Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Andrew M. And Mary E. L. Owen Townsend


My paternal great grandparents

Fairview Cemetery, St. Elmo Township, Fayette Co., Illinois

My great grandmother Mary Ellen Townsend died when she was about 35 years old, just about two weeks before Thanksgiving in 1905. Nelson, her fifth child was still an infant. He had been born the previous Summer. Great grandfather Andrew, a farmer, was unable to work and care for a baby along with four other young children so he adopted little Nelson out to Mary Ellen's brother Ben. Ben and his wife Sarah had three young girls who were likely tickled pink to help their parents raise a little brother. Andrew remarried sometime before 1910 to a woman named Lena who'd been married twice before and who had three young sons, one from her first marriage and two from the second. The family story is that the new wife did not treat Andrew's children very well and the marriage did not last. Andrew remained single after that and not much is known about his life. He is found boarding with the Porter family in Moultrie Co., Illinois in 1920 and with the Wright family in the same county in 1930. His occupation was Farm Laborer on each census. On his death certificate his residence is listed as Tower Hill in Shelby Co., Illinois and the informant listed was his daughter Gladys Townsend Dial, my grandmother's sister who also lived in Tower Hill. It is believed Andrew was living with Gladys and her husband Ross at the time of his death.

Tombstone photo courtesy of Find A Grave contributor Gary Feezel


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