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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The resistless tide of emigration that has swept over the country since the development of the west first commenced has caused many changes in the population, so that the majority of men spend the busy period of maturity far removed from the scenes of their childhood. But not so with Mr. Townsend, whose enviable privilege it has been to spend the years of manhood's activities upon the same farm associated with his earliest memories. Unallured by the call to other localities, he has been content to remain at the old homestead and to continue the work of cultivating the land whose first furrows were turned by his father during the era of pioneer development. With progressive tendencies he has made the place more productive and its annual returns larger through his interests in stock of all kinds and his identification with other forms of agricultural labor.

In studying the record of the Townsend family we find that remote ancestors came to this country having had a part in the material upbuilding of Maine, when Elisha Baker Townsend was born in the city of Portland. There also he was reared and during young manhood he there married Rachel Hodgkins, likewise a native of Maine. Attracted by reports concerning the possibilities of the west, during the spring of 1853 he and his young wife left New England for California and at the end of their long journey they arrived in Sacramento county. He entered government land at Mormon Island, Sacramento county, cleared the tract, turned the first furrows in the virgin soil and gradually brought the ranch under improvement. For about twenty-five years he engaged in the dairy business on this ranch. In addition for some time he carried on a meat market in Folsom, fattening the stock on his ranch and later utilizing them for the needs of the butcher shop. After a busy life, whose success was up to the measure of his expectations, he died in 1898 at the old homestead.

From his natal day, September 15, 1875, George H. Townsend has had the same surroundings except as the improvements associated with modern civilization were made on the ranch. The neighboring schools enabled him to acquire a fair education. Early experience on the farm gave him a thorough knowledge of the tilling of the soil and the raising of stock. In addition he learned the details of the meat business while working at the Folsom meat market. When he succeeded to the management of the ranch he at once turned his entire attention to its care and cultivation. Under his keen oversight the three hundred acres, located about three miles northeast of Folsom, present an appearance of thrift and productiveness. Cattle, horses, hogs and sheep may be seen in the pastures and the yearly output of stock forms a valuable addition to the income of the owner, who further engages in the dairy business with success and also raises grain, hay and vegetables for the local markets. A part of this ranch is under irrigation from the Natomas ditch. A farmer of great energy and wise judgment, he is making a success of his work and has proved his adaptability to agricultural pursuits.

The marriage of Mr. Townsend took place at Folsom March 27, 1901, and united him with Miss Annie M. Russler, who was born, reared and educated at Clarksville, this state. Mr. and Mrs. Townsend are the parents of three children now living, namely: George B., Anna E. and Lavern. The political views of Mr. Townsend are in harmony with the platform of the Republican party. While voting the party ticket with consistent regularity he has always refused to consider official honors and has never been a candidate for any of the local offices. By virtue of his nativity he is eligible to member- ship with the Native Sons of the Golden West and we find him identified with Folsom Parlor No. 83, in which he has held all of the offices and for years has served as secretary. In addition, since 1905 he has been honored with the secretaryship of the Folsom Aerie of Eagles. Not only in Folsom, but also throughout the entire east end of the county, he is known and honored as a progressive rancher and a citizen whose upright character entitles him to the respect and confidence of the people. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011