Last Will of John Townsend (1807-1891)

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | July 9, 2020

Here follows a transcription (with annotations) of the last will and testament of Milton Mills woolen manufacturer John Townsend.

John Townsend was born in Wilton, Wiltshire, England, October 22, 1807, son of Joseph and Sarah “Sally” (Palmer) Townsend, and was baptized there January 8, 1808. He died in Brookline, MA, May 21, 1891, and this last will, which was dated November 1, 1890, was proved in Norfolk County Probate Court, in Dedham, MA, May 27, 1891 (Norfolk County Probate, 167:54).

Townsend was twice married. He married (1st) in Dorchester (Boston), MA, January 14, 1834, Jane Matilda Townsend, both of Dorchester, MA. She was born in Wilton, Wiltshire, England, September 18, 1815, daughter of Thomas B. and Jane (Randall) Townsend. Their children were Jane Randall “Jennie” Townsend (1835-1869), Caroline Frances Townsend (1840-1897), and Henry Herbert Townsend (1842-1904). Jane M. (Townsend) Townsend died in Dorchester, MA, December 24, 1843.

He married (2nd) in Boston, MA, April 22, 1844, Eliza Ann Townsend. She was born in Milton, MA, April 8, 1823, daughter of Thomas B. and Jane (Randall) Townsend, i.e., she was a younger sister of his deceased first wife. Their children were Emma M. Townsend (1848-1875), William B. Townsend [II] (1850-1878), Frank Albert Townsend (1855-1913), and Flora G. Townsend (b. 1863). Eliza A. (Townsend) Townsend survived him and died in Needham, MA, September 19, 1896.

Townsend started his Milton Mills woolen mill in or around 1846. He and his second wife, Eliza, and the children of both marriages resided in Milton Mills from then until the early to mid 1860s. (His eldest son, Henry H. Townsend, would run the rebuilt mill there in later years).

GREAT FALLS, N.H., Saturday, Oct. 19. The flannel factory of JOHN TOWNSEND, at Milton Mills, N.H., was burnt this evening. Loss about $30,000, which is partially insured. The factory was running on a Government contract (NY Times, October 20, 1861).

John Townsend, a merchant, aged fifty-five years (birthplace omitted), headed a Brookline, MA, household at the time of the Second (1865) MA Census. His household included his wife, Eliza Townsend, aged forty-two years (b. Milton, ME [SIC], Jane R. Townsend, aged twenty-nine years (b. Dorchester), Caroline F. Townsend, aged twenty-five years (b. Dorchester), Henry H. Townsend, a clerk, aged twenty-two years (b. Dorchester), Emma M. Townsend, aged nineteen years (b. Milton, NH), William B. Townsend, aged fourteen years (b. Milton, NH), Frank A. Townsend, aged ten years (b. Milton, NH), Flora G. Townsend, aged two years (b. Milton, NH), and Mary Welsh, aged twenty years (b. Ireland). John Townsend and Henry H. Townsend were ratable polls and legal voters.

Will of the Late John Townsend Filed. DEDHAM, May 27. This afternoon the will of John Townsend, late of Brookline, the deceased woollen manufacturer, was filed for probate in the Norfolk registry at Dedham. He left about $400,000, of which amount all but $700 is bequeathed to his family and other relatives. The instrument was drawn November 1, 1890, and his sons, Henry H. and Frank A. Townsend, are named as his executors and trustees (Boston Globe, May 27, 1891).

Note that $400,000 in 1891 would be worth about $36,000,000 today. (Each $20 might be taken as a one-ounce gold “double eagle” coin, and that one ounce of gold is worth about $1,800 in Federal Reserve notes at their present value).


John Townsend – Will – Proved May 27, 1891

I, John Townsend of the Town of Brookline, County of Norfolk and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Woolen Manufacturer, make this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills.

Item 1st. I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Eliza Ann Townsend sixty thousand dollars to be held in trust and five thousand dollars in cash and all the furniture and horse or horses, harnesses, carriages, and sleighs at her disposal to sell or otherwise as she may think best, and for her benefit the income or interest on her bequest of sixty thousand dollars may be paid at any time she may desire provided the trustee or trustees have cash on hand received by them for or on account of income or interest on their investments.

Eliza A. (Townsend) Townsend died in Needham, MA, September 19, 1896. (Her son, Frank A. Townsend, lived then in Needham).

