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Charles E. Townsend

Charles Elroy Townsend (August 15, 1856 – August 3, 1924) was a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Michigan.

Charles E. Townsend
Senator Chas. E. Townsend, Mich. LCCN2016845482 (cropped).jpg
United States Senator
from Michigan
In office
March 4, 1911 – March 3, 1923
Preceded byJulius C. Burrows
Succeeded byWoodbridge Nathan Ferris
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1911
Preceded byHenry C. Smith
Succeeded byWilliam Wedemeyer
Personal details
Born(1856-08-15)August 15, 1856
Concord, Michigan
DiedAugust 3, 1924(1924-08-03) (aged 67)
Jackson, Michigan
Political partyRepublican
Alma materUniversity of Michigan

Townsend was born near Concord, Michigan and attended the common schools in Concord and Jackson and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He taught school at Concord 1881-1886 and was Jackson County Register of Deeds 1886-1897. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1895 and commenced practice in Jackson.

Townsend was elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives for the Fifty-eighth and for the three succeeding Congresses, serving from March 4, 1903 to March 3, 1911. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1910 and was reelected in 1916, serving from March 4, 1911, to March 4, 1923. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1922. He was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Coast and Insular Survey in the Sixty-second Congress, the U.S. Senate Committee on Expenditures in the War Department in the Sixty-fifth Congress, and the U.S. Senate Committee on Post Office and Post Roads in the Sixty-sixth and Sixty-seventh Congresses.

Townsend was appointed in 1923 as a member of the International Joint Commission created to regulate the use of the boundary waters between the United States and Canada, in which capacity he served until his death in Jackson. He is interred in Maple Grove Cemetery, in Concord.


  • Schlup, Peonard. "Party Loyalist: Charles E. Townsend and the Vice-Presidential Election of 1912." Research Journal of Philosophy & Social Sciences (1992): 61-70.
  • United States Congress. "Charles E. Townsend (id: T000330)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

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