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Left to Right: Back Row: Thomas Henry, Myrtle, Sherod "Will", & Maggie
Front Row: Joseph Green, Aletha Pearl, Molly Elizabeth, Emily (Coker)  Townsend, James Eli, James Lafayette & Charles Samuel Townsend

The Townsend family was among the early settlers of the region that became Hamilton county. Settling in the south western corner of the county near present day Evant. The family managed to turn the rugged area into a prosperous ranch. The family was brought into the county by Sherod Lafayette and Martha Ann Townsend. Both were natives of Robeson County, North Carolina. Sherod had been born there on November 11, 1823 and Martha Ann was born September 20, 1831. Martha is the daughter of Eli And Susanna Stevens. Eli was a plantation and slave owner in North Carolina. In the 1830's the families migrated to Carroll County, Mississippi. 

Sherod and Martha were married September 12, 1849. More than a decade in Mississippi later the families moved to Gonzales County, Texas. Near Peach Creek on a cotton plantation the family prospered. By 1860 the family owned twenty slaves. In the late 1850's the Townsend family moved to Hill County and then later to Bosque county. In Bosque County, Sherod was elected sheriff and served during the turbulent years of the Civil War. Following the collapse of the Confederacy and with the advent of Reconstruction, Sherod was ousted from office as a Confererate sympathizer. 

The Townsends, their four sons and four daughters moved into Hamilton County shortly thereafter. The majority of the children married and moved away. James Eli Townsend took over the operation of the ranch. January 8, 1880 he married Emily Elizabeth Coker. She was born in northern Mississippi near Coffeeville on June 25, 1855. Emily is the daughter of Lafayette and Aletha Coker. Her parents died at an early age and she spent her teenage years with her Grandparents, Samuel and Phebe Murphree. Emily and her family had been near heavy fighting during the civil war during a Union invasion of northern Mississippi. James Eli and Emily Townsend continued to ranch with a family of nine children. Five sons and four daughters.

Sherod Townsend died in 1890 and Martha Ann died in 1919. Emily Townsend
died November 16, 1934. James Eli Townsend died February 22, 1938. The family is buried in Kingsbury Cemetery.

Shared by: Ethel Mae Townsend

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People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress