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James W. E. Townsend in Bodie and Lundy Area

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James W. E. Townsend in Bodie and Lundy Area

Posted: 1285675305000
Classification: Query
I am trying to find records for James William Emery Townsend (aka “Lying Jim” Townsend) who lived in Mono County during the 188s and 1890s, or, more specifically, his wife Elizabeth J. (Lindsey) Townsend.

James was a rather well known journalist in his day and there are several online biographies online discussing his career in the field. There are very few genealogical facts in these biographies, however, and they are also clouded with self-admitted fiction as James was quite the story teller.

According to biographies, James came to California in the late 1850s to work for San Francisco’s Golden Era. He moved to Nevada in 1862 to work for a newspaper there and stayed in Nevada until about 1865. During this time he became rather good friends with the writers Mark Twain and Bret Harte. On 1 Mar 1864, in Dayton, Lyon Co, Nevada, it appears James married a woman named Elizabeth J. Lindsey. I believe Elizabeth is a relative of mine but cannot prove it as I can find NO other reference in biographies to her or to the fact that James Townsend had a wife at all.

In 1865, James “traveled to the western side of the Sierras to edit a Grass Valley paper during a political campaign”. He spent the next 18 years traveling and moving several times between California and Nevada, working at several different newspapers.

In the early 1880s, James spent his time in California in Bodie and Lundy. He was thought to have built an arastra near “Mill Creek” as he tried his hand at mining. In 1880, he is listed on the Lundy, Mono County Census, living with a business partner named James D. ?Curly?(It's hard to read). The census lists him as being married but there is no sign of his wife. Here, James had ties with the Homer Mining Index and the Bodie Mining index (a newspaper he owned and printed in the 1890s). He is supposed to have died in 1900 but I have no idea where.

If anyone could help me with finding more records for James W.E. Townsend OR his wife, I would be extremely grateful.

SubjectAuthorDate Posted
JDJames89 1285675305000 
froggybywater... 1285689271000 
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