Townsend Connections to Lawrence Co.
Townsend Connections to Lawrence Co., Alabama
Contributed by Judy Livings
James K. Townsend
He was born between 1803 and 1810 in South Carolina and died May 12, 1885 in
Hillsboro, Lawrence Co., Alabama. He is buried in the Elliott #2 cemetery in Hillsboro.
The census of 1880 showed him to be a farmer.
James K. Townsend married Elliott Milam on Oct. 13, 1834 in Lawrence Co., Alabama.
From an obituary published May 21, 1885 in The Moulton Advertiser:
Mr. J. K. Townsend, an aged and highly respected citizen, died near Hillsboro on
Saturday last. He had been married four times, and lived happily with all of his wives.
According to the Register of Deaths, he died of pneumonia.
His four wives were:
Elliot Milam - Oct. 13, 1834, Lawrence Co., Alabama
Minerva F. Davidson - July 24, 1851, Lawrence Co., Alabama
Harriett Galloway - Sept. 8, 1857, Lawrence Co., Alabama
Margaret Wall - Dec. 7, 1870, Lawrence Co., Alabama
Elliot Milam, daughter of Benjamin J. and Jennie (McCray) Milam was born about 1806 in
South Carolina and died September 22, 1840 in Lawrence Co., Alabama. She is buried in the
Milam Campground Cemetery near Moulton, Lawrence Co., Alabama.
Minerva Davidson, daughter of Thomas and Jane (Elliott) Davidson, was born July 21, 1821 in
Alabama and died March 14, 1857 in Lawrence Co., Alabama. She is buried in Elliott #2
Cemetery, Hillsboro, Lawrence Co., Alabama.
Harriett Gallaway, daughter of Wiley and Mary (McDowell) Gallaway, died in 1866 in Pine Bluff,
Arkansas on her way back from a visit in Texas.
Obituary for Harriett Galloway in "The Moulton Democrat" dated March 20, 1857:
Mrs. Minerva Townsend, wife of our neighbor and fellow-citizen James K. Townsend, Esq., who
after a protracted illness on the morning of the 14 inst., bid adieu to suffering and took up
her abode in the fields of light. The deceased was about thirty-five years old and leaves one
child, a sweet little daughter of three sunny years.
Margaret Wall was born about 1832 in Ireland. Margaret Wall is found in the 1850 census with
a 27-year-old son, William. She is 60 years old and was living in Mobile, Alabama. She was
born in Ireland and her parents were born in Ireland. William's father was born in Ireland.
James K. Townsend had four children:
By his first wife, Elliot Milam, he had (1) Harvey John Townsend, born 1844
By his second wife, Minerva Davidson, he had (2) Lucy Jane Townsend, born about 1854
By his third wife, Harriett Galloway, he had two sons: (3) William M. Townsend, born 1861 and
(4) James G. Townsend, born 1864.
(1) Harvey John Townsend
He was born in 1844 in Alabama and died in 1911 probably in Tye, Texas. He is buried in the
Drummond Cemetery in Tye, Texas.
On July 28, 1885, he sold some property in Lawrence Co., Alabama that he had inherited from his
father, James K. Townsend, to his half-brothers, William M. and J. G. Townsend.
From The Moulton Advertiser, March 28, 1873
"H. J. Townsand, who now lives in Lynnville, Tenn., has, we are glad to learn, determined to
return to North Ala., and again go into the mercantile business at New Hillsboro, in this
From The Moulton Advertiser, April 12, 1911
"Many of our readers will regret to learn that Harvey Townsend, born and raised in Lawrence
county, recently died in Texas. He made a gallant Confederate soldier and after the war was
married to Miss Mollie Shoemaker by whom he became the happy father of several children. At
her death he went west, married again and we learn accumulated a great fortune, which was left
to his wife and children. We presume Prof. Lynch will reach him later in his Character
Sketches and we forbear further mention."
An article about Auburn in the "History of Ellis County Texas" by The Ellis County History
Workshop showed Harvey J. Townsend to have been Postmaster of Auburn from July 13, 1890 to
November 27, 1903. There was also a Henry J. Townsend who was postmaster from January 14, 1885
to September 20, 1886. I believe this to be a misprint and the person was actually Harvey.
From "Texas Ellis County Genealogical Records, Vol. XVII, Notaries Public Waxahachie, 1896" we
find an article that was published in Waxahachie's "Mirror" on April 30, 1896. It is titled
"Notaries Public, Waxahachie, 1896". It shows that H. J. Townsend was a Notary Public.
From the "Christian Herald, Moulton, Lawrence County, Alabama", Vol. 1, No. 31, 23
February 1866, Page 3, Col. 2
"Married on the evening of the 15th inst., at the residence of the Bride's father,
near Moulton, by the Rev. Josephus Shackelford, Mr. Harvey J. Townsend to Miss Mary Shoemaker,
all of Lawrence County."
His two wives were:
Mary Jane Shoemaker, Feb. 15, 1866, Lawrence Co., Alabama
Martha Denton, July 13, 1886, Ellis Co., Texas
Harvey John Townsend had three children by his first wife. They were:
(5) Hattie E. Townsend, born about 1867
(6) Benjamin Forrest Townsend, born April 29, 1875
(7) Lucy E. Townsend, born December 4, 1877
Harvey's first wife, Mary Jane Shoemaker, daughter of John Yancey and Rebeccah (Burrow)
Shoemaker, was born September 13, 1844 in Lauderdale Co., Alabama and died March 26, 1882 in
Hillsboro, Lawrence Co., Alabama. She is buried in the Shoemaker Cemetery, Moulton,
Lawrence Co., Alabama.
Harvey married a second time after moving to Texas. That was to a widow, Mattie Denton.
She was born in 1848 in Texas and died in 1912 probably in Tye, Texas. She is buried in
the Drummond Cemetery, in Tye, Texas. She had one son by her first marriage, Robert H. Denton.
(2) Lucy Jane Townsend
Only two mentions of her existence can be found. She is mentioned as a "sweet little daughter of
three sunny years" in the obituary of her mother. She is also mentioned as an inheritor in her
mother's place of a part of her uncle's (James H. Davidson) estate.
(3) William M. Townsend
He married Italyne P. Speaks on November 23, 1882 in Lawrence Co., Alabama. She was born 1862
in Courtland, Alabama and died July 23, 1900 Decatur, Morgan Co., Alabama. William died
August 12, 1885 in Hillsboro, Lawrence Co., Alabama.
From an article in the "Moulton Advertiser" dated August 9, 1900:
Italene Speake was born in Courtland, Ala., 1862, was married to Wm. Townsend in 1882.
After three years of married life her husband died and left her to struggle alone with
the world. She died of typhoid fever in Decatur, Ala., July 23, 1900.
(4) James G. Townsend
He was born about 1862 in Lawrence Co., Alabama. The census of 1870 shows him in Lawrence Co.
and it states that he was born in Texas. The only other mention I can find of him is when his
half-brother, Harvey John, sold his share of their father's estate to him.
(5) Hattie E. Townsend
She was born in 1867 and died in 1918. She married Tandy W. Irvin on December 9, 1889 in
Lawrence Co., Alabama. I can find no further mention of her.
(6) Benjamin Forrest Townsend
He was born April 29, 1875 in Lawrence Co., Alabama and died November 30, 1961 in Torrance,
Los Angeles Co., California. He married Josie Irene Swain (daughter of Joseph Rogers and
Victoria Lucinda [Powell] Swain) on May 5, 1896 in Auburn, Ellis Co., Texas. She was born
October 15, 1877 in Auburn, Ellis Co., Texas and died January 27, 1944 in Long Beach,
Los Angeles Co., California.
They lived in Auburn, Texas, Abilene, Texas, Duncan, Oklahoma and several places in California.
They had two children while living in Auburn, Texas and six children while living in
Abilene, Texas. All except one of these children moved to California.
He died following surgery for a broken hip in Harbor General Hospital. He is buried in
Roosevelt Memorial Park in space 5-2298, row 10. The number at the curb is 2289.
He was a member of Stewart Methodist Church in Grandview, Texas where his name has been
placed on the honor roll by Ava Davis, Leonora Ingle and Clyde and Bertie Swain.
I originally had that he was born in Decatur, Alabama. Lawrence Co. is right next to
Morgan Co., which is where Decatur is located. It is possible that Decatur used to be in
The following ad appeared in the Abilene City Directory: "Townsend B F & Co.,
(B F Townsend ----) groceries 133 Chestnut. Phones 99." That address no longer exists.
A parking lot has been installed next to it and several trees on the location of the store.
Their residence in Abilene was listed as: "Townsend Benjamin Forrest, (B F Townsend & Co)
r ws Elm bt S 8th, Dallam [residence, west side of Elm between 8th and Dallam].
S W phone 428." We checked for the home and found there was no Dallam street. It must have
been changed to 9th. When examining Elm between 8th and 9th, we found several houses on the
west side that are of the proper vintage to have been their home.
From The Abilene Daily Reporter, May 15, 1907 [about my father's birth]:
"Odd Fellow Notes
"On account of a little Noble Grand appearing at his home on Monday night and
demanding bed and board, B. F. Townsend, N. G. , had to remain at home to entertain the
new comer, and no doubt that before the cock crew for day this morning our worthy Noble Grand,
dreamed that he was on his second trip to Jericho."
(7) Lucy E. Townsend
She was born December 4, 1877 probably in Lawrence Co., Alabama and died June 11, 1903 probably
in Ellis Co., Texas. She is buried in the Drummond Cemetery in Tye, Texas. She married
W. E. Beasley on June 29, 1899 probably in Texas. They had two children, Clyde and Fern.
I have generations of information on the descendants of Benjamin Forrest Townsend; however,
I have not included it because they are not part of Lawrence Co. history. I may be contacted
for more information by anyone who is interested in this family.