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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Hiram Townsend

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 573 - 574

Hiram Townsend, of Waldo, has since 1847 been an honored citizen of Lyndon and Sherman Townships. He is so well known throughout Sheboygan County, that he needs no special introduction to our readers, for since early pioneer days he has been prominently identified with the growth and development of this community. His life record is as follows: A native of Vermont, he was born in Caledonia County, May 7, 1817, and is the third in a family of eight children bora unto Isaiah and Polly (Woodcock) Townsend. Five of the number are still living. The father was born in Massachusetts, was reared as a farmer, and educated in the public schools. He served in the War of 1812, and afterward emigrated to New York, and later to Michigan. In politics, he was first a Democrat, later became an Anti-Mason, and subsequently voted with the Whig party. His wife, who was a native of the old Granite State, died in New York. She was an estimable lady, and held membership with the Free-Will Baptist Church.

Mr. Townsend of this sketch went with his parents to New York in 1832, when a lad of fifteen, and was reared to agricultural pursuits. His education was acquired in the subscription and public schools. His life has, indeed, been a busy and useful one. On the 17th of November, 1842, he led to the marriage altar Miss Eliza Baldwin, a native of Monroe County, N. Y., born August 2, 1823. By their union have been born eleven children, five sons and six daughters, but only six are now living. Melissa P. is the wife of Almeron Bates, a farmer of Wood County, Wis., and they have thirteen children. Amanda L. is the wife of Sedgwick W. Pettis, a farmer of York County, Neb., who served in the late war, and lost a leg in battle; they have two living children. Timothy G. is married, and with his wife and four children resides on a farm in Harrison County, Iowa. Harriet is the wife of Joseph Duncan, a farmer of Wood County, Wis., by whom she has one son. Adelaide is the wife of Nathan A. Seeley, a farmer of Genesee County, Mich., and they have six children. Martin S. is an agriculturist of Wood County, where he resides with his wife and one child.

Mrs. Townsend is the eldest in a family of eleven children, of whom five are yet living. Her father, a native of Connecticut, was a carpenter and joiner by trade, and erected the first building in the city of Rochester, N. Y. He and his wife were members of the Society of Friends, and resided within ten miles of Rochester until called to the home beyond. Mrs. Baldwin was born in the Empire State. Mrs. Townsend was educated in New York, and at the age of eighteen was married. The young couple began their domestic life in her native State, where they resided for four years. Mrs. Townsend, a lady seventy years of age, has made some very beautiful work in ornamental flowers, which adorns her home.

In 1847, Mr. Townsend emigrated to the Territory of Wisconsin, and located on one hundred and twenty acres of land in Sherman Township, Sheboygan County. The tract was covered with timber, and not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made. There was no home within a mile and a-half of their house, and the county seemed just opening up to civilization. Mr. Townsend built a log cabin, and began farming with ox-teams. The following year his wife and their three children joined the husband and father on the frontier. They came through the Indian settlement, where more than three hundred red men lived. Their home was within five miles of the old Indian planting-ground, and the red men would often pass the Townsend's on fishing trips, stopping on their way to borrow kettles, in which to cook their fish. Deer were very numerous, and Mr. Townsend has seen as many as fifteen in one herd. There were also wolves and bears in the settlement. They had to go to Sheboygan Falls for their mail, and experienced many other hardships and privations incident to pioneer life.

Mr. Townsend cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison, and since the organization of the Republican party has been a stanch supporter of its men and measures. He has served as Justice of the Peace for six years, was Assessor of Sherman for one term, was the first Town Clerk of Sherman Township, and filled that office two years. He has ever been true to the trust reposed in him, and has discharged his duties in a prompt and able manner. He and his wife are friends of the cause of education, and are respecters of all moral teachings. They are classed among Sheboygan County's honored pioneers, and this sketch of their lives will be read and cherished by their children long years after father and mother have passed away.


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