Alfred Magill Randolph
The Right Reverend
Alfred Magill Randolph
|Bishop of Southern Virginia|
|Successor||Beverley D. Tucker|
|Ordination||November 18, 1860|
by John Johns
|Consecration||October 21, 1883|
by Alfred Lee
|Born||August 31, 1836|
Winchester, Virginia, United States
|Died||April 6, 1918 (aged 81)|
Norfolk, Virginia, United States
|Buried||Hollywood Cemetery (Richmond, Virginia)|
|Parents||Robert Lee Randolph & Mary Buckner Thruston Magill|
|Spouse||Sarah Griffith Hoxton|
|Previous post(s)||Coadjutor Bishop of Virginia (1883-1892)|
|Alma mater||College of William & Mary|
Early and family life
Alfred Magill Randolph was born on August 31, 1836, at "the Meadows" in Winchester, Virginia to Mary Buckner Thruston Magill Randolph (1809-1890, whose family's house that was) and her husband Robert Lee Randolph (1791-1857) of Casanova, Fauquier County, Virginia. His father's family could trace its ancestry to colonial days and was one of the First Families of Virginia. His ancestor Col. William Randolph of Yorkshire, England emigrated in 1674 and was clerk of Henrico County, Virginia as well as member of the House of Burgesses and rose to Speaker and member of the Royal Council, as well as helped found the College of William and Mary. Alfred Randolph was one of four brothers—his younger brother Buckner Magill Randolph (1842-1903) also becoming an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Virginia. Other siblings were: William Fitzhugh Randolph (1831-1914), Mary Magill Turner (1833-1910) and Beverly Randolph (1839-1917); his sister Elizabeth died in infancy (1837). The R. L. Randolph family owned 61 slaves in the 1840 census, and at least 70 in the 1850 census, the last before the patriarch's death.
After education by private tutors, Alfred Randolph attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, from which he graduated in 1855. He then moved to Alexandria to study for the ministry, and graduated from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1858. He later received honorary doctorates from William and Mary College in 1876, Washington and Lee University in 1887, and the University of the South in 1902.
On April 27, 1859, he married Sarah (Sallie) Griffith Hoxton (1840-1923) of Alexandria, whose late father William W. Hoxton had served as a U.S. Army doctor. Their children included Dr. Robert Lee Randolph (1860-1919), Elizabeth L. Randolph Ambler (1862-1910), Mary T. Randolph (1865-1873), Alfred M. Randolph Jr (1868-1927), Sallie W. Randolph (1870-1891), Evelyn B. Randolph Wright (1872-1923), Eleanor C. Randolph Garnett (1875-1958) and Frances H. Randolph Taylor (1878-1957).
After graduation, the newly ordained deacon was assigned to St. George's Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, whose long-serving rector, Dr. McGuire, suffered a fatal heart attack just two weeks later. The young minister took charge of the parish so well that five months later he was made rector at age 22, shortly after being ordained an Episcopal priest in 1860. During the American Civil War, Fredericksburg was subject to repeated shelling and severe fighting, so Rev. Randolph evacuated with his family in 1862.
After Bishop John Johns consolidated the Unionist and Confederate parishes, Rev. Randolph returned to Alexandria and served as rector at historic Christ Church from 1867 to 1867. He then accepted the rectorship at Emmanuel Church in Baltimore, Maryland, where he served from 1867 to 1883.
In 1883, Randolph was named assistant bishop of Virginia, to serve under Rt.Rev. Francis McNeece Whittle. Presiding Bishop Alfred Lee of Delaware led the service of consecration at Baltimore's Emmanuel Church, joined by John Williams of Connecticut, William B. W. Howe of South Carolina, Thomas Underwood Dudley of Kentucky, Burgess, William Stevens Perry of Iowa, and George William Peterkin of West Virginia, among others. He moved to Richmond, but visited throughout the large diocese.
When the Diocese of Southern Virginia was created in 1892, he became its first bishop and established his seat at Norfolk. Rt. Rev. Randolph believed strongly in education, including for African Americans and women, and became President of the Bishop Payne Divinity School in Petersburg, as well as President of the Boards of Trustees of St. Paul's Normal and Industrial School in Lawrenceville and of the Sweet Briar Institute in Amherst.
Death and legacy
Bishop Randolph died in Norfolk 1918, succeeded by his co-adjutor since 1906 Beverley D. Tucker. Rt. Rev. Tucker also presided over the funeral mass at St. Paul's Church in Norfolk, which included a Confederate honor guard. Bishop Randolph was interred at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Former Maryland Confederate soldier and President of the House of Deputies Rev. Randolph H. McKim, who had succeeded Rev. Randolph at Alexandria's Christ Church delivered a eulogy at his other former parish, Emmanuel Church in Baltimore.
- Tyler, Lyon Gardiner (1909). Men of Mark in Virginia: Ideals of American Life; a Collection of Biographies of the Leading Men in the State, Volume 5. Virginia: Men of Mark Publishing Company. p. 361. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
- 1840 U.S. Federal Census, Fauquier County, Hamilton; 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Fauquier County,Turners slave schedule
- presumably including the black female slave which he had declared on the 1860 U.S.federal census, Spottsylvania County, Fredericksburg
- Men of Mark. His elder brother William F. Randolph had enlisted in the 6th Virginia Cavalry, served in Gen. Stonewall Jackson's bodyguard in 1863 and was promoted to Captain in the 39th Cavalry Battalion on August 18, 1864. However, records concerning Rev. Randolph are missing; he was presumably not the New York light cavalry Color Sergeant Alfred Randolph praised for his actions outside Fredericksburg in a July 24, 1862 report to Gen. Rufus King. Similarly, it is unclear whether his brother Beverley served, for one man of similar name and age became a prisoner of war, and Dr. Beverley Randolph of Albemarle County Virginia applied for a presidential pardon immediately after the war on the ground that he had opposed the war and not aided the Confederacy.
- Batterson, Hermon Griswold (1891). A Sermon Preached in Emmanuel Church, in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, on the Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity, October 22, 1883, by William Stevens Perry, Bishop of Iowa, on occasion of the Consecration of the Rt. Rev. Alfred Magill Randolph, D.D. Assistant Bishop of Virginia. New York: Thomas Whittaker. Retrieved July 24, 2015.