Master Surname Index



Ancestry of
Robert Townsend

Member of the Culper Spy Ring during the American Revolution


Who was Robert Townsend?

Robert Townsend was a member of the Culper spy ring during the American Revolutionary War. His involvment in the spy ring was discovered in 1929 by New York historican Morton Pennypacker. Pennypacker was able to use handwriting analysis to reveal that the mysterious spy known as Samuel Culper, Junior, was in fact Robert Townsend.

The Culper Spy ring is said to have been instrumental in the disclosure of the Benedict Arnold and John Andre plot to surrender West Point and the attempted capture of General George Washington in 1780.

Robert Townsend never married, but he did have an illegitimate son with his housekeeper Mary Banvard. His son was named Robert Townsend Jr. There has been some speculation that Mary Banvard wasn't the boy's mother, and that it was the spy known as 355 that was the real mother. But this is not true as it has since been proven that Mary Banvard is his real mother.

Famous Kin

Robert Townsend's ancestry can be traced back to a number of Magna Carta Sureties which includes a connection to today's British royal family including Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. With his American revolutionary spy credentials, it seems only fitting that he is also related to a number of American patriots from that war. These include a fellow Culper Spy ring member, a number of signers of the Declaration of Independence, and President George Washington. Ironically one of Townsend's stipulations for participating in the spy ring is that even George Washington could not know his name. It is said that even after the war had ended, Washington never learned Townsend's true identity.


Some of the most recently added connections of famous kin for Robert Townsend

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Ichabod Goodwin

27th Governor of New Hampshire

19th cousin 1 time removed
via Henry II, King of England

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Ichabod Goodwin

27th Governor of New Hampshire

20th cousin
via Isabel de Vermandois

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Ichabod Goodwin

27th Governor of New Hampshire

21st cousin
via Saher I de Quincy

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Ichabod Goodwin

27th Governor of New Hampshire

20th cousin 1 time removed
via John FitzGilbert (the Marshal)

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Milton Bradley

Founder, Milton Bradley Company

19th cousin 1 time removed
via Sir William Longespee

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E. C. Segar

Cartoonist (Popeye creator)

14th cousin 5 times removed
via Ralph de Stafford

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Theatre, TV and Movie Actress

14th cousin 7 times removed
via Ralph de Stafford

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Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor

11th cousin 9 times removed
via Henry II, King of England

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Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor

13th cousin 8 times removed
via Saher I de Quincy

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Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor

12th cousin 8 times removed
via Maud de St. Hilary

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Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor

13th cousin 7 times removed
via Adeliza de Meschines

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Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor

13th cousin 6 times removed
via Gundred de Warenne

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Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor

14th cousin 5 times removed
via William I de Lancaster

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Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor

13th cousin 8 times removed
via John FitzGilbert (the Marshal)

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Hamilton Fish

26th U.S. Secretary of State

20th cousin
via Hugh de Kevelioc

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Hamilton Fish

26th U.S. Secretary of State

20th cousin
via Maud de St. Hilary

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Hamilton Fish

26th U.S. Secretary of State

20th cousin 1 time removed
via Adeliza de Meschines

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Hamilton Fish

26th U.S. Secretary of State

20th cousin 1 time removed
via William de Warenne

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Hamilton Fish

26th U.S. Secretary of State

20th cousin 1 time removed
via John FitzGilbert (the Marshal)

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Hamilton Fish

26th U.S. Secretary of State

19th cousin 1 time removed
via Sir William de Huntingfield

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Endicott Peabody

62nd Governor of Massachusetts

10th cousin 5 times removed
via Sir Humphrey Stafford

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Alexander Spotswood

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

17th cousin 3 times removed
via Hugh de Kevelioc

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Alexander Spotswood

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

18th cousin 3 times removed
via Saher I de Quincy

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Alexander Spotswood

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

16th cousin 4 times removed
via Maud de St. Hilary

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Alexander Spotswood

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

17th cousin 3 times removed
via Adeliza de Meschines

View entire list of famous kin for Robert Townsend

Please note: The ancestor reports on this website have been compiled from thousands of different sources, many over 100 years old. These sources are attached to each ancestor so that you can personally judge their reliability. As with any good genealogical research, if you discover a link to your own family tree, consider it a starting point for further research. It is always preferable to locate primary records where possible. FamousKin.com cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy and reliability of these sources.