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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. Fred Townsend

Helen Dawson Townsend, daughter of Arthur Middleton Dawson and Lucie Moon, was born at Paxton, Ill., Jany. 17, 1866.  She graduated from the Ann Arbor, Michigan, high school and later studied in the University of Michigan.  On Aug. 14, 1889, in Minneapolis, she was married to Fred Townsend of Albia, a successful attorney, state senator 1900-04 and presidential elector in 1912.  He is the son of Judge John Selby Townsend who served as district judge for ten years and was a member of the legislature in 1852.  He was a man of great force of character and wide influence.  Mr. Townsend's mother was Annie Elbert, daughter of Dr. John D. Elbert, who came to Iowa in 1840, settling near Keosauqua.  He was president of the Territorial Council and as a physician and surgeon his practice covered most of southeastern Iowa.  Annie Elbert was one of the earliest graduates of Wesleyan Female College at Cincinnati, Ohio, and was a very cultured woman.  Mr. and Mrs. Townsend have four children:  Robert Dawson, Hugh Elbert who died in 1913, Katherine Lucie, Arthur Selby and Fred J., who died in infancy.  Mrs. Townsend is a devoted Episcopalian and has been church organist many years.  Through her mother, a gentle-woman in every characteristic, she is a D. A. R.  She joined P. E. O. in 1892 and served the Iowa Grand Chapter as corresponding secretary, vice-president and president.  She was appointed by the Supreme Chapter in 1909 chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Educational Fund established in 1907.  Mrs. Townsend has given her best thought to the administration of this fund by which hundreds of girls have been educated.



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