Maplewood History: Jeremiah Warder and Ann Aston – Early Rannells Family History


If you are a follower of this space you will already know that three of my last four posts have been about Woodside, Maplewood’s oldest home and the Rannells family that built it and occupied it for 70+ years.  If you don’t know this you can find out by examining the following links.

In this post, I’m displaying some material generously sent by a descendant of the Rannells family, Ms. Rachel Potter.  These images are of exceedingly rare and early items that we are very fortunate to have a look at.

To help you orient yourself, I’ll start with a Rannells family tree that was provided to me by Elise Todd.

In 2017, I received a number of very interesting emails from Ms. Potter.  To these she attached images of paintings, photographs and even pages from Ann Aston’s will.  I will excerpt them here in the order received.  The first arrived on January the 23rd.

I had written somewhere in an earlier post that there may have been a family home in England that was named Woodside.  I no longer remember the source of that information but Ms. Potter believes that it is incorrect.  The next email arrived on January the 27th.

Then on April 16:

And on the 17th:

Jeremiah Warder by Rembrandt Peale. Courtesy of Sam Thoron Paintings Collection
Ann Aston by Rembrandt Peale.
Ann Aston by de Franca.
Am I getting lazy or what? I could have done the same for Rembrandt Peale, I guess, but you’ll have to look him up yourself.
I’m guessing that this was Mary Warder Rannells’ sister. If you take a look at the portrait of Mary in the first link, I think that these were both done by the same artist at about the same time.
Ms. Potter found this image of Ann Aston Warder on the web.
The Aston silver that she mentions.
John Warder Rannells, son of Charles and Mary, brother of Edward. He was Ms. Potter’s great-grandfather who drowned when her grandfather was 10. She added the word “beloved”.

He must have drowned about 1911. Beloved is not a bad way to be remembered when you’ve been dead over 100 years.  Let’s hope someone will feel the same way about us.

Rachel also sent four pages of Ann Aston’s will.  They are handwritten, of course.  Deciphering them is a chore I probably won’t tackle.  If you’d like to just say so and I’ll forward them to you.

As always, I appreciate your interest and support.

Doug Houser       August 30, 2021



  1. Ann’s great grandson, my grandfather, John Paul Rannells (1901-1999) wrote: “The two portraits of Greatgrandmother Warder, done 30 years apart, show remarkable growth of character – from not-quite mature society bride to forceful pioneer matriarch.” A comment I cherish.

    • Definitely. We are very lucky to have his memoir that contains so much valuable information some of which you have quoted in the comments sections of this and other related posts. Much thanks for that.

  2. Thank you so much, Doug! A few additional comments:

    The tree you have was created by John Paul Rannells (1901-1997) my grandfather.

    I would like to find out more about Ann’s uncle’s house, Woodside, I believe in Germantown, possibly in Fairmount or Wissahickon Park. One of their son’s (John Aston Rannells) obits includes some interesting comments about his parents hosting John James Audubon and other influential naturalists at their Philadelphia home when he was a youth. Re: Springfield Ohio Woodside: I have since seen the photo I referred to as being owned by someone else at the same time, so I question if the photo I have is of Ann and Jeremiah’s house.

    Yes, the deFranca portrait of Elizabeth is Mary’s older sister. Are the portraits of Mary and Charles deFranca also, or are you surmising? Fascinating history about deFranca. We knew he was from Portugal, but not that he was sentenced to death! I am looking forward to sharing it with my mother, since the portrait was in her family all of her life.

    As I understand, the portraits are “attributed” to Rembrandt Peale, son of Charles Wilson Peale ( , not signed by him. A correction, they are in the possession of Ann and Jeremiah descendant Christopher Hale.
    The deFranca portrait of Ann is owned by Molly Rannells. lI have lots more info about the family on my public Ancestry Tree that subscribers ca n view at:

  3. I will try to decipher them for you. I write a blog about my ancestors so have a little bit of experience with old documents.

Comments are closed.