Solomon Townsend, I

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Solomon Townsend, I

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, United States
Death: Died in Albany, Albany County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Townsend and Sarah Townsend
Husband of Anne Townsend and Anne Townsend
Father of Hannah Townsend; Anne Lawrence; Phebe Thorn; Hannah Townsend; Mary Townsend and 5 others
Brother of Robert Townsend (spy); Audrey Farley; David Townsend; Phebe Townsend; Sarah (Sally) Townsend and 1 other

Managed by: Richard McKay Cryan
Last Updated:

About Solomon Townsend, I

DAR Ancestor #: A115731

Solomon Townsend (1746-1811) was born in Oyster Bay, New York, the eldest son of Samuel Townsend, a wealthy shipping merchant and brother to Robert Townsend, one of George Washington's most important spies during the Revolutionary War.(2)

From an early age Solomon was educated in the intricacies of his father's shipping business, going to sea as a cabin boy at age fourteen and at age twenty becoming a ships captain, first for one of his father's merchant vessels, the brig Sally, and later for the Buchanan family as captain of the ship Glasgow. In 1778 the increasing hostilities of the American Revolution interrupted maritime trade and forced Solomon to rethink his career. All of Long Island was now occupied by British troops, including his family's house in Oyster Bay, which was being used as headquarters for The Queens Rangers. After eighteen years, Solomon brought to an end his life at sea. Landing in London, he gave up his command of the Glasgow, settled his accounts and traveled to Paris where he was sworn by Benjamin Franklin to be a subject of the United States.(3) He boarded the frigate Providence, bound for America, but upon arrival was unable to return to his home in Oyster Bay due to the occupation. Instead he lived with a cousin, Peter Townsend, in Orange County, New York. Peter Townsend owned the Sterling Ironworks which earlier that year had forged The Great Chain, an enormous wrought iron chain stretched across the Hudson River at West Point to block the passage of British warships.(4)

The DAR's "Lineage Book of the Charter Members" by Mary S Lockwood and published 1895 deems him a patriot and states he "was a midshipman in the Continental Navy."

Facsimile of the markings on the jug's base.

Facsimile of the markings on the jug's base.

Solomon began working at the Sterling ironworks, and in 1783 married Peter's daughter Anne. He then became a successful ironmaster in his own right, establishing the Augusta Forge near Sterling along the Ramapo River, and two businesses in New York City; an ironmongery on Ferry Street and an anchor shop on Pearl Street.(5) Although he no longer went to sea, his iron businesses dealt primarily with the manufacture and sale of ship anchors. When, during the late 1790s the Department of War began the construction of a fleet of six frigates for the Navy, Solomon Townsend supplied the New York frigate, the President, with anchors and other ironwork. This commission led him to purchase another iron foundry on Long Island, at Riverhead. Solomon was serving in the New York State Legislature when he died in 1811 at the age of 65. Despite a successful life in the iron business, at his death there was little left. President Jefferson's embargo of 1807 had decimated Solomon Townsend's business; it was estimated to have cost him upwards of $70,000.(6) His widow, Anne and their children were forced to liquidate all his assets to settle his estate.(7)

Solomon Townsend the eldest son of Samuel was born at Oyster Bay in 1746 and early engaged in navigation for which almost from infancy he evinced a strong predilection and in his twentieth year was put in trust of a brig belonging to his father When the war of the revolution broke out he was in command of the ship Glasgow belonging to the said Thomas Buchanan but owing to the then recent interruption of trade between the two counties she was left by direction of the owner in London Obtaining permission to leave England Capt Townsend went over to France and while at Paris made the acquaintance of his celebrated counlryinan Dr Franklin to whom he found means of making himself agreeable and by whom he was introduced at court and received oiher tokens of his friendship and regard Having consumed sufficient time to see and examine the most remarkable curiosities in the French capital he made arrangements to return to his own country and the American commissioner favored him with the following certificate of protection Passey near Paris June 27 1778 I certify to whom it may concern that Captain Solomon Townsend of New York mariner hath this day appeared voluntarily before me and taken the oath of allegiance to the United Status of America according to the resolution of congress thereby acknowledging himself a subject of the United States B FRANKLW Captain Townsend was also commissioned by Dr Franklin as a volunteer midshipman in the continental navy and for this purpose he procured his necessary equipments in Paris He sailed soon after in the Frigate Providence for Boston with Commodore Abraham Whipple While on the passage a suspicious <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=-B2DAoCLbdoC&dq=%22solomon+townsend%22&lr=&as_brr=1&pg=PA350&ci=173,501,768,891&source=bookclip">The History of Long Island, from Its Discovery to the Present Time With Many Important and Interesting Matters, Including Notices of Numerous Individuals and Families, Also a Particular Account of the Different Churches and Ministers By Benjamin Franklin Thompson, Walt Whitman, Joseph Meredith Toner Collection (Library of Congress), Charles E. Feinberg Collection of Walt Whitman (Library of Congress)</a>

