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Maurice Clifford Townsend

Gov. Maurice Clifford Townsend

  • January 11, 1937 - January 13, 1941
  • Democrat
  • August 11, 1884
  • November 11, 1954
  • Indiana
  • Marion College
  • Married Nora Adele Harris; three children


MAURICE CLIFFORD TOWNSEND, Indiana’s thirty-fifth governor, was born in Blackford County, Indiana, on August 11, 1884. His early education was attained in the Blackford County public school system. After he graduated from Marion College in 1907, Townsend established careers in farming and teaching. He served as superintendent of the Blackford County schools from 1909 to 1919, and was named the educational director of the Indiana Farm Bureau in 1929. Townsend entered politics in 1923, serving as a member to the Indiana House of Representatives. He also served as Indiana’s lieutenant governor from 1933 to 1937. Townsend won the 1936 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into the governor’s office on January 11, 1937. During his tenure, the state division of labor was established, the state department of financial institutions was sanctioned, a firemen’s pension was authorized in several large cities, drivers’ license examinations became a required law, and a flood disaster program that earned national acclaim was initiated during the state’s 1937 flood. After Townsend left office on January 13, 1941, he served as director of the Office of Agricultural War Relations from 1941 to 1942. He also served as administrator of the Agricultural Conservation and Adjustment Administration from 1942 to 1943, and was the director of the Food Production Administration in 1943. Townsend retired from political life after an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 1946. Governor M. Clifford Townsend died on November 11, 1954, and was buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Hartford City, Indiana.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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