My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Washington County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Townsend Bros, are general merchants, the firm being composed of W. H. and S. C. Townsend. The former, William H., was born in Ste. Genevieve County, in 1842, and is the son of William H. and Mary A. (Winebarger) Townsend, both born and reared in Virginia, where they were also married. They soon after came to Missouri, located in Ste. Genevieve County, and later moved to Washington County, where the father died at the age of sixty-five. He was a farmer and stock-raiser by occupation, was a Democrat in politics, and both he and wife were members of the Baptist Church. The mother is still living, and is seventy years of age. Of the nine children born to this worthy couple, William H. is the eldest but one. He was reared as the average farmer boy, and received a limited education in the old time subscription schools. Having farmed until 1870 he began merchandising in Jefferson County, and the following year came to Belgrade and opened a store, where he is now occupied in business, and, with the exception of one year, has been actively engaged ever since. In 1882 he built his present large store, 48x25. In 1885 his brother became a partner and the firm assumed its present title. In 1870 he married Mrs. Hannah O. Bloom nee Haney, a native of Tennessee, and who had one child, Anna, by her first marriage. Mrs. Townsend is a member of the Christian Church. In 1861 Mr. Townsend volunteered in Company E., Second Missouri Cavalry, Confederate States army, and served until the close of the war. During the most of his service he held the position of second lieutenant, and participated in the following battles: Fort Pillow, Colliersville, Nashville, Fort Donelson, Murfreesboro and many others. At the battle of Colliersville he received a severe wound in the left shoulder, which went entirely through that portion of his body He is a stanch Democrat in politics, and in 1885 was appointed postmaster of Belgrade which position he still holds. He is also a Mason. In connection with merchandising he is interested in farming, and now owns 325 acres of land besides lots in several of the towns in the county. He has met with good success having started with a capital of $350; he has made all he has.

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This family biography is one of 138 biographies included in The History of Washington County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Washington County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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