Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Obituaries of William B. Randall, a Notable Pelham Manor Resident, and Information About His Family and Home

William Bradley Randall and his wife, Evelyn Smith Randall, lived for many years in a home they called The Hermitage located at 1385 Park Lane on a large plot of land that extended from Park Lane through to today's Beech Tree Lane in the estate section of Pelham Manor.  After Ther Hermitage was razed in the mid-20th century, the Randalls' land was subdivided and a number of homes were built on the site that now stand between Park Lane and Beech Tree Lane near Pelham's border with Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.

William B. Randall was one of the most notable citizens of the Village of Pelham Manor in the early 20th century.  His wife, Evelyn, was a social force in the Village and was an important member of The Manor Club for much of her life until her death at the age of 94 in 1955.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes the text of a number of obituaries of William Bradley Randall, includes a photograph of The Hermitage, includes the text of a couple of wedding announcements describing the wedding of the couple's daughter at The Hermitage during World War I, and transcribes the text of a brief biography of Evelyn Randall published in 1914.

"Deceased The Late WILLIAM B. RANDALL"
MANOR DIESThe Pelham Sun, Mar. 22, 1940, 
Vol. 29, No. 51, p. 1, col. 3.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

Took an Active Interest in Development of Pelham Manor for More Than 40 Years.

William Bradley Randall, 82, former official of the Village of Pelham Manor, who was one of the pioneers of development of the residential village, died on Saturday at his home No. 15 Gramercy Park, New York City, where he had lived for the last two years.  Death followed a brief illness.  His Pelham Manor home was on Park Lane.

Mr. Randall was president of the Security Transfer and Registrar Company of No. 39 Broadway.  He had been trust officer of the Knickerbocker Trust Company from 1889 until he organized his own business in 1907.  He was also a vice-president of the Amalgamated Picohe Mines and Smelter Corporation, a director of the Bankers National Life Insurance Company, and former director of the Marine Midland Trust Company.  

Mr. Randall was born at South Lee,, Mass., the son of Abel Bradley Randall and Ann E. Ormsby Randall.  

When Mr. Randall and his family moved to Pelham Manor more than 40 years ago, there was neither water, gas, electricity or trolley service in the village.  A few weeks after his arrival here, Mr. Randall organized a committee to plan a new sewer system for the village.  Since that time, is [sic] committee, as an official, and as an individual citizen, he ccontinued his effort to make Pelham Manor an attractive residential community.  

Mr. Randall served as President of the village in 1902, and continued close association with its affairs subsequently as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Commission.  He resigned two years ago, when he took up permanent residence in New York City.

Mr. Randall was one of the founders of the Pelham Country Club and was elected a life mem-

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ber.  He served as its treasurer for 17 years.  He was also one of the founders and a life member of the Wykagyl Country Club.  He served as president of the Wykagyl Club in 1912 and 1913.  He was the founder and first president of the Hampton Roads Golf Club, a charter and life member of the National Arts Club, a member of India House in New York City Railroad Club and the Downtown Athletic Club.  

Mr. Randall also was a director of the Southern States Lumber Co., Old Point Comfort Improvement Co., and Hurricane Lodge, in the Adirondacks.

Mr. Randall served for 20 years as a director of the Mount Vernon Trust Co.  He had been president of the Security, Transfer and Register Co. of New York City, a director of the Coal & Iron National Bank, the Puritan Mortgage Co., and was a director of the Chamber of Commerce of Westchester County.

He served as president and treasurer of the old Manor Club, which preceded the present organization.  

Surviving are the widow, Mrs. Evelyn Smith Randall, a son Bradley Randall and a daughter, Mrs. Vernon Radcliffe, of Pelham Manor.

The funeral service was held on Monday afternoon at St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church, East 16th street, New York City."

Source:  WM. B. RANDALL EARLY PRESIDENT OF MANOR DIES, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 22, 1940, Vol. 29, No. 51, p. 1, col. 3 & p. 4, cols. 4-6.


The death of William Bradley Randall, removes from the list of old Pelham residents, one who had a great deal to do with the planning and development of the Pelhams as a high-class residential suburb.  He took a great deal of pride in the growth of Pelham, and was a zealous guardian of its residential interests.

From a very close friend, The Pelham Sun has received the following tribute:

'The death of our beloved fellow-townsman, William B. Randall has shocked us beyond expression.  Pelham has lost one of her great citizens, who will be sorely missed when vital questions confront the people.  His principles were interwoven with the sacred ideals of the early settlers of Pelham and these he defended strongly and stubbornly.  He was loath to follow the new communistic ideas which for a time have excited the American people.  He had a wonderful capacity for judging correctly the trend of the times, but he could never sympathize with the viewpoint of the radical socialist.

