Monday, April 10, 2017
Mr. and Mrs. William Townsend
Now on display at the Follett House Museum, oil paintings of William Townsend and his wife, the former Maria Lamson, were donated to the museum by descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Townsend. William Townsend settled in Sandusky, Ohio between 1815 and 1819. He opened a dry goods store opposite the Colton House in Sandusky, and later went into the commission and forwarding business. Mr. Townsend was the first local merchant to advertise in the Sandusky Clarion. The advertisement below appeared in the Sandusky Clarion of May 15, 1822.
William Townsend was a Sandusky council member when the city was incorporated in 1824, and he also served as the city’s first recorder. He invested in the Mad River Railroad, and owned a line of steamers that ran between Buffalo and western lake ports, including the city of Sandusky. He married Maria Lamson (sometimes listed as Lampson) in 1824.
The Townsends had a large family of eight children, all of whom were girls except for one son named William Kneeland Dell Townsend. An article in At Home in Early Sandusky, by Helen Hansen, states that William Townsend’s employees celebrated the birth of the son in 1840 by firing off guns from the roof of the commission house.
The former home of William and Maria Townsend was built in 1844, and it still stands on West Washington Street, now a multi-family unit.
Sadly, the happiness of this prosperous local family was shattered in 1849. William and Maria Townsend, their daughter Sarah, as well as a sister of Mrs. Townsend all died between July 27 and July 31, 1849 when a cholera epidemic swept through Sandusky. The oldest Townsend child was Mary Elizabeth Cooke, the wife of Pitt Cooke. Mr. and Mrs. Pitt Cooke took in Mary’s orphaned siblings, and raised them. A lovely monument at Oakland Cemetery, which honors the memory of William and Maria Townsend, is pictured on this stereographic card created by photographer A.C. Platt.
Another beautiful memorial at Oakland Cemetery is connected to the Townsend family. William and Maria Townsend’s youngest daughter Louisa married Theodore Hosmer, the first Mayor of Tacoma, Washington. The final resting place of Louisa Townsend Hosmer, who died in 1885, and Theodore Hosmer, who died in 1900, is in Lot 25 in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery.