Christopher Townsend, Jr., 1738–1809


Occupation

watchmaker

Location

Newport, Rhode Island

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Biography

Christopher Townsend, Jr. was born in 1738 to cabinetmaker Christopher Townsend (1701-1787) and Patience Easton (1703-1789) of Newport. His siblings would include cabinetmakers John Townsend (1733-1809) and Jonathan Townsend (1745-1772).

He received a large bequest in his father's will, including his Newport "Dwelling House," "Joiners Shop," and a large quantity of furniture and silver.(1) Despite his ownership of this "Joiners Shop," it remains unclear as to whether or not he was ever an active woodworker. Rather, it appears that he was a watchmaker for most of his adult life. As early as July, 1775, he was called a Newport watchmaker in the records of the Kent County Inferior Court of Common Pleas.(2)

When Christopher died in 1809 in Newport, he was once again identified as a watchmaker. His cousin Edmund Townsend was appointed administrator of his estate.(3)

Benjamin W. Colman and Patricia E. Kane

1. Morrison Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005.), 199-200.

2. Christopher Townsend, Jr., July 1775. Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Kent County, Record Book, vol. 4, p. 895, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

3. Christopher Townsend, will, June 5, 1809, Newport Probate, vol. 4, pp. 611-612. Newport City Hall, R.I.