|26th Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses|
|Preceded by||Robert Carter|
|Succeeded by||Robert Carter|
|Born||c. November 1650|
Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire, England
|Died||11 April 1711 (aged 60)|
|Resting place||Turkey Island, Virginia|
|Children||9, including William, Thomas, Isham, Richard, John and Edward|
|Residence||Henrico County, Virginia|
|Occupation||Planter, Politician, Merchant|
William Randolph I (bapt. 7 November 1650 – 11 April 1711) was an English American colonist, landowner, planter, merchant, and politician who played an important role in the history and government of the English colony of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham (ca. 1659 – 29 December 1735) a few years later. His descendants include many prominent individuals including Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, Paschal Beverly Randolph, Robert E. Lee, Peyton Randolph, Edmund Randolph, John Randolph of Roanoke, George W. Randolph, and Edmund Ruffin. Due to his and Mary's many progeny and marital alliances, they have been referred to as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia".
William Randolph was baptized in Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire, England on 7 November 1650. He was the son of Richard Randolph (1620 – ca. 1671) and Elizabeth Ryland (1625–ca. 1669) of Warwickshire. Richard Randolph was originally from Little Houghton (also called Houghton Parva), a small village east of Northampton, where Richard Randolph's father, William, was a "steward and servant" to Edward la Zouche, 11th Baron Zouche (1556–1625), having previously served in that same capacity to Sir George Goring, a landowner in Sussex.[a] William was the fourth of seven Randolph children.
Richard and Elizabeth moved to Warwickshire before the birth of their first child in Moreton Morrell in 1647. They lived within the "heart of Parliamentarian Warwickshire" throughout the end of the English Civil Wars. His family were among the Cavaliers who supported the king. In 1657, the last of their children was born in Moreton Morrell. The same year, Elizabeth's father was buried there. Then, the family moved to Dublin. His mother died there around 1669 and his father about two years later.
William's uncle, Henry Randolph (1623–1673), traveled to England and Ireland from Virginia in 1669, and sponsored William to emigrate to Colonial Virginia. He arrived without money and an axe. He arrived in an area replete with others whose families had also supported the king during the Civil War. His family had long been members of the court. William Randolph was in the colony by 12 February 1672 when he appears in the record as witness to a land transaction.
These were men who had fought on the royal side in the Civil War in England and now sought refuge in Virginia. They were known as 'Cavaliers,’ and they gave Virginia a social atmosphere it never subsequently lost.— H. J. Eckenrode, author of The Randolphs: The Story of a Virginia Family
The Chesapeake economy was centered around tobacco, grown within the English mercantile system for export to markets in Britain and Europe. Indentured servants and slaves supported the tobacco industry at that time. By 1674 Randolph imported 12 persons into the colony and thereby earned his first land patent. Over the course of his life, he imported 168 slaves and indentured servants to Virginia. In later years Randolph became a merchant and a planter, and co-owned several ships used to transport tobacco to England and goods back to Virginia. He established several of his sons as merchants and ship captains.
He trained as a lawyer and was a partner with Peter Perry and Edward Hill, Jr. in the law firm Hill, Perry & Randolph in the 1680s. He held multiple official appointments. At the local level, he became clerk of Henrico County Court in 1673 and held the position until he was asked to serve as a justice of the peace in 1683. He also served as sheriff and coroner. Randolph represented Henrico County in every assembly of the House of Burgesses from 1684 to 1698, was Speaker of the House of Burgesses in 1698, and was the Clerk of the House from 1699 to 1702. He fell ill in August 1702 and his son, William, took his place. Randolph resigned the clerkship completely in March 1703.
Randolph was a founder and one of the first trustees of the College of William & Mary.[b] Randolph was a friend of William Byrd, and he served as an advisor to Byrd's sons during their political careers. He is mentioned in one of Byrd's diaries as "Colonel Randolph", his militia title.
Randolph was the founder of a dynasty of individuals who shaped commerce and governmental administration for years. They were "one of the most numerous and wealthiest" of the "first families" of the colony. Between Randolph and his heirs, they acquired tens of thousands of acres, including establishment of eleven large neighboring plantations that were worked by hundreds of slaves.
Randolph acquired property by purchase, headright, marital interest and land grant. His early acquisitions were in the neighborhood of Turkey Island, located in the James River about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of present-day Richmond.[c][d] Randolph began living at the Turkey Hill estate, which included the island and surrounding area, in 1670. That residence no longer exists.[e] William Randolph's residence overlooked Turkey Island, and he is buried near the site of the house. Randolph's Turkey Island estate became the seat of the Randolph family.
