Captain Thomas Townsend

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Captain Thomas Townsend
Died 1712
Nationality American
Known for Early settler of American colonies
Home town Oyster Bay, Long Island
Religion Quaker
Spouse(s) Sarah Coles, Mary Almy
Children Temperance Townsend, Sylvanus Townsend, John Townsend (1672-1790), Freelove Townsend (b.1674), Sarah (1679-1731)
Parent(s) John Townsend (1608-1668) and Elizabeth Montgomery (1606-1684)

Captain Thomas Townsend was an early settler of the American Colonies. Captain Townsend was the son of John Townsend and his wife Elizabeth, both early settlers on Long Island.


Thompson's History of L.I., Vol. II, p. 343, asserts that John Townsend, with his brothers Henry and Richard, were in Boston in 1637, from which they moved to Flushing on Long Island. The second son of John, Captain Thomas Townsend, was baptized in the Reformed Dutch Church of New Netherland on 16 Dec 1642, with sponsors including his uncle Henry Townsend, Rebecca Breton, and Claertje Gerrits.

In 1645 John Townsend received a land patent from Gov. Kieft in Flushing.[1] In 1658, John Townsend moved with his brothers to Oyster Bay, which was beyond the active reach of the Dutch. Here he spent the remainder of his life, and died at Oyster Bay, in 1695.[2]

Captain Thomas Townsend was in Rhode Island after the Dutch and English war, and engaged in trading. Later he went to Oyster Bay where he obtained land and built a house around 1673. He was named a patentee securing title to land in 1677.

Records indicate Thomas resided in Portsmouth, Rhode Island in 1686, where he was chosen sheriff in 1696. At a town meeting at Portsmouth on 4 May 1698, it was found "that whereas Thos. Townsend, late sheriff, did by his neglect let Wm. Downs, a pirate, escape from jail, voted that said Townsend be brot (sic) to trial for said act."[3]

Shortly after this he moved to Tiverton, a new settlement in Massachusetts. In a deed dated July 1702 to his daughter Sarah, then wife of Abraham Underhill, he calls himself "now living in Tiverton, county of Bristol, Province of Mass."

Captain Townsend married his first wife Sarah, daughter of Robert Coles and Mary Hawxhurst. From this marriage he had his children including Temperance, Sylvanus, Freelove (born 29 Dec 1674), Sarah and John. Captain Townsend married a second wife, Mary, the widow of Col. Job Almy, and daughter of Christopher and Susannah Unthank, of Warwick, R.I. His second marriage resulted in no offspring.

Captain Townsend in his official position as Justice performed marriages, and it is believed he performed the rite between his daughter Freelove and Major Thomas Jones. In 1688 Thomas Townsend bought of the Massapequa Indians a piece of land at Souther Oyster Bay, after which he gave it in 1695 "unto Thomas Jones of Oyster Bay, my son-in-law, and to Freelove his wife, my daughter."[4]

He is posthumously remembered as being "untiring energy and for many years took an active and leading part in the early matters of Oyster Bay, and in the settlement of the boundary disputes between the towns of Huntington and Oyster Bay, and in the dealings between his townspeople and the Indians the services of our trusty and beloved friend, Thos. Townsend, were indispensable."[5]


  1. ^ American Ancestry, by Thomas Patrick Hughes, Frank Munsell (1887)
  2. ^ Hughes, Thomas Patrick (1887). American Ancestry. New York: J. Munsell's Sons. pp. 83–84. OCLC 27520905. 
  3. ^ Colonial records Rhode Island, III, p. 333)
  4. ^ History of New York during the revolutionary war: and of the leading events by Thomas Jones, 1879, p. liv
  5. ^ The Jones Family of Long Island: Descendants of Major Thomas Jones, by John Henry Jones, 1999, p.26.