John Thomas Randolph, of Tazwell (c.1693 - 1737) MP

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Birthplace: Tazwell Hall, Turkey Island, Williamsburg, Charles City, Virginia
Death: Died in Williamsburg, VA, USA
Managed by: Tracey Marie La Neve
Last Updated:

About John Thomas Randolph, of Tazwell

Birth: Apr., 1693 Charles City County Virginia, USA Death: Mar. 7, 1737

Lawyer. After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1711, he began studing law. The following year he was appointed attorney general of Charles City, Henrico and Prince George by Governor Spotswood. In 1715 he moved his studies to London at the Grays Inn. He returned to Virginia a member of the bar the following spring, and was quickly appointed clerk of the House of Burgesses by Spotswood. In 1722 he travelled to Albany, New York as a secretary of a Virginia delegation at a meeting of Iroquios chiefs organized by New York's Governor. In Williamsburg, he was among the original alderman when the town incorporated. In 1726 the governor appointed him attorney general and clerk of the council of the colony. During this time, he also had a prominent private law practice, as well as being appointed the King's attorney. He took on many important cases, including some which saw him travel to England to fight against certain taxes on tobacco. For his distinguished service, sometime before 1732 he was knighted, becoming the only colonial born in Virginia to have the honor. In 1734 he resigned his position of clerk of the House of Burgesses. The next day, the College of William and Mary elected him its burgess, and a few days later he was elected by the burgesses as Speaker of the House. A month later he became a justice in Gloucester County, and then treasurer. In 1736, Norfolk incorporated and named him its recorder. This would only last until his death a few months later. He was the father of Peyton Randolph, who is also buried here.


Family links:

Parents:
 William Randolph (1651 - 1711)
 Mary Isham Randolph (1659 - 1735)

Children:
 Peyton Randolph (1721 - 1775)*
 John Randolph (1727 - 1784)*
 Mary Randolph Grymes (1729 - 1768)*
  • Calculated relationship
 

Burial: Chapel of the College of William and Mary Williamsburg Williamsburg City Virginia, USA

_____________________________________________

Sir John Randolph was born in Apr 1693 at Turkey Island / Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg. He married Lady Susanna Beverley, daughter of Peter (Colonel) Beverley and Elizabeth Peyton, circa 1718. He died on 5 Mar 1736/37 at age 43; Williamsburg says died March 7, 1737. He was buried in 1737 at buried chapel of Wren Building at College of Wm. & Mary.

He was Lawyer, Burgess. He was educated in 1711; Graduated from College of William & Mary. He lived in 1724; Purchased what was to become the Peyton Randolph House in Williamsburg. In 1730 knighted.

Children of Sir John1 Randolph and Lady Susanna Beverley were as follows:

i. Beverly Randolph was born circa 1719 at Of Gloucester. He married Sarah (Agatha) Wormeley, daughter of John Wormley and (--?--) Elizabeth, in 1742. ii. Peyton (of Williamsburg) Randolph was born in 1721. He married Elizabeth (Betty I) Harrison, daughter of Benjamin (of Berkeley) Harrison IV and Ann Carter, on 8 Mar 1745/46 Berkeley. He died on 24 Oct 1775 at Philadelphia, Buried at William and Mary?

Died of paralysis at friend's home in Phila. He lived at Williamsburg. He was 1st Pres of American Congress. No issue.

iii. John "The Tory" Randolph was born in 1727. He married Arianna Jennings, daughter of Edmund Jennings, circa 1752. iv. Mary Randolph was born circa 1728. She married Philip Grymes circa 1743. Sir John Randolph

•Born 1693

•Youngest of six sons

•Early student at the College of William & Mary

•Simple, ethical, kindhearted man

•Member of Virginia House of Burgesses

•Lifelong interest in Native American Indians

•Died 1737

•Buried at Wren Chapel at William & Mary

A man of quality

It was written of Sir John Randolph that "his Parts were bright and strong; his Learning extensive and useful." He was, it was said, "An Assertor of the just Rights and natural Liberties of Mankind; an Enemy of Oppression; a Support to the Distressed." He had, in short, "the Air of a man of quality."

