buffalo, Erie, New York. He married Florence “Fanny” Eacret, daughter of George Eacret and Nancy Ann Kingsland, on 16 August 1838 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. She was born 17 Sep 1817 in Pittsburgh. She died 11 Jan 1908 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio.

    Coles Townsend and Fanny Eacret had the following children:

    1. James Graham2 Townsend, born 26 May 1839 in Pittsburgh; died 26 Jun 1917 in Jamestown, New York. He married Orpha Jane Lafferty.
    2. Ann Eliza Townsend, born 1843 in Pennsylvania; died of cholera 1 Sep 1852 in Buffalo, New York.
    3. Charles Wesley Townsend, born 18 Apr 1845 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He died 2 Oct 1922 in Orlando, Florida and was buried in Sharon, Pennsylvania. He was in the manufacturing business.

      He married Linda Jean Kepner, daughter of Jacob Kepner and Mary McKnight, on 29 June 1871. She was born 24 May 1849 in Hartford, Ohio. She died 11 Aug 1925 in Orlando, Florida, and was buried in Sharon, Pennsylvania. They had no children.

    4. Robert Townsend, born 1847 in Buffalo, New York. He died of typhoid fever at the age of 12, about 1859 in Ohio.
    5. Henry K. Townsend, born Dec 1849 in Buffalo, New York; died 7 Sep 1852 in Buffalo of cholera.
    6. George Townsend died in infancy. His birth and death dates are unknown.
    7. Florence “Fanny” Townsend, born 19 Apr 1852 in Buffalo, New York; died 21 Feb 1938 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio. She married Albert Courtney Burnett.

Generation Two

  1. James Graham2 Townsend (Coles1) was born 26 May 1839 in Pittsburgh. He died 26 Jun 1917 in Jamestown, Chautauqua, New York. He married his step-sister, Orpha Jane Lafferty, daughter of William Andrew Lafferty and Mary Artherholdt, on 11 Aug 1862 in Trumbull County, Ohio. She was born May 1841 in Ohio. She died 24 Mar 1906.

    James Graham Townsend wrote that after the family tragedy, he went to live with his grandfather in Ohio and “worked on farms.” He attended a private school taught by a graduate of Oberlin, Ernest Milo Cravath (a famous abolitionist who devoted his life to the education of freed slaves, and was President of Fisk University for over twenty years), and later went to Oberlin College.

    He wrote: “In the summer of 1862 when I was 22 years old, I was working on a farm, near Sharon, Pennsylvania, when news came that Bragg and his army were in Kentucky. I shall never forget the thrill that entered my heart as I stood there in the field. The Union was in peril and the Union must be saved!”

    He returned to Ohio after the war, taught school, and later became a Methodist minister. In the early 1880s, he left the Methodist church, and, in 1885, founded the Independent Congregational Church of Jamestown, New York which eventually became the Jamestown Unitarian Universalist Congregation. He also served at many other churches, including the First Unitarian Church in Pittsburgh.

    Rev. J. G. Townsend, his wife and daughter were buried in an unmarked grave at Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown.  For the 125th anniversary of the Unitarian church he founded, church members held a fundraiser and had a black marble bench placed over the gravesite. Every year, one of the members of the church dresses up as J. G. Townsend to celebrate the church’s anniversary.

    Orpha Jane (Lafferty) Townsend died 24 Mar 1906. James G. died a widower on 26 Jun 1917 in Jamestown, New York.

    James and Orpha had one daughter:

    1. Madeline T.3 Townsend, born Sep 1866 in Ohio. She never married, had no children, and died in 1941 in Jamestown, Chautauqua, New York.
  2. Florence “Fanny”2 Townsend (Coles1) was born on 19 April 1852 in Buffalo, New York. She died 21 Feb 1938 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio.

    She married Albert Courtney Burnett, son of Joseph Burnett and Cassander “Catherine” Courtney, on 19 July 1868 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio. He was born on 8 June 1847 in Niles, Ohio. He died on 18 Aug 1925.

    Fanny Townsend and Albert Courtney Burnett had the following children:

    1. Della Blanch Burnett KingDella Blanch3 Burnett, born 8 Jun 1869 in Trumbull County, Ohio; died 4 Sep 1937 in Trumbull County. She married Ernest Larnard King.
    2. Mary Theodora Burnett LewisMary Theodora Burnett, born 19 Jan 1874 in Hartford, Trumbull, Ohio; died 18 Jan 1957 in Yonkers, Westchester, New York. She married Charles Edward Lewis.
    3. Florence Burnett IzantFlorence Townsend Burnett, born 3 Sep 1876 in Hartford, Trumbull, Ohio; died 18 Dec 1971 in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan. She married Edwin Owen Izant.
    4. Josephine Burnett FreebergOlive Josephine Burnett, known as Josephine, was born on 29 Aug 1879 in Hartford, Trumbull, Ohio. She died in 1976. She married Solomon Freeberg on 16 Jun 1922 in St Louis, Missouri. He was born 14 Aug 1882 in Kurikka Vasa, Finland; and died 15 Sep 1973.
    5. Cassandra Courtney BurnettCassandra Courtney Burnett, born 15 Oct 1884 in Ohio; died 12 Nov 1979 in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan. She was a school teacher and never married.
    6. Alberta Cynthia BurnettAlberta Cynthia Burnett, born 13 Sep 1886 in Cortland, Trumbull, Ohio. She died 24 Sep 1911 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania at the Children's Hospital of a blood clot in the brain.
    7. Adelbert Charles Burnett, born 8 Mar 1893 in Trumbull, Ohio; died six days later on 14 Mar 1893.
    8. Joseph William Burnett, born 8 Mar 1893 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio; died seven days later, on 15 Mar 1893.

