George Randall lived in Bensalem, Bucks County, in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He worked as a shoemaker and owned only about ten acres of land. George’s parentage is uncertain, although he probably fits into the Randall family that starts with the immigrant Nicholas Randall who owned land in Bucks County starting in 1684. The third generation after Nicholas is not well documented, and George of Bensalem could fit there.1
In April 1791 George Randall of Bensalem bought 1½ acres from Rachel Briggs, widow, adjoining Nicholas Vansant, Thomas Worthington, Abraham Larue, and other land of Rachel Briggs.2 About 1794 George married Rachel Ridge, daughter of Thomas Ridge and Rachel Duncan. There is no known church record for their marriage; they were not married in a Quaker meeting, although Rachel’s Ridge and Duncan families were originally Quaker.
In 1799 and 1800 George was taxed in Bensalem as a shoemaker.3 Bensalem was bustling at the time. There were nine carpenters, suggesting that there was work building houses. There were weavers, tailors and shoemakers, five tavern keepers and three shopkeepers.4 By 1800 George and Rachel had four daughters, and by 1810 they had five daughters and two sons.5 George and Rachel had eight known children in all, seven daughters and a son. One son was George.6 Another son must have died young.7 The daughters all married except one, and most had children. George may not have been wealthy, but he and Rachel successfully married off six daughters. They owned about ten acres in Bensalem at the time of George’s death, adjoining John Tomlinson and Nicholas Vansant. Part of this was the small lot that George bought from Rachel Briggs; the rest was his wife’s share of her father’s estate, conveyed to her in 1710.8 Since this was not sufficient for farming, he made his living as a shoemaker.
The daughters all married except one and most had children. The son George may have been feeble-minded and is not known to have married. The children seem to have been close-knit. One daughter did not marry and lived first with one sister and later with a niece and nephew. The son George was living with one of his sisters in 1850. Two of the sons-in-law served as administrators of the estates of George and Rachel, and one of them bought the land, keeping it in the family.
George died in 1836, leaving no will. His estate was not probated until April 1841, after Rachel died.9 The implication is that the family wanted to keep her in the house, and delayed probate until her death. Evan Groom, husband of Rachel Randall, one of the daughters, served as the administrator. On April 26, 1841, probably just eleven days after Rachel died, Evan came into Bucks County Orphans Court to petition for a sale of the house and lot in Bensalem owned by George, to pay George’s debts.10 Why was Evan in such a hurry to sell the land, and why were George’s debts still unsettled five years after he died? Evan was the wealthiest of the sons-in-law, with land valued at $20,000 in 1860. It is plausible that the debt was actually money he loaned to George, a debt that he did not attempt to collect until the real estate could be sold. It is hard to imagine anyone outside of the family waiting so long for a repayment.
The Orphans Court ruled that the land could be sold, and at the September term Evan reported that he gave public notice and sold the tract of 1 ½ acres in Bensalem, to John Tomlinson for $315, as John was the highest and best bidder. On September 20, the court affirmed the sale.11 On the same day, the inventory was filed, showing a meager value of $10.65, with a bed, kitchenware and other small goods.12 Three years later Evan filed the final estate account, showing real estate tax paid on the $315.13, Book 11, p. 113.]
At the same time that Evan Groom was settling the estate of George Randall, another son-in-law Hazel Scott was settling the estate of Rachel. In the April term 1842, he petitioned the Orphans Court to ratify an agreement he had made with Rachel in 1837, for him to buy a tract of 8¾ acres in Bensalem from her, for $550 and for yearly payments to her. The agreement was made in 1837, but a deed was never signed, and he wanted clear title to the land. She had signed the agreement by mark.14 In the petition to the court Hazel Scott listed her heirs: George Randall, Rachel intermarried with Evan Groom, Mary intermarried with William Tomlinson, Esther intermarried with Joseph Vansant, Elizabeth intermarried with Jesse Mood, Ann intermarried with Elexander S. Rutherford, Grace Randall, Sarah (Hazel’s wife). The account for Rachel’s estate was not filed until February 1848, by the administrator Franklin Vansant. It showed a total of $550.00, the amount that Scott had paid for the land, as her only asset. She must have lived on the yearly payments Scott made to her.
Mary, b. about 1795, m. William Tomlinson, son of John Tomlinson and Sarah Worthington, in 1824.16 They were married by the justice Benjamin Crispin. In 1850 they were living in Bensalem with their children Sarah, age 19, Mary, 17, and John Comly, 14. William was working as a mason.17 George Randall, age 42, an “idiot” was also living with them, probably a younger brother of Mary’s. They were next door to John Tomlinson, his father, and close to Vansant relatives. In 1860 W. W. Tomlinson was living in Bensalem, working as a day laborer, with daughters Sarah and Mary, but his wife was gone.18 Note that William was a mason, like his brother-in-law Hazel Scott. Children: Sarah, Mary, John C.
