The Rev. Townsend was a somewhat vacillating Methodist minister who seemingly set a pattern for short tenure of office. He was born in Pittsburgh in 1839 and served in the Civil War, receiving a wound which left his arm permanently crippled. Rev. Townsend, the sometime principal of the Union School at New Falls, also served two parish charges before coming to Carrier. Prior to the War he attended Oberlin College and after it, completed his education at Allegheny College. The trustees recommended that he be reappointed at the close of the first year's operation but the Conference demurred. Instead he was given a church in Edinboro.
After leaving Carrier, Townsend's religious career was somewhat checkered. He bolted from the Church in 1874 to serve the Congregational Church and returned to the fold two years later. Again in 1884 he left the church and founded the Independent Congregational Church in Jamestown, New York teaching what he called the "New Theology." Still later he founded the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh.