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Towne, Watson Richard


Age: 0, credited to Franklin, VT
Unit(s): 12th IL INF
Service: Co. B&I, 12th IL CAV

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 10/07/1834, Franklin, VT
Death: 05/07/1907

Burial: Mount Hope Cemetery, Valentine, NE
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Tom Ledoux
Findagrave Memorial #: 60335858


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 8/13/1890, NE, not approved
Portrait?: Findagrave
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Biography below does not jive with pension record and gravestone.


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Copyright notice

Mount Hope Cemetery, Valentine, NE

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.



Judge Watson R. Towne, deceased, whose picture appears on another page, was probably one of the best known citizens of Cherry county. He was a resident of the county for more than a quarter of a century, and was closely identified with the history of its development.

Mr. Watson was born in Franklin, Vermont, in 1834. His father, Ephraim Towne, a native of Massachusetts, was a farmer of English stock and his mother, Miss Jane Willis, was a Canadian of Irish descent. They had a family of nine children, of whom our subject is the fifth, all reared and educated in Vermont. The boy secured a common school education and his time between school hours was devoted to hard farm work. At the age of twenty years he came to Chicago, securing employment with a commission firm with whom he remained for four years. Thence he went to Minnesota and joined the pioneers and for two years, with St. Paul as headquarters, engaged in trading with the Chippewa Indians in the Red river valley. In the fall of 1859 he came back to Chicago, and at the outbreak of the Civil war enlisted in the Chicago Dragoons, an independent company of cavalry which furnished its own horses, equipment, etc. Ordered to West Virginia, they participated in a number of engagements and skirmishes during the early months of the great conflict. After being mustered out he still longed for the excitement of a soldier's life, and went to Missouri as a scout, serving in the southwest until the year 1864. When the war was over he went to Colorado and there drove mule and bull teams, freighting in the mountains, leading the usual frontiersman's life until 1867, when he came to Nebraska and there worked for the government along the North Platte. In the fall of that year he left government service and freighted in Wyoming until the summer of 1870, at which time he came to Schuyler, Nebraska, and from then to the present has made this state his home, with the exception of nine years spent in Iowa.

Mr. Towne traversed the entire western part of the state on horseback. For three years he was live stock agent for the Elkhorn Valley railroad, and subsequently owned and operated a large sheep and cattle range on the Minnechaduza. In the fall of 1890 he located in Valentine, becoming one of the leading public-spirited citizens of the town, being honored in 1896 with the nomination and election to the county judgeship of Cherry county, an honor four times repeated, showing with what approval and esteem his decisions have been received by his constituents within his jurisdiction.

Mr. Towne was married in 1872 to Miss Olive O. Aldridge, who came of Canadian ancestry. Four children have been born to them, and they are named as follows: George W., Nellie O., Maude and Mabel.

Mr. Towne was universally esteemed and admired, and enjoyed the respect and confidence of his associates. His career illustrates the versatility and steady attributes that have made pioneers of the west what they are today--qualities that have given force to our institutions and have made a garden out of a wilderness of barren plains.

Source: Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska, Chicago: Alden Publishing Company, 1909, pp. 577-578.