upload image

Biographical Sketches of Some Townley Family Members

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1800 to 1879
Location: New Jerseymap
Surnames/tags: Townley Lewis
This page has been accessed 46 times.

Richard Townley was a man without educational advantages, having had only six months’ schooling and six weeks at night- school; but he accumulated a fund of knowledge by careful reading and close observation, and gaining some knowledge of surveying he obtained a compass, and soon became widely known as a surveyor throughout the country, and was much occupied in surveying lots and drawing deeds. He was supervisor in 1802 of the town of Milton, justice of the peace in 1804, associate judge of Cayuga county, member of Assembly from 1804 for ten years, and it was while he was in the Assembly that the name of Milton was changed to Genoa. In 1813 he divided the town into school districts and sold the public-school lots, giving deeds for them as commissioner. In 1816 he was presidential elector, and in 1821 a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention. He left a family of 10 children. Mrs Allen, a daughter, is still living with her son, Nicholas, on the Allen Homestead. He died in 1840, aged seventy-six years. Richard Townley was the oldest son, and was familiarly known as Uncle Dick, and lived to be 67 years old. was widely known throughout the State and Pennsylvania as a buyer of cattle and sheep, and was a very eccentric man. Effingham Townley was the father of Richard and Charles, and lived nine miles from Newark, N.J., and at the sound of the alarm-gun preceding the battle of Newark, hearing the guns rousing his six sons from their slumbers, they started in the gray of the morning for the scene of battle. Armed with guns and with knapsacks on, they filed out of the house with their mothers blessings. Mrs Townley watched the progress of the battle from the hill and saw the city in flames, but only until the church at which she was accustomed to worship was on fire, did she give way to her feelings. At night her husband returned first, they having all been separated during the day; one after another came in, and about twelve o’clock at midnight the last one was home. One of the sons was with Sullivan’s army, and taken prisoner at Wyoming.

‘Many incidents of the trials and dangers of the early pioneers might be given; this one has been related by Mrs Townley to her daughters and friends, as occurring the next year after coming in the town. One stormy day, when Mr Townley was away and not expected home, she was in her log cabin alone, with her four children. About ten o’clock in the morning she heard a noise at the door; soon it began to open slowly and she saw a bayonet coming in followed by an Indian who went to the fireplace and sat down on the floor, the fire being below on the ground. Not a word was said, and soon there came in three more, all Indians except one who was a white man in Indian costume; but little was said by them for some time, and that in Indian language. Each was armed with a gun, bayonet, and tomahawk slung on his back. One of the little boys (James, who died in 1826), attracted by the wampum on their garments, jumped down from where he was sitting and went to them. Soon one of them asked who lived there and she told him Townley, and they commenced talking about one Townley at Wyoming, and told the stories of the fearful massacre. They finally asked her for something to eat, and she brought out what she had, and they carried away all they did not eat. Two years afterwards an Indian was through that country selling moccasins. Mr Townley purchased and paid him, but he put back a shilling, saying “Me owe your squaw loaf bread so big.” He was one of the uninvited guests on that stormy day, and probably never had met an Indian agent.

“Many years ago a vessel was loading at one of the ports in Scotland and was bound for New York. The sailors became acquainted with a little fellow Who was playing about on the shore, who gave his name as Lewis. They persuaded him on board when they started, and brought him to New York, where they sold him for a term of two years to the lowest bidder for his passage. He was called Master Lewis, which was afterwards corrupted to Mather Lewis, a name he always went by. He married and raised a family of children, among whom were Elizabeth and Polly Lewis, who were afterwards the wives of Richard and Charles Townley. Their descendants in the town are many.

“Richard has settled on half the land purchased, and built where J.N.Townley now lives; Charles on the other half, where J.A.Townley resides.”

Pierce, H. B.. History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins, and Schuyler Counties, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers.. Philadelphia: Everts & Ensign, 1879. pp512-513

This is an "orphaned" profile — there's no Profile Manager to watch over it. Please adopt this profile.

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.