Thursday, August 25, 2005

Patriarch of Union County Townsends, Eli, son of Edward

From the Norman Conquest to about 1832 or shortly after is a span in history of about 766 years. When Eli Townsend came into Union County with his wife, Sarah “Sally” Dyer Townsend and their children, he could not follow through with the meaning of the surname Towns-end, for Union County then was barely building the town of Blairsville, the county seat. Eli and Sally settled in the Choestoe District next door to her parents, Elisha Jr. and Elizabeth Clark Dyer. They did not settle at “towns-end” or the edge of town. The family of Eli Townsend is shown first in the 1840 Union County census with seven children. The census-taker spelled the last name Townsel.
Elisha (Eli) Townsend

Eli (short for Elisha) Townsend’s father was Edward Townsend Sr. Edward’s estate in Pickens County, Ga., covered 2,100 acres of land. He owned 18 slaves. Appraisal of land, slaves, and goods, all listed February 3, 1860, showed an evaluation of $10,000. Edward Sr. and Anna Townsend had 16 children. Eli’s parents were buried in a family cemetery near Tate, Ga., Pickens County, as was a sister of Eli’s. Their tombstones read as follows: Edward Townsend (Aug 9, 1789-Jan 29, 1860); Anna Townsend (April 30, 1796-Sept 19, 1838); and Elizabeth Townsend (Jan. 9, 1836-Jan. 9, 1852).

Eli (ca. 1809-1849?) was the first-born of Edward Sr. and Anna (Kimsey or McKinney?) Townsend. He married Sarah “Sally” Dyer sometime before 1830, for they were listed in the Habersham County, Ga., census of 1830, already with three male children under 10 years of age. When Eli married Sally, she already had a child, Micajah Clark Dyer, who was born in 1822 and was being reared by grandparents, Elisha Jr. and Elizabeth Clark Dyer. This son of Sally’s became quite well known as the inventor of “the machine for navigating the air,” the airplane he built and for which he secured a patent in July 1875.

Eli Townsend, farmer and soldier, served in the Mexican-American War. His war records give valuable information. His statement given at “Perote Castle” stated that Morgan County, Ga., was his place of birth. He was enlisted into service of the United States July 7, 1847 and was 38 years of age at the time of enlistment, which would make his birthdate in 1809. He was a sergeant of Company C of the Georgia Battalion of Foot Volunteers. He was honorably discharged “by reason of Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability” on January 7, 1848. How badly he was wounded is not known. It seems that his sixmonths term of service entitled him to a land grant for which he applied on March 4, 1848 at Cassville, Ga. Why the grant was applied for at Cassville (now Bartow County) is not known. His residence was established as being in Union County. He did receive a Land Warrant (15900) on May 23, 1848, but the land was in Wisconsin.

He did not go there to settle on that land, but rather sold his patent to one John Fitzgerald in the Green Bay Land District of Wisconsin. The transaction was authenticated by John Butt, Judge of the Inferior Court of Union County, Georgia on August 30, 1848. This document is the last authentic record of Eli Townsend in Union County.

The 1850 census of Union lists Elizabeth (Sally) Townsend but not her husband, Eli. Some say that he had a second wife in another place, possibly in Cherokee County, Ga. This has not been proven authentically. The children of Eli and Sally Dyer Townsend were Andrew (Andrew Crockett Sr. born in Lumpkin County in 1826); Elisha; Thomas; Mary Ann called Polly; Caleb (called Cale), William and Sarah Elizabeth (called Betsy).

Andrew, the eldest son, also served in the Mexican-American War at about the same time his father Eli served. He enlisted on July 5, 1847 in John S. Fain’s Company C, Georgia Battalion of Foot Volunteers. He was honorably discharged on July 13, 1848 at Mobile, Ala., when his year’s term was up. Andrew Townsend received a land grant of 160 acres, also in Wisconsin, which he sold.

c2005 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Aug. 25, 2005 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Origin and history of the name Townsend

James Savage wrote: “By an instinct of our nature, we all learn to love the places of our birth, and the chief circumstances in the lives of our progenitors.”

