Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.

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Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.
Thomas Mann Randolph.jpg
Portrait of Governor Randolph
21st Governor of Virginia
In office
December 1, 1819 – December 1, 1822
Preceded by James Patton Preston
Succeeded by James Pleasants
Personal details
Born October 1, 1768
Tuckahoe Plantation, Goochland County, Virginia
Died June 20, 1828(1828-06-20) (aged 59)
Monticello, Charlottesville Virginia
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Martha Jefferson Randolph
Alma mater College of William and Mary, University of Edinburgh
Profession Planter, soldier and politician

Thomas Mann Randolph Jr. (October 1, 1768 – June 20, 1828) was a planter, soldier, and politician from Virginia. He served as 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.

He married Martha Jefferson, the oldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States. They had eleven children who survived childhood. As an adult, Randolph developed alcoholism, and he and his wife separated for some time before his death.


Early life and education[edit]

The Randolphs were among the First Families of Virginia. Born at Tuckahoe Plantation in Goochland County, Virginia, Thomas was the first son of Thomas Mann Randolph (1741–1793), William Randolph's great-grandson and Anne Cary (1745–1789), Archibald Cary's daughter. They were both of the elite planter class. Randolph was a lineal descendant of Pocahontas.

Randolph received his early education from his mother and private tutors, as was customary in many planter families. He attended the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1785-1788.

His sisters included Mary Randolph, author of The Virginia House-Wife (1824), and Virginia Randolph Cary, author of Letters on Female Character (1828).

At the end of 1790, their widower father Thomas Randolph, Sr., at the age of 50, married Gabriella Harvie, who was seventeen and the daughter of a neighboring planter. They had two children, a daughter who died in infancy, and a son they named Thomas Mann Randolph, as if "erasing his first son from his prior marriage."[1]

Marriage and family[edit]

In 1790, Randolph married Martha Washington Jefferson, daughter of Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson. They were parents to twelve children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood:

  • Anne Cary Randolph (1791–1826).
  • Thomas Jefferson Randolph (1792–1875).
  • Ellen Wayles Randolph (1794–1795).
  • Ellen Wayles Randolph (1796–1876). Named after deceased older sister.
  • Cornelia Jefferson Randolph (1799–1871).
  • Virginia Jefferson Randolph (1801–1882).
  • Mary Jefferson Randolph (1803–1876).
  • James Madison Randolph (1806–1834).
  • Benjamin Franklin Randolph (1808–1871).
  • Meriwether Lewis Randolph (1810–1837).
  • Septimia Anne Randolph (1814–1887).
  • George W. Randolph (1816–1867).

Political and military career[edit]

Randolph served in the Virginia State Senate in 1793 and 1794; and was elected as a Republican to the Eighth and Ninth US Congresses (March 4, 1803 – March 3, 1807). During the War of 1812, he was a colonel of the Twentieth Infantry.

He was elected a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, in 1819, 1820, and 1823–1825. He was elected and served as Governor of Virginia, 1819–1822. He was the first son-in-law of a Virginia Governor to be elected governor in his own right.

Randolph and his wife became estranged after he became an alcoholic, as he became violent and abusive when drinking. Martha took her children to live at Monticello with her father for extended periods of time without her husband. After Jefferson's death, Martha Randolph moved with her two youngest children to Boston to gain distance from her husband.[2]

He lived apart from his family for the next few years.[3] He and his wife were reconciled shortly before his death, and he was cared for at Monticello. Randolph died there and was interred in the Jefferson family burial ground.[3]


  1. ^ Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2008, p. 427
  2. ^ Priscilla Hart, "The Madhouse of Colonial Williamsburg: An Interview With Shomer Zwelling", History News Network, 5 October 2009, George Mason University, accessed 7 March 2011
  3. ^ a b "Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson", National First Ladies Library, 2009, accessed 7 March 2011

External links[edit]

Archival Records

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Political offices
Preceded by
James Patton Preston
Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
James Pleasants