Skip Navigation


W.H. Johnson Autographed Signed Letter to Captain Solomon Townsend: January 11, 1831

Collection Number
SC 458

OCLC Number

W.H. Johnson

Purchase from Antipodean Books, Maps & Prints, April 2015; from the contents of the Hedges home in East Hampton, New York.

Extent, Scope, and Content Note 
Letter from W.H. Johnson to Captain Solomon Townsend, dated January 11, 1831; 30 x 20 cm.; 1p.
An original manuscript letter  from W.H. Johnson addressed to Captain Solomon Townsend listing non-commissioned officers and the standing committee of the 1st Flank Company, and giving an account of the funds remaining in the treasury. Born in Oyster Bay, New York, Townsend became a prosperous merchant. He was elected to the New York state legislature and served as a delegate to the 1846 and 1867 state constitutional conventions.

Arrangement and Processing Note
Processed by Special Collections and University Archives, June 2015.
Finding aid updated and revised by Kristen J. Nyitray in June 2019.


Restrictions on Access
The collection is open to researchers without restriction.

Rights and Permissions 
Stony Brook University Libraries' consent as the physical owner of the collection does not address copyright issues that may affect publication rights. It is the sole responsibility of the user of Special Collections and University Archives materials to investigate the copyright status of any given work and to seek and obtain permission where needed prior to publication.

Letter, W.H. Johnson to Captain Solomon Townsend, January 11, 1831, Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries.

Historical Note
Solomon Townsend II (1805-1880) was born on April 8, 1805. He was the son of Solomon Townsend (1746-1811) and Anne Townsend Townsend (unknown-1823) of Oyster Bay, New York, and the nephew of Robert Townsend (1753-1838), a member of the Culper Spy Ring during the American Revolutionary War (code name: Culper Junior). An original manuscript letter from W.H. Johnson, the correspondence is addressed to Captain Solomon Townsend and lists non-commissioned officers and the standing committee of the 1st Flank Company. It gives an account of the funds remaining in the treasury. Names noted in the document include P.W. Osborne, George Mott, Jason Stokey, Charles Sherry, William H. Davis, George Archer, M.L. Milledoller, Edward Center, and R.H. Cuming. Johnson writes: "The funds in the Treasury exclusive of the bills now payable are balance $4.75 and collected for dues $48 for a total of $52.75...Signed by W.H. Johnson, January 11, 1831." Like his father and grandfather, Solomon Townsend II was a prosperous merchant and importer. He was a merchant ship's captain prior to the American Revolution and owned an ironworks in New York State. In keeping with the family tradition of public service, he served in the State Legislature and at two State Constitutional Conventions, as President of the Oyster Bay Board of Education. In 1849, he married Helene DeKay Townsend (1821-1895). Their children were: Solomon Samuel (1850-1910), Charles DeKay (1851-1922), Robert (1853-1915), Maurice Edward (1855-1927), Edward Nicol (1857-1917), and Maria Fonda (1860-1908). Solomon Townsend II died on April 2, 1880. He is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Oyster Bay, New York.

Obituary from The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, July 1880, p. 148.
"Solomon Townsend, for fifty years a merchant of this city, died at his home in Oyster Bay, L. I., on Friday, April 2, 1880. He was born at Oyster Bay, October 8, 1805, and at an early age came to New York to be a merchant. After an approved clerkship, he sailed as supercargo to China as early as 1825, on the largest merchant ship then sailing from New York. After learning the methods of business there, and returning, he became connected with the firm of S. T. Nicoll & Co. on the death of his early employer, Edward H. Nicoll. The firm was succeeded by the firm of Townsend, Clinch, & Dike, which continued until the death of Mr. James Clinch in 1872. Mr. Townsend took an active interest in politics, and was elected to the Assembly in 1840, 1841, and 1842, and was the recognized representative of the merchants.  In 1846 he was one of the delegates from New York City to the convention to frame a constitution, and in 1866 he represented Queens County in the constitutional convention of that year; being the only one who was a member of both conventions. On the last occasion, he took active part in the proceedings and debates. On many occasions between those dates he was an active and successful promoter of valuable improvements. The banking laws, the warehouse system, the board of education, the city college, and almost all the improved methods in public affairs have engaged his attention. Many topics were advocated by him in the newspapers as well as on the floor. He was a fireman and captain of militia, and active in each capacity on important occasions. He was an antiquarian and has favored our Society repeatedly. He acquired a very extensive acquaintance and has left many friends and a large family to mourn his loss. M. "

Johnson, W. H. -- Correspondence.
Townsend, Solomon, -- 1805-1880 -- Correspondence.
New York (State). -- Militia.