The oldest towns in the present county of Windham were granted by the Colonial government of  New Hampshire, when Benning Wentworth was governor of that province. Their corporate names remind one of the Earl of Halifax, the Duke of Marlborough, the Earl of Wilmington, the Marquis of Rockingham, Francis Fane and Charles Townshend, who were distinguished members of the ministries of whose pleasure Gov. Wentworth held his office.
      Of  New Hampshire Grants on the east side of the Green Mountains, the seventh in chronological order was called Townshend. This town is situated a little north of the geographical center of Windham county, and at the time Acton was annexed was bounded N. by Acton and Athens, E. by Athens and Brookline, S. by Brookline and Newfane, W. by Wardsboro, Jamaica and Windham.  While on the E. and S. the bounds of 1840 remain at the present day.

      Within the limits of the town are four neighborhoods: the East Village, West Village, Harmonyville, and Simpsonville.  Of these, the largest is the East Village, which is the business center.

      West river in passing through the southwesterly part of the town receives the waters of Acton brook, Fair brook, Negro brook, Jay brook, and Mill brook. Fletcher brook is a tributary of Acton brook.  Numerous springs and rivulets furnish an abundant supply of pure water.  The land rises often gradually, sometimes precipitously, to the ridges by which the valleys are terminated.  These divides are of considerable height, and especially in the vicinity of West river, preset a succession of rocky hills.  Two of these eminencies have been named Peaked mountain and Bald mountain, from the peculiarity of their appearance.

      The original town has nearly the rock formations which exist in Acton.  Fine specimens of water crystals have been found at the southeast part of the town.  A  ledge upon the James Grey farm affords material for excellent lime.  Boulders of granite and syenite that can be split into fence posts are occasionally found.  The primitive forest, unbroken, and extending to the summit of the hills, mostly consisting of maple, birch, beech, hemlock and spruce.  Among these are interspersed the ash, oak and elm, basswood, cottonwood, butternut and pine.

      Two flourishing villages besides many comfortable and desirable dwellings scattered about town, are outgrowths of what has been done here in the way of business.  The inhabitants, with few exceptions, have been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and their success has been such that Townshend in 1891 ranks in populations as ninth of 23 towns comprising the county of Windham, and the sixth in wealth.