Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Townsend Family

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

E. M. Townsend was born on February 12, 1862 in Humphreys County. Cordelia E. Harrison was born in Gibson County December 2, 1872. The two were united in marriage in the year of 1888 and made their home in Trenton, Tennessee for several years, moving to Decatur County in the Hog Creek community known as Oak View in the year of 1895 and made their home there until 1918 when they moved to Parsons.

E. M. Townsend was a country merchant for a number of years at the Oak View location on Hog Creek. He was never Postmaster there as the post Office had just been discontinued when he purchased the store from M. P. Haynes. The mail was delivered from the Sugar Tree Post Office from the time of closing the Oak View Post Office until the present day.

Mr. Townsend was Superintendent for Ayre and Lord Tie Company for many years looking after their timber interests in Decatur and Perry Counties.

Cordelia (Dealie to most people) Townsend was a housekeeper and mother of the modern type in the days of old. She was the mother of eight sons and three daughters, which was a full-time employment of housekeeping, laundering and mending clothing for a large family. She was an expert gardener and that is understandable with a family of 13 to feed plus many visitors. In later years she said that she always prepared at least two extra meals at noon and night as she was sure someone would be visiting or spending the night.

In the years of 1900 to 1924 all the Townsend family earned their living from farming and timber work.

The first deviation from the farm came when Revo Townsend, the eldest son took a civil service examination for a position at the Federal Prison in Atlanta, Georgia, at which he was employed for many years until his retirement. Revo was married to Sally Fulghum and to this union was horn one son, James, who is now an engineer in Saulsbury, North Carolina. Revo and his wife, Sally, live in retirement today in Atlanta.

The next eldest son, Leonard, was elected to the Office of Decatur County Register in 1926 and served there for 8 years after which he was Secretary-Treasurer of the Federal Land Bank Association of Decatur County for a number of years after which he was associated with Townsend Insurance Agency and Townsend Chevrolet Company, at the same time maintaining an interest in a large cattle farm. Leonard was married in 1941 to Hilda Primm and to this union was born one daughter, Mrs. Charles Conger of Memphis. Leonard died October 2, 1950, and was the first and only one of the eleven children to pass on.

Cecil Townsend was the third child of the Townsends. He has spent his entire life in Decatur County being engaged in farming and stock trading for many years and later being associated with Townsend Chevrolet Company. Cecil was married in 1914 to Berlie Curtis and to this union was born two sons, Byron and Eugene and three daughters Estelle (Mrs. Joe Pratt), Lucille (Mrs. William Slais), Murray Jane (Mrs. Wallace Powers).

Mahlon was the fourth child. He was engaged in farming and livestock business until his recent retirement. He was married to Emma Odle in 1915 and to this union was born five sons and one daughter. Lynn Townsend, a professor in the University of Tennessee, at Knoxville; Edwin, a practicing attorney in Parsons; Wayne, owner of Townsend Chevrolet Company in Parsons; Max, publisher of the Parsons News Leader in Parsons; M. N., who is associated with Townsend Chevrolet Company; and Evelyn (Mrs. A. P. Maxwell).

Herman was the fifth child. He followed farming interests for many years, worked in public work in construction work for several years, taught school several years, and was associated with Townsend Chevrolet Company until his retirement. Herman was married to Emma Lou Reeves and to this union was born one son, John D., who is now connected with Farmers Bank, and one daughter, Patricia, a secretary in the Water Department in the City of Memphis.

Beatrice (Mrs. Howell Daniel) was the 6th child. She was married in 1927 to Howell Daniel and moved to Akron, Ohio where they spent 35 years. To this union was born two sons and one daughter; J. B., who is a life insurance specialist in Memphis; Bob, a computer operator in Nashville, and Sue, who lives in Akron.

Raymond was the 7th child. He left the farming career upon graduation of high school in 1925, entered Memphis State University and followed the profession of school teaching after his schooling for several years. He was appointed Postmaster of Parsons by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 and served there for 14 years resigning to become Vice President of Farmers Bank in 1948, remaining in this position today. Raymond was married to Sophia Malin in 1932 and they have one daughter, Carolyn McAfee of Tullahoma.

Hobart was the 8th child. He also left the farm upon graduating from high school in 1927. He taught school in 1926 and entered the general insurance business in 1929, moving to Jackson, Tennessee in 1930 where he was engaged in general insurance business for 10 years. He was elected to State Legislature for two terms, 1927 and 1939 to represent Madison County in the General Assembly at Nashville. In 1940 he returned to Parsons to become Cashier of Farmers Bank, where he remains employed to date and is presently President of the bank. He was married October 6, 1933 to Ruth Jennings, and they have one son, H. L. Townsend, Jr., who is Vice President and Cashier of Farmers Bank.

Wilburn was the 9th child. He finished high school in 1929 at Parsons and entered the University of Tennessee for special training in health and sanitation, later being connected with the County Health Department of Weakley County, Tennessee. He entered the Townsend Insurance Agency in 1933 and later as a partnership with Leonard they founded Townsend Chevrolet Company where he remained until 1957 when he sold the business to the present owner, Wayne Townsend, and entered the construction business as Townsend & Pevahouse Construction Company as manager, together as owner and manager of Townsend Insurance Agency and also continuing a cattle farm operation. He was elected as a member of the Decatur County Board of Education in 1934 and has served several turns since that date and is presently serving as Chairman of the Board. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1941 and 1959. He was married in 1932 to Emma Lou Long and to this union was born two daughters and one son, Nancy (Mrs. David Yarbro) now a home economics teacher in Riverside High School; Janell (Mrs. Jimmy Evans), now a teacher in Parsons Elementary School; Branson, now a sophomore in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Annie, was number 10 in the family. She married Jess Dodd in 1929 and to this union was born two children, Betty (Mrs. Robert Elam) of Jackson and J. D., a teacher in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Dodd passed away in 1957. Annie later married Rev. Floyd Rogers and they live in Parsons.

Imogene was the 11th and last baby to bless the Townsend home. She was born on the 4th of July, was married to Madison Smith, who was County Court Clerk and County Judge of Decatur County for a number of years. After his accidental death in 1956, she was married to Charlie Pratt, who is Administrator of the Decatur County General Hospital. Imogene is present. serving as State President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the V.F.W.

E. M. Townsend lived to reach the age of 76, seeing all his family grow into their own and establish their homes. He passed away in 1938 leaving his widow and 11 children and many grandchildren. Mrs. Townsend lived to the age of 93, passing away in January 1964, leaving 10 of her children, 42 grandchildren, 48 great grandchildren and 15 great-great grandchildren.

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