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Robert Richard Randall

RANDALL, Robert Richard, philanthropist, born in New Jersey about 1740; died in New York city, 5 June, 1801. He was a son of Thomas Randall, who was one of the committee of 100 chosen to control the affairs of the city of New York in 1775. In early life Robert appears to have followed the sea, and he became a merchant and shipmaster, in consequence of which he is generally styled captain. Captain Randall became a member in 1771 of the Marine society of New York for the relief of indigent and distressed masters of vessels, their widows and orphan children, and in 1780 was elected a member of the chamber of commerce. In 1790 he purchased from Baron Poelnitz the property known as the Minto farm, or Minthorne, consisting of snore than twenty-one acres of land in what is now the 15th ward of New York city, the southern boundary of which was then the upper end of Broadway. This, together with four lots in the 1st ward of New York, and stocks valued at $10,000, he bequeathed to found the home called the Sailors' Snug Harbor, "for the purpose of maintaining aged, decrepit, and worn-out sailors." It was his intention to have the home erected on the family estate, but, in consequence of suits by alleged heirs, the control of the property was slot absolutely obtained until 1831. Meanwhile the growth of the city made it more advantageous to rent the farm and purchase a site elsewhere, and 130 acres were bought on Staten island near New Brighton. In October, 1831, the corner-stone was laid, and the dedication ceremonies took place two years later. In 1834 Captain Randall's remains were removed to Staten island, and in 1884 a heroic statue of him, in bronze, by Augustus St. Gaudens, was unveiled, with appropriate ceremonies, on the lawn adjoining the buildings. At present (1888) the property has increased by purchase to 180 acres, on which there are eight large dormitory buildings capable of accommodating 1,000 men, besides numerous other buildings, thirty-eight in all, including a hospital, church, and residences for the officers.

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