Generation Three

  1. Della Blanch3 Burnett (Florence2, Coles1) was born 8 Jun 1869 in Trumbull County, Ohio. She died 4 Sep 1937 in Trumbull County. She married Ernest Larnard King, son of Horace Montgomery King and Lucy Larnard, on 11 Nov 1891 in Trumbull County. He was born 10 Jun 1867 in Ohio; and died 24 Apr 1917 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio.

    Della Burnette and Ernest King had four children:

    1. Paul Lanard4 King, born 20 Oct 1892 in Los Angeles, California; died 10 Sep 1984 in Warren, Trumbull Ohio. He married Helen Moyer, daughter of William Moyer and Miriam Bellig, on 13 Jan 1919 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan. She was born 22 Jan 1900 in Pennsylvania, and died 3 Jul 1977 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio.
    2. Karl Burnett King, born 21 Oct 1893 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio; died 7 May 1961 in Ross, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He married Edith Blanche Loveless, daughter of William Henry Loveless and Etta Blanche Myers, Oct 1924 in Trumbull County, Ohio. She was born 12 Aug 1899 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio; and died 11 May 1946 in Warren.
    3. Florence L. KingFlorence L. King, born 23 Nov 1894 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio; died 10 Apr 1972 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. She married Cecial Hewins Barrett, son of Horace Hewins Barrett and Margaret Eliza Heron. He was born 31 Jul 1897 in Pennsylvania, and died 31 Dec 1968 in Pittsburgh.
    4. Marion King, born 21 Jul 1896 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio; died within a few years.
  2. Mary Theodora3 Burnett (Florence2, Coles1) was born 19 Jan 1874 in Hartford, Trumbull, Ohio. She died 18 Jan 1957 in Yonkers, Westchester, New York. She married Charles Edward Lewis, son of Richard E. Lewis and Eleanor Lewis, on 14 May 1892 in Trumbull County, Ohio. He was born 30 Apr 1872 in Niles, Trumbull, Ohio; and died 23 Jan 1929 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

    Charles Lewis and Mary Burnett had five known children:

    1. Hazel LewisHazel Alpha4 Lewis, born 28 Jan 1893 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio; died 22 Feb 1921 at a tuberculosis sanitarium in Saranac Lake, New York.

      Hazel had a delightful personality. She fashioned herself as the family correspondent, and wrote many “bulletins” that survive to this day.

      A photo she sent to her mother on 1 May (1920?) showed her with a head nurse Miss Lynch. This is possibly Katherine C. Lynch, who was cured at the the Trudeau Sanitorium and then opened the Lynch Cottage at 88 Riverside Drive in Saranac Lake. Hazel's funeral service took place at Russell and Marcelle's home in Pittsburgh. She is buried at Homewood Cemetery.

    2. J. Russell Lewis, born 20 Mar 1894 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada; died 28 Aug 1985 in Northbrook, Cook, Illinois. He married (1) Marcelle Anna Marie Henry, daughter of Emile Rémi Henry and Jeanne Joséphine Dourlot, on 14 Jun 1919 at Dijon, Côte-d'Or, Bourgogne, France. She was born 23 May 1893 in Lavans-lés-dole, Jura, Franche-Conté, France. She died 13 Mar 1928 in Moissey, Jura, Franche-Comté, France.

      Russell served in the Medical Detachment of the 320nd Infantry in and took part in the battle of the Somme in World War I, He married Marcelle following the war. He and Marcelle had three children together. Marcelle became sick on the boat, bring the children to visit her mother in France, and died. The children were raised in France by her mother. Russell never saw his children again.

      After Marcelle’s death, he married (2) Christine Cecelia Pearson. They had a son who died in infancy on 12 May 1936 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York.

      He married (3) Henrietta Blanche Roseland, daughter of Clarence Roseland and Caroline Louise Young, on 4 Nov 1936 in Melrose, Jackson, Wisconsin. They divorced 23 Jul 1954 in Gooding County, Idaho. She was born 20 Mar 1911 in Hennepin County, Minnesota; and died 8 Jan 1987 in Boise, Ada, Idaho.

    3. Mildred LewisMildred Lewis, born 12 Jun 1896 in Cambridge,, Lamoille, Vermont; died 1 Aug 1993 in Northbrook, Cook, Illinois. She married John Archibald Schroedel, son of Phillip Robert Schroedel and Anna Luella Vineyard, on 16 Sep 1918 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He was born 3 Oct 188 in Pittsburgh and died 23 Jan 1950 in Dobbs Ferry, Westchester, New York.
    4. Merill C. Lewis, born 23 Jun 1898 in Cincinnati, Ohio; died 7 Oct 1898 in Cincinnati.
    5. Donald LewisDonald Lewis, born 17 Oct 1899 in Kenton County, Kentucky; died 21 Jun 1918 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania of tuberculosis.
  3. Florence Townsend3 Burnett (Florence2, Coles1) was born on 3 Sep 1876 in Hartford, Trumbull, Ohio; died 18 Dec 1971 in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan. She married Edwin Owen Izant, son of Frederick Poindexter Izant and Martha J. Fox, on 7 Aug 1906. He was born 24 Jun 1875 in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio; and died Jun 1963 in Michigan.

    Florence Burnett and Edwin Izant had a daughter:

    1. Martha Florence4 Izant, born 28 Jul 1909 in Lansing, Ingham, Michigan; died 1 Sep 1940 in East Lansing, Ingham, Michigan. She married George Andrew Armstrong, son of Richard Wilkens Armstrong and Lydia Jane Ganoe (later Shelkey), about 1933. He was born 5 May 1913 in Youngstown, Mahoning, Ohio; died 11 Jun 1970 in Orange, Orange, California. They divorced before her death.