Submitted by Descendant: Paula Townsend MARCZYNSK
As indicated by the 1895 photo of the family, John Hill Townsend was the true patriarch of this large, extended family. Although born in Lowndes County, Georgia on 18 Mar 1833, he moved to Florida with his parents and siblings while at a young age, at first to Madison County, Florida, but later into western Alachua County which became Gilchrist County on 4 Dec 1925. John Hill was married four times and had 17 children that lived to adulthood.
John Hill served in the CSA in the 1st Special Batt Florida Cavalry (aka Munnerlyn’s Batt) under Capt. E. J. Lutterloh as documented in the pension application he made in July 1902.
According to a Townsend family history compiled by William T. Townsend (grandson of John Hill), “…he became a man of distinction, and accumulated considerable means. He came to possess lands, livestock, a country store, cotton gin, river ferry, etc., at an important crossing on the Suwannee River some ten miles directly south of Branford, Florida. The river runs east to west at this point and his property was on the south side. This was in that day a strategically located north-south crossing site some miles northwest of present day Bell, Florida.”
He died 2 Jan 1903 and is buried in the Townsend Cemetery in Gilchrist County, Florida, north of Bell. Three of his wives and many of his children and their spouses are also buried there.
John Hill Townsend was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2002