John Townsend (c.1578 - 1668) MP

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Birthplace: Raynham Hall, Norwich, Norfolk, England, (Present UK)
Death: Died in Oyster Bay, Nassau County (Long island), Province of New York, (Present USA)
Occupation: Barrister
Managed by: James Hutchison
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Townsend

John Townsend was one TOWNSEND of the three brothers of that family who settled on the westerly end of Long Island some few years before 1643 the year Governor Kieft gave a patent for the town of Flushing to John Townsend and others. It must have been some years previous to that date for it is also learned through the petition of his widow to Governor Andros that he had before then taken up land in New York and peaceably enjoyed the same divers years.

While he dwelt on the island of Manhattan the Indians caused his family great alarm and they stood in mortal dread of what the savages might do. Hence he left the place whereon he had comfortably settled despite all the improvements he had made to his property and commenced the settlement of Flushing where his brother Henry joined him.

He belonged to the Society of Friends and consequently was at variance with the Dutch settlers. This was unfortunate for him when coming in contact with the officials of the administration not alone on account of his religious tenets but also because of his politics. Governor Peter Stuyvesant pointed to him as one of the principal persons of Flushing who resist the Dutch mode of choosing Sheriff pretending against the adopted course in the Fatherland and who refused to contribute their share to the maintenance of Christian pious reformed ministers. On account of these things John Townsend was summoned to appear at Fort Amsterdam on January 23, 1648, to explain before the Director General of the Province.

As a consequence of these troubles he removed to Warwick, Rhode Island, with his two brothers where they became members of the Provincial Assembly but in 1656 he returned to attempt once more settling at Flushing then called Rusdorp. He settled at Oyster Bay between the middle of January and September 16, 1661, the latter being the date of the mill grant and it is entered on the records that he bought his house in South street in February 1661 although the deed bears the date of October 5. (Ben M. Angel notes: 10th month would indicate December, prior to the Chesterfield Act.)

This deed being of interest to descendants and those living in the vicinity: it is here given Oyster Bay this 5th day of the 10th month 1661. Be it known unto all by these presents that I, Jonas Halstead of Oyster Bay on Long Island in America, do hereby acknowledge that I have sold and delivered all my right title and interest of all the housing and land that is here named as follows Richard Holbrook's house or houses built by him or me and house lot and two shares of meadow at Matinecock and one right of meadow at the south and twenty shares of the Great Plains that is on the east side of the footpath near the wood edge and also all the rights appurtenances and privileges that do fall to or any way belong to the aforesaid house lot within the Town bounds. I say I have sold and delivered it all in quiet possession for full satisfaction already received unto John Townsend of the said Town and place and do also hereby engage to make good the sale of the aforesaid house and lands against any person or persons that may any wise lay claim thereto and I do hereby further acknowledge that I have fully sold all the said houses and lands from me my heirs and assigns unto him his heirs and assigns forever to enjoy without molestation by me or any from me as witness my hand this day and year first above written. JONAS HALSTEAD

John Townsend died in 1668 and was probably the first person buried in the graveyard of Fort Hill. Having died intestate his widow Elizabeth divided the property among their children: John, Thomas, James, Rose, Anne, Sarah, George, and Daniel. She then attempted to reclaim the eight acres her husband had owned in Manhattan in the following petition to Governor Edmund Andros but it was not granted for thirty years had passed since they had dwelt there and had never had other title than settler's possession.

Your Honor's petitioner's husband many years last past was seized of a certain parcel of land containing eight acres by estimation lying and being at the Fresh Water Collect, New York, then called New Amsterdam, where your Honor's petitioner's husband did build and make large improvements and peaceably enjoyed the same divers years in the time of great calamity being daily alarmed by the Indians and other difficulties attending upon your Honor's petitioner's husband and afterwards got no better reward than such discouragements as caused your Honor's petitioner's husband to leave his good improvements.

However your Honor's petitioner is well contented at present hoping her husband and others by their adventures and running through many fiery trials of affliction has been in some measure instrumental to bring a chaos into goodly fields buildings and gardens and instead of your Honor's petitioner's husband reaping the fruits of their labors but on the contrary was forced to hew a small fortune out of the thick wood with his own hands for himself wife and children.

John Townsend married Elizabeth Montgomery and their children were those stated above in the settlement of the estate.