There it is—our reasons for getting hooked on genealogy. The writer states unequivocally that the love for it is “an instinct of our nature.”

The ancestral name Townsend is spelled in various ways: The most common is Townsend; you might see it as Townshend, Townson, Townsil and, much older, atte-Towns-End, which means, of course, living at the place where the town ends. This later was from the Norman “de Alta Ville” and meant at Towns-end.

Lodovic, a noble Norman, settled in England during the reign of King Henry I. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas de Hoville who was Knight of the Manor of Raynham in Norfolkshire. Lodovic assumed the name Townshend (or Townsend) meaning living at the edge of town. Since his wife, Elizabeth, inherited the estate at Raynham, Townshend himself was also the owner. Hence the beginning of a long line of English Viscounts and Marquesses descending from Lodovic and Elizabeth Townshend.

Townsend is an English place name and literally means living at the edge of the town. In England, those bearing the name Townsend lived at Raynham in Norfolkshire, were landowners there, and because of their service to various royal heads of England, were knighted for their service. In 1483 the landowner at Townsend became a Baron and was named by King Richard III as a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas. Likewise, King Henry VII reappointed Baron Townsend to the same post, a position the Baron held until 1498.

Townsends were numbered among sailors. Under the banner of Queen Elizabeth I, Roger Townsend of the Raynham Estates brought his ships into her service and helped to quell the Spanish Armada. Roger Townsend received knighthood for his service to the Queen. John, a younger brother of Roger, went in the British Expedition to Cadiz, Spain in 1599 and was likewise knighted for his bravery there.

Under the Cromwell rule in England, Richard Townsend held the rank of Colonel and fought with Cromwell in Ireland, winning a sizeable estate for his service in the County Cork where descendants of Roger Townsend reside to the present day. After the death of Cromwell, Sir Horatio Townsend, then proprietor of Raynham Hall, helped to secure the restoration of Charles II to the British throne. As a result, in 1617, Horatio Townsend was named a baronet, in 1661 with the title of Baron Townshend of Lynn Regis. In 1682 he earned the title Viscount Townshend of Raynham. Then came the addition of the “h” to the name, perhaps to indicate its higher significance.

The roots of the Union County Townsends can be traced to one Repentance Townsend who was born about 1725 and died after 1790. The unlikely name of “Repentance” as a given name makes him stand out as unusual. It would be interesting to know the circumstances behind his given name. Repentance and his wife Mary Townsend lived in Augusta County, Virginia as early as 1746. There he was witness to a land deed. They moved out of Virginia sometime prior to 1755, as they were listed in November of that year as delinquent on paying taxes and having “removed” from the county.

They moved to old Anson County, North Carolina where several land deeds are recorded in the name of Temperance Townsend and his wife Mary as early as 1756. His land there bordered on both North and South Carolina while state lines were still in dispute. On the main fork of Fishing Creek in Camden District of South Carolina, later York County, Temperance Townsend owned 300 acres.

The North Georgia Townsends desended through the son of Repentance named Thomas (1753-1836), grandson Edward (1789-1860) and great grandson Eli ( ca. 1810-ca. 1849). The four older sons of Repentance Townsend; Thomas, Samuel, Andrew and John— all served in the Revolutionary War.

The motto on the Townsend coat of arms is translated “Fidelity earned these honors for our race.” Through the mists of time from the Norman Conquest of England to the American Revolution and many wars for freedom since, Townsends have shown fidelity, faithfulness in the line of duty to their country.

(I gleaned information for this article from “Some Townsends of North Georgia” by E. E. Townsend, Cleveland, TN, undated.)

c2005 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Aug. 18, 2005 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Iraq War's Toll Hits Close to Home

His name was Christopher Jenkins Dyer. He was 19 years of age, a member of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, Lima Company based in Columbus, Ohio. He was one of 14 Marines and their civilian interpreter killed 140 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday, August 3, 2005 in a roadside bombing.

