From an unknown local history: Jesse Townsend is at present a resident of Hastings, Barry County, Michigan where he owns valuable property one block from the business center of the town. Mr. Townsend has held some prominent offices, being for two years Township Treasurer. He has been President of the Hastings Horse Association, and is a stockholder in the same association. He received a common-school education in the district school and remained on the home farm until 1875, when he then purchased a farm in Hastings Township of eighty acres, living upon it until 1887. He then came to Hastings where he has since resided. He was engaged with a company in the agricultural business for about one year. Mr. Townsend still owns a one-half interest in the old homestead.
In 1868 Mr. Townsend led to the hymeneal altar Miss Liskie Barnum, the daughter of Philander and Harriet (Bidwell) Barnum. Mrs. Townsend was born in Carlton Township, her parents being natives of New York, but old settlers in Barry County. Mrs. Townsend's father died at Battle Creek in 1862. Her mother is now a resident of Hastings. To Mr. and Mrs. Barnum have been born five children: Julia, Florence, Liskie, Horace and Harriet.
The subject of this sketch is a son of Jesse and Elizabeth (Young) Townsend, natives of New York, and was born May 15, 1848, in Woodland Township, Barry County. Mr. Townsend's father was one of the first settlers in the township, there being only three log shanties in Hastings at the time. He came West in 1836 and settled in Woodland Township where he purchased from the Government three hundred and twenty acres, paying $1.25 per acre. All this land was heavily timbered, but he cleared it and built a log cabin, living in the same a few years. Mr. Townsend has helped to build schoolhouses and churches all over the township. He lived to the allotted age of three-score years and ten, dying in July, 1884. The mother still survives at the age of seventy-six years, seeing the fruits of her labor in the township. This worthy couple was blessed with nine children, eight of whom are now living: James, Mary, David, Richard, Lafayette, Jesse, Elva and Ella. John is the name of the one deceased. The father belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church and the mother is still a consistent member of that denomination. In politics the father was a Democrat.
To Mr. Townsend and his estimable wife were given two children: Forest G., born in 1876, who was drowned when six and one-half years old. He and his cousin were fishing on Thorn Apple River, and he proposed holding a fish under water that his cousin had caught, when the edge of the bank gave way and he was precipitated into the water. The river at this time was very high and muddy and he was quickly drawn underneath, and was not seen after sinking. His body was not found until one week later, six miles down the river. The second child, Hazel, born in 1888,only lived to the age of five and one-half months. Mr. and Mrs. Townsend are both consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Mrs. Townsend being an active worker in all things relating to church affairs, filling the position of Treasurer of the Missionary Society for five years. They are both held in high repute by all their acquaintances. Mr. Townsend is a stalwart supporter of the Democratic principles.