University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Nathaniel Townsend Papers, 1821-1865

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Townsend, Nathaniel, 1804-1864
Title: Townsend, Nathaniel, Papers
Dates: 1821-1865
Abstract: Correspondence, letterpresses, daybooks, and account books comprise the Nathaniel Townsend Papers, 1821-1865, documenting Townsend’s career and business in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Austin, Texas.
Extent: 1 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Nathaniel Townsend (1804-1864) moved to Natchez, Mississippi in 1828 to live with his brother after unspecified health issues required that he depart his home state of New York. He married Maria Roach in 1829, with whom he had four children. After meeting Stephen F. Austin on a trip to St. Louis, Missouri, the Townsend family moved to San Felipe de Austin.

Following the formation of the Republic of Texas, President Sam Houston named Townsend consul at New Orleans, where he served from 1837 to 1838. During this time, his wife passed away. The next year, Townsend moved to Austin, where he opened a general store to replace the one burned by the Mexican Army in March 1836. While visiting his children at their school in the East in 1847, he married Angeline Townsend of Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the family returned to New Orleans for three years. In 1850, Townsend moved back to Austin and opened a merchandising business; however, by the time of the Civil War, failing health drove him to return to New York.


“Townsend, Nathaniel.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed August 3, 2010.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, letterpress book, daybooks, and account books comprise the Nathaniel Townsend Papers, 1821-1865. The collection concerns Nathaniel’s career, relating to his land deals, lawsuits over lands, orders for merchandise for his business, and the letters he exchanged with a number of personal acquaintances such as the merchants Robert Mitchell Forbes and James Cochran and plantation owner John Hunter Herndon.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Cochran, James G.
Colton, Daniel E.
Forbes, R. M. (Robert Mitchell), b. 1809
Giddings, J. C.
Gillespie, Barry
Herndon, John Hunter, 1813-1878
Stewart, Charles Bellinger Tate, 1806-1885
Townsend, Nathaniel, 1804-1864 -- Archives
Townsend, Palmer G.
Turner, Amasa, 1800-1877
Agriulture -- Texas -- 19th century.
Commerce -- 19th century.
Real property -- Texas -- 19th century.
Austin (Tex.) -- History.
New Orleans (La.) -- History.
San Felipe (Tex.) -- History.

Related Material

Blackburn-Townsend Family Papers

George F. Townsend Papers

William A. Blackburn Papers

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Nathaniel Townsend Papers, 1821-1865, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2L152 Correspondence, general, 1821-1865
2L153 Letterpress, 1844
Daybook, 1857
Account book, 1845
Daybook, 1854
2R214 Letter book, 1850-1853:
Part I, 1850-1851
Part II, 1852
Part III, 1853
2R270 Letter book, 1854-1855:
Part IV, January-August, 1854
Part V, August 1854-January 1855
2R271 Letter book, 1855-1857:
Part VI, January-June 1855
Part VII, June 1855-September 1857