Thomas Somerville FitzSimmons Townshend (255)

Date of Birth: 15 Feb 1834
Date of Death: 24 Jun 1921
Generation: 7th
Residence: NSW, Australia
Father: Jonas Morris Townshend [237]
Mother: Somerville, Mary
  1. Baker, Elizabeth
  1. Thomas Somerville [265]
  2. Richard Neville [266]
  3. Elizabeth Baker [274]
  4. Henry Neville [275]
  5. William Becher [276]
  6. Frederick [277]
  7. Mary Smith [278]
  8. Oscar [279]
  9. Charlotte Victoria (Lottie) [280]
  10. Clara Amelia [281]
  11. Edith Lucy [282]
  12. Gertrude Ethel [283]
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Thomas Somerville FitzSimmons Townshend. See also

Thomas was born at the family property 'Summerville' in the Wollombi Valley, NSW, Australia. He was baptized on 27 May 1838 at St Mary's Church, East Maitland and this is the first recorded baptism in the register. Married 28 February 1856 in St Andrew's Anglican Church, Sydney, NSW. Elizabeth Baker (b. 6 Dec 1834, d. 3 Feb 1895) was the daughter of William Baker, a wealthy farmer who had emigrated to Australia in 1828.

Within the family it has always been thought that in 1850, aged 16, Thomas left home for the MacDonald River where he worked as a farm hand. In 1853 he was appointed Bailiff for small debts in the Wollombi/MacDonald area and later Registrar for the district. In about 1863 he moved back to Wollombi and tried his hand as a blacksmith and wheelwright. This proved to be most successful and Thomas expanded his business interests. He opened 'Townsend Hotel' in Wollombi and set up as an undertaker but sold the hotel after his wife died in 1895. He retained his other business interests until 1912 when he sold them and retired.

Recently discovered correspondence in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand (1) indicates that between 1853 and 1864 Thomas was in New Zealand as was his brother Richard Townsend [254]. This material consists of eleven letters written by Thomas’ uncle, John Henry Townsend [238] between 1844 and 1864 and all are addressed to Donald McLean (2) in New Zealand. John Henry had emigrated to Australia with Thomas’ father, Jonas Morris Townsend [237] in 1828, but gave up his enterprise in 1836 and moved to New Zealand some time before 1844 – the date of his first letter from Auckland. John Henry returned to Ireland in 1847.

The first letter in which he mentions nephews is dated “Shorecliffe, (3) Leap, Glandore July 29 1853”; “I should have written long since if it were only to thank you for having an eye on my nephews. The last mention of nephews is in a letter from Dunbeacon dated 15 June 1864 – “with my best wishes and thanks for your attention to my nephews…”

A transcript of the relevant letters from John Henry is in Thomas’ Scrapbook.

Both Thomas and Elizabeth are buried in Wollombi C of E cemetery.

The information in this entry was provided by Marjorie Laidler, grand-daughter of Charlotte Victoria Townshend [280], supplemented by extracts from correspondence between John Henry Townsend and Donald McLean.

(1) Donald McLean papers MS-Papers-0032-0606. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

(2) Sir Donald McLean 1820-1877. Administrator, runholder, politician, provincial superintendent. Crown Protector of Aborigines, Native Land Purchase Commissioner and Minister of Native Affairs. Appointed KCMG in 1874.

(3) The entry for Shorecliffe in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Occupied by the Rev. William Baldwin at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £11. It is named Prospect House on the 1st-edition Ordnance Survey map but as Shorecliffe House on the 25-inch map of the 1890s. It is still known by this name."