Grace, b. about 1797, d. 1892, did not marry, lived with relatives. In 1860 she was living with two widowed sisters, Ann Rutherford and Elizabeth Mood, in Oakford, Southampton, adjoining Bensalem.19 In 1870 she was living with Rachel and Evan Groom, described as a servant.20 In 1880 she was living with Thomas and Rachel Yerkes; Rachel Scott Yerkes was a daughter of Sarah Scott and therefore Grace’s niece. Grace died in 1892 and was buried at William Penn Cemetery.21
Rachel, b. March 1, 1799, d. Aug 4, 1871, m. Evan Groom about 1815. He was the son of John Groom and Phoebe Cooper. Like Rachel, Evan was descended from Quaker families but was no longer a Quaker himself. They lived in Southampton and raised a family of nine children. Evan served in the militia as a young man and was elected to the state legislature to represent Bucks County. In 1860 Evan’s farm in Southampton was valued at $20,000.22 Rachel died in 1871; Evan died in 1872; they are buried together at William Penn Cemetery.23 Children: Lydia Ann, Warren, Owen, Emaline, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Dr Evan J, Franklin, Ellen.
Elizabeth, b. 1800, d. 1892, married Jesse Mood about 1823. He was a farmer. In 1850 they were living in Southampton, next door to their nephew Warren Groom and his wife Rachel. Jesse died in 1852, and left a will.24 They apparently had no surviving children. In 1860 Elizabeth was living with her two widowed sisters, Grace and Ann, along with two children of Ann’s, Emily and George Rutherford.25 In 1860 Elizabeth and Grace were taxed for a piece of land in Southampton.26 In 1870 Elizabeth was still living with Ann, both living with William Rutherford, a stone mason (another son of Ann).27 In 1880 Elizabeth was living on the Bustleton Pike, Philadelphia County, boarding with Edward and Elizabeth Tomlinson.28 Elizabeth died in 1892 and is buried at William Penn Cemetery.29
Esther, b. 1803, d. 1886, married Joseph Vansant. They were living in Southampton in 1850 with daughters Hannah and Amanda.30 Their nephew William Rutherford, age 9, was living with them. Joseph was a farmer. They were still there from 1860 through 1880.31 In 1870 Joseph was listed as a carpenter. In 1880 they were living with Hannah and Joseph Reyser, probably a granddaughter and her husband. Joseph died in 1882 of “debility”; Esther died in January, 1886. They are buried together at William Penn Cemetery.32 Children:33 Hannah, Amanda, Silas.
Sarah, b. 1805, d. 1888, m. Hazel Scott in 1827. They were married by Isaac Hicks, Justice of the Peace. They were living in Southampton in 1850, where he was a stone mason. Scott is supposed to have done the mason work on the high school in Langhorne with his brother-in-law Evan Groom.34 In 1860 Sarah and Hazel were still in Southampton with some of their children. Hazel was listed as a farmer. Hazel died in 1869 of consumption. By then he was working as a storekeeper.35 The inventory of his estate was taken in July 1869; it showed a horse and wagon, a few household goods not taken by the widow, and other sundries. The balance of his estate was doubtful store bills (might not be recovered) of $176 and the fixtures and goods of the store of $499.36 In 1870 Sarah was living in Southampton with her son George and his wife Louisa. George was listed as a broom manufacturer; maybe he made the brooms that Hazel (and George’s cousin Benjamin Worthington) sold in their store.37 In 1880 she was still in Southampton, boarding with Rachel and Thomas Yerkes, her daughter and son-in-law.38 Her sister Grace was boarding there too. Sarah died in 1888 of pneumonia; she is buried at William Penn with Hazel.39 Children of Hazel and Sarah: Randall, Eveline, Elizabeth, Rachel, Mary Ellen, George40
George, b. about 1808, named in the list of heirs in 1842, no further record. Is he the George Randall, age 42, described as an “idiot”, living with Mary and William Tomlinson in 1850?
Ann, b. ab. 1815, m. Alexander Rutherford. Alexander was named in the list of heirs in 1842 but was probably dead by 1850. By 1860 Ann was widowed, living in Southampton with her widowed sister Elizabeth Mood. In 1870 Ann and Elizabeth were living with Ann’s son William, a stone mason.41 Ann died in 1892, at the age of 78, and was buried at William Penn Cemetery.42 Known children: William, Emily George.43
- Normally a man having children born between 1795 and 1815 would be born about 1765 to 1770, marrying around 25 to 30. There is no George in the known Randall family tree born in that time. The only known candidate, as opposed to hypothetical people, is the George, son of John Randall and Elizabeth Shaw, born about 1752. However, he was probably a generation too old to fit here. He may have married Sarah Brooks in 1774 at the Southampton Baptist Church; there are no records of children for George and Sarah. If George does fit into the known Randall family, it is probably as a descendant of George Randall, son of Nicholas and Elizabeth, who married Elizabeth Doane, and married second Mary Comly Harding.With Elizabeth, he had a son John who married Elizabeth Shaw and had a son George, who is probably too old to be the Bensalem man. With Mary, George had two sons: Jacob and George. Little is known of Jacob and George. They each could have had a son George born around 1770. More research will be needed to settle this question, and there may not be any conclusive records. ↩
- Rachel Briggs was twice widowed. Born Rachel Walton, she first married William Groom Jr, who died in 1760. The next year she married Edmund Briggs and was disowned by Abington Meeting for the marriage. ↩
- Bucks County Tax Records 1782-1860, on Ancestry. ↩
- Bucks County tax list 1799, on Ancestry, Image 10. ↩
- 1800 census, Bucks County, Bensalem; 1810 census, Bucks County, Bensalem. The numbers and ages of people in the family for 1800 require Elizabeth to be born very soon after the birth of her sister Rachel, and the numbers for 1810 are missing one daughter and include an extra son. It is difficult to interpret these numbers, except to say that George was definitely living in Bensalem at the time and having a family of (mostly) daughters. ↩
- 1850 census, when a George Randall, age 42, an “idiot”, was living with Mary Randall and her husband William Tomlinson. ↩
- He was in the census of 1810, but not in the list of heirs when George and Rachel died. ↩
- Bucks County deeds, book 68, p. 374. ↩
- She died on April 15, 1841. (Bucks County Orphans Court record, April 1842, File #5401, on Ancestry, Image 500-01) George died in 1836 or 1837, according to Orphans Court documents. ↩
- Bucks County Orphans Court records, Vol. 10, p. 246, File #5754 (on Ancestry, Image 416) ↩
- Bucks County Orphans Court records, Vol. 10, page 285, File #5254 (on Ancestry, Image 438) ↩
- Bucks County Estate File #7618. ↩
- Bucks County Estate File #7618, Orphans Court File #5256 [sic ↩
- Bucks County Orphans Court records, File #5401. The 8¾ acres had been conveyed to her in 1810 by the intermediary Ezra Townsend of Bensalem. (Bucks County deeds, Book 68, p. 374). ↩
- These children were named as children of Rachel in an Orphans Court record, when Hazel Scott, the administrator of Rachel’s estate, communicated a rule of the court to his sisters and brothers-in-law. ↩
- Sarah was a daughter of Joseph Worthington and Esther Carver, and a granddaughter of John Worthington and Mary Walmsley, the immigrants. ↩
- 1850 census, Bucks County, Bensalem, Image 7. ↩
- A James Carter, age 32 was living there with two young children; was he a widowed son-in-law?. 1860 census, Bucks County, Bensalem, Image 6. ↩
- 1860 census, Bucks County, Southampton, Image 35. Grace’s name was written as Grace Rutherford and her sister Ann as Ann Randall. A user-submitted correction, with which I agree, notes that Grace was actually Grace Randall, “single sister of Ann Randall Rutherford”. ↩
- 1850 census, Bucks County, Southampton, Image 1 ↩
- Pennsylvania Town and Church Records on Ancestry. Grace is not listed in the database of William Penn burials on the USGWArchives. ↩
- 1850 census, Bucks County, Southampton, Image 1. ↩
- They are buried in Plot C97, along with their son Owen and his wife Rachel. Their son Warren also married a woman named Rachel, but she is buried in plot H122. Burials at William Penn Cemetery, Philadelphia, on USGWArchives.net for Philadelphia County. ↩
- Bucks County wills, #9164. He named his wife but no children. ↩
- 1860 census, Southampton, Bucks County, Image 35. ↩
- Bucks County tax records 1782-1860, Southampton, on Ancestry, Image 16. ↩
- 1870 census, Southampton, Image 35, indexed as Wood. ↩
- 1880 census, Philadelphia County, District 461, Image 8. ↩
- William Penn Cemetery records on USGWArchives. Her age was given as 92, and the cause of death as old age. She was buried in plot E56, in the same plot as Randall Scott, son of George and Louisa Scott. Hazel and Sarah Scott were in the adjoining plot E57. ↩
- 1850 census, Bensalem, Image 1. ↩
- 1860 census, Bensalem; 1870 census, Bensalem, Image 61 (indexed as Bedminster); 1880 census Bensalem, Image 8. ↩
- William Penn Cemetery records on USGWArchives. They are in plot E27, with their son Silas and his wife Mary. Silas and Mary lived nearby on the boundary of Bensalem and Southampton. ↩
- There may be other children as well. ↩
- The Langhorne high school reference is from Davis, History of Bucks County. ↩
- He was buried in plot E57 at William Penn Cemetery; the record listed him as a storekeeper in Bucks County. ↩
- Estate file of Hazel Scott, Bucks County Courthouse. ↩
- 1870 census, Southampton, Image 35. ↩
- 1880 census, Southampton, Image 15. ↩
- William Penn cemetery records. ↩
- Randall might be the Randall Scott who died in Somerton in 1898 (Phila. County Death Certificates). Elizabeth married a Tomlinson and died in 1914. George married a woman named Louisa. ↩
- 1870 census, Southampton, Image 35. ↩
- William Penn Cemetery records. She is in plot D56. Alexander is not there. ↩
- There may be other children. These are from census records. ↩