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Townsend, John P. (John Phillips), 1836-1916



  • Existence: October 22, 1836 - March 28, 1916


John Phillips Townsend was born in Bridgewater, MA on October 22 or 23, 1836 to Jeremiah H. Townsend and Almira A. (Phillips) Townsend. Jeremiah was the son of Job Townsend and Lucy (Hack) Townsend and Almira was the daughter of Edward and Bethia (Danforth) Phillips. John was educated in Bridgewater public schools and the Bridgewater Academy. He was working as a machinist in Tennessee when the Civil War began.

On September 16, 1892 at the age of 26, he enlisted in the Union Army as a Private in Company K of the Third Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. They mustered September 23, 1862, and mustered out June 26, 1863. On March 2, 1864 he reenlisted and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of Company D of the Fifty-Eighth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which mustered on March 8, 1864. In 1864 he became 1st Lieutenant of the Fifty-Eighth, and they mustered again on April 17, 1865. John was taken prisoner on September 30, 1864 in Poplar Grove Church, VA, but was freed in an exchange on February 23, 1865. He was promoted to Captain on March 3, 1865, but was not mustered, and Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War indicates he mustered out on July 14, 1865 as 1st Lieutenant of Company E.

In June 1868 John Townsend married Olive Winsor, a resident of East Boston and daughter of a sea captain. They had four children, Eva A. (died at four years old), George H., Flora P. (later named Flora T. Little), and Royal (died at 19 years old).

John for 35 years as a machinist for the Henry Perkins Co., was involved at the Fellowship lodge, the Massachusetts Association of Union Ex-Prisoners of War, and was a trustee at the Bridgewater Academy. At age 54, John joined the Bridgewater chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic. On Tuesday, March 28, 1916 he died in his home on Plymouth Street in Bridgewater, MA.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

John P. Townsend Civil War certificate and militaria

Identifier: MSS-011

This collection contains items relating to John P. Townsend’s service in the Civil War.

Dates: 1863 - 1870