Sunday, May 23, 2010

Special Report - The Babe Towne Story

Special Report - The Babe Towne Story

We introduced Babe on Monday last week in the Hometown Baseball story. More was added to the story on Treasure Chest Thursday, introducing the Jennie Ellis diary and some news clippings. [See one more Treasure Chest Thursday, this coming week as well]

Hopefully, this will be more of a Life Story of Jay King "Babe" Towne. Let's start with identifying his family:

From the Coon Rapids Enterprise, 100 Years Ago, 10 Sep 1909:
Dr. E.B. Towne, one of the oldest settlers of the county, and a prominent and highly respected citizen, died yesterday afternoon as we went to press, hence are unable to make more than a brief announcement of his death. It is likely the burial will take place Saturday from the residence of his son, Jay Towne.

From my Carroll County Timeline - Carroll Co, IA, GenWeb site (circa 1997-8):
In 1870, Carrollton consisted of two blacksmith shops, the United Brethren Church, a grocery store, a dry goods store, a shoemaker's shop, an implement shop, post office, saloon, the town hall (Woodman's), the two-story schoolhouse, carpenter shop, the courthouse, two hotels, a telephone switchboard, a dressmaker shop and Dr. Towne's office. The telephone had direct connections with Glidden, Dedham, and Coon Rapids. [3]
[3] Carrollton History-Cookbook, Carrollton Community Club, 1897-1997.

From the 1880 US Census:
Name: J.K. Towne
Home in 1880: Newton Twp, Carroll, Iowa Age: 2M
Estimated birth year: abt 1880
Birthplace: Iowa
Relation to Head of Household: Son
Father's Name: E.B.
Father's birthplace: Ohio
Mother's Name: Angeline
Mother's birthplace: Virginia
Household Members:
Name, Age
E.B. Towne, 51
Angeline Towne, 32
E.W. Towne, 20
J.K. Towne, 2M
Child birth month: March
Occupation of father: Physician

From the 1885 Iowa State Census:
Name: E B Town [E B Towne] 
Birth Year: abt 1829
Birth Place: ??, Ohio
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Married
Census Date: 1885
Residence State: Iowa
Residence County: Carroll
Locality: Newton
Household Members:
Name, Age
E B Town, 56
A E Town, 35
Jay Town, 4
Chara M Town, 0

From the 1895 Iowa State Census:
J. K. Towne, Age 14
Birthplace: Carroll Co, IA
Residence: Coon Rapids, Carroll

Listed as High School Graduate, Coon Rapids High School, Class of 1898

From the 1900 US Census:
Name: Jay Towne
Home in 1900: Union, Carroll, Iowa
Age: 19
Birth Date: Nov 1880
Birthplace: Iowa
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relationship to Head of House: Son-in-law
Father's Birthplace: Ohio
Mother's Birthplace: Ohio
Marriage Year: 1899
Marital Status: Married
Years Married: 1
Household Members:
Name, Age
Elsie Clennon, 48
Alice Clennon, 38
Barton Clennon, 14
Esther Towne ,17
Jennie Clennon, 9
Lawrence Clennon, 4
Myrtle Slevins, 16
Jay Towne, 19 (son-in-law)

The Des Moines Daily News, Sunday, July 29, 1906:

Big Des Moines Catcher is Seen Here for Last Time
Catch Game This Afternoon

Lincoln, Nebraska, July 28
Special - Manager M. E. Cantillon, of the Des Moines club, announced that Catcher "Babe" Towne, who has done the bulk of the backstopping for the Western league champions since the season opened, has bee sold to the Chicago American league team. Towne will catch tomorrow in Des Moines and leave at night for Chicago to join Comiskey's White Sox. Manager Cantillon left Lincoln tonight for a scouting tour of Nebraska to pick up a catcher to substitute for Dexter, who will be the regular catcher for Des Moines for the remainder of the season. Pithcer Miller and Outfielder Caffyn, both of Des Moines, will likely be sold during the coming week.

Professional Baseball Players, 1876-2004 about Jay King Towne
Name: Babe Towne
Birth name: Jay King Towne
Nickname: Babe
Birth Place: Iowa, United States
Birth Year: 1880
Death Place: Iowa, United States
Death Date: 29 Oct 1938
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 180 lbs.
First game date: 01 Aug 1906
Final game date: 06 Oct 1906
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Draft: Not Applicable

The Waterloo Reporter, 26 Jun 1908, Waterloo, Iowa:

Sioux City Tribune: "Babe" Towne once a star backstop in the Western league and drafted two years ago by Comiskey, of the White Sox, has been signed by Manager Holmes. Towne, who is at home at Coon Rapids, is to join the club, when it goes to Des Moines. If he is in good condition he will remain with the team the balance of the season. Catcher Jack Henry was injured at Omaha and may be out of the game for some time and Manager Holmes, needing another catcher badly, took Towne.
"Babe" Towne shortly after he joined the White Sox two years ago was injured. His right shoulder was wrenched in sliding to a base and thereafter his throwing was inaccurate and his hitting fell off. Last season he was farmed out to Burlington. His record there was not good, owing to the injury and it was announced that he would play no more baseball.
Back in the store where he clerks his injury is said to have healed and those who have seen him play the past month declare he is as good as ever. While in the Western he hit over .300 in the two years with Des Molnes. In the ten or fifteen games played with the champion Sox he batted above the .300 mark and until he was injured was regarded as one of the most promising backstops taken from the minors.
"Babe" began playing professional baseball with Rock Rapids about 12 years ago. He was a first baseman and afterward donned the windpad.

Babe Towne State, WHite Sox 1906:


World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 about Jay King Towne
Clay County, Iowa, 12 Mar 1880 Birthdate

From the 1920 US Census:

Name: Jay K Towne
Home in 1920: Sioux, Clay, Iowa
Age: 39
Estimated birth year: abt 1881
Birthplace: Iowa
Relation to Head of House: Self (Head)
Spouse's name: Esther
Father's Birth Place: New York
Mother's Birth Place: Pennsylvania
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Sex: Male
Home owned: Rent
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes 
Household Members:
Name, Age
Jay K Towne, 39
Esther M Towne, 35
Edith Towne, 14
Helen A Towne, 8
Virginia Towne, 5
Lawrance Clennon, 24

Lawrance is brother-in-law; Jay listed as Farmer, Gen Farm

Consensus from Ancestry (from Family Trees):

Jay King Towne  - Hines Family Tree
    •    Birth:  12 Mar 1880 - Coon Rapids, Carroll, Iowa, United States
    •    Death:  29 Oct 1938 - Coon Rapids, Carroll, Iowa, United States
    •    Parents:  Edmund Burt Towne, Angeline E Harold
    •    Spouse:  Esther Mary Clennon

Many family trees with information agreeing are available.

Families are Forever!  ;-)


  1. That is wonderful, Rob. Thanks for the note! Happy to chat at: ;-)