One Name Place Study: Townsends in the Asylum

Townsend Study in Franklin County Ohio

The hunt for ancestors continues with the fourth and fifth of 15 heads of households named in the 1880 US Census with the last name Townsend in Franklin, County.

Today is a two-for-one post as the two men listed aren't actually heads of households. They are both inmates in the Columbus Hospital for the Insane. According to the Forgotten Ohio website, the massive building that would house a large number of patients was built between 1870-1877, prior to the 1880 US Census in which I find Wm and James Townsend.

"United States Census, 1880,"Wm Townsend, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States; citing enumeration district 007, sheet 164D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 1015; FHL microfilm 1255015.
"United States Census, 1880,"JamesTownsend, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States; citing enumeration district 007, sheet 162C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 1015; FHL microfilm 1255015.
I am unable to determine where James or Wm lived prior to the 1880 Census. Perhaps they were from other places in the state and they were sent to this facility after it opened.  Wm was born around 1820 in England. He's 60 when my great grandfather William James Townsend is 48. Given the fact that Wm is from England, and great grandfather says his parents are from Ohio, it's likely that Wm is not his relative. However, I can not confirm this completely as no further record establish Wm of England who lived in Ohio before or after the 1880 appearance.

James is 52, fourteen years older than great grandfather William. He was born in Ohio, as were his parents. James and William could be cousins. Unfortunately, nothing further can be established as I'm currently unable to determine any further records for James.

With the opening of the asylum a few short years before the 1880 Census and the 1890 Census being destroyed, researching these two men becomes extremely difficult. I will not rule out James completely, and Wm could still be a relative (as the reliability of the information could be suspect). However, if I could access the "Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent US Census schedule for 1880", it  lists individuals who were identified during the population census taking that were "Insane, Idiots,  Deaf-mutes, Blind, Homeless Children, Inhabitants in Prison, and Pauper and Indigent." James and William could be listed on this record.

Conclusion: James a possible relative. William likely not a relative. Research on the DDD Non-population schedule of 1880 is needed.


1 comment :

  1. I keep hoping you'll get some response, because I'm looking for an ancestor who was listed in the Massilon State Hospital in 1930 and 1940 census. (That was also an asylum, but called hospital). Research I have done so far says no records except perhaps admissions which are at the Ohio State Genealogical Society. Ohio Historical Society may have some records. I have not called yet, but it is 614-297-2510. If you haven't tried them, might try.

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