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Randall, Rufus Soule, Captain (1830-1888) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Randall, Rufus Soule, Captain (1830-1888)

Historical Note:

Captain Rufus Soule Randall was born on October 3, 1830 in Freeport, Maine to Robert J. Randall and Lydia Mitchell. In 1840, the father (Robert J. Randall, a sea captain) was drowned at sea after he was washed overboard from the Cairo (Ship) on a voyage from Havana to Mobile. The Randalls were left nearly poverty-stricken after the loss of their father. Family and friends built a small house for them after Grandfather Robert Randall gave them some land on the Upper Mast Landing Road in Freeport.

Captain Rufus Randall married Ann Starkey Townsend (b. 1842, daughter of Earle Townsend and Sarah Holt) on January 11, 1872 in Portland, Maine.  They had children, Caroline Luce (b. 1874), Rufus Starkey (b. 1875), Robert Earle (b. 1877), Thomas Cummings (b. 1878), John Briggs (b. 1880), Russell Lewis (b. 1881), Neal Dow (b. 1884) and Helen Keazer (b. 1886). Captain Randall, wife and children lived at sea from 1872 to March 1877. Caroline Luce was born aboard the Oasis (Bark) while in port in Bristol, England.  Rufus Starkey was born in Rio de Janeiro on the same vessel.  John Briggs was born at sea on the John A. Briggs (Ship).

Captain Randall voyaged on the Nathan Nye (Sloop) as a cook and “roustabout” boy in the summers of 1841 to 1844 for shipmasters Robert Soule, Daniel Grant, and Rufus C. Soule. He was hired as a cook and general boy aboard the Martha Ann (Schooner) by Captain Charles Lambert at 15. Captain Randall worked on the Harriet Rogers (Schooner), James Calder (Ship), Avola (Bark), Madonna (Bark), Eliza (Brig), Empire (Bark), Forest State (Ship) and Lady Suffolk (Bark) among others as a cook, general boy, second mate or chief mate. He was second mate at twenty on the Forest State (Ship) under Captain Pollister. At 25, he was promoted to Master aboard the New Empire (Bark).  In 1857, he was shipmaster of the New Empire (Bark). Captain Randall also commanded the John A. Briggs (Ship), Oasis (Bark), Windward (Bark), Acacia (Bark), Ella and Annie (Bark), Annie W. Goddard (Brig) and Gertrude (Bark).  He became a well-known Freeport captain. Moreover, he was part owner of the Oasis (Bark), Acacia (Bark) and John A. Briggs (Ship).

He commanded the Oasis (Bark) from 1871 to 1879. The John A. Briggs (Ship) with Captain Randall as shipmaster was the largest vessel ever launched in Freeport in 1878. On September 25, 1878 Captain Randall, wife and three children sailed on the John A. Briggs (Ship) to Philadelphia and then on to Germany. In 1881, he began to spend more time ashore at his home in Freeport with an interest in farming. From 1882-1884, Captain Randall sporadically voyaged to Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey to care for the Oasis (Bark) and John A. Briggs (Ship).

Randall retired as a sea captain after a final voyage, 1885 to 1886, on the John A. Briggs (Ship). He lived the rest of his life in Freeport with his family.  Captain Randall died on May 6, 1888 in Freeport, Maine. His wife died on March 19, 1918 in Melrose, Massachusetts.


1. “Historic House Series, No.7: Captain Rufus Soule Randall Homestead, 186 Main Street.” TheDash (Winter 2007): 4-5.

2.  http://wcrootsweb.ancestry.com. 10 February 2012 and 27 February 2012.

3.  Randall, Rufus S. “A Seaman’s Own Story: Rufus S. Randall, 1830-1888.” Maine Maritime Museum Research Library, VK140.R35A3.

4. Thurston, Florence G. and Harmon S. Cross. Three Centuries of Freeport Maine. Freeport, Maine: 1940.

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