J. P. Townsend, one of the oldest native born citizens of Johnson County, and a prominent resident of Blue River Township, is the youngest of a family of four children, all sons, born to Joseph Townsend, a pioneer, who came to the county in 1821. The father was a native of Kentucky, in which state he married Lucy Barnett. When they came to Blue River Township, the family consisted of two sons, and on the 27th of September, 1824, the subject of this sketch was born. Joseph Townsend died in the year 1825, at the age of thirty. His wife survived him three years, departing this life in 1828, aged thirty. After his parents’ death, the subject was taken by an uncle, Ambrose Barnett, under whose care he grew to early manhood, working the meantime upon a farm. Hard toil being the rule of the times in which his youthful years were passed, he obtained but meager educational training, but by intelligent observation, he has since acquired a fund of valuable, practical knowledge. He was married September 1, 1845, to Rosa Jane Wells, of Johnson County, daughter of Baker and Sarah (Cutsinger) Wells, who bore him two children, viz.: Joseph T. and George R., the former deceased. Mrs. Townsend died on the 3rd day of August, 1854. March 25, 1855, Mr. Townsend was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Richard and Rhoda (McGuire) Russell, of Shelby County. For seven years Mr. Townsend had the position of freight agent for the J., M. & I. R. R. Co., at Edinburg, and later, in 1865, purchased eighty acres of land, one mile northwest of Edinburg, to which he moved the following year and began farming. He has since purchased other land, and is now the possessor of valuable real estate, upon which are some of the best improvements in the township. He is a republican in politics, and has held the office of constable three terms.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 454.