|A Day in Indiana History - August|
Maurice Clifford Townsend (August 11, 1884 – November 11, 1954)
The son of David and Lydia Glancy Townsend, Maurice, or Clifford as he preferred to be called, was native to a farm on Blackford County, Indiana. He graduated from high school in 1901, and then worked as a teamster in the gas fields during the Gas Boom. Townsend enrolled in Marion College, graduating in 1907.
During the years 1909 until 1919, he taught school and served as superintendent for several area schools. He gained elections to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1923, serving one term, then losing a bid for the United States House of Representatives.
He returned to teaching until Indiana Governor Paul V. McNutt helped him gain the nomination for Indiana lieutenant governor in 1933. He would serve as Lieutenant Governor until 1937, when he was elected governor of Indiana.
At the beginning of his term, the Flood of 1937 and a violent strike at General Motor tested his leadership. During the latter stages of his term, he signed bills approving a statewide driving test and a measure requiring school buses to be painted yellow. This law started a national trend. After his term, he served as directors of the Office of Agricultural War Relations, the Agricultural Conservation and Adjustment Administration, and the Food Production Administration. He retired in 1943 from Federal service to return to his Blackford County farm. He passed away on November 11, 1954 and is interred in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Hartford City, Indiana.