Randolph family of Virginia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Randolph family is a prominent Virginia political family, whose members contributed to the politics of Colonial Virginia and Virginia after it gained its statehood. They are descended from the Randolphs of Morton Morrell, Warwickshire, England. The first Randolph to come to America was Henry Randolph in 1643.[1] His nephew, William Randolph later came to Virginia as an orphan in 1669. He made his home at Turkey Island along the James River. Because of their numerous progeny, William Randolph and his wife, Mary Isham Randolph, have been referred to as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia."


Colonial Virginia[edit]

William Randolph was a Virginia Burgess for Henrico County and later Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses. He was a founding trustee of The College of William and Mary.

Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe and William Randolph II, sons of William Randolph, were Virginia Burgesses for Henrico County in 1720 and 1722.[2]

Sir John Randolph, son of William Randolph, was a Speaker of the House of Burgesses, and later Deputy Attorney General for Charles City County, Prince George County, and Henrico County.[3]

Revolutionary War era[edit]

Peyton Randolph, son of Sir John Randolph, was a speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, chairman of the Virginia Conventions, and the first President of the Continental Congress.[4][5]

Beverley Randolph, grandson of William Randolph, was a Virginia Delegate for Henrico County from 1777-1780 and the 8th Governor of Virginia, the first after the US Constitution was ratified..[6]

Edmund Randolph, grandson of Sir John Randolph, was an aid-de-camp to George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. He was afterward seventh Governor of Virginia, the second Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General.

Thomas Jefferson, great-grandson of William Randolph, was a Virginia Burgess for Albemarle County and the principle author of the Declaration of Independence. At the beginning of the American Revolution he was a delegate to the Continental Congress for Virginia, also serving as a wartime Governor of Virginia. Just after the war ended, from mid-1784 Jefferson served as a diplomat to Paris and became the United States Minister to France. He was the first United States Secretary of State (1790–1793) serving under President George Washington. He was the 2nd Vice President, under John Adams, and 3rd President of the United States, during which he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase, leading the United States to double in size during his presidency. In later years he founded the University of Virginia.

John Marshall, great-grandson of Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe, was the 4th Chief Justice of the United States. His court opinions helped lay the basis for United States constitutional law and made the Supreme Court of the United States a coequal branch of government along with the legislative and executive branches. Previously, he had been a leader of the Federalist Party in Virginia and served as a US Representative. He was Secretary of State under President John Adams from 1800-1801.[7]

"Light Horse Harry" Lee, great-grandson of William Randolph was an early American patriot who served as the ninth Governor of Virginia and as the Virginia Representative to the United States Congress. During the American Revolution, Lee served as a cavalry officer in the Continental Army.[8][9]

Antebellum era[edit]

Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., 2nd great grandson of William Randolph, was a member of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly, a Representative in the U.S. Congress, and as the 21st Governor of Virginia, from 1819-1822.

Civil War era[edit]

Robert E. Lee, 2nd great grandson of William Randolph, was an American career military officer best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War. In postbellum years he was president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee University).

George W. Randolph, 3rd great grandson of William Randolph, was a general officer in the American Civil War and a Confederate States Secretary of War. He was most well known for his strengthening the Confederacy's western and southern defenses, but came into conflict with Confederate President Jefferson Davis over this.[10]

Historic homes[edit]

Historic homes associated with the family include Tuckahoe Plantation in Goochland County, the Peyton Randolph House in Williamsburg, the Wilton House Museum and the John Marshall House in Richmond, Monticello near Charlottesville, Stratford Hall in Westmoreland, and Brandon Plantation in Prince George.

Freed slaves[edit]

Randolphs who freed slaves and fought Virginia's growing dependence on the "peculiar institution" in the early Republic are less known, but include Richard Randolph of Bizarre and Anne Cary Randolph Morris, who later married founding father (and anti-slavery advocate) Gouverneur Morris of New York)[11] Jacob Randolph of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, freed 13 slaves in 1783.[12] John Randolph of Roanoke freed nearly 400 slaves in his will, admitted to probate in 1833 and upheld more than a decade later.[13][14][15]

Other connections[edit]

Members of the Randolph family also intermarried with other prominent Virginia families, including the Blands, Byrds, Carters, Beverleys, Fitzhughs, and Harrisons. Native American princess Pocahontas was directly related to members of the Randolph family through marriages of Robert Bolling's two granddaughters, Lucille and Jane Bolling. Some evidence suggests[citation needed] that the famous legendary hero, BGray Randolph, and famous American frontiersman, politician and hero Davy Crockett were in fact of Randolph descent. Actor Lee Marvin and actress and producer Kimberley Kates are also Randolph descendants, in her case through her paternal grandmother.

Today, many Randolph descendants continue the family's political tradition in the United States.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Randolph, Grady Lee (1990). The Randolph's of Virginia. Atlanta, GA: G.L. Randolph. 
  2. ^ Sorley, Merrow Egerton (2000) [1935]. "Chapter 33: Families Related to the Lewis Family". Lewis of Warner Hall: The History of a Family. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 832. ISBN 9780806308319. 
  3. ^ "Sir John Randolph". Williamsburg, Virginia: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  4. ^ New York Times
  5. ^ New York Times
  6. ^ Randolph, Robert Isham (1936). The Randolphs of Virginia: A Compilation of the Descendants of William Randolph of Turkey Island and His Wife Mary Isham Of Bermuda Hundred (PDF). 
  7. ^ "Federal Judicial Center: John Marshall". 2009-12-12. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  8. ^ In the military parlance of the time, the term "Light-horse" had a hyphen between the two words "light" and "horse". See the title page of "The Discipline of the Light-Horse" by Captain Robert Hinde of the Royal Regiment of Foresters (Light-Dragoons) published in London in 1778.
  9. ^ Hinde, Captain Robert (1778), Discipline of the Light-Horse, London: W.Owen, retrieved 20 August 2010 
  10. ^ Goldberg, David E. "George Wythe Randolph (1818–1867).", Encyclopedia Virginia, Ed. Brendan Wolfe. 6 Apr. 2011. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, accessed 6 April 2011
  11. ^ http://www.humanitiesweb.org/spa/slc/ID/1374/o/blank
  12. ^ http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/virginiafreeafter1782.htm
  13. ^ http://www.goldenrule4everyone.com/library/american-negro-slavery/xxi-free-negroes-part-1/
  14. ^ F.N. Watkins, "The Randolph Emancipated Slaves," DeBow's Review, XXIV, 285-290
  15. ^ http://www.shelbycountyhistory.org/schs/blackhistory/randolphsohio.htm