Towney Townsend

John B

The gentleman pictured above is John Barnes Townsend (1867-1947) who, according to his godson’s inscription on the back of the photograph, was also known as “Towney”.

John B

Towney actually graduated from Yale College 1891. He was manager of the crew and a member of Skull and Bones. There were 94 men in his class. I don’t know which of the 93 other men was the godson’s father.

Towney’s parents were Hosea Townsend (1840-1909) and Anna A. Barnes (1844-1915) who married in 1865. Hosea was born in Ohio, served in the Civil War, and began his law practice in Memphis, TN where Towney and his sister, Ann Belle Townsend (1869-1934), were born. Hosea represented Colorado in the U.S. Congress for two terms (1889-1893) and President William McKinley appointed him to the U.S. Court for the Indian Territory, Southern District, in 1897, where he remained until Oklahoma became a state in 1907. You can learn more about Hosea here and here. Ann Belle Barnes is credited with opening the first library in Indian Territory in 1906.

Towney held a number of management positions with The Philadelphia Press and retired as a partner at Drexel & Company in 1926. At the time of his death he was a member of the Rittenhouse Club, the Philadelphia Club, the University Club of New York, the Acorn Club, and the Art Alliance. He left his entire estate of $200,000 to his widow, Margaret Morton Riley (1873-1959), whom he married in 1912. Margaret was the daughter of Lewis Adams Riley (1847-1925), a millionaire in the coal industry in Pennsylvania, and Margaret Morton Drinker (1848-1929). In 1914 Margaret’s parents gifted her Montrose, a mansion in on County Line Road in Radnor, PA which is now part of The Inn at Villanova University, the conference center of Villanova University. Margaret’s obituary informed that she was a patron of the Philadelphia orchestra and a member of a number of clubs including the Acorn Club (a different one). Towney and Margaret resided at Montrose and Palm Springs until they died. They had no children.

Incidentally, Towney’s autograph is for sale on for $199.95. He is purported to be a member of the 1889 Yale College football team.


2 thoughts on “Towney Townsend

  1. Despite E-Bay’s assertion, his Yale biography does not suggest an illustrious football career. It mentions only that he was a substitute on the University Football Team Junior year. His sportiness at Yale was manifested mainly by the Boat Club Junior and Senior years.

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