Martha May Townsend
Sutherland Courier, Sutherland, Iowa, July 16, 1931
MISS TOWNSEND DIED SATURDAY
Prominent Sutherland Woman Passes Away After Long and Serious Illness at
Miss Martha Townsend passed away last Saturday afternoon, July 11, after
a long illness and many weeks of intense suffering, during which time her
life was often despaired. Her condition required almost constant
attention, and although life often seemed fast ebbing she rallied again
and again. But late Saturday afternoon death came to relieve her of her
Simple funeral services were observed at the T. B. Bark residence Monday
morning at 11 0'clock. Rev. Corwin Taylor was in charge. Interment was
in Waterman Cemetery.
The pall bearers were Adolph Ewoldt, D. J. Briggs, Paul Briggs, A. T.
Briggs, Elery Cooper and Elmer Sweeney.
During the forty years Miss Townsend lived in Sutherland she took a most
active part in the affairs of the town. She was most prominent in club
and social life, was actively engaged in lodge work, and identified
herself with numerous charitable and public service enterprises. Hers
was a life full of activity, and as her host of friends have been grieved
because of her long illness, so will they mourn her absence from their
1872---Martha May Townsend---1931
Martha May Townsend, daughter of Augustus and Catherine Townsend, was
born on a farm near Springfield, Green county, Missouri on February 15,
1872. She was the youngest of a family of five, Augusta Townsend Bark,
deceased, Sutherland, Iowa; Geo. E. Townsend, Warren, Wyoming; Charles
A. Townsend, deceased, Decatur county, Kansas; William Townsend,
deceased and buried in Nome, Alaska.
When she was two years old, her parents moved to a farm near Falls City,
Nebraska, where she lived for about four years. Then the urge of the
pioneer spirit and the desire for a home of their own, caused her parents
to load their possessions into their covered wagon and start with the
emigrant train for the Black Hills. Rumors of Indian troubles in that
country influenced them to change their course so that they drove to
Laramie, Wyoming, and there decided to return to the Midwest. Disposing
of some of their cattle, they turned their faces toward the east and
drove to Decatur County, Kansas, where the father took a homestead and
built a sod house for the family. In a short time the mother died, and
two years later in 1881, the father died. The family was broken up. The
grandfather came and took Martha and her youngest brother to northeastern
Kansas where he placed them with a family near Mankato.
In 1892 Martha came from there to Sutherland to make her home with her
sister Augusta, and has resided here ever since. In 1915 her sister
died. Martha took charge of the home and her sister's seven year old
daughter, Kathryn, gave her the loving care of a mother, watched her
grown to womanhood, and saw her settled in a home of her own.
During all these years she found time to take an active part in the
social and civic affairs of Sutherland. She was a charter member of
Monday Club, the first Woman's Club of Sutherland, was its president for
a number of years and even when her final sickness came. She was a
charter member of the Home Culture Club and assisted in its organization.
She was a member of Sutherland Chapter No. 82 Order of Eastern Star, its
worth matron for a term, and a charter member of Victory Chapter No. 498
when it succeeded Sutherland chapter. She was a charter member of Martha
Jordan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, its regent
for a number of years and at the time of her death. She succeeded her
sister, Augusta Bark, as a member of the Board of Trustees of the
Sutherland Public Library and was as member of the Board for fifteen
years. For years she belonged to the Sutherland chapter of Woman's
Relief Corps. She was a member of the Red Cross and gave most active
service during the World War. She was among the first at the work rooms
and last to leave, and then took work home to do in her spare moments.
Well might the motto, "Ich Dien" (I serve), have been hers, for surely
hers has been a life of loving service for others, with no thought for
herself but rather a desire for the welfare and happiness of those whom
She passed away in her home in Sutherland on Saturday, July 11, 1931 and
was laid to rest in the Bark family lot in the Waterman Cemetery,
Sutherland, Iowa at the side of her sister, Augusta, whom she loved so
well. Brief services were held at the home on Monday morning.
Submitted by: Diana Hart DiHart@juno.com
Note: Research and documentation indicate some inaccuracies in regard to
timing for the trip west. They left Dade County, MO after July 7, 1875
and only spent the winter of 1875/76 in Nebraska. They immediately turned
back to Kansas from Laramie, WY in late Spring 1876; arriving in the Fall
of 1876 with just time to build their dugout before winter.