Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

TOWNSEND, MILO E (1838-1894)

Santa Cruz Surf (February 20, 1894)

Marker over Milo E Townsend
Tree-shaped Marker over the grave of
Milo E Townsend

M.E. Townsend Drowned in the Swollen San Lorenzo
Dragged From the Bank of the Stream by a Huge Log Which He Had Tried to Capture

A fatality resultant from the late heavy storm and high water as the sad drowning yesterday of Milo E. Townsend, an old resident of East Santa Cruz.

The unusual amount of driftwood floating down the swollen San Lorenzo has attracted a good many East Santa Cruzans, armed with spears, gaff hooks and everything in fact that could be used to fasten to the floating drift.

Among those who were laying in a supply of wood in this way were Townsend and his son Norman.

Townsend was on the east bank just above the trestle work at the mouth of the river. His son Norman was farther up the stream and on the opposite side.

Once already the father had nearly been dragged in by gaffing a heavy log but the log broke loose and he was saved by almost a miracle.

Seeing a desirable piece of timber coming down stream he stepped out on a slippery rock. When the log passed him he attempted to fasten to it, but it was too heavy to be managed, and he was dragged from his insecure footing on the rock into the tearing current of the river.

In less time than one could think of it he was borne by the rushing current under the trestle bridge, and then apparently recovering his self possession, he struck out for the west bank. But he was handicapped by a heavy overcoat and after a few ineffectual strokes he sunk and was seen no more.

The son had seen nothing of his fathers mishap, and did not know of it until told by two boys who had seen the accident.

Ed Henderson who was below the bridge, was called to haul Townsend out, but he had already sunk, and Henderson's attempts at a rescue were futile.

The drowning occurred at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, but up to a late hour last night the body had not been recovered. M.E. Townsend was a man fifty six years of age and leaves a wife and eleven children. Nearly all of the children are grown up.

Santa Cruz Surf (February 20, 1894)

Died: Townsend - In Santa Cruz February 12, 1894. Milo Townsend a native of Vermont age fifty six years. Funeral will take place at his late residence 180 Ocean View Ave. at 2:00 PM. Friends and acquaintances are invited to attend. Interment IOOF Cemetery.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 21, 1894)

The body of Milo Townsend who was drowned Monday near the mouth of the San Lorenzo was washed ashore on the beach at Seabright at 3:30 o’clock Tuesday afternoon. A young man named Arana saw the body first, and went for assistance. In the morning the hook used by the deceased was found at Black Point...

Editor's Note: A description of the drowing follows, similar to the account above.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 15, 1896)

In Odd Fellows Cemetery, a stone shaped like the stump of a tree has been placed over the grave of M. Townsend who was drowned a few years ago in the San Lorenzo river at its mouth by falling from a log.


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