Aristocratic in his bearings, he portrayed in the highest degree the ideal of the old-time gentleman.  Yet he always exercised careful consideration for the opinions of his fellow men, weighing their judgment without bias.  He was gifted with a well-ordered mind which enabled him to decide methodically and logically the perplexing problems that were continually confronting him.  

He will remain indwelt in our memory for many years, and it is the hope of all of us that his mantle will fall upon one deserving of that distinguished honor.'"

Source:  WILLIAM BRADLEY RANDALL, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 22, 1940, Vol. 29, No. 51, p. 2, col. 1.  

The Hermitage, Home of William B. and Evelyn Randall in
Pelham Manor for Many Years.  Source:  Courtesy of The
Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham.

The Hermitage, pictured above, once stood at 1385 Park Lane in the Beech Tree Lane section of the Village of Pelham Manor.  It was, for many years, the home of William Bradley Randall, his wife (Evelyn), and their two children.  The home was the scene of the wedding of the couple's daughter, Phoebe Randall, at the height of World War I on February 12, 1918.  Below is the text of two brief announcements of the wedding.


Officers of the United States Signal Corps and several college professors attended the wedding of Miss Phoebe Randall, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Bradley Randall, to Vernon Radcliffe, who is connected with the photographic division of the aviation department of the United States Signal Corps.  The ceremony took place at the Hermitage, the country home of the bride's parents, on Park lane, Pelham Manor, N. Y.  It was performed by Rev. William L. Sullivan, pastor of All Souls' Church, Manhattan.

It was a simple military wedding, because the bridegroom expects to be called to France on short notice.  The bride's only attendant was Miss Katherine Seymour, and her brother, Bradley Randall, was best man."

Source:  SOCIAL AND PERSONAL . . . RADCLIFFE--RANDALL, The Yonkers Statesman, Feb. 13, 1918, p. 5, col. 1.  

"Wedding of Miss Phoebe Randall to Vernon Radcliffe.

An out-of-town wedding of this afternoon which has a very decided interest for Brooklyn society is that of Miss Phoebe Randall to Vernon Radcliffe, son of Mrs. James Anderson of Manhattan, formerly of 201 Lafayette avenue, Brooklyn.  Mrs. Radcliffe, who before her marriage was Miss Elizabeth Wills Vernon, comes from the old Brooklyn family of that name.  Her son was graduated from Amherst class of 1911 and is now connected with the signal work of the United States Aviation Corps.  The wedding was hurried on account of Mr. Radcliffe's orders.  Miss Randall is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Bradley Randall of Pelham Manor, N. Y.  She attended Miss Master's School at Dobbs Ferry, N. Y.  The hour of the wedding which occurred at the Hermitage, the bride's home in Pelham Manor, was 3:30, the Rev. William L. Sullivan of All Souls' Church officiating.

Miss Randall's only attendent [sic] was her maid of honor, Miss Katherine Seymour, the bride's brother Bradley Randall, acting as best man for Mr. Radcliffe.

Bride roses, palms and smilax decorated the house.  Miss Randall's gown was of rich cream brocade and duchess lace, a family heirloom.  Her veil was also of the duchest lace and she carried lillies of the valley and bride roses.  

Only relatives and intimate friends witnessed the ceremony."

Source:  Brooklyn Society:  Wedding of Miss Phoebe Randall to Vernon Radcliffe, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 12, 1918, p. 7, col. 1.  

Immediately below is the text of a brief biography of Evelyn Smith Randall published in 1914, followed by a citation and link to its source.

"RANDALL, Evelyn (Mrs. William Bradley Randall, Park Lae, Pelham Manor, N.Y.

Born N.Y. City, 1860; dau. Addison P. and Phoebe (Cargill) Smith; ed. N. Y. City public schools; m. 1888, William Bradley Randall; children:  Jerome, Bradley, Phoebe.  Mem. Mary Washington Colonial Chapter D.A.R. (cor. sec.); treas.  Pelham Summer Home for Children.  Clubs:  Tuesday Afternoon, National Arts, MacDowell, N. Y. Browning.  Recreations:  Walking, music, art, literature.  Favors woman suffrage; mem. Suffrage League of New Rochelle, N. Y."

Source:  Leonard, John William, ed., Woman's Who's Who of America - A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915, p. 671 (NY, NY:  The American Commonwealth Co., 1914).

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I have written about William Bradley Randall, his wife Evelyn Smith Randall, and their home known as The Hermitage on a number of occasions.  For examples, see:

Fri., Apr. 29, 2005:  Mr. and Mrs. William Bradley Randall And Their Pelham Home Known as The Hermitage.

Tue., Jul. 10, 2007:  An Early Event in the History of Pelhamwood.

Fri., Jul. 17, 2009:  Brief Biography of William B. Randall of Pelham Manor Published in 1900.

Thu., Oct. 23, 2014:  A Mystery:  The Club House Built by the Pelham Shore Improvement Company.

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