THE VALLEY OF HEART's DELIGHT
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DR. JOHN TOWNSEND

 

            No history of the American pioneers of California could well be written without mention of the subject of this sketch.  A thoroughly educated physician, a man prominent in every community in which he ever had lived, who, had he so chosen, could have settled anywhere in the old States, and won renown and fortune, -- he was, notwithstanding, possessed of that spirit of adventure which continuously led him westward in search of new fields to conquer.  He was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, a county unequaled in that State, and perhaps in any other, in the number of men which it produced and sent out to subdue the wilderness of the Northwest and of the Pacific Coast.  His father, John F. Townsend, was from England, and was one of the pioneers of Fayette County. 

Dr. Townsend received his first degree in medicine at Lexington Medical College.  He successfully and successively practiced in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri, marrying in Stark County, Ohio, in 1832.  Miss Elizabeth Louise Schallenberger, a sister of Moses Schallenberger, whose history appears in this connection.  In the pioneer party of 1844 from Missouri, which did so much in opening to the world this grand valley, Dr. Townsend was one of the master spirits. 

He was one of the first Alcaldes of San Francisco, and for two years before coming to this county (which he did in 1849) he held the scales of justice so evenly as to cause him to be ever remembered for his judicial integrity.  Upon removing to Santa Clara Valley, he established his home in an adobe house, on what is now the Milpitas road, two miles form San Jose.  There he commenced the improvement of one hundred and ninety-five acres of land, intending to live the life of a quiet agriculturist, avoiding the turmoil of the city, and the cares of a professional life, but the All-ruling Power decreed otherwise, both himself and his wife dying of cholera in 1850.  Their pioneer homestead property is now owned by their son and only child, John H. M. Townsend, who was born in San Francisco, November 26, 1848, and  in his orphaned infancy and youth was cared for by his guardian and uncle – Moses Schallenberger.  He spent the greater part of his school life in attendance upon Santa Clara College, going to England when sixteen years of age.  He there studied two years under private tutorship.  Later, he was two years a student at Cambridge University. 

He married Miss Kate M. A. Chisholm at Cambridge, in 1872.  They have four children – Eva, Ethel, Arthur, and Maude.  Public-spirited and enterprising, Mr. Townsend is one of Santa Clara County’s representative men.  He served in the Assembly of the State of 1883 and 1884, being elected on the Democratic ticket.  He has also held local trusts, and has served on the County Board of Supervisors, being elected in 1877.  He is actively interested in the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Society, and has served several years as director of that organization.  The family residence, shaded and surrounded by beautiful grounds, is located near the crossing of the Coyote Creek by the Milpitas road.
 

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. p.  57-58

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler


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