Uriel Townsend – Banker and Lumberman

Uriel Townsend was born on December 4, 1829 in New York to John Townsend (1793-1874) and Ann O. Miller Townsend (1802-1891).  He was the first son and second child of nine children.

At the age of five, his parents moved to a farm in Bruce Township, Macomb County, Michigan – along the south side of Bordman Road near Truman Bishop.

At the age of twenty (about 1850), he bought a farm in Metamora Township.  He was a successful, profitable farmer. 

On April 28, 1853 in Lapeer, he married Mary Jane Ferguson.  Mary Jane was born on September 5, 1833 in Galen, Wayne, New York to Stephen Ferguson (1794-1861) and Esther Craft Ferguson (1804-1852).  The Ferguson homestead was in Addison Township in Oakland County.  Mary Jane was the sister to Lura Ferguson who was the wife of Philip Smith – James P. Smith Jr.’s great-grandfather. 

Uriel and Mary had three daughters: Flora born about 1862 and Berthie born about 1863 – both born in Bruce Township.  Minnie was born in 1869 in Almont.

After about ten years, he turned his farm over to his brother Clark and returned to run his parents homestead.  He again was a successful farmer on his parent’s homestead.

In 1869, he went into partnership with Frederic Plummer Currier to create the banking firm of Townsend and Currier.  The firm was successful, especially dealing in real estate and logging/lumber operations.  They constructed the bank building on the northeast corner of Main Street and East St. Clair Streets.  To the north of the bank, they built the buildings used by S. Smith and Taylor & Hopkin (locations of European Deli and H & R Block). 

That same year, Townsend purchased a house on West St. Clair Street – situated on the slight rise overlooking the rolling farmland to the south and west.  Uriel later substantially embellished the original structure creating what is now part of the West St. Clair National Historic District and is at 314 West St. Clair Street.

In 1872, the Townsend & Currier firm was sold to Charles D. Ferguson and his son, Charles R. Ferguson.  The familial relationship between the two Ferguson families (Stephen’s and Charles’), if any, is not presently known.

Uriel next purchased a 480-acre farm in Dryden Township while retaining the home on West St. Clair Street.  He continued to profitably invest in numerous business ventures.

Mary Jane Ferguson Townsend died January 13, 1906 in Almont.  In his old age, Uriel moved to live with his daughter, Minnie Ferguson McKone in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan.  Uriel died on May 6, 1918 in Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan.  Uriel and Mary are buried in the Sandhill Cemetery on Sandhill Road in Almont.  Uriel parents and Mary’s parents also are buried in Sandhill Cemetery.

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