Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm. Scanned from a copy held by the State Library of Kansas.
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The subject of this sketch is W.S. Townsdin, a retired farmer and one of the esteemed early settlers that came to Cloud county in 1867, and has seen the country develop and "blossom like the rose." He and his wife experienced many trials and anxious days but did not suffer as many of their neighbors. Mr. Townsdin does not regret having cast his lot in Kansas, but in the early settlement of the country he felt the chances were against them, but in later years when surrounded by their family of children who were prosperous, they agreed "all was well," and that Kansas was one of the fairest spots on earth. They were on the frontier for over two years without the addition of a single new settler. They at one time lived in the most commodious dwelling in the country and kept open house. Many travelers in quest of homes in the new west have enjoyed their hospitality.

Mr. Townsdin is a native of Huntingdonshire, England, born in 1827. His parents were Samuel and Elizabeth (Dean) Townsdin, both of English birth, where his father was a carpenter and worked for the same employer all his life. Mr. Townsdin is one of eight children, three of whom are living, two sisters, both residing in England. Mr. Townsdin received a limited education in the village of Huntingdon and at the age of fourteen years began a career for himself. He located in Wales, where he worked at various things for about ten years.

In 1852 he was married to Margaret Jones, a native of Monmouthshire, Wales. She was a daughter of John and Mary (Davis) Jones and one of fourteen children. At her mother's death, a half century ago, twelve children, all of whom were married, followed her to the grave. Mrs. Townsdin is now the only surviving member of the family. Mr. Townsdin touched on American soil with his family In 1833, and settled in Pomeroy county, Ohio, where he labored on public works for a period of seven years. In 1860 he removed to Edwards county. Illinois, where he farmed until 1867. A year later he came to Kansas.

He emigrated with three teams to Cloud county, pre-empted a quarter section and homesteaded one hundred acres of land one mile from the present city of Concordia, which at that time was not even thought of. The Townsdins were among the few settlers of Lincoln township, and are the only remaining landmark of those pioneer days. Buffalo, elk, antelope and wild turkey abounded and furnished their supply of meat. They experienced many Indian scares and several persons were killed, but while they were in constant terror and suspense they were never disturbed. When there were neither roads nor bridges Mr. Townsdin hauled corn from Manhattan, for which he had paid one dollar and twenty-five cents per bushel.

He gradually drifted into the stock business, bought a calf here and there, finally collecting quite a herd. He added to his land until he owns several farms, of which he has retained four hundred acres and owns several good residence properties in Concordia, where he removed when he retired from the farm in 1883. The following year he, with his wife, spent two years visiting England and Wales, and has visited his native land once since that date.

To Mr. and Mrs. Townsdin eight children have been born, seven of whom are living: John, a farmer, who resides two and one-half miles east of Concordia; James, a retired farmer of Randall, Jewell county, Kansas; Samuel, a farmer eight miles east of Concordia; Charles, a commission merchant of Kansas City (he owns three farms in Cloud county); George, a merchant of Randall, Kansas; Mary J, wife of John Shrader, a farmer three miles southeast of Concordia; Vincent, a stock and grain buyer of Randall, Kansas. The Townsdin family are all prosperous and well-to-do, owning fine farms and desirable personal property.