David Townsend 
Patriot & Surgeon

"Doctor David Townsend was an American surgeon at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was an assistant to Patriot and martyr General Joseph Warren. His marker is located just inside the cemetery on the left. Townsend's remains were most likely placed in tomb number 55, with the gravestone placed at a later date. The following is a brief biography by Howard Atwood Kelly:

David Townsend, son of Shippie and Ann Balch Townsend, was born in Boston, June 7, 1753, and died in the same city, April 13, 1829. He was descended in the fourth generation from Thomas Townsend of Norfolk, England, who came to Massachusetts in 1637.

Townsend was graduated from Harvard College in 1770 and received his honorary M. D. in 1813. He studied medicine under General Joseph Warren, and accompanied him as surgeon in Bunner's regiment to the Battle of Bunker Hill; was commissioned surgeon to the sixth regiment of foot, commanded by Colonel Asa Whitcomb, January 1, 1776; was senior surgeon to the General Hospital, Northern department, in March, 1777, and was with the army under Washington during the winter at Valley Forge.

Elisha Brown Grave, Granary Burying Ground
David Townsend Marker

On October 9, 1781, he was made surgeon-general of the hospital department. For many years and up to the time of death he was physician in charge of the U. S. Marine Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Dr. Townsend was an active member of the Massachusetts Medical Society from 1785 to 1824, when he retired, and he was one of the charter members of the Society of the Cincinnati, being secretary of the Massachusetts chapter from 1817 to 1821, vice-president from 1821 to 1825 and president from 1825 to 1829.

He married Elizabeth Davis, May 24, 1785. Their son, Solomon Davis Townsend, became a noted surgeon of the Massachusetts General Hospital, and there were six other children.

Dr. David Townsend was an ardent Universalist in religion and published a book entitled, "Gospel News," in 1794. He was a Mason and [possibly] buried according to their rites, in Revere Beach, at low tide.

Contact Information & Address:

Granary Burying Ground 
Tremont & Bromfield Streets, Boston, MA 
617.635.4505 
cityofboston.gov

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