Excerpt from Biographical Review of New York, circa 1895
Submitted May 29, 1997 by Bob Townsend
MRS. SARAH H. TOWNSEND is one of that older circle of benevolent and high-minded
women in Walton, daily growing smaller, which is looked to for advice in all the works of charity of the town. She is the widow of John Townsend, who died October 3, 1870, aged sixty-seven, and occupies the old homestead which was built by his father, William Townsend, about 1796, nearly one hundred years ago.
Dr. Platt Townsend, father of William, was born on Long Island in 1733 and, when he came to this part of the country with his family in 1795, he found nothing before him but an unbroken forest. Here he cleared for himself a homestead and built a log cabin, which his son afterward replaced by the stanch farmhouse where his descendants now live, and which bids fair to stand for many years to come and shelter many generations more of Townsends. Dr. Platt Townsend was three times married. His first wife was Elizabeth Hubbard; and she was mother of William, Isaac, and Platt, the latter dying when but eight years old. The Doctor's second wife was Martha Dickinson, by whom he had one daughter, Frances, who became the wife of Lancaster Lupton, an Englishman of wealth and influence, in the direct line of the nobility. His third wife was Ann Goslin, who survived him thirteen years, and died March 29, 1828, ninety-two years of age. Dr. Townsend lived at the old homestead in 1815. He rests in the family burial-place on the ancestral farm. He was a much beloved and public- spirited citizen, and at his decease left a very large property in land and stock; but, what was better than all earthly possessions, he had laid up for himself a goodly store of the high regard and respect of his fellow-men and the sure approbation of his God.
William Townsend was born before the family left Long Island, and died December 24,
1849. He married Abigail Smith, by whom he had ten children: Maria, born in 1791; Nancy, born in 1793; Smith, who died in the prime of life; Platt, born in 1801; John, before named, born in 1803; Cornelia, born in 1805 ; Eliza, born in 1807, wife of Rev. E. Wills; Edward, born in 1811, died in Morrisville, N.Y., 1884, after all his family had passed away; Charles B., born in 1813; Abigail, born in 1815. The mother of these children died eight years before her husband, in 1841.
Mrs.. Sarah H. Townsend, the subject of this sketch, was born in the town of Franklin, Delaware County, in 1821. She was the daughter of Simeon and Mary McGregor Mulford. Her father was a native of Long Island, and her mother came from Batavia. In 1824 Simeon Mulford moved from Franklin to Walton, where he purchased a farm of several hundred acres, a part of which is now village residences and the fair ground. When his failing health made active business impossible he sold his Walton property, and moved to Bainbridge, Chenango County. He died in Unadilla in 1856, at eighty years of age; and his wife died in 1866, having also reached fourscore. Mrs. Townsend had one half-brother, Captain Daniel Howell, who served through the Civil War. He was for many years a distinguished citizen of Waukesha, Wis., in which place he died in December, 1890, aged eighty-three. He was high in the Masonic orders, and in many ways distinguished himself, being the prime mover in establishing a post office at Salem crossroads in Chautauqua County, N.Y. A sister of Daniel Howell is still living in Waukesha. She is the widow of Mr. Lockwood, of that town, and is still a vigorous lady although nearly an octogenarian. Mrs. Townsend's own sister is the wife of M. N. Kline in New York City.
Mrs.. Townsend was educated at the Franklin Institute, and was a teacher before her marriage to John Townsend in her twenty-second year. She has three children, namely: Charles W. Townsend, a member of the Stock Exchange, New York City, and having a family of one son and one daughter; William, a successful lawyer in Utica, N.Y., married, but without children; and John H., who resides here with his mother on the home farm arid in the old and spacious house already spoken of and so well known to all who are at all familiar with Walton and its surroundings. John H. Townsend married in January, 1880, Florence Bostwick, of Walton, daughter of Jabez and Jane (Chase) Bostwick, and granddaughter of Judge Bostwick, of this county. After the death of Mr. Bostwick his wife married Robert Launt; and after his decease she came here to Walton, where she still resides John H. Townsend and his wife have but one child, Howell Bostwick, a promising youth of thirteen, tall and manly in bearing, an apt student, and one who shows much decided talent for art.
Much of the village of Walton now occupies the Townsend farm and both the Congregational and Episcopal churches are on sites presented by the Townsends from their ancestral acres, the former church having been given by William and the latter by John Townsend, who also presented to the town the land for the high school, or academy, as it was called in the earlier days. He was an excellent man, public-spirited and benevolent, setting the example to his townsmen of giving freely to all worthy objects, and through his influence carrying out many schemes for improvement of the town and its people. He was a staunch Democrat, but never held office, allowing the casting of his vote to suffice for his share in the country's welfare. He was a member of the Congregational church, to which his wife still belongs. The name of Mrs. Townsend will long be remembered, not only for the honor cast upon her family and the noble race with which she is connected by marriage, but more because of her high-minded moral earnestness and the disinterested service which she is always ready to give.