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This biography is from ANNALS of the Medical Society of the County of Albany, 1806-1851, by Sylvester D. Willard, M. D.

Dr. Charles D. Townsend

Charles De Kay Townsend was the son of Absalom Townsend, and was born in Goshen, Orange county, New York, on the 20th of April, 1778. He was one of twelve children, having four brothers and seven sisters, who all lived to mature years. The Townsend family, though residents of England for centuries, were originally from Normandy, and tradition says they accompanied "William the Conqueror to the British Isle."

Charles commenced the study of medicine in Albany, under the supervision of Drs. Mancius and Woodruff, and attended the medical lectures at Columbia College in 1802. During the time of his residence in New York, he was also a pupil of the celebrated surgeon, Dr. Wright Post. He commenced practice in Rhinebeck, but removed to Albany in 1803. He was the first Secretary of the County Medical Society, and was successively elected to its various offices. In 1807 he read before it a paper on "Puerperal fever." He was elected permanent member of the Medical Society of the State of New York in 1815, and received, on its recommendation from the Regents of the University, the honorary degree of doctor of medicine in 1830.

For forty-five years, until near the period of his death, he was extensively engaged in practice, rendering alike service to the poor and the rich. He was a physician of the olden school, positive and unequivocal in his attachment to the theory and practice of medicine as taught at the beginning of the present century, unfaltering in his devotion to his profession, and heroic in its defence.

Previous to his death Dr. Townsend was afflicted with cataract, which so impaired his vision as to oblige him to relinquish the duties of his profession, and assume the position of patient. He submitted to an operation for the removal of the disease which proved only partly successful. As a patient he displayed great fortitude and cheerfulness, and rigidly adhered to the directions of his medical attendants.

As a practitioner of medicine Dr. Townsend was esteemed prudent and skillful, and acquired the almost unlimited confidence of the public. His death occurred on the 17th of December, 1847, when he was in his seventieth year.

The following estimate of Dr. Townsend is from one, whose intimate relations with him afforded every opportunity to judge correctly of his character and virtues. "Industry, firmness, truthfulness, moral courage and Christian charity were blended in his character. Though possessing quickness of temper and fearlessness in the expression of his sentiments, he still possessed that nobleness of nature that when convinced of error manfully acknowledges it, and makes all reparation in its power. In the duties of his profession he would encourage and cheer his patients until all hope for them was gone, and so great was his spirit of hopefulness that it became almost proverbial, that when Dr. Townsend gave up there was indeed no hope. Then did he remember his duty as a Christian, make his suffering patients the subject of his private petition, and by prayer with them and Christian counsel point them to the Great Physician of Souls." And it was with unshaken faith and confidence in his Saviour that he himself at length entered fearlessly the dark valley, and with

"Unfaltering trust approached his grave."

Dr. Townsend married Maria Fonda of Albany, December 10th, 1807, by whom he had seven children, four of whom survive. He is represented in the profession by one son, Dr. John F. Townsend of New York city, recently of Albany.

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