05 February 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: William James Townsend

In last week's post I shared how Chad Graham was in the Obetz Cemetery in Franklin County, Ohio. He found the tombstone of Harry A Townsend. This week I'd like to share the photo he took of William James Townsend, Harry's father and my 2nd great-grandfather.

Photo by Chad Graham
Having a photograph of William's gravestone opens up a WHOLE new world for me. I know that the Obetz Cemetery Office has no further information about this stone. In fact, they couldn't direct me to it when I visited in May 2012. I honestly had no idea it was in the cemetery, which causes me to wonder how Chad found William. It's possible that my reference to the section indicated by the Franklin County Cemetery Index helped Chad.

In any case, the inscription reads:

William James Townsend
PVT Co K 133 Regt Ohio Inf
Civil War 
1842 - 1889

William is buried beside his son Harry A Townsend. I wish there were other markers for Townsend to help me solve more clues to my puzzle. Where was William's wife Mary Claybaugh buried. Her death certificate said she was buried in Obetz Cemetery. Did she never have a stone? Was it destroyed? Not having a photo or not standing in the plot keeps me clueless.Also, where is Harry's wife? Why was only father and son on this plot? Isn't it amazing that one mystery is solved but others are generated?

Okay... my eyes were also drawn to the star above the stone. I think it's associated with William having served in the Civil War. I want to know what that star is and what it's importance is.

Now I have another sad memory that I thought appropriate to share. When I visited Obetz Cemetery, volunteers were placing flags near veteran stones in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend. While I was standing in the cemetery watching the workers add more and more flags, I thought it would be so cool to have someone in Obetz Cemetery to mark with a flag. Little did I know that I did. I did have a great grandfather that fought in the Ohio Infantry during the Civil War. I have the regiment he served in so I'm going to investigate his company's service further. But how sad. I could have placed a flag beside my own family member but I didn't know he was even in Obetz Cemetery.

I'm HOPING beyond hope that some records associated with William and his Civil War service might unlock to the door to his parents. In any case, I can't wait to see where that path takes me. A genealogy conference class gave me pointers on searching military records. Now I'll be able to use it!

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