Jonas Morris Townshend (237)

Date of Birth: 1802
Date of Death: 17 Aug 1862
Generation: 6th
Residence: The Point & Australia
Father: Richard Townsend [221]
Mother: Mellifont, Barbara
  1. Somerville, Mary
  1. Richard [254]
  2. Thomas Somerville FitzSimmons [255]
  3. Elizabeth Henrietta [256]
  4. Victoria Alexandria [257]
  5. Mary Becher [258]
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Jonas Morris Townsend. See also

These notes should be read in conjunction with those for Jonas' brother, John Henry Townsend [238].

Married Saint Nichol's Church, Co Cork 1827. Mary Somerville (1) was Jonas' cousin and the eldest daughter of Thomas Townsend Somerville JP (1a) of Drishane,(1b) Castletownshend and his wife Elizabeth Henrietta Becher Townsend [225]. See Burke's Irish Landed Gentry 1912 - Somerville. See also ‘A Guide to Irish Houses’ by M. Bence-Jones, London, 1988 – “CASTLETOWNSHEND cor Drishane. Somerville 1790+. Built by Thomas Somerville.”

In his will (2), dated 19 January 1841, Jonas' father Richard Townsend [221] states "I have already advanced and paid to my son Jonas Morris Townsend the sum of seven hundred pounds, to my son John Henry Townsend the sum of four hundred pounds..." Was this to help them defray the cost of emigrating to Australia? When he died in 1847 Jonas' father left him a further five hundred pounds. Subsequently under the terms of this will Jonas and his brother Henry inherited one moiety each of the lands at Ballintona, Coursecroneen and Ardra totalling 341 acres, with an annual rent of £350, which had originally been devised upon their brothers William Townsend [240] and Henry Townsend [241] who both died in 1849. Theses lands were sold on 26 November 1850. Jonas also sold off part of his estate in the Land Court established under the Encumbered Estates Acts of 1848 and 1849. (3) The Landlord Index of County Cork Encumbered Estates records "TOWNSEND, Jonas Morris, 4, 258795."

John Henry, Morris Townshend Somerville (Mary's brother) and Captain Emmanuel Hungerford (1785 – 1872) of the South Cork Militia and his wife Catherine (nee Loane) emigrated to Australia on the ship 'Alexander Henry'. They arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, on 16 May 1828. The Hungerfords were granted 2,560 acres on Baerami Creek which they never settled and bought instead 2,000 acres on Fishery Creek, near Maitland; Morris Somerville was to act as overseer. John Henry was granted 640 acres at the ‘Heritage’ (later called 'Union Hall' and finally ‘Summerville’) in Patrick Plains in August 1828. All settlers at that time were entitled to a number of convicts to help them work the land.

Jonas and Mary, with their servant Fanny Baker, emigrated to Australia on the 'Coronet', leaving Cork on 30 April 1828 and arriving at Port Jackson on 12 November 1828. They joined John Henry at 'Summerville' and Jonas made a list of his assets, totalling over £2,000, the details of which he forwarded to the Colonial Secretary on 27 November 1828. (2005 equivalent of £2000 is about £130,000). On 6 March 1829 Jonas was granted 2,560 acres of land in the Goulburn River Valley, NSW which he called 'Myross Wood'; he appointed an overseer to run sheep on the property. In March 1831 Jonas rented 500 acres of land in the Wollombi area close to 'Summerville'. This coupled with the additional land John Henry rented gave the two brothers 2,090 acres of land on which they raised cattle and cultivated wheat, maize and tobacco. In about January 1836 Jonas bought the grant of land at 'Summerville' from John Henry, who returned to Ireland sometime after, and in February 1836 sold his own grant at 'Myross Wood' to Morris Somerville, who had been taken ill, fallen out with Emmanuel Hungerford and was nursed back to health by Jonas' wife Mary in 1835.