Item 2nd. I give and bequeath to my son Frank Albert Townsend one hundred thousand dollars in cash, and all my office furniture excepting the small desk, and I trust he will make good use of the above as his father has done before him. I also give him five thousand dollars in cash extra to be paid him for his services rendered me.

Frank Albert Townsend was born in Milton Mills, NH, July 5, 1855, son of John and Eliza A. (Townsend) Townsend. He died at his home at 371 Walnut Street, Brookline, MA, July 29, 1913, aged fifty-eight years, twenty-four days. (He was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, in Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA).

Frank A. Townsend, own income, aged fifty-eight [fifty-five] years (b. MA), headed a Needham, MA, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of six years), Anna L. Townsend, aged sixty years (b. NH), and his servants, Rose G. Lufkin, a private family waitress, aged thirty-four years (b. MA), and Bessie G. McGlone, a private family cook, aged thirty-five years (b. Ireland (English)).

Item 3rd. I give and bequeath to my son Henry Herbert Townsend one hundred thousand dollars in cash, also my small desk in the counting room, if the said Henry Herbert Townsend owes my Estate either by note or on account it is to be deducted from his cash amount.

Henry Herbert Townsend was born in Dorchester, MA, August 12, 1842, son of John and Jane M. “Matilda” (Townsend) Townsend. He died in Milton Mills, June 25, 1904, aged sixty-one years, ten months, and thirteen days.

Henry H. Townsend married in Milton, June 7, 1870, Agnes J. Brierley, he of Boston and she of Milton, NH. She was born in Lowell, MA, May 17, 1844, daughter of Edward and Margaret M. (Thompson) Brierley. (See also Milton Mills’ Brierley Mill – c1864-18). He was a merchant, aged twenty-seven years; she was aged twenty-six years. Rev. N.D. Adams of Union, NH, performed the ceremony. (This record appeared also in Boston vital records).

Item 4th. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughter Caroline Frances Townsend forty five thousand dollars to be held in trust, the interest or income to be paid to her semiannually. I also give and bequeath to the aforementioned Caroline Frances Townsend in cash one thousand dollars, and at her decease the amount held by the trustee or trustees shall be paid one half to Henry Herbert Townsend and the other half to Frank Albert Townsend of their heirs.

Caroline Frances Townsend was born in Dorchester, MA, May 2, 1840, daughter of John Townsend and his first wife, Jane Matilda (Townsend) Townsend.

Caroline F. Townsend of Milton Mills appeared in a list of first and second year women taking the English course of studies at the New Hampton Literary & Biblical Institution, in New Hampton, NH, during the 1856-57, when she was called “Carrie F.,” 1857-58, 1858-59 academic years. She majored in Modern Languages. Her elder sister, Jennie R. Townsend, was a student there also during the 1856-57 academic year.

Caroline F. Townsend boarded for many years with another legatee, Mary W. Robinson of Dorchester.

Caroline F. Townsend married in the Bromfield Street Methodist Church in Boston, MA, June 27, 1894, John W. Wellman, she of Dorchester, MA, and he of Wakefield, MA. He was a cotton broker, aged seventy-four years (b. Farmington, ME), and she was at home, aged fifty-four years (b. Boston); it was his third marriage and her first.

Caroline F. (Townsend) Wellman died in Wakefield, MA, December 26, 1897, aged fifty-seven years, seven months, and twenty-four days. Her husband died in Wakefield, MA, January 30, 1900, aged eighty-one years.

Item 5th. I give and bequeath to my grandchild John Townsend son of Henry Herbert and Agnes Townsend five thousand dollars to be held in trust and Gracy Townsend daughter of Henry Herbert and Agnes Townsend two thousand dollars to be held in trust until they arrive at the age of twenty-one years when there shall be paid to them the forenamed legacies and accrued income thereon.

John E. Townsend was born in Milton Mills, September 9, 1872, son of Henry H. and Agnes J. (Brierley) Townsend. He died in Milton Mills, September 8, 1914, aged forty-two years, eleven months, and thirty days. He married in Milton, January 28, 1896, Eda B. Lowd.

His sister, Grace Maud “Gracie” Townsend, was born in Milton Mills, November 14, 1873. She died September 7, 1953. She married in Milton Mills, June 19, 1896, John C. Townsend, she of Milton, and he of Saugus, MA. He was a clerk, aged twenty-four years, and she was aged twenty-two years. He was born in East Wilton, ME, September 17, 1871, son of Joseph and Ruth P. (Wentworth) Townsend. He died in Milton Mills, February 14, 1916.

