John M. Townsend


Among the prominent and popular men of Rush Township Mr. Townsend occupies a position in the front ranks. He is distinguished for his liberality as connected with everything tending to the advancement of the people around him, and many of the successful enterprises which have given to Rush Township its excellent reputation have had in him one of their chief champions. He was born in this township May 2, 1849, and thus has been naturally interested in everything pertaining to its welfare. Of his father, the Hon. Halstead S. Townsend, a sketch appears elsewhere in this volume.

 Our subject was reared at the old homestead in Rush Township where, with the exception of four years-two of which were spent in Warren and two in Missouri, he has always lived. His book education was conducted in the common school, but he has learned largely from his observation of men and things, and has thus received the mental training which is of inestimable value in practical life. Farming and stock-raising have occupied his attention since reaching man's estate, and at present be is largely engaged in buying and shipping. He operates 360 acres of finely cultivated land upon which have been erected substantial buildings, and he is supplied with all the farm machinery requisite for successful agriculture. The estate is considered second to none in the county, and the Townsend family are widely and favorably known throughout its borders.

 New Year's day of 1871 was celebrated by our subject in his marriage to Miss Rosa E., daughter of the late Jacob Simms of Nora Township, and who died March 7, 1880. The mother, Mrs. Mary (Coppernell) Simms is still living, making her home with her son in this county. They were the parents of seven children, of whom Mrs. Townsend was next to the youngest born. Her native place was Nora Township, her birth occurring Jan. 22, 1850. Of her union with our subject there are eight children, namely: Bertha E., Albert J., Nellie, Lulu, Arthur A., Estella, Rosa, and Ruby. Politically, Mr. Townsend votes the straight Republican ticket. He has held the various local offices, representing Rush Township in the County Board of Supervisors one term, and serving as Road Commissioner four years. Socially, he is a member of Plum River Blue Lodge No. 754, A. F. & A. M. His estimable wife is a sister of Mrs. James It. Murphy, a sketch of whom will be found elsewhere in this work. Mrs. Townsend is a woman possessing all the womanly virtues, and is in all respects a suitable companion for such a man as her husband. Their hospitable home is the frequent resort of hosts of friends, they occupying a high social position, and being people who are looked up to in their community.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)