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This biography is from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

Theodore Townsend

Theodore Townsend was born in Albany, October 9, 1826. His father, John Townsend, came here from Orange county, N. Y., early in the present century and became a business partner with his elder brother, Isaiah, who had previously arrived. The partnership thus formed continued for more than thirty years, until the death of the latter. During all of this time the brothers lived from a common purse, supporting large families, acquinng a common fortune and both attaining high and honorable positions in the community. John Townsend married a daughter of Ambrose Spencer, long chief justice of the Supreme Court of New York. She was a noble Christian woman, beloved by her family and all who knew her.

Theodore Townsend was educated at the Albany Academy, the Poughkeepsie Collegiate School and Union College. In the spring of 1846 he engaged in the foundry and iron business with his cousins, Franklin and Frederick Townsend, succeeding to the establishment which had been started and long carried on by their fathers. Frederick withdrew the same year, but Franklin and Theodore continued partners for ten years, when the latter retired to enter into partnership with Lewis Rathbone and Joseph P. Sanford, in the manufacture of stoves. He remained in this business until September, 1863, when he was appointed by President Lincoln United States collector of internal revenue for the counties of Albany and Schoharie which office he held until December, 1869.

On several occasions he was invited by the authorities at Washington to consult with them, and was complimented by them for the able and business-like manner in which his duties were discharged, and which gave to his district the reputation of being with one other the model one among 200 or more in the United States. As Mr. Townsend was not a politician he finally resigned, an act which was greatly regretted. He had collected and paid over $20,000,000. During a part of his term he was also receiver of commutation money for drafted men and in this capacity more than half a million dollars passed through his hands. Being the father of four motherless children, he sent a substitute to the Union army.

In January, 1870, he became connected with the Albany Insurance Company, the second in age in this State, being incorporated in 1811, the firm of I. & J. Townsend having been the first subscribers to its stock, the former being president for over a quarter of a century and the latter vice president and president many years. During his active management he maintained the high reputation and integrity which the company has always enjoyed. He resigned as manager in 1882 and is now vice-president.

In 1882 he was elected treasurer of the Albany Savings Bank, also the second oldest of its kind in the State, having been chartered in 1820, his father being one of the original incorporators as a vice-president. He still holds this responsible position.

December 18, 1851, he married Miss Louisa Mickle, daughter of Hon. Andrew H. Mickle, formerly mayor of New York. She died August 3, 1862, and June 15, 1865, he married Miss Mary Lathrop Sprague, daughter of the Rev. Dr. William B. Sprague, for forty years the distinguished minister of the Second Presbyterian church of Albany. Mr. Townsend has had four children, of whom the eldest married in 1889 Winthrop Scudder, of Brookline, Mass. She died in 1890. Two daughters still reside with their father. His son, John Townsend, of St. Paul, Minn., married Miss Mary Learned Cook, daughter of the late James C. Cook. Mr. Townsend was an alderman in 1853 and 1854, was president of the Young Men's Association in 1852, and is now a warden of St. Peter's church.

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