Item 6th. I give and bequeath to my brother James Townsend two thousand dollars to be held in trust, also to my sister Eliza, also Charles Townsend son of my brother Thomas, one thousand dollars each, also to Ruth widow of Joseph Townsend two thousand dollars, all of the above mentioned to be held in trust.

James Townsend was born in Wilton, Wiltshire, England, June 2, 1802, son of Joseph and Sarah “Sally” (Palmer) Townsend. He married in Dorchester, MA, June 12, 1826, Sarah Kilham. He died in Marlborough, NH, August 6, 1892, aged ninety years, one month, and twenty-eight days.

Townsend, Charles Thomas
Charles T. Townsend (1810-1881)

Eliza J. Townsend was born in Wilton, Wiltshire, England, February 2, 1814, daughter of Joseph and Sarah “Sally” (Palmer) Townsend. She died in Saugus, MA, January 22, 1894, aged seventy-nine years, eleven months, and twenty days.

Charles Thomas “Thomas” Townsend was born in Wilton, Wiltshire, England, January 17, 1810, son of Joseph and Sarah “Sally” (Palmer) Townsend. Charles Thomas Townsend was “now residing at Milton Mills,” NH, when he made his will on May 20, 1879. Charles T. Townsend of Peterborough, NH, died on Walnut Street in Brookline, MA, January 27, 1881, aged seventy-two years, one month. (John Townsend had his home at 371 Walnut Street in Brookline).

He married in Gilsum, NH, in 1837, Elsea M. Bingham. They had children Ellen A. Townsend (1838-1908), Elsea R. Townsend (1839-1932), the legatee Charles Horace Townsend (1842-1899), Edward P. Townsend (1846-1879), Adelaide M. Townsend (1848-1935), and Alfred B. Townsend (1853-1879).

Joseph Townsend was born in England, in 1823. He died in 1887. He married in Milton, January 6, 1850, Ruth Paul Wentworth, he of Milton and she of Acton, ME. She was born in 1826. She died in 1901.

Item 7th. I give and bequeath to Martha Townsend widow of William B. Townsend two thousand dollars to be held in trust and in case of the decease of the parties named in Items 6 + 7 or either of them then their proportions shall be equally distributed between the families of John and Matilda and John and Eliza Ann Townsend.

William B. Townsend was born in Wilton, Wiltshire, England, October 21, 1803, son of Joseph and Sarah “Sally” (Palmer) Townsend. He died in Milton Mills village, November 23, 1847, aged forty-four years.

William B. Townsend married in Canton, MA, December 13, 1832, Martha W. (Holden) Townsend, both of Canton. She was born in Boston, MA, circa 1808, daughter of Stephen and Martha (Niles) Holden. They had children Mary E. Townsend (1833-1906), Anna A. Townsend (1836-1861), Harriet Townsend (1840-), and William E. Townsend (1844-). Martha W. (Holden) Townsend died in Worcester, MA, February 5, 1896, aged eighty-eight years, five months, and nineteen days.

Item 8th. I give and bequeath to Agnes wife of Henry H. Townsend three thousand dollars to be held in trust the income or interest to be paid to her semiannually and at her decease the amount held by the trustee shall be paid to her husband Henry H, the trust ceasing at her death.

Agnes J. (Brierley) Townsend did not long survive the testator. She died December 26, 1891, aged forty-seven years.

Item 9th. I give and bequeath to my brother-in-law Joseph Whitehead one thousand dollars in cash.

Joseph Whitehead was born in Yorkshire, England, May 20, 1823. He died in the Masonic Home in Charlton, MA, November 17, 1912, aged eighty-nine years, five months, and twenty-seven years.

Joseph Whitehead married in Saugus, MA, November 18, 1849, Sarah M. Townsend, both of Saugus. (He was of Milton, NH, in the marriage intentions). He was a spinner, aged twenty-four years (b. England), and she was aged twenty-five years. She was born in England, circa 1821, daughter of Joseph and Sarah “Sally” (Palmer) Whitehead. She died of consumption in Saugus, MA, February 28, 1869, aged forty-eight years, six months.

Joseph Whitehead, a trader, aged thirty-seven years (b. England), headed a Saugus, MA, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Sarah Whitehead, aged thirty-nine years (b. England), Ralph S. Whitehead, aged three years (b. MA), Ann Townsend, aged forty-eight years (b. England), Eliza Townsend, aged forty-six years (b. England), and Elizabeth Townsend, aged forty-four years (b. England). Joseph Whitehead had real estate valued at $2,200 and personal estate valued at $1,800.