Mr Buchanan owned the ship Glasgow Solomon Townsend above was the master The vessel traded to and from London about the time of the Revolution She was in London when the war broke out and her owner Mr Buchanan ordered her not to come home Captain Townsend went to Paris took the oath of allegiance to the United States before Ben Franklin who commissioned him a midshipman in the American navy He got home in 1778 He married his cousin Ann Townsend His daughter Mary married Edward H Nicoll as I have above stated Henry <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=IR2YOYMplbMC&dq=%22solomon+townsend%22&lr=&as_brr=1&pg=PA270&ci=124,390,777,391&source=bookclip">The Old Merchants of New York City By Walter Barrett, Joseph Alfred Scoville</a>

The above named Solomon Town send was born at Oyster Bay in 1746 and early engaged in navigation for which almost from infancy he evinced a strong predilection and in his twentieth year was put in trust of a brig belonging to his father When the war of the revolution broke out he was in command of the ship Glasgow belonging to the said Thomas Buchanan but owing to the then recent interruption of trade between the two countries she was left by direction of the owner in London Obtaining permission to leave England Captain Town send went over to France and while at Paris made the acquaintance of his celebrated countryman Dr Franklin to whom he found means of making himself agreeable and by whom he was introduced at court and received other tokens of his friendship and regard Having consumed sufficient time to see and examine the most remarkable curiosities in the French capital he made arrangements to return to his own country and the American commissioner favored him with the following certificate of protection PASSEY NEAR PARIS June 27 1778 I certify to whom it may concern that Captain Solomon Townsend of New York mariner hath this day appeared voluntarily before me and taken the oath of allegiance to the United States of America according to the resolution of Congress thereby acknowledging himself a subject of the United States B FRANKLIN Captain Townsend was also commissioned by Dr Franklin as a volunteer midshipman in the continental navy and for this purpose he procured his necessary equipments in Paris He sailed soon after in the frigate Providence for Boston with Commodore Abraham Whipple While on the passage a suspicious looking craft hove in sight and preparations were of course forthwith made for an engagement Captain Townsend being ordered to take charge of a division of guns No engagement however took place and the vessel reached Boston in November 1778 Being unable from the condition of the country personally to visit his family at Oyster Bay he traversed the interior of New England and crossing the River Hudson at Newburg reached the house of his cousin Peter Townsend sou of the fourth Henry Townsend at Chester Orange County proprietor of the celebrated iron works and estate of Stirling a few miles off Steel was first made by Mr Townsend at the Stirling Works and in the German manner in 1776 He also made the first anchor ever manufactured in this State in 1773 and here was constructed in March and April 1778 the immense chain extending across the Hudson to prevent the British ships passing West Point The links of this stupendous chain weighed about 140 Ibs each and the whole one hundred and sixty tons made and delivered in the short space of six weeks After an absence of seven years Captain Townseud was enabled by pre concert to meet some of his family upon Shelter Island but soon separated under the fearful apprehensions they might never meet again Returning to Chester he was in little time thereafter united in marriage with his cousin Anne eldest daughter of the said Peter Townsend whom in 1783 he brought with him to Oyster Bay where the different members of his family were again assembled under the paternal roof strong intellectual powers was ardent in all his pursuits and of indomitable perseverance He soon after purchased the mountain estate adjoining that of his father in law which he named Augusta where he established very extensive iron works anchory forges &c furnishing thereby ample employment to numerous laborers and artizans for many years He continued nevertheless to reside in the city of New York where he owned and superintended an extensive iron store He also established a manufactory of bar iron on Peconic River in Suffolk county a short distance above the village of Riverhead which was carried on during his life To give some idea of the extent of his business at one period it need only be stated that the losses sustained by him occasioned by mercantile failures alone during the general embargo of 1808 exceeded $70,000 yet he relaxed not his exertions but continued his manufacturing operations in their full extent till arrested by death March 27 1811 He was chosen frequently to represent the city of New York in the State Legislature and was a member of that body at the time of his death <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=BhExAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA54&ots=Yd6KK6ki_6&dq=%22peter+townsend%22+stirling&pg=PA55&ci=114,207,807,847&source=bookclip">Historical Genealogy of the Lawrence Family From Their First Landing in this Country, 1635 to the Present Date, July 4th, 1858 By Thomas Lawrence</a>

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Solomon Townsend, I's Timeline

1746
1746
Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, United States
1780
1780
Age 34
1784
August 11, 1784
Age 38
New York, New York, United States
1786
1786
Age 40
New York
1789
1789
Age 43
1795
January 11, 1795
Age 49
1805
October 8, 1805
Age 59
1811
March 27, 1811
Age 65
Albany, Albany County, New York, United States
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