H.B. Townsend


H. B. TOWNSEND, a farmer of Kiskiminetas township, Armstrong county, was born April 9, 1856, in that township, son of A. K. And Mary Jane (Gamble) Townsend. The first of the Townsend family of whom anything definite is known was once a heavy landowner in England, but lost all his property through speculation.

Isaac Townsend, his son, was born in England about 1760, and on account of his father's losses came to the Colonies about 1775. He settled in what was then Westmoreland county, Pa., but is now Kiskiminetas township, Armstrong county, Pa., where he bought 400 acres from George Wolf, for which he paid seventy-five cents per acre. This property has been developed into the most valuable land in the county. A many-sided man, he could do almost anything to which he bent his mind, and became extremely prominent in his locality, where he was called upon to settle numerous disputes among his neighbors, for his authority and level judgment were never questioned. After the organization of the Democratic party he adhered to its principles, and was elected on its ticket as auditor, assessor and road supervisor of his township. Although reared a Quaker, after marriage he bacame a member of the Lutheran Church, in which he was an elder for many years. In 1780 he married Rachel King, who was of German extraction, and they had ten children: John, Henry, Isaac, Robert, Joseph, William, Polly, Susan and two that died in infancy unnamed. Mr. Townsend passed away in 1847, after a life of usefulness and Christian living.

Henry Townsend was born on the home farm of Isaac Townsend about 1795, and during his earlier years drilled salt wells and manufactured salt, later on in life devoting himself to agricultural pursuits. Politically he held the same faith as his father, and supported the principles of the Democratic party. The Lutheran Church had in him a devout member. On Feb. 2, 1829, Henry Townsend married Catherine Ulam, by whom he had ten children.

A. K. Townsend attended the old subscription school in the district where he was born in December, 1826, on the old Townsend homestead. In addition to the educational training he obtained in this primitive school, Mr. Townsend secured information upon varied subjects by reading, and kept himself well informed upon all the leading topics of interest of his time. He became the owner of 400 acres of choice farm land, which he operated profitably. A Jacksonian Democrat, he was a geat admirer of Andrew Jackson, Elder's Ridge Presbyterian Church held his membership, and received his generous support of both time and money. On Nov. 6, 1851, Mr. Townsend married Mary J. Gamble, and ten children were born of this union, eight of whom survive, H. B. Townsend being the third child in the order of birth.

Daniel Ulam, from whom Mr. Townsend is descended through his grandmother, was born in eastern Pennsylvania about 1745, in 1805 moving to Westmoreland county, where he bought and farmed a large tract of land. He was a Democrat. His religious faith made him a member of the Lutheran Church, which he served faithfully and conscientiously. In 1775 he married, and his family consisted of eight children. His death occurred in 1815, his widow surviving until 1839.

Catherine Ulam carried Henry Townsend, and one of their children was A. K. Townsend, the father of H. B. Townsend, who thus traces his ancestry back thorugh two prominent families on his father's side, the Townsends and Ulams, and through the Gambles on the mother's side.

H. B. Townsend attended district school until eighteen years old, when he left school to devote all his attention to farming, remaining with his father until he was twenty-seven years old, when he married. Following his marriage he rented a farm for two years, and then bought 100 acres of the home place, upon which he resided for eight years. The succeeeding two years he spent on the Tanner farm, but in 1893 he bought and moved upon 252 acres two miles east of Avonmore, which has continued to be his home. Mr. Townsend is a good general farmer, understanding thoroughly the work in hand, and believing in scientific methods. His land has been brought into a fine state of development, and he reaps banner crops from his fertile acres. His premises all show that a good manager is at the helm, and his stock is of good quality. Such farms as that owned by Mr. Townsend indicate very forcibly the change which modern inventions and ideas have wrought in agriculture.

Mr. Townsend was united in marriage with Jennie Fairman, and they have the following children: Margaretta, Myrna, Cloyd, Julia, Glade, Ruth, Gertrude and Kenneth.

The church at Avonmore owned by the Presbyterian demonination was erected through the instrumentality of Mr. Townsend and several other members, and he continues to give it his loyal support. For the past few years he has been one of its trustees, and he is a man of importance in the organization as he is in his community. A strong Democrat, he is very active in the interests of his party, although not one who seeks political preferment.

Source: Pages 725-726 Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 1998 by Joyce Sherry for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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