Thomas Townsend, 1742–1827


cabinetmaker; joiner


Newport, Rhode Island

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Thomas Townsend was born in Newport in 1742, son of Job Townsend (1699-1765) and Rebecca Casey. His paternal grandparents were Solomon Townsend of Oyster Bay, New York and Newport, and Catherine (Almy) Townsend.

Thomas was born into an extensive extended family of cabinetmakers, with uncle Christopher Townsend, brothers Edmund and Job, Jr., cousin John Townsend, and brothers-in-law John Goddard and James Goddard.(1)

He was married at least twice. His first wife was Mehitable Earl (born 1748), daughter of David and Abigail Earl of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In 1765, he married Mary Dyer at Newport.(2)

In 1757, during the French and Indian War, Thomas was taken prisoner from Oswego, New York to Quebec. He was again taken captive during the Revolutionary War.

During the 1780s, Thomas abandoned cabinetmaking and became an innkeeper.

He died in 1827 in Newport.(3)

Benjamin W. Colman

1. Morrison Hecksher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 35-36, 41-43.

2. Vital Record of Rhode, Island, 1636-1850,

3. Hecksher, John Townsend, 42-43.