Item 10th. I give and bequeath to my friend Aaron S. McIntosh five hundred dollars in cash.

Aaron S. McIntosh was born in Needham, MA, August 22, 1819, son of Samuel and Priscilla (Smith) McIntosh. He died in Boston, MA, November 4, 1895, aged seventy-six years.

Aaron S. McIntosh appeared in the Boston directory of 1885, as a bookkeeper at 25 Tremont Temple, with his house at 2859 Washington street.

Item 11th. I give and bequeath to my faithful employee John Young two hundred dollars in cash provided he is in my employ at my decease.

John W. Young was born in Barrington, NH, April 8, 1851, son of John B. and Mary J. (Buzzell) Young. He died in Brookline, MA, January 21, 1901, aged fifty-one years.

John W. Young appeared in the Brookline directory of 1891, as a coachman for John Townsend, at Walnut street, with his house on Sewall street, corner of Chestnut street.

Item 12th. I give + bequeath to my kind friend Miss Mary W. Robinson of Dorchester in consideration of her great kindness to my daughter Caroline Frances the sum of five hundred dollars in cash.

Mary Withington Robinson was born in Dorchester, MA, April 30, 1819, daughter of Stephen and Hannah (Withington) Robinson. She died in her home at 33 Brent Street, Boston, MA, September 16, 1905, aged eighty-six years, four months, and sixteen days.

Mary W. Robinson, keeping house, aged sixty-one years (b. MA), headed a Boston, MA, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. Her household included her boarder, Caroline F. Townsend, aged forty years (b. MA). They resided on Washington Street.

Miss Mary W. Robinson of Dorchester, MA, was a vice-president of the New England Wheaton Seminary Club in May 1891 (Boston Globe, May 10, 1891).

Mary W. Robinson appeared in the Boston directory of 1893 as having her house at 33 Brent street. Caroline F. Townsend appeared as boarding with her. The property was described when sold by Robinson’s estate as being a frame house, with 5,186 square feet of land, situated between Talbot avenue and Washington street in Dorchester (Boston Globe, April 17, 1908).

I also direct that after all my just debts and expenses and all the hereinbefore mentioned legacies have been fully paid the remainder of my estate if any shall be equally divided between the families of John and Matilda and John and Eliza Ann Townsend.

I appoint as my Executors and Trustees of this my last will and testament my sons Henry Herbert and Frank Albert Townsend without giving surety or sureties on their official bonds as Executors or Trustees.

In witness whereof I have signed + sealed this instrument and published and declared the same as + for my last will and testament at Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts this first day of November in the year A.D. one thousand eight hundred and ninety.

John Townsend (Seal)

The said John Townsend at Boston, on the first day of November signed and sealed this instrument and published and declared the same as and for his last will and testament and we at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other have written our names as subscribing witnesses. John G. Wetherell. Chas L. Lane. W.W. Martin.

Atlas Bank Five Dollar Note of 1862
A $5 Note of the Atlas Bank of Boston (Redeemable in Gold Coin)

Witness John G. Wetherell (1822-1897) was president and a director of the Atlas National Bank of Boston. Charles L. Lane (1828-1891) was an Atlas National Bank cashier. (He did not long survive the testator). William W. Martin (1854-1908) was an Atlas National Bank clerk and messenger.

References:

Find a Grave. (2015, December 23). Aaron S. McIntosh. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/156311366/aaron-s_-mcintosh

Find a Grave. (2010, June 5). Mary W. Robinson. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/53292471/mary-w-robinson

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). Agnes J. Brierley Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115352199/agnes-j-townsend

Find a Grave. (2014, July 25). Charles Thomas Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/133322411

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). Henry H. Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115352239/henry-h-townsend

Find a Grave. (2007, October 23). James Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/22412532

Find a Grave. (2018, February 16). Jane Matilda Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/187367942/jane-matilda-townsend

Find a Grave. (2018, February 16). Jane Randall Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/187367952/jane-townsend

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). Joseph Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115343080/joseph-townsend

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). Ruth W. Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115343108/ruth-w-townsend

Find a Grave. (2018, February 16). Thomas B. Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/187367919/thomas-b-townsend

Find a Grave. (2015, January 28). William B. Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/141904441

Find a Grave. (2016, April 10). John W. Young. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/160833788/john-w-young

Wikipedia. (2020, March 28). Wilton, Wiltshire. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilton,_Wiltshire

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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