Michigan Football Team 1887 | bigbluefootballhistory.com Michigan Wolverine Football History

July 1, 2019 Happy Birthday Anniversary Fred Townsend

Posted on June 30, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Michigan Wolverine named Fred Townsend. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Frederick “Fred” Townsend was born in Albia, Iowa in 1862. So, he is one of those “Michigan Football Pioneers” that we just have to honor whenever we have the opportunity. Townsend was a law student at Michigan, but he only played one season for the Wolverines.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day: Fred Townsend

Fred Townsend played tackle for the Michigan Football Team in 1887. John L. Duffy was the captain of the team that season. Michigan was on a “roll” during this time. The Wolverines won seven straight games under Captain Horace Prettyman from 1884 to 1886. I am certain that Duffy intended to keep the winning streak alive!

Fred Townsend Michigan Football 1887 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Fred Townsend was a starting tackle on the 1887 Michigan Football team that finished with a perfect record of 3 wins and 0 losses. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

The Wolverines played very under Captain Duffy in 1887. They finished the season with a perfect record of 3 wins and 0 losses. They outscored their opponents by a margin of 66-0. It was the fourth straight season without a loss. It was a great time to be a Michigan Wolverine!

Townsend earned a letter in his only season on the Wolverine Football team. He left Ann Arbor with his head held high when he graduated from The Michigan Law School in 1888. Fred Townsend is connected to some interesting Michigan Football “firsts.” Here they are:

  • Frederick Townsend played in the first game ever played against Notre Dame on November 23, 1887. Michigan won the South Bend game by a score of 8-0.
  • Townsend played in the first, and only, game ever played against Harvard Club on November 24, 1887. The Wolverines won the game by a score of 26-0.
  • Interestingly, this was the first time in Michigan Football History where the Wolverines played back-to-back games during a season.

Frederick Townsend went on to enjoy a successful law career in Iowa. He also became a prominent politician in his home state. Sadly, he died on November 21, 1918 at the age of fifty-six. He was one of the millions of victims of the terrible “Spanish Flu” epidemic that swept over the world in 1918.

So, on the one-hundred and fifty-sixth anniversary of his birth, let s remember Fred Townsend. He was a “True Blue” Michigan “Pigskin Pioneer” who helped establish a winning football tradition in Ann Arbor. May Fred Townsend continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!



Part II. July 1, 2019 National Day Calendar Update





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