Friday, January 19, 2018

Edward Barnes Towne Jr.

This story comes right out of a Great Gatsby movie. Edward Barnes Towne Jr. was from a prominent family.  In 1908 New York where he worked and was born in 1883, was a busy fun place to be. Feb of 1908 was the New York to Paris Race was an automobile competition. The city was buzzing and on 21 Jan 1908 New York City regulation makes it illegal for a woman to smoke in public. 

New York City 1908

Edward Barnes Towne was living in New Jersey and working in New York as a  cashier for the Matheson Lead Company on 182 Front Street, New York City. Photo below.

His father Edward Barnes Towne Sr. was living in New York City and working for the Ohio Elevator Company. 

Edward Barnes Towne Jr. was married to Florence Sharp and they had a son John "Jack" S Towne born 1906 in New Jersey

Towne & Sharp marriage record

For reasons unknown expect maybe selfishness he took money from his company and a girlfriend and went on the run. Wanted Poster below.


I discovered some wonderful newspaper clipping and posted them below.

What unearth was this man thinking? 
His wife is out buying Christmas gifts. Then she loses her priceless belongs to the detectives who raided her home. Some of the items were wedding gifts. She stays with her mother Mrs. George Sharp for several weeks. She hears from her husband while he is in Chicago on the run.

I never found out the girlfriends name

But this man no matter what he was or became he loved his son very much. Read clipping below.

                                                  He gets caught seeing his son.

Then his wife brings about a suit against him.

Then he must of sweet talked her because she drops the suit.

Edward parents:

Father: Edward Barnes Towne 1859-1942
Mother: Georgie A. Cooper 1860- 1935

Edward left New York, New Jersey area and went to Alabama where he died Jan 1975 in Columbia, Houston, Alabama. 

 His wife and him divorced.
His son disappeared I couldn't find any death or marriage information. I am thinking the boy may have died since he was so sick and that was one of many reasons why his wife file suit against him.

One could speculate he spent the remainder of his life alone and sad and full of regrets. Or he simply left to start a new life and re-married and had more children. 

One never knows where a simple wanted poster could lead.


  1. Gwen, very interesting story. I did a bit of research myself and this man is a descendant of Jacob Towne (brother to Rebecca Towne-Nurse and Mary Towne-Estey, who were hanged in 1692 during the Salem, MA witchcraft hysteria). I was able to add him and his family to our genealogy database ( Thanks!!

  2. The son...John Sharp Towne b. 3/15/1906 Orange, Essex Co., NJ, d. 6/15/1993 Flushing, Queens Co., NY. He married Emily Johnson, he served in the military (Army), and was a Doctor (GP)! When he was young, he live with his grandparents, George and Lydia Sharp (census 1915 & 1920). Didn't find any children.

    1. Oh my goodness thank you ever so much for commenting, and help add more to this story. I will see if I can help find children. The Salem Witch Trials??? Wow that is really cool.


  3. Gwen, can I get your permission to reprint his as an article in our Towne family newsletter? I will give you full credit and reference your blog for others to visit (we have about 500 members).

  4. Yes you sure can and copy or download anything I posted on him I made him a tree on Ancestry as well