II George Townsend son of John and Elizabeth Montgomery Townsend was born after his father's removal from Manhattan to Oyster Bay Long Island which was in the year 1661 and he died in the winter of 1697. He inherited the original homestead in South street and with his brother James owned a tract of land at Norwich to which locality they gave the name. George Townsend married at Oyster Bay Long Island November 17 1684. Mary Hawxhurst daughter of one of the early settlers who also owned much land there. Children

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John Townsend was born at Norwich, Norfolk County, England, and died at Oyster Bay, L.I., in 1668-9. He came with his father Thomas Townsend and his two brothers Henry and Richard, from Norwich, some years prior to 1645, to Lynn, Mass., where they were brought up. He moved to the neighborhood of New Amsterdam on Long Island, but finding the persecutions he suffered under the Puritans repeated under the Dutch Government he moved to Flushing, L.I., which was largely settled by English colonials, He there received a patent from the town of Flushing, from Governor Kieft, The Townsends were members of the Society of Friends, and were soon at variance with the Dutch authorities in New York, who demanded military service, which was against their religion. John and his brother Henry were arrested and fined for countenancing Quakers, so the three brothers left Flushing and removed to Warwick, R.I. In 1656 the three brothers returned to Jamaica, L.I., then known as Rusdorp. Here in 1657 they were accused of calling together "conventicles", and John and Henry were again arrested and held in bail in the sum of œ12, and Richard in œ100. The two brothers with their wives were found guilty of countenancing Quakers, and in consequence they moved in 1661 to Oyster bay, L.I.

John Townsend married Elizabeth (Coles) Montgomery, daughter of Robert and Mary (Hawkhurst) Coles, and widow of a Mr. Montgomery. Her will was dated May 10/1671, by which she gave each daughter œ30, and divided her husband's estate between her children,

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History and Genealogy of the Cock, Cocks, Cox Family: Descended from James and Sarah Cock, of Killingworth Upon Matinecock, in the Township of Oyster Bay, Long Island, N.Y.

By George William Cocks, John Cox

Compiled by George William Cocks

Published by privately printed, 1914

JOHN (2) TOWNSEND, (prob.) son of Robert and nephew of Thomas of Lynn, to have been a member of the Boston Artillery Company 1641, must have been at least twenty-one years of age, and to have had his second son baptized at Manhattan In 1642, counting the usual two years' interval between births of children and the probability of an Intervening or preceding daughter, would suggest a marriage date prior to his emigration from England, perhaps 1630, and his birth about 1610. He died at Oyster Bay about 1668, ?aged about 60 years.

His wife, Elizabeth, as given In Savage's Gen. Diet, was dau. of Robert Coles of R. I. Thompson's Hist. L. I. repeats the error, qualifying by saying "Robert Coles was of a respectable Irish family, and an associate of the younger Winthrop In the settlement of Ipswich, Mass." Robert Coles had no dau. Elizabeth, nor is it believed that there were any of the Coles family seated In Ireland until after Robert's migration to America. In the Townsend Memorial it is stated, "his wife was Elizabeth Montgomery." Dr. Peter Townsend's mss. History states that "the widow of John Townsend In 1683 was regularly visited at her mansion in Oyster Bay by her countyman and supposed relative, the then Irish Governor of the Province of New York, Thomas Dongan."

John Townsend dying Intestate, his widow with advice of her husband'» brothers and consent of her older sons, divided the estate ; for account of which very Interesting matter see "Memorial of the Townsend Brothers," p. 87, et seq.

She d. Oyster Bay. Nov. 29, 1684, and was laid beside her husband on ground since known as "Fort Hill."

Issue, In order as given in the settlement :

  • I John. b. ; married, 1st, Susannah Harcurt ; m. 2d, Phebe .
  • II Thomas, bapt. 1642; m. 1st. Sarah Coles; m. 2d, Mary Unthank, widow of Job Almy.
  • III Elizabeth, b. : m. 1st. Gideon Wright; m. 2d, Gershom Lockwood.
  • IV James, b. ; m. 1st, Elizabeth Wright; m. 2d, Jean Reddough ; m. 3d, Delivered Pratt.
  • V Rose. b. ; m. 1st, John Wickes; m. 2d, Samuel Haydon.
  • VI Ann, b. .
  • VII Sarah, b. .
  • VIII George, b. ; m. Mary Hawxhurst.
  • IX Daniel, b. ; m. Susannah Forman.
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John Townsend's Timeline

1578
1578
Norwich, Norfolk, England, (Present UK)
1578
Norwich, Norfolk, England, (Present UK)
1657
1657
Age 79
Hempstead, Long island (Present Nassau County), New Netherlands (Present New York), (Present USA)
1667
1667
Age 89
Of, Hempstead, Nassau, New York
1668
October 5, 1668
Age 90
Oyster Bay, Nassau County (Long island), Province of New York, (Present USA)
1888
February 7, 1888
Age 90
1898
February 16, 1898
Age 90
1933
December 4, 1933
Age 90
1934
March 15, 1934
Age 90
1948
November 30, 1948
Age 90
ALBER