Statistics of war sometimes are heard and not really heard. We note them, but let them pass us by, regretting but not getting caught up in the mourning and loss. And then the toll hits close to home, as in the case of young, promising nineteen year old Lance Corporal Christopher Jenkins Dyer.

His grandmother, Joyce Jenkins Dyer of Gainesville, called me Friday, August 5 to give me the devastating news. Chris, as he was known, was the only grandson of my first cousin, Odell B. Dyer and the lad’s grandmother, Joyce (from whom Christopher received his middle name, Jenkins to honor family ties). They have three granddaughters, but it was through Chris they hoped to perpetuate the Dyer surname. I knew by the sound of Joyce’s voice that she was heavy with grief and the news was not good. And then she confirmed to me that Chris was, indeed, one of the 14 Marines I had read about in Thursday’s newspaper account and in a news report heard over television.

Lance Corporal Christopher Dyer, 19, was killed
in Iraq on August 3, 2005.

What can I say to a grieving grandmother and grandfather, and to their son, Dr. John Dyer of Cincinnati, Ohio, as they deal with intense grief? His grandfather, Odell, was almost killed during World War II, the only survivor of a plane shot down at Mundy Bay in 1945. I’m sure Christopher’s service in Iraq had brought many memories of his own “greatest generation” war experiences home to Odell Dyer.

Dr. John Dyer, center, mourns his son's death
with neighbors and friends, Raymond and Cynthia Katz as they await
the return of Dyer's son's body from Iraq.

At this time, they are still awaiting the arrival of Christopher Jenkins Dyer’s body from Iraq. A memorial service will be held in Evendale, a suburb of Cincinnati, where Christopher lived with his father, Dr. John Dyer, a chemist at Proctor Gamble Company, and sisters, twins Sarah and Laura, two years younger than Christopher. Following the memorial service, the body will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s way of memoralizing fallen heroes.

Christopher Dyer had such potential. A top honors graduate from Princeton High School in Cincinnati, he was to enter Ohio State University in Columbus in January 2006 in the honors program. He wanted to be an aviator and an officer in the Marines. He was on his way to his ambition when he was called into active duty from the Lima Company and assigned to Iraqi duty. In e-mails home he anticipated getting back to the states in September or October, beginning flying lessons, and “getting on with learning” as he resumed his studies at Ohio State. With athletic, academic and artistic talents, he had been a football and swimming/diving star at Princeton High School, and played the viola in the school orchestra. “He wanted to study the hardest subjects,” his father, Dr. John C. Dyer, told news reporters at the “Cincinnati Enquirer.” Christopher studied five years of German, became fluent in the language, and was in advanced physics classes for three years. His academic subjects were in preparation for the honors program at Ohio State.

Christopher’s aunt, Jane Dyer Fagden of Atlanta, went immediately to Cincinnati to be with her brother during this time of great grief. “We were planning a homecoming party for Chris,” she said. “We never imagined it would be this.”

Christopher’s sisters, twins, Laura and Sarah, who turned 17 on July 5, were at a girls’ camp in Nashville when the tragic news came about their brother’s death in Iraq. Their mother, Kathryn Searles Dyer of Raleigh, N.C., went to Nashville to take the girls to Cincinnati. “They were handling their grief like troopers,” the camp officials told their father. Later, on reflection, Sarah expressed a desire she had been harboring for some time, and that is to join the Marine Corps like her brother did. The senior at Princeton High School was already in the process of applying to the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy. She wrote a poem in honor of her brother which was featured in the Sunday, August 7 issue of “The Cincinnati Enquirer.”

