Tombstone Tuesday: Harry A Townsend

Photo: chad graham
After visiting Ohio last May, I was frustrated with Obetz Cemetery and how disorganized their records were. So, I decided to request a gravestone photograph through Find A Grave. My request was filled by an awesome volunteer.

Harry A Townsend (1877 - 1918) is the brother of my great grandmother Emma Virgina Townsend Brown (1880 - 1943). I took the picture of Emma's stone when I was at the Obetz Cemetery. It was one of the few pictures I took in this cemetery. It pains me that I was so close to Harry's stone. I can visualize this location because of the fence and Mausoleum. Nevertheless I am so grateful to Chad Graham for his service.

I love how this stone gave me a HUGE clue about Harry A Townsend.

Close of Photo: chad graham
Woodmen of the World is a large fraternal benefit society that started in 1890. Harry would have been about 13. It was originally an insurance organization. Apparently 'Early Woodmen of the World policies provided for a death and a monument benefit. Gravestones were originally furnished to members for free and later were offered to those who purchased a $100 rider.'In addition to being an insurance organization, apparently there was social benefits to this group. I have a lot of questions about this marking and association. 

I wonder if there were obituaries written about Harry by the organization. The reason I wonder stems from a recent genealogy conference I attended. A speaker mentioned that several insurance organizations provided obituaries and other services when their members died. I'll need to see if there is an Ohio organization of this national group and hopefully they'll be able to check their collections on my behalf.

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