Robert FitzRandolph

Ancestor #: A040289
Service: PENNSYLVANIA Rank: PRIVATE, NORTHUMBERLAND CO
NEW JERSEY Rank: PRIVATE, MIDDLESEX CO MILITIA
Birth: 14 December 1741, WOODBRIDGE, MIDDLESEX, NEW JERSEY
Death: 16 July 1830, MEADVILLE, CRAWFORD, PENNSYLVANIA
Service Source: OFFICIAL REGISTER OF THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF NJ IN THE REVOLUTION WAR BY WILLIAM S. STRYKER, P. 729. PIONEERS OF CRAWFORD CO., PA, 1788-1800, CRAWFORD CO. HISTORICAL SOCIETY (PA ARCHIVES 3RD SERIES, VOL. 19, PG. 444.
Service Description: JOINED COL. WILLIAM COOK’S REGIMENT IN NORTHUMBERLAND CO., PA AND FOUGHT IN THE BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN, 3 OCT 1777. MOVED HIS FAMILY TO NEW JERSEY AND EVENTUALLY JOINED THE MIDDLESEX COUNTY MILITIA AND SERVED UNTIL THE END OF THE WAR.

Much has been written about the beginnings of the FitzRandolphs. In a nutshell, the family descended from a Norman line who accompanied William the Conqueror in 1066. They became prominent landowners in Yorkshire, England. Eventually, the original immigrant to America, Edward FitzRandolph, came over in 1630 on the Winthrop Fleet, a group of 11 vessels, and settled in Scituate, Massachusetts. They moved to Barnstable and eventually (1669) settled in Piscataway, New Jersey. He came to America alone. His father died before 27 Oct 1647 in Kneesall, Notinghamshire, England. In his will, he left his son, Edward, 10 pounds “if he cum to demand it.” Another member of the family (Nathaniel) was instrumental in establishing Princeton University, in 1753 when he gave “four acres and a half of land to set the college on.” In 1676, the FitzRandolphs were established at what became the Village of Randolphville, NJ.

Robert, the Patriot, and others from the family eventually settled in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in Meadville. Robert died at his farm south of Meadville at the age of 89 years. The following comes from “The History of Crawford County,” 1885. It is not quoted as I reworded a little of it:

He married, Sarah Taylor, when he was quite young [abt. 1767] and in 1771 moved with his family to Northampton, (now Lehigh County, PA) and in 1773 he moved to Northumberland County, in the western frontier of the State. In 1776, the Indians swooped down upon the settlers of that locality, killing many and driving the balance from their homes. He then fled with his family to Berks County, PA. The following year he returned to his deserted home, and soon after joined Col. William Crook’s regiment and fought in the battle of Germantown on October 3, 1777. He served only a brief period when he was discharged and returned to his home on the Susquehanna River. Another raid was made upon the settlement by the cruel and unrelenting savages, who murdered and pillaged along the whole frontier. Finding no prospect of peace or safety for his family, he went back to his native state where they would at least be secure from the errors of the scalping-knife. He then re-entered the war, joining the Middlesex, NJ militia as a Private and served until the close of the war. He also fought in the battle of Brandywine. Upon the dawn of a glorious peace, in 1783, Mr. FitzRandolph returned to Northumberland County, PA and settled on Shamokin Creek, where he resided until 1789, when he came with his family to the valley of French Creek, arriving at the site of Meadville (PA) on the 6th of July. His son, James, (Robert and Sarah had eight children) was one of the nine who came in 1788, and upon the land selected by James, some two miles south of the site of Meadville, in what is now Mead Township, his father settled and resided until his death.

When Robert was in his seventy-second year, the War of 1812 broke out, on the first call for volunteers he started out for Erie, with four of his sons and two grandsons to offer his services to his country. Upon arriving, he was persuaded by some friends to return home, nevertheless the prompt action demonstrates the fiery patriotism with which this old pioneer was imbued. They also stated that he “was a man who mingled little in the controversies and cares of public life. He cultivated by precept, as well as by example peace on earth and good will toward men. The friend who visited his home was sure to receive a cordial welcome, while the stranger or unfortunate were never sent away empty-handed. Old and full of days he went down to the grave without leaving behind him a single enemy.” Robert FitzRandolph is the patriot of Janet Buchanan.