John Randel, Jr., (1787-1865), a surveyor and engineer completed a full survey of Manhattan Island and took part in a number of important engineering projects during his lifetime. Renowned for his inventiveness, the C & D Canal Company hired him to oversee the building of the C & D Canal in 1823 but dismissed him four years later. As a result he won a $226,855 breach of contract suit, a large sum in the 1830s and he lived out the remainder of his life at Randelia, his large Cecil County estate.
This unique man is the subject of a biography by Professor Marguerite Holloway, the director of science and environmental journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. The Historical Society was pleased to help the author research the Cecil County angle in “The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel, Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, and Inventor.” We will add this title to our collection.