Last week, we laid out the Cliff Notes version of the William and Roswell Randall tale of two brothers from Connecticut who then migrated to Madison County, and then came to Cortland in about 1812, but even that brief account was so long we could not get to the naming of William, Randall, and Huntington Streets. There is plenty more that could be told about William and Roswell Randall and their children, but right now, we are interested in William’s only child to marry: Antoinette. Daughter Antoinette married a man from Utica by the name of Edward Huntington, and she moved to that area to raise her family. Her father William passed away unexpectedly in 1850. Surely the family was devastated at the loss. It is said that Betsy Randall sent for plaster artist Edward Chase Clute to make a bust of her husband because she had no other likeness of him and was quite distraught.
When I first began researching these three streets, I knew the name Huntington was affiliated with the Randall family, though I wasn’t sure how I knew that. Evidently, I’d seen it somewhere in my travels through the stacks at CCHS and it had stuck in my head. I thought William and Randall Streets were named for the original William, that just made sense. However, in two different places, I found notes that William, Randall, and Huntington were named for William Randall Huntington. At the beginning of my search, I could find nothing on this man, though I knew he had to be a relative, and that it must be how the Huntingtons and Randalls came together. After a long search through several files, I finally found that this gentleman was a child of Antoinette Randall, and he was the first child born to Antoinette and Edward Huntington after the loss of her father. They had other children by the time W.R. Huntington was born in 1854, but it appears he was named to honor his deceased grandfather, William Randall. (You may have noticed that this family is heavy on the name William! We have William Randall who came here with his brother Roswell, then we have Roswell’s son William Pendleton Randall as well as William’s son William Randolph Randall, and now we have a grandson named William Randall Huntington. There are probably more, but I did need to wrap this story up at some point )
William Randall Huntington does not appear to have ever lived in Cortland, but he did have friends here in addition to his cousins and other relatives. He was born in Rome and lived in that area his whole life. Huntington was educated at public schools and attended Yale. He never married and died at 52 years of age. Many friends and family from the Cortland area attended his funeral. He is buried in Rome.
William Randall Huntington was just a baby when the 1855 map of Cortland was published, but his names are clearly shown on three streets in the section of the city that had come to be known as Randall Flats. In 1888, none of the streets or lots are shown in this large tract of land, only William Randall, Est. That probably has more to do with the family not parting with property than the plans changing for the streets and lots that had been laid out decades before.
There is so much more to share about the Randall family and how they shaped Cortland! They came to this area early, created successful businesses, helped to build the foundations of our city, and they became influential and affluent. They certainly left a mark here.
If you are intrigued and want to learn more about the Randall family, please make some time to include a visit to the Suggett House Museum. We will regale you with tales of the Randall family and you will see the gorgeous piano from the William Randall home! Hope to see you soon! ~Tabitha