Robert Townsend

Robert Townsend

Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, USA
Death 7 Mar 1838 (aged 84)
Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, USA
Burial Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 33240916 · View Source
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Spy. Known to George Washington only as Culper Jr, he became a central member of Washington's "Culper ring" of spies operating in New York and Long Island during British occupation 1776-1783. As a merchant, storekeeper, and reporter, he was able for years to collect, coordinate and dispatch intelligence from Manhattan to Washington's headquarters in New Jersey. The ring's efforts led directly to the victory at Yorktown and the foiling of Benedict Arnold's plan to hand over to the British the fort at West Point and possibly even George Washington himself. In 1780, the British were ready to disseminate counterfeit money with such accuracy and volume as likely to collapse the American economy. Townsend was able to get the details to Washington in time for Congress to thwart the plot. Townsend lived quietly after the war, close to his brothers' families, and sought no credit for his revolutionary service. He is, however, extensively credited in multiple historical works published from 1930 to 2013, and is also cited on the municipal plaque at the entrance to the Townsend family burial ground, Fort Hill Cemetery.

Bio by: Edwin Ridout

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Athanatos
  • Added: 25 Jan 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 33240916
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Townsend (25 Nov 1753–7 Mar 1838), Find a Grave Memorial no. 33240916, citing Fort Hill Cemetery, Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .