TOWNSEND, ASA (1795–1876). Asa Townsend, cattleman and civic leader, was born on December 14, 1795, in Marlboro District, South Carolina, the oldest of eight sons of Thomas and Elizabeth (Stapleton) Townsend, all of whom eventually settled in Texas. He went to Georgia as a young man and there was married to Rebecca Harper. Some twenty years later the couple moved to Florida, and from there Townsend moved his wife and nine children to Texas; they traveled in the fall of 1837 by water to New Orleans and in the spring of 1838 by oxcart to the vicinity of Columbus. In 1840 Townsend held title to 555 acres of land in Colorado County, and his personal estate included twenty cattle and five slaves. On October 7, 1845, he received title to an additional 640 acres near Borden. In Columbus on April 19, 1845, he served on the committee that drafted the preamble and resolution for the annexation of Texas to the United States. In 1846 Townsend served a term as Colorado County Coroner. That summer he enlisted as a private in Company E, First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen, for service in the Mexican War; he received his discharge on September 21, 1846. He was among the ten members of the Colorado Navigation Association and a member of the board of directors when it met on October 15, 1849, in Matagorda to hear reports from F. W. Grassmeyer and A. Carter on the work of clearing the Colorado of a raft of debris to make the river navigable through Wharton and Matagorda counties. Townsend was active in the proceedings and organization of Masonic lodges in the late 1840s in Waco, La Grange, Round Rock, and Columbus. By 1860 his estate was valued at $30,000, and he was recognized as one of the most prominent cattle raisers in the county. He died at the home of his son, H. S. Townsend, on September 22 or 27, 1876, and was buried near Borden.
Colorado County Historical Commission, Colorado County Chronicles from the Beginning to 1923 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1986). Columbus Citizen, October 12, 1876. Telegraph and Texas Register, May 7, 1845. Texas State Gazette, November 3, 1849.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Walker A. Lea, Jr., "TOWNSEND, ASA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fto31), accessed July 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.