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BIOGRAPHY: Elder John Leigh Townes born November 15, 1774





Madison, Franklin and Lawrence County, Alabama

Elder John L. Townes was born in Amelia county, Virginia, November 15, 1774. He was educated at Hampden-Sidney College, Prince Edward county, and finished his law studies with Judge Peter Johnson, and was admitted to the bar in Amelia county, in 1806. On the 24th of December, 1806, he was married to Miss Polly S. Eggleston. On the commencement of the war of 1812, between the United States and Great Britain, he, as captain, commanded a volunteer company and served out the war in that capacity, stationed principally at Norfolk, Virginia.

At the close of the war, in 1815, he received a commission as major of the first battalion, First Regiment of Virginia Militia, from the executive of Virginia, in which capacity he acted during his residence in Virginia. In 1815, he was elected to the legislature of Virginia and served with some distinction through the session of 1815 and 1816. In the summer of 1817, he joined the United Baptist Church of Christ, at Sandy Creek, Amelia county, and was baptized by Rev. John Skurry, then pastor of that church, his wife having been baptized several years before, by the Rev. Richard Dabbs. In October 1817, he moved with his family from Virginia and settled in Madison county, Alabama, then Mississippi territory. After the formation of Alabama Territory, he was elected from Madison county to the convention that formed the State constitution.

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In 1820, he moved into Lawrence county and settled on Town Creek, when he became a member of Carmel Church and was in the formation of what was originally called ” The Big Bend of Tennessee River Association,” which was afterward called “The Muscle Shoals Association.” In 1824, he was regularly ordained in Carmel Church a minister of the gospel, by a presbytery consisting of Elders Henry W. Hodges, Jeremiah Burns and William. Leigh. He was a faithful minister, always engaged in the discharge of his Christian and ministerial duties. At times he supplied as many as three or four churches with the preached word. He was clerk of the association for nine sessions and moderator for two sessions. He was pastor of the Courtland, Russell Valley, Bethel and other churches, for several years.

At the time of his death, which occurred July 28, 1846, he was pastor of Mt. Pleasant and Bethel Churches. He was always a zealous friend of the missionary cause, though opposed by many of his brethren. He was a minister that was beloved by all who knew him, persuasive in his manner, reaching the feelings of others by showing that he himself felt. He was a good writer and wrote several circular letters which evinced thought and research. He died in the triumphs of faith. Chancellor Eggleston D. Townes, formerly of Tuscumbia, was a son of Elder Townes.

Children of Elder John Leigh Townes and Polly Segar (Eggleston) Townes were:

  1. Eliza Judith Townes (b. Dec. 27, 1807)
  2. Jane Edmonia Townes (b. Feb. 2, 1809 – d. Jun 4, 1827)
  3. Frances Harriet Townes (b. Jan 2, 1811) married William Gregg Sep 13, 1831
  4. Alfred Eggleston Townes (b. Apr. 15, 1812 – d. Oct 14, 1824)
  5. Julian Lawrence Townes (b. Dec. 7, 1813 – d. Feb. 14, 1814)
  6. Julianna Segar Townes (b. May 8, 1815- d. Aug 7, 1836) married James S. Tartt Feb. 111, 1836
  7. Eggleston Dick Townes (b. Jun 5, 1817 VA – d. Aug. 31, 1864 TX)
  8. Ann Rebecca Townes (b. March 30, 1819 – d. Oct.27, 1824)
  9. Henry Eggleston Townes (Feb. 10, 1821 – d. Aug 31, 1840)
  10. Polly Logan Townes (Feb. 24, 1823)
  11. John Leigh Townes (Jan 30, 1825)
  12. Nancy Leigh Townes (b. Sep 27, 1830 – d. Feb. 11, 1831)


  1. History of the Muscle Shoals Baptist Association from 1820 to 1890 By Josephus Shackleford, Mathew Lyon
  2. 1840 census of Alabama.



By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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