The phrases are lifted from Randolph's obituary in the March 11, 1737 edition of Williamsburg's Virginia Gazette. Had they been written about another man, they might be discounted as the sort of overgenerous flattery that characterized the death notices of prominent men. But such things were said of Sir John Randolph while he lived, and modern biographers fill their columns with his praise.

According to these reports, Sir John was modest and sincere, a man of integrity and patience who had great concern for impartiality and the rule of law. He was tactful, warm, and good-humored. He was the only colonial-born Virginian to be distinguished with knighthood and the best-regarded lawyer in the colony. A legal scholar, he had an interest in literature and history and a remarkable library.

Early years

Born in 1693 to William and Mary Isham Randolph of Turkey Island in Charles City County, Va., Sir John was the youngest of six brothers who, with their two sisters, led Virginia's most powerful family into the 18th century.

An early student of the college of William & Mary, Randolph finished his studies in the fall of 1711 as "first scholar" and took up the study of the law. Governor Alexander Spotswood made him a deputy attorney general of Charles City, Prince George, and Henrico Counties the following year.

Appointed to Virginia’s House of Burgesses

Randolph prosecuted cases for the Crown until he followed his legal studies to London to be admitted to Grays Inn at the Inns of Court on May 17, 1715. He made short work of his courses, being called to the bar November 25, 1717, and leaving for Virginia the following spring. Spotswood appointed him clerk of the House of Burgesses as soon as he returned.

Randolph married Susannah Beverly, whose elder sister had married his eldest brother. Their first child, a boy named Beverley, was born about 1720, and their second son, Peyton, in 1721.

Early interest in American Indians

Randolph took leave of his young family in 1722 to act as secretary to the Virginia delegation that traveled to Albany, New York, for a meeting of Iroquois chiefs organized by Governor William Burnet of that state.

Property Owner

John Randolph was among the original aldermen of the newly incorporated town of Williamsburg. We do not know where the family first lived in Williamsburg, but in 1724, Randolph did acquire two wooden houses thirty-six feet apart on Market Square. Joining them with a center section, he fashioned what today is called the Peyton Randolph House.

His most valuable property was a plantation across the York River in Gloucester County, and at the end of his life he also owned other lots in Williamsburg, lots with a tobacco warehouse at College Creek, a 100-acre plantation at Archer's Hope Creek, land in Martin's Hundred near Carter's Grove, and land on the Chickahominy River.

Attorney General for Virginia Colony

In April 1726, the governor appointed Randolph the colony's acting attorney general and acting clerk of its Council. Perhaps the year after, Susannah gave birth to their son John. The date of birth of their only daughter, Mary, is unknown.

Prominent Attorney

Apart from his official duties, Randolph had a valuable private law practice. He represented prominent men, but accepted the cases of the less fortunate for "Fees he constantly remitted, when he thought the Paiment of them would be grievous to themselves or Families."

In 1728, John Randolph took the House of Burgesses for a client. The house sent Randolph to London as its special agent to secure repeal of a law that prohibited the export of tobacco leaf that had been removed from the stalk. The stems added to the bulk of shipments, and thus to the number of hogsheads the Crown might tax, but impaired the quality of the product and cheapened market prices.

In addition, Randolph represented the College of William and Mary in the transfer of its property from its trustees to its president and faculty. His service was memorialized in an illuminated and handsomely penned parchment.

Colonial Virginian Knighted

Randolph returned to Virginia to report success in both endeavors and was dispatched again to England in 1732 to try to persuade Parliament to adopt an excise on tobacco imported to England. The intent was to improve the economics of the trade, but in this he failed, despite enlisting the help of the prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole.

In any case, Randolph distinguished himself by his industry and skill and, perhaps because of them, was