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Hofstra University Library Special Collections

The Raynor Family Collection

The Raynor family settled on Long Island in the 1640s in the Hempstead area. They later established themselves in a place that came to be named after them, Raynortown, which is present-day Freeport.

Benjamin Raynor Sr. was born in Raynortown in 1732. He and his first wife, Mary Lester, had eight children. These were: Benjamin Jr., Margaret, Martha, Ezekiel, Lester, Mary, Menzies and Mordecai. Benjamin Raynor Sr. died in 1810. His son, Benjamin Raynor Jr., was born in 1754 and married Hannah Bedell in 1800. They had six children: William Bedell, Lydia, Asenath, Sarah Ann, Benjamin and Daniel. Benjamin Jr. died in 1822.

His son, William B. Raynor (1801-1867), was a schoolteacher and taught in different districts in the Hempstead vicinity. Members of the Raynor family were some of the earliest followers of Methodism on Long Island, and William B. Raynor was very active in the founding of the Freeport Methodist Church. He was married to Mary Ann Valentine and had two children, Elizabeth and John Fletcher. John Fletcher Raynor (1838-1911) and Anna Aramilia Rhodes had five children, Ella, William B., Daniel Nelson, Vivian, and John Fletcher Jr. They lived in Freeport and later moved to Huntington.

Daniel Nelson Raynor (1877-1978) worked in the newspaper business. He was on the editorial staff of the Johnstown Democrat of Pennsylvania; editor of the Roslyn News; Long Island editor for the Brooklyn Daily Times; managing editor and city historian of the Port Jervis Union-Gazette; and editor of the Pike County Dispatch. He was also active in the Independent Order of Good Templars. He married Ethel Van Sise and had two children, Gerald Van Sise and Marjorie.

The Raynor Collection is composed of five series: Benjamin Raynor Sr.; Benjamin Raynor Jr.; William B. Raynor; Daniel Nelson Raynor; and the Raynor family. Benjamin Raynor Sr. includes his Last Will and Testament and probate (1805; 1810), legal documents and indentures (1761-1804). Benjamin Raynor Jr. includes items such as his Last Will and Testament and probate (1822-1823), legal documents and indentures (1762-1822). William B. Raynor includes his Last Will and Testament and probate (1867), teaching certifications and records (1845-1854), school attendance sheets (1843-1854), tuition and other accounts (1842-1864), and school district-related material (1843-1845). Daniel Nelson Raynor includes letters (1909-1977), written works and editorials (1935-1958) mainly from his newspaper work on the Port Jervis Union-Gazette, certificates from the Independent Order of Good Templars (1902-1904), news clippings and collected material (1922-1960). There is also a letter from Westbrook Pegler (1956) and an autographed note from the pilot, Dick Merrill. The Raynor family has items such as personal and other news clippings (1929-1991) and collected material (1700s-1981), including a U.S. Senate pass from 1936.

Last Will and Testament of Benjamin Raynor Sr., April 25, 1805

Class attendance sheet of William B. Raynor, March 4, 1844

Daniel Nelson Raynor's "Hayseed" newspaper column, Port Jervis Union Gazette, March 28, 1957

Report card of Daniel Nelson Raynor, Huntington Union School, n.d.

Letter from Westbrook Pegler to Daniel Nelson Raynor, 1956

Will from Benjamin Raynor Jr., May 30, 1822

Inventory of William B. Raynor, December 17, 1868

Newspaper clipping about Raynor Family, 1977