Some Reminiscences of Bethia and Elizabeth Townsend Barrington,
First and Second Children of Grandfather Townsend by His Second Wife

given by T. T. Barrington
son of Bethia Mosher Townsend, born 9th Month 16th, 1822;
Elizabeth Watson Townsend Barrington, born 7th month 27th 1820.


Mother died when I was about one year old. Of course I do not remember anything about my Mother except by hearsay, and not much by that. She was about 32 years old when her spirit took its flight and her body was laid to rest near Fredericktown, Ohio. After her demise, my aunt Elizabeth adopted me into her family and I became one of them bearing the same name, as my mothers married brothers, Mark and Thomas Barrington. About this time, the Townsends were migrating West. Uncle James and Uncle William had already moved to Iowa and settled what is now called West Branch, ten miles east of Iowa City in Cedar Co. My Aunt Elizabeth (whom I now call Mother) with her family consisting of Husband and her two children, George and Ruth and myself, also moved to Iowa in 1854 or 5.

The first year was spent in what was called Big Grove a few miles northeast of Iowa City where Father Barrington took charge and operated a Saw Mill for Joseph Steer, and that is where the lumber came from to build the first one story house on the little forty acre farm near West Branch were we moved to the second year after coming to Iowa. Uncle James Townsend's farm joined us on the West, and Uncle William Townsend's farm joined Uncle James on the west toward West Branch. Aunt Hannah Kirks were there also on a farm a little farther west on the west branch of the Wapsie Nonock Creek which gave the name of the Town, making four of the Townsend family in the same community. Nearly all the first settlers in and around West Branch were Friends or of Quaker descent. Besides the Townsend Tribe there were the Hoovers, Lewises, Cooks, Morrises, Jepsons, Beans, Miles, Staples, Steers, etc.

Mother Barrington was a great seamstress. Besides doing the sewing for the family, she did a large amount of sewing for the community. We did not use many ready made clothes in those days. My Mothers were weavers in their younger days. I have yet a blue bedspread that my first Mother wove when she was a maiden, which I prize very highly.

My Mother that I knew best was always busy doing with her might what her hands found to do. She was a kind of Good Samaritan in the community, always ready to help the needy in sickness or sorrow; if any came to her door hungry, she fed them; if a stranger came for lodging, she took him in.

This reminds me of an amusing incident that took place one evening: A stranger knocked at the door for supper and lodging, after our evening meal was over. The hams and shoulder were in the loft hanging up around the chimney and when she went up to cut a slice for the stranger's meal she missed the boards laid on the joist to walk on and her foot went through the lath and plaster directly over where the stranger sat in the kitchen and a big patch of plaster fell on his head. Another incident I remember was when a colored gentleman came for supper and lodging: My Mother apologized when she set out his meal for being out of sugar and thus having none for his tea, and he replied "Ise sorry Madam; that is all I drink it for."

Mother's favorite hymn was "Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me." Mother spent her last days in Barclay, Kansas with her own son George from whom I received a telegram saying "Mother is at rest." Her body lies in the Kansas Cemetery.