Curles Neck Plantation
In 1676 a Virginia colonist, Nathaniel Bacon, rebelled unsuccessfully against the colonial government and his estate was forfeited. This was Curles, located near Turkey Island. Randolph made an assessment of the property for Governor Berkeley and was allowed to buy it for his estimated price, adding 1,230 acres (5.0 km2) to Randolph's previous land holdings.
Tuckahoe and Dungeness
Around 1700, when Randolph's political career was at its peak, he received land grants to almost 10,000 acres (40 km2) of newly opened land near Richmond; a 3,256-acre (13.18 km2) tract at Tuckahoe Creek and a 5,142-acre (20.81 km2) plot at Westham. This land became the basis of the Tuckahoe[f] and Dungeness Plantations, which were later founded by two of William Randolph's sons.
Marriage and children
Randolph married a relatively wealthy widow, Mary Isham, around 1676. Her father was Henry Isham of Northamptonshire. Her father and mother, Katherine Banks, settled in Henrico County, Virginia within the Bermuda Hundred, which was across the river from Randolph's Turkey Island estate.
- William Randolph II (born November 1681) married Elizabeth Beverley (the daughter of Peter Beverley, a Speaker of the House of Burgesses and Treasurer of Virginia) around 1705 and had five children who lived to adulthood.[g] He was the grandfather of Beverley Randolph, the eighth Governor of Virginia. and Ann Bolling Randolph Fitzhugh.
- Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe (born ~June 1683) married Judith Churchill and/or Judith Fleming between 1705 and 1712.[h] He was the great-grandfather of John Marshall, as well as the great-great-grandfather of Ann Cary (Nancy) Randolph, who married Gouverneur Morris, and her brother Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., who married Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Martha.
- Isham Randolph of Dungeness (born December 1684) married Jane Rogers in 1717 and had nine children, including Jane Randolph (who married Peter Jefferson and was the mother of Thomas Jefferson), Mary Randolph (who was the mother of Charles Lilburn Lewis and grandmother of Isham and Lilburn Lewis), Ann Randolph (who was the mother of James Pleasants Jr., the 22nd Governor of Virginia), and Susannah Randolph (who married Carter Henry Harrison I and was the great-grandmother of Carter Henry Harrison III and great-great-grandmother of Carter Henry Harrison IV) – both five-time mayors of Chicago.
- Richard Randolph (born ~May 1686) married Jane Bolling, a descendant of Pocahontas, around 1714. He was the grandfather of the colorful Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke.[i]
- Henry Randolph (born ~October 1687) did not marry.
- Sir John Randolph (born ~April 1689) married Susanna Beverley (another daughter of Peter Beverley) around 1718. He studied at the Inns of Court, practiced law in Williamsburg. John was the only native of Colonial America to receive a knighthood. He was the father of Peyton Randolph, President of the First Continental Congress, and John Randolph, a Loyalist. The latter's son, Edmund Randolph, served as a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention and became the first U.S. Attorney General and was the great-great grandfather of Robert Williams Daniel, a banker who survived the Titanic disaster.
- Edward Randolph (born ~October 1690) married Miss (Elizabeth?) Grosvenor around 1715.
- Mary Randolph (born ~1692) married Captain John Stith, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and the son of John Stith, around 1712. Her son, William Stith, was the third president of the College of William and Mary; her son-in-law, William Dawson, was the second president of The College of William & Mary. Mary was the great-grandmother of Congressman William Johnston Dawson. Her second son, John Stith III, was the great-great-grandfather of Armistead C. Gordon and also Junius Daniel, Brigadier General of the Confederate States Army.
- Elizabeth Randolph (born ~1695) married Richard Bland around 1711 and had five children, including Mary Bland (who married Henry Lee I and was the mother of Henry Lee II, the grandmother of Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III, and the great-grandmother of Robert E. Lee), Theodorick Bland of Cawsons (who was the father of Congressman Theodorick Bland as well as grandfather to John Randolph of Roanoke),[i] and the statesman Richard Bland (who was the great-great-grandfather of Roger Atkinson Pryor).
