Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 28, 1895
Place of BirthRM of Turtle Mountain, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Trade / CallingTeamster
Service Details
ForceU.S. Army
Address at EnlistmentFlint, Michigan
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 2, 1970
Age at Death74
Buried AtFairview Cemetery, Linden, Michigan

Towns, George Andrew

George Andrew Towns was the son of Calvin Towns and Mary Ann Bandy of Kenora, Ontario. Calvin was a blacksmith and farmer and he and Mary Ann were married in 1883 in the town of Combermere, about 100 km west of Ottawa. A son, Sirastin, was born in Combermere in 1884. By 1891 the family had moved to the nearby township of Mayo in North Hastings County. Calvin’s brother Andrew lived in Mayo and he was married to Mary Ann’s sister, Susan Bandy.

By the mid-1890s Calvin and Mary Ann were living in southwestern Manitoba. Three children were born there: George Andrew (28 June 1895), Mary Jeanetta (Nettie) (1898) and Wilbert Minor (1900). The births of George and Nettie were registered in the RM of Turtle Mountain and Wilbert’s in the nearby RM of Riverside. When the 1901 census was taken they were living in Riverside where Calvin operated a boarding house. From there the family moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario, and Calvin found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway. He died in Kenora in April 1906, at age 56, and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

When the 1911 census was taken Mary Ann and the four children were living on First Street in Kenora. Sirastin was employed by the CPR and George was working as a teamster for a grocery store. In 1914 George moved to Gould City, Michigan where a friend, John McGraw, was living. The war started that summer and Sirastin Towns enlisted in Winnipeg in January 1917. The U.S. entered the war in April 1917 and George completed his World War I draft card on 5 June. He was 22 years old, single, living in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan and working as a teamster for a coal company. He served with the U.S. Army during the war although the details of his service are not known.

Around the time the war ended George started working for the Flint Lumber Company and he was with them for about forty years. He was married in Flint on 16 April 1920 and the marriage record notes that he served in the war. His wife, Neva Margaret Wood (née Cooper), was the daughter of Loren (Lorin) Cooper and Ida Wadley. Neva was born in Genesee County on 27 May 1893 and she had one brother, George Milton, who was a year older than her. She married Guy Wood in 1910 and they had a son, Milton Lorin Wood, born in 1915. Neva and Guy were divorced in 1919. Milton served with the Coast Artillery Corps during World War II.

George and his wife lived in Flint and he was a truck driver at the time of the 1930 census and a lumber scaler in 1940. Neva died in Flint on 2 June 1946, at age 53. She’s buried in Fairview Cemetery in the nearby town of Linden. George was married again on 16 May 1949 in Steuben County, Indiana. His second wife was Bernice Kinney (née Poling), a widow. She was born in 1901 in West Virginia, the daughter of Andrew Blackman Poling and Emily Jane Zickefoose. Bernice had married Russell Ketler in 1924 in Ohio and he died in 1935. She married Vernon Kinney in 1936 in West Virginia and he passed away in 1947. Bernice had two children with Russell and at least two with Vernon.

George retired around 1959 and he and his wife moved to Sherman Township near Traverse City, Michigan. He was a member of the Mesick Methodist Church and the Buick American Legion Post. He passed away on 2 June 1970, at age 74, and he’s buried in Fairview Cemetery with his first wife Neva. He was survived by Bernice and his stepchildren as well as his sister Nettie (Mrs. Alfred George Banks) and his brother Wilbert. His mother had died in 1932 and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Sirastin passed away in 1952 in Vancouver, Wilbert 1981 in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Nettie in 1983.

By Becky Johnson

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Family photos courtesy of public tree on

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