Following a severe drought in 1847 that devastated the land Jonas was declared insolvent in 1848. He was forced to sell 'Summerville' and moved to Laguna, about 5 miles from Wollombi and turned to teaching and journalism. In 1852 he was appointed the manager of the National School at Laguna and for the next few years devoted much time to lobbying for a Post Office in the town. Jonas' daughter Mary Becher [258] was the first Postmistress and when she resigned in 1872 to get married, Mary took her place.

Jonas died at Laguna following an epileptic fit and his funeral was attended by many hundreds of fellow settlers. Mary taught at the Laguna Church School after Jonas' death but left Laguna in 1880 and went to live with her brother Morris Townshend Somerville in Moonee Ponds, Port Essendon, Victoria.

Amongst the Lovera Papers (4) is a handwritten note by John FitzHenry Townshend [250] about 'Morris' as he calls Jonas - "I could tell you many a thing – indeed I could write a book - concerning things I have heard about Morris, Richard’s brother, who was very handsome and an awful scamp. He married Mary Somerville of Drishane, Tom’s sister. Everything was done to prevent it for all knew what he was. Her mother never again saw her and I believe never forgave her. They went to Australia and their son is Australian Richard; the man of mystery who came from Australia on it being found that half of Dunbeacon was settled on him, the other half on John Henry, afterwards represented by his son Richard Arthur. Australian Richard has continued to live at Dunbeacon and has not returned to his family or been joined by them, during many years".

Most of the information in this entry was provided by Marjorie Laidler, grand-daughter of Charlotte Victoria Townshend [280].

(1) Mary was born in 1804 and died on 10 January 1895.

(1a) The entry for Somerville in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Burke's ''Irish Family Records'' indicates that the first of this family to settle in Cork was Rev. William Somerville, who allegedly fled persecution in Scotland in the 1690s. Col. Thomas Somerville of Drishane, Skibbereen, owned over 450 acres in county Cork in the 1870s while other members of the family owned similar amounts. Thomas Somerville was among the principal lessors in the parish of Castlehaven at the time of Griffith's Valuation while Elizabeth Somerville held townlands in the parish of Skull at the same time."

(1b) The entry for Drishane in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Thomas Somerville held this property in fee at the time of Griffith's Valuation when it was valued at £35. Lewis also recorded it as the seat of Thomas Somerville in 1837. In 1906 it was owned by Aylmer Somerville and valued at £35. It is still extant."

(2) Lovera Papers 221/3.

(3) The Encumbered Estates Acts enabled the sale of Irish estates which had been mortgaged and whose owners found themselves in difficult financial circumstances. Unable to meet the demands of their creditors owners sold their estates, or portions of them, to settle their obligations. During and after the potato famine many tenants could not pay their rents, and this left landlords with little choice. However, the sale of land was difficult until the introduction of the Encumbered Estates legislation. Between 1849 and 1857 the Landed Estates Court oversaw the sale of more than 3000 Irish estates. Others in the family who were forced to sell include John Henry Townsend [238], Samuel Townsend [412], John Handcock Townsend [523], John Townsend [622], Samuel Philip Townsend [6A03], Rev Thomas Townsend [6B03], Edward Richard Townsend [6C00].

(4) Lovera Papers 250/19.

For other Somerville connections see also Elizabeth Henrietta Townsend [225], Henrietta Augusta Townsend [234], Henrietta Anna Townsend [242], John Townsend [316], Horatio Thomas Townsend [334], Letitia Mary Townsend [351], Mary Townsend [506], Maria Townsend [5D07]. See the entry for Mary Townsend [506] for a precis of the Somerville family and their connections with the Townsends.

Other ‘Townsend’ Australian émigrés - Denotes with descendants.

Thomas Townsend [339], Edward James Townsend [340], James Townsend [342], Reuben Joseph Townsend [373], Edward Townsend [374], Edward Becher Townsend [433], Samuel Edward Townsend [441], Edward Townsend [445], Edward Carr Townsend [5A01], Andrew Colin Crofton Townsend [5B38], David Michael Hume Townsend [667], Penelope Townsend [671], Samuel Philip Townsend [6A20], Sarah Townsend [6B56], Constance Rosemary Townsend [6C32].