He was not a poor man, he owned twenty- Best places to visit in China in winter five sheep, two horses, some yaks and two camels. Near his stone and mud Best places to visit in China in winter hut was a round felt yurt; the children said their grandmother lived there, and took me to meet her. From behind the heavy felt curtain, which acted as a front door, there was strung a mysterious long woven strip of material which stretched some way outside and its end was pegged to the ground. We called out and the children pushed aside the curtain for me to enter. The yurt’s interior was spacious, warm from the stove and thick felt walls, and airy because of a large circular opening in the roof. The old lady was working at a tripod-shaped loom, nimbly weaving more of the long woollen strip in a blend of red, yellow and green.
The Captain was a very stern taskmaster and not well loved by his assistants. He could often be heard snapping out orders to his men. On August 10, 1910, Captain Townshend died, some believe from lung cancer. His death certificate, however, lists cause of death as chronic bronchitis, with senility as a contributing factor. If this is true, the captain’s senility could have been the cause of his anger and harshness in later years.
There are rumors that Captain Townshend was hated by his staff and, after he died, was beaten. There is also talk that he may not have been dead when the beating started. We could find no evidence to support these claims. Whatever happened, it seems certain that Townshend’s last days were confusing and difficult. Marilyn tells us he was embalmed in the basement and laid out in the home until family members from other locations arrived.
After Joseph Townshend’s passing, his son Ivan continued to serve the lighthouse as an assistant. As fate would have it, just two years later, Ivan and his wife faced yet another painful tragedy. Their two-year-old daughter, Margaret, contracted diphtheria and eventually passed away. The loss of their little girl would stay with them the rest of their lives.