JOHN F. TOWNSEND, a farmer of Kiskiminetas township, was born there Jan. 8, 1864, on the old homestead of his father, Absalom K. Townsend.

             Isaac Townsend, his paternal great-grandfather, was born in England about 1760.  His father was a large landowner, who through unfortunate investments lost all he had.  Isaac Townsend came to America about 1775, settling in what was then Westmoreland county, but is now Kiskiminetas township, Armstrong county, where he bought 400 acres of land from George Wolf, paying about seventy-five cents per acre for it. This land is now as valuable as any to be found in Armstrong county.  This energetic gentleman was able to turn his hand to almost any kind of work, and as he possessed good judgment was often called upon for advice by his neighbors.  A Democrat, after the formation of that party he was elected as its candidate to the offices of auditor, assessor and road supervisor of his township.  Reared a Quaker, he became a Lutheran after his marriage,  and served that denomination as elder for several years.  In 1780 Isaac Townsend and Rachel King were married.  She came of German extraction.  They had ten children:  John, Israel, Robert, Joseph, William, Polly, Susan, and three who died in infancy. The death of Mr. Townsend occurred in 1838, his widow surviving until 1847.

              Henry Townsend, grandfather of John F., was born on the home farm about 1795.  Early in life he drilled several salt wells and manufactured salt, but later on devoted himself to farming.  The Democratic party had his support on political questions, while the Lutheran Church was his religious home.  On Feb. 2, 1819, he married Catherine Ulam, and they had ten children, among them being Absalom K.

                        Absalom K. Townsend was born on the old Townsend homestead in Kiskiminetas township in December, 1826.  After attending the public schools of his day he added to his store of knowledge by wide reading and kept himself well informed on all the topics of the times, which he was able to discuss intelligently and from a broad-minded standpoint.  He acquired ownership of 400 acres of cheap farm land, was an agriculturist of some renown and an excellent citizen.  Politically he was a Jacksonian Democrat.   The Presbyterian Church of Elder�s Ridge held his membership and received his support.  On Nov. 6, 1851, Absalom K. Townsend married Mary J. Gamble, and they became the parents of ten children, among them John F. Townsend. 

              Daniel Ulam was born in eastern Pennsylvania about 1745, and in 1805 moved to Westmoreland county, where he bought and farmed a large tract of land.  He was a Democrat.  The Lutheran Church held his membership.  In 1775 he married, and had eight children.  The death of this one-time prominent man took place in 1815, his widow surviving until 1839.

              Catherine Ulam, daughter of Daniel Ulam, married Henry Townsend, grandfather of John F. Townsend, so that he is descended from two of the old and influential families of Armstrong county.

              John F. Townsend attended common school until eighteen years old.  He was born and reared on his father�s farm, grew up among healthy rural surroundings, and was taught habits of thrift and industry.  He is a successful general farmer, and owner of one of the finest agricultural properties in the township.  He lives in a handsome residence.  His barn is 60 by 70 feet in dimensions, and meets all sanitary requirements of the State.  A Democrat, he is very active in the ranks of his party, and interested in its success.

             On Feb. 25, 1894, Mr. Townsend was married, in Armstrong county, to Bell Virtue, , daughter of Dr. Virtue.  One child, Charles V., was born of this marriage on May 23, 1895, and Mrs. Townsend died on the same day.

 Source: Page 856, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed May 2002 by James R. Hindman for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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