Semper Fidelis,” Always Faithful Dear, dear Brother, You have gone home, To your Father, your Savior, Your Kingdom is come. Dear, dear Brother, You fought bravely as a knight, You are a Devil Dog With the fiercest bite. Dear, dear Brother, We miss you so, Your father, mother, sisters, All your friends, and Joe. Dear, dear Brother, We will see you again, After triumphs, and troubles, And all of our pain. Dear, dear Brother, Stay tough on high. We will remember you: “Semper Fi.” —Sarah Dyer

An amazing quality of Dr. John Dyer and his family is how they have reached out in their grief to the other families who have suffered loss. He gave an interview to television reporters that was aired nationwide. In it he sought to encourage others whose children had died in service. And in a letter to the editor of “The Cincinnati Enquirer” of August 9, 2005, while still awaiting the return of his son’s body, Dr. Dyer wrote;

“The last words I spoke to Chris were ‘I love you, son.’ Our loved ones can be taken from us for any reason, at any time. I am fortunate, indeed, to have those as my last words. Hug someone, help someone, give someone something. Let your last words be “I love you” and mean it. If you take some part of these words to heart, that will carry the memory of my son and the other Marines, into good works, something good that would not have happened except for this tragedy. Do one thing for him, and them, that you would not have done, and be blessed for it. God bless you all. God bless the Marine Corps, and God bless the United States of America.” John C. Dyer, Evendale (in the August 9, 2005 Cincinnati Enquirer.)

Dr. John Dyer invites anyone who wishes to make a gift in memory of Christopher Jenkins Dyer to send it to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, 825 College Blvd., Suite 102, PO Box 609, Oceanside, CA 92057. This will be a means of helping the living.

War hits home and brings great grief. But through faith and determination, family members recall the good times and move forward.

c2005 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Aug. 11, 2005 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

The 'Antique' New Home

The invitation to join the Bill Duckworth family on Sunday afternoon, July 31, 2005, at open house at 5566 Town Creek School Road termed it the “antique” new home.

In my second column for this paper dated August 7, 2003, I wrote about the old house that had been a family heirloom since 1852 (maybe even since 1850) of the Souther and Dyer families.

The house was built by early settler John Souther for his second child and first son, John Combs Hayes Souther who planned to marry Nancy Collins, daughter of Thompson and Celia Self Collins, a family that settled in the area prior to Union County’s forming in 1832. The young couple married February 6, 1852, and it was ready for John Combs Hayes Souther better known as “Jack” to take his wife after their marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. William Pruitt, minister of the gospel.

My sister, Louise Dyer who lives in Commerce, and I went together to the open house sponsored by Bill and Carolyn Duckworth at their “antique” new home. Cars in abundance were parked along Town Creek School Road and in the yard at the old/new house, now named the Souther-Dyer-Duckworth Cabin. The crowd inside and outside the house was typical of the large gatherings my sister and I had experienced there for many years prior to our Grandmother Sarah Evaline Souther Dyer’s death in March 1959. She was the fourth of ten children born in the house to John Combs Hayes and Nancy Collins Souther. Her birthdate was May 17, 1857. After her mother Nancy died July 22, 1888, she and her husband, Bluford Elisha Dyer (known as “Bud”) moved into the house with her father Jack Souther to look after him until his death on January 4, 1891. Records show that they bought the house and 160 acres of land from the other heirs after her father’s death. Sarah and Bud Dyer had a large family of 15 children whom they reared in the John Combs Hayes Souther house. One, Jasper Hayes Dyer, died at age 1. Another, James Garney Dyer, died at age 20 from blood poisoning. The other 13 grew to adulthood, married and had families of their own. Children, spouses and grandchildren counted it great joy to return to “the old homeplace” to visit with Grandma Sarah, hear her views on world affairs, and enjoy her birthday celebrations.

As I walked into the “parlor” (Grandma’s room) with the fireplace and window beside it facing toward Enotah Bald Mountain, I could still see in my imagination my dear little Grandmother as she held court from her straightbacked cane-bottom chair at the window and beside the fireplace. She always seemed to have a “sixth” sense about who would visit her that day. She looked through the little window to note their approach down the road (now Town Creek School Road) from New Liberty Baptist Church. She often told us that the land for that church and cemetery had been given by her grandparents, John and Mary Combs Souther, designated to be used perpetually as a cemetery.

