Couple Donates Letters Of Revolutionary War Spy Townsend To Raynham Hall Museum

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Although the Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay wasn't able to bid on a letter by Gen. George Washington about Revolutionary War spy Robert Townsend in a November auction, it has received a consolation prize.

An Oyster Bay Cove couple who are supporters of the museum situated in the Townsend house recently donated two letters written by Townsend enclosed in a signed first-edition copy of a book about Washington's spies written by Long Island historian Morton Pennypacker. The letters have notes in the margins written by Pennypacker. They were acquired in an online auction.

It was Pennypacker who identified Townsend, who never spoke about his clandestine role, as being the spy Culper Jr., based on handwriting analysis.

Scott and Terri Greenfield, who donated the items, declined to comment on the amount they paid or other details.

But Sarah Abruzzi, the museum director, said, "It was very exciting. We didn't find out about it until it was already purchased. This would be the core of a very neat exhibit."

Raynham Hall already had a half-dozen Townsend letters and some of his business ledgers as well as two copies of Pennypacker's 1939 first edition of "General Washington's Spies on Long Island and in New York."

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