From Edmund Randolph
Spencer’s [Germantown, Pa.] October 22. 1793.
On my return from Lancaster, I found, that Major Franks had agreed to let you have his house. But the terms are excessive; being no less than 150£ per annum, or for a shorter period, not under six months, at the same rate. Except a looking-glass or two, and a few pictures, he will not suffer any of the furniture to remain; tho’ I have prevailed upon his agent to permit a couple of beds and some chairs and tables to continue, until you can accommodate yourself from some other quarter. But I have made no conclusive bargain; leaving this and the other house, which I mentioned in my last letter, and adjoins the school-house lot, free for your choice.1 Dr Bensel declines renting his house.2
The best road from the main Baltimore road to German Town is from Darby to the black-horse at the seven mile stone, on the Lancaster road: from thence to Righter’s ferry on Skuylkill, which is about two miles from German Town.
We are flattered with a report, that the cold weather has given a stroke to the fever; but the authority, upon which it is circulated, is not conclusive with me. I have the honor, sir, to be, with the highest respect, and sincere attachment yr mo. ob. serv.
1. Randolph’s letter to GW of 14 Oct. has not been found. GW’s accounts for 22 Nov. record, “Contingt Exps. pd Wm Bringhurst, sent by Mr. Randolph express to Colo. Franks at Nazareth with a letter relative to renting his house in Germn town for the Presdt [$]15.67” (Household Accounts description begins Presidential Household Accounts, 1793–97. Manuscript, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. description ends ; see also Account Book, 2 Sept. 1793–4 April 1794, DLC:GW). The Franks house, at 5442 Germantown Avenue, is now known as the Deshler-Morris House and is preserved by the National Park Service. Isaac Franks (1759–1822) served during the Revolutionary War in the quartermaster department and as an ensign in the 7th Massachusetts Regiment. After the war, he became a broker at Philadelphia, and he became colonel of the Philadelphia County militia in 1794.
GW recorded in his account book for 26 March 1794 that he paid Franks $75.56 “in full for house rent &c. at Germantown” (Household Accounts description begins Presidential Household Accounts, 1793–97. Manuscript, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. description ends ). The house near the schoolhouse evidently was that belonging to Frederick Herman (see Randolph to GW, 28 Oct., and n.2 to that document). GW stayed there briefly before he took up residence at Franks’s house.
2. Randolph most likely was referring to Dr. Charles Bensell (1725–1795), whose house was at the corner of Germantown Avenue and School House Lane.