John Henry Towndorow Colfax County, New Mexico

John Henry Towndrow, for twenty years a rancher on Johnson's mesa, in Colfax County, New Mexico, is an Englishman. He was born in Derbyshire, England, March 19, 1852, and may be said to have been reared in the mines, as he was put to work there before he was eight years old. He continued mining in England until 1878, when he came to America. His first work in this country was in the coal mines at Brazil, Indiana, where he spent two months. Coming west to Colorado, he was eight months in the mines of Trinidad, after which he returned to Indiana and resumed work in the Brazil mines, where he remained two years. Then again we find him at Trinidad, and from that place, in June, 1882, he came to Blossburg. New Mexico. Here he mined four years. In June, 1886, he pre-empted a claim of 160 acres and tree-claimed another 160 acres. That year he built a small house and put up sixty tons of wild hay. Then he continued mining for a time, going once a week to the ranch.

In 1887 he enlarged and improved the house and moved his family here, and from that time forward the work of improving and adding to his original holdings has been carried forward until now Mr. Towndrow has 1,400 acres, and his sons have land as follows: Arthur, 640 acres; Henry, 160; George, 160; William, 160; Richard, 160; Herbert, 160. His first crops were oats and wheat, and later potatoes, and of recent years, while they raise a variety of crops, he and his sons have been giving their chief attention to dairying. In a single year he has sold $800 worth of butter, the average price being twenty-seven and a half cents per pound.

Having brought his family to this new home, Mr. Towndrow's next care was to secure a school here for his children, and in 1889, largely through his efforts, a schoolhouse was built on the mesa. Politically he is a Republican; fraternally, a Knight of Pythias. He was a charter member of the K. of P. lodge at Raton, but now has his membership at Blossburg.

November 28, 1869, Mr. Towndrow married Miss Emma Treese, who proved herself a worthy helpmate and shared the joys and sorrows of life with him for nearly three decades, until she was called home, July 21, 1897. Their children are: Arthur, Henry, Joseph, George, William, Herbert, John Richard, Mary and Isabella. The last named is the wife of William Nisch.

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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