Host Bill Duckworth proudly showed us original logs which now form the interior walls of the “old” part of the house. Many of the original boards for the beamed ceilings are still a part of the “old/new” house. Then he led us up the steps I remember so well to the attic. How dark and foreboding that area of the house seemed as I was a child. Now they have formed two delightful bedrooms and a bath in the old attic room, with plenty of illumination from overhead skylights. Antique beds lined the north wall of the first room—dormitory style—“for our grandchildren and their friends,” Bill explained.

The old chimneys have been preserved at each end of the old log cabin. Now the room that was once my Uncle Hedden Dyer’s “family room” is the Duckworth kitchen, with an abundance of antique furniture that helps to preserve the period look of that room.

The old kitchen which was an ell-addition on the side of the spring house was the first part of the old house to crumble. It fell in and deteriorated several years ago. Where the kitchen and dining room once stood—places where so many meals for extended family were cooked and served over many years—is now the new two-story addition containing a comfortable great room and stairs leading to a bedroom suite above.

When I saw the fireplaces and viewed the fieldstone rocks so carefully placed to make the rebuilt chimneys look old, I remembered the great “chimney fires” that scared the children so badly winter nights long ago when we went to visit at Grandma’s house. Due to the roaring fire the soot would catch fire in the chimney. I remember the bucket brigades from the springhouse to get enough water to douse the chimney fires. These occurrences often left this overly-imaginative child almost afraid to fall asleep for fear the house would burn down around us.

Over the years the virgin timber from the Souther lands has been harvested and great logs are no longer readily available such as John Souther and his son John Combs Hayes “snaked” out from the forests, hewed and used to build the old house. The sawmill operated by John’s brother Jesse William Jr. at the Souther Mill that sawed logs into lumber to form flooring and ceiling has long since closed down. But Bill Duckworth has saved enough of it to show the good workmanship and the durable materials used in 1850-51 to build the old house.

The old Tower Post Office was in a room to the left of the front entrance. In that small room Sarah Evaline Souther Dyer was postmistress from 1907 through 1909 when Tower was discontinued. On the other end of the front porch Bill Duckworth has added a sunroom which makes a delightful family dining room and gathering place. The porch on the back is still L-shaped, but half is now open and the rebuilt portion enclosed. Looking down to the old spring at the foot of Cook Mountain, I recalled playing there with cousins in childhood days and fetching pitchers of cold milk from the springhouse where it was stored to keep cool.

Personally, I greatly appreciate the house being saved. Thanks to Bill and Carolyn Duckworth who graciously opened their “antique new house” for kin of the first owners and the public in general to enjoy.

It is almost as if the house has gone “full circle.” The present owner, William Henry Duckworth Jr., “Bill” is a son of former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, the Honorable William Henry Duckworth Sr. Judge Duckworth was the third child of John Francis “Jack” Duckworth and Laura Jane Noblet Duckworth who lived near Old Liberty Church not far from the Souther and Dyer family at New Liberty Church. John Francis “Jack” Duckworth was a son of General Jackson Duckworth and Celia Emiline Collins Duckworth.

Note that Collins tie. Celia Emiline, wife of General Jackson Duckworth, was a daughter of Archibald and Mary Nix Collins and a granddaughter of Thompson and Celia Self Collins. Remember the wife of John Combs Hayes “Jack” Souther, first resident of the “old” house? She was Nancy Collins, daughter of Thompson and Celia Self Collins, and a brother to Archibald Collins, Celia Emiline Collins Duckworth’s father.

I think Nancy Collins Souther would smile to know that portions of her old house are preserved for her great, great, great nephew and his family to enjoy and to share with other relatives to keep alive wonderful memories of family connections.

Congratulations and many thanks for your “antique new home,” Bill and Carolyn Duckworth, and for all the recollections it conveys.

c2005 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Aug. 4, 2005 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.