Person:Absalom Townsend (4)

Absalom Austin Townsend
m. 16 Sept 1803
  1. Susan TownsendAbt 1804 - 1863
  2. George Nelson Townsend1806 - 1893
  3. Ira Longwell Townsend1808 - 1850
  4. Absalom Austin Townsend1810 - 1888
  5. Cynthia Townsend1813 - 1891
  6. Halstead Samuel Townsend1814 - 1901
  7. Almira R Townsend1816 - 1883
  8. Elijah Carver Townsend1818 - 1913
Facts and Events
Name Absalom Austin Townsend
Gender Male
Birth? 7 Dec 1810 Vernon, Sussex, New Jersey, United States
Death? 24 Apr 1888 Shullsburg, Lafayette, Wisconsin

A.A. Townsend of Shullsburg, an early southwest Wisconsin pioneer and miner was also an early gold trail hitter. With the discovery of gold in California, Mr. Townsend resolved to try his hand in the new discovery. For this purpose he fitted out a train of twelve wagons drawn by oxen with a company of men, in the springs of 1849, and taking the land route he started April 15 and arrived in California Sept. 9 following.

He returned to Wisconsin the next spring and fitted out a company of thirty-two with horses and mules, leaving Wisconsin May 23 and arriving in California on the following September. He returned to Wisconsin in 1851 and at the time of his death was said to be one of the wealthiest men in Wisconsin.

Source: The Capital Times, 8 May 1919

Absalom married Mary Ann Ross and they had two children, Addison and Virginia. Mary Ann died at 29 years of age. He later married Julia "Almira" Wells and they had three children, Edwin, Ellen and Walter. Almira died in 1877 at the age of 50. He married Charlotte Warne in Jo Daviess County, IL in 1880. They had no children. She died about a year after him in Mitchell County, Iowa, in March 1889, at the age of 78.

Absalom departed Hammondsport, NY with his father Samuel and brother George in the fall of 1826. They floated a flat boat from Olean, NY down the Allegheny and Ohio rivers to just west of Cincinnati, OH where they set off on foot to Ft. Clark in central Illinois. After spending about 6 weeks at Ft. Clark they traveled north and arrived at the lead mine region of NW Illinois and SW Wisconsin in early 1827. Absalom would eventually settle in present day Shullsburg, Lafayette County, WI and Samuel and George settled in Jo Daviess County, IL.

Absalom took two gold rush trips from Wisconsin to California, the first in 1849 and the second in 1850. He founded the town of Rough and Ready, California in September 1849. Both trips west were via the Oregon and California trails. His trips back to Wisconsin were via steamers departing from San Francisco to Panama and then continuing to New Orleans and up the Mississippi River to Galena, IL.

In the 1860s he took two trips from Wisconsin to Montana via the Oregon and Bozeman trails. The first trip was in 1864 to Virginia City, Montana during the gold rush in SW Montana. He was the Captain of a very large wagon train that was attacked by Indians near the Powder River and present day Kaycee, Wyoming. Known as the "Townsend Wagon Train Fight" this occurred on July 7, 1864. His second trip to Montana was in 1866. He was escorting his daughter, Virginia (Townsend) Penwell and son-in-law, Marcellus Penwell, to the Bozeman, Montana area where the Penwells lived for approximately two years before they returned to Wisconsin. A picture of Absalom, Virginia, Marcellus and their 3 year old daughter Eva on the 1866 trip was taken along the Oregon Trail in the Loup River Valley, Nebraska and is stored in the U.S. National Archives (link below) ...

  1.   Ancestry Family Trees. (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.)
    Ancestry Family Trees.
  2.   The Travels of Absalom Austin Townsend by Anthony J. Townsend
    August 2018.