Published in 1883
The man whose name heads this sketch, until late years a resident of South Bend township, was born in this county, December 3, 1796. The lady whom he afterward married, Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel and Eva B. (Miller) Hine, was born August 27, 1797. They were joined in wedlock by Squire Paul, in the year 1816.
After their marriage they lived near the river in South Bend township for three years, and then went to Westmoreland county. After remaining there seven years they returned to this county, where Mr. Townsend spent the remainder of his days.
In 1837 Mr. Townsend purchased a farm of 386 acres of land, all timbered except a few acres which had been cleared by its former owner. When they went upon the farm they lived for a year in a small, rough log cabin, but afterward moved into a better one, made partly of hewed logs, which they could not have at first, as it was rented.
The farm on which Mr. and Mrs.Townsend lived was commonly known to the hunters for miles around as "The Bucks Farm," for the reason that it abounded at an early day in deer, which came there to feed on the acorns.
During the first years of their housekeeping they were obliged to grind their corn in what was then known as the "Pint Mill," owned by a Mr. Johnson. Mrs. Townsend did most of her cooking at the fireplace, but baked bread in an outdoor oven, built for the purpose. She obtained her first cook-stove in 1845. She used the spinning-wheel to make linen for clothing from the flax they raised upon the farm.
To keep her family properly clothed she was often compelled to weave until midnight, after being busy all day with other domestic duties. Having no mill to clean their wheat, they used a bed-sheet, which was handled as a huge fan by husband and wife, separating the chaff from the grain. As time passed the disadvantages under which household and farm labor was performed were lessened, and work done with more ease and rapidity.
Mr. Townsend kept abreast of the times in agriculture, and in the matter of fruit-growing was far ahead of his neighbors, having the greatest variety and choicest fruit in the township. Upon December 28, 1874, Robert Townsend passed away, after a long, useful and honorable life. He was a member of St. Jacob's church, near South Bend. His widow is a faithful communicant of this church today. She is in remarkable state of health, and as active in her movements as a woman of fifty, although in her eighty-sixth year. Mr. and Mrs. Townsend have been blessed with ten children, all of whom are now living.
Their names, with dates of birth, are as follcy.ys: Isaac, born February 23, 1817; Anna Margaret, March 15, 1819; Susannah, December 13, 1821; Henry, October 15, 1823; Simon P., March 19, 1826; Rachel, August 12, 1829; Elizabeth E., November 23, 1831; Robert, August 28, 1834; Sarah, October 6, 1837; John L., July 16, 1840.
John L. Townsend lives upon the old homestead. He was married in 1864, to Miss Jemima D. Wherry, born January 31, 1847. She died July 20, 1867, leaving one child, Annie, born July 22, 1867. On April 17, 1871, Mr. Townsend married as his second wife Mary Jane, widow of William Robertson, whose maiden name was Barr, and she was born January 19, 1836. She has one son, William, a child of her first husband.
Source. Page 392, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman,Watkins & Co. 1883.
Transcribed December 200 by Jeffrrey Bish for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Published 1998 by the Armstrong County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project