The sons of William Randolph were each distinguished by the estates left to them. Early generations of Randolphs married into several other gentry families, including Beverley, Bland, Dilliard, Fleming, Byrd, Fitzhugh, Carter, Cary, Harrison and Page. Later affiliations included members of the Lewis, Meriwether and Skipwith families.
Randolph died on 11 April 1711 at his Turkey Island plantation.[j] Mary and two of their sons, Thomas and William, were executors of the estate that spelled out the manner in which his numerous land holdings were distributed to his sons. Profits from the Pigeon Swamp plantation were to pay off his debt of ₤3259 to Micajah Perry III's law firm before title was to be transferred in accordance with the will.
In their wealth and social status, the Randolphs were much like other families of the Chesapeake elite. If anything set them apart it was their participation in the political life of the colony, clearly traceable to William Randolph's example. Randolphs and close relatives formed the predominant political faction in the colonial government during the 18th century, with many members of the elected House of Burgesses and the appointed, and more exclusive, Council.
Most of the Randolphs, like the rest of the Virginia gentry, strongly supported the Revolution. However, John Randolph (son of Sir John), in opposition to both his brother Peyton and son Edmund, remained loyal to Great Britain and left Virginia. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and 18-year-old John Marshall was at Valley Forge for the trying winter of 1777–1778.
- Although two of his father Richard's older half-brothers—the poet Thomas Randolph (1605–1634), and poet and Vicar Robert Randolph (1611–1671)--were educated at Cambridge and Oxford respectively (Thomas having attended Westminster School and Robert being "incorporated" , as an Oxford Fellow upon his graduation from Cambridge), they did so largely on scholarship and there are no records of William, his father Richard, or Richard's full siblings (John, 1619 – 1680; Henry, 1623 – 1673, and George, 1627 – 1645) having attended either public school or universities.
- His son, John Randolph, secured a royal charter for the College on one of several trips to London to conduct business for the colony. While in England in 1730, he conducted business on behalf of the College of William and Mary. Due to his "diplomatic talent shown on that visit, as well as his high standing at the bar in Virginia", he was knighted in tribute.
- This land had been settled for decades, and was held by several owners, from whom he purchased. Possibly his first purchase was 591 acres (2.39 km2) of land on Swift Creek, south of the James.
- Turkey Island received its name from Captain Christopher Newport who explored the James River in May 1607. It was named for the large number of wild turkeys on the island.
- Randolph's grandson, Ryland Randolph, is believed to have been the individual who designed a brick mansion with a large dome on the estate in the late 1760s. The residence was ruined during the Civil War. Its buried foundation has been the subject of an archaeological study.
- Tuckahoe plantation was named for the neighboring creek. Called Tochawhoughe by Captain John Smith, Tuckahoe was the Native American name for an edible water plant. Tuckahoe is the only remaining intact plantation of William's sons.
- William Randolph II had seven children. Two of his earliest children, Beverely and William, died very young and their names were given to older children.
- Most sources indicate that Thomas Randolph married a woman named either "Judith Churchill" or "Judith Fleming" around 1705 or 1710 and that the couple had three children. Historian William Edward Railey reported that T. Randolph married Churchill in 1710, but that she died in 1712 (possibly during the birth of his oldest son, William). Railey notes that T. Randolph married his second wife, Fleming, that same year on 16 October 1712.
- Richard Randolph and Elizabeth Randolph were both ancestors of John Randolph of Roanoke. Richard was his grandfather; Elizabeth was his great-grandmother.
- His date of death is also stated as or 21 April 1711.
- Sankey, Margaret D. "Randolph, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23125. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
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- Jean Houston (11 October 1996). A Mythic Life: Learning to Live our Greater Story. HarperCollins. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-06-250282-7.
- Robert M. Randolph (13 November 2019). Peyton Randolph and Revolutionary Virginia. McFarland. pp. 181–182. ISBN 978-1-4766-3862-1.
- Stoermer, Taylor (4 January 2009). "William Randolph". monticello.org. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- Louis A. Knafla, 'Zouche, Edward la, eleventh Baron Zouche (1556–1625)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004); W. H. Kelliher, 'Randolph, Thomas (bap. 1605, d. 1635)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
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- Kelliher, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Taylor, Tess (16 December 2013). "Remembering the Randolphs". VQR. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- "Visitation of Northampton 1681," Publications of the Harleian Society 87 (1935), pp. 173–77
- Eckenrode, H.J. 1946., p. 31
- Conference The Emergence of the Atlantic (2005). The Atlantic Economy During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Organization, Operation, Practice, and Personnel. Univ of South Carolina Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-57003-554-8.
- Robin Blackburn (1998). The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800. Verso. p. 479. ISBN 978-1-85984-195-2.
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- Malone, Dumas (Ed.). 1963., p. 372
- Kukla, Jon. 1981., p. 100
- Kukla, Jon. 1981., p.102
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%22William Randolph%22 1711 will.
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- Kukla, Jon. 1981., p. 98
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- Eckenrode, H.J. 1946., pp. 38–39
- Federal Writers' Project (1952). Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion. US History Publishers. p. 618. ISBN 978-1-60354-045-2.
- Virginia. General Court; Sir John Randolph; Edward Barradall (1909). Virginia colonial decisions. The Boston book company. p. 227.
- Page, Richard Channing Moore (1893). "Randolph Family". Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia. New York: Press of the Publishers Printing Co. pp. 249–272.
- Standard, W.G. (1895). "Major Robert Beverley and His Descendants". In Bruce, Philip A. (ed.). The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. III. Richmond: The Virginia Historical Society. pp. 169–170.
- Randolph, Wassell (1949). William Randolph I of Turkey Island, Henrico County, Virginia: And His Immediate Descendants. Seebode Mimeo Service; distributed by Cossitt Library. p. 39.
- 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).
- Railey, W.E. (September 1918). Morton, Jennie C. (ed.). "Notes and Corrections of the Railey Genealogy". The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society. Frankfort, Kentucky: The State Journal Company. 16 (48): 47–49.
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- Sorley, Merrow Egerton (2000) . "Chapter 13: Col Charles Lewis of Buck Island". Lewis of Warner Hall: The History of a Family. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. ISBN 9780806308319.
- Abbot, Willis John (1895). "The Harrison Family". Carter Henry Harrison: A Memoir. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. pp. 1–23.
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- Gordon, Armistead C (1914). "The Stith Family". In Tyler, Lyon G. (ed.). William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine. XXII. Richmond: Whittet & Shepperson. pp. 44–51, 197–208.
- Goode, George Brown (1887). "Excursus.-The Stith Family". Virginia Cousins: A Study of the Ancestry and Posterity of John Goode of Whitby. Richmond: J. W. Randolph & English. pp. 210–212.
- Brown, John Howard (1900). "Armistead Churchill Gordon". Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States. III. Boston, Massachusetts: James H. Lamb Co. p. 331.
- Bland, Theodorick (1840). "Appendix". In Campbell, Charles (ed.). The Bland papers: Being a Selection from the Manuscripts of Colonel Theodorick Bland Jr. of Prince George County Virginia. I. Petersburg, Virginia: Edmund & Julian C. Ruffin. pp. 145–149.
- Frances Bland Randolph Chapter, NSDAR (8 August 2010). "The Family of Frances Bland Randolph Tucker". Petersburg: Frances Bland Randolph Chapter, NSDAR.
- Fiske, John, and James Grant Wilson, 1900 ed., p. 174
- Tyler, Lyon Gardiner; Morton, Richard Lee (1902). The William and Mary Quarterly. Institute of Early American History and Culture. pp. 166–167.
- Colonial Wills of Henrico County, Virginia, Part One, 1654–1737, abstracted and compiled by Benjamin B. Weisiger III, p. 90. http://boards.ancestry.com/localities.northam.usa.states.virginia.counties.henrico/2157/mb.ashx
- Daniels, Jonathan Worth. 1972. The Randolphs of Virginia, Doubleday.
- Eckenrode, H.J. 1946. The Randolphs: The story of a Virginia family. New York: The Bobbs Merrill Company.
- Fischer, David Hackett, 1989. "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America", Oxford University Press, USA.
- Fiske, John; Wilson, James Grant, eds. (1900). "Randolph, William". Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Volume V: Pickering – Sumter. New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 174–179.
- Kukla, Jon. 1981. Speakers and clerks of the Virginia House of Burgesses 1643–1776. Richmond, VA: Virginia State Library.
- Malone, Dumas (Ed.). 1963. Dictionary of American biography, volume VIII: Platt-Seward, 371–372. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
- Randolph, Wassell.. William Randolph I of Turkey Island (Henrico County) Virginia and his immediate descendants. Memphis, Tenn.: Seebode Mimeo Service : Distributed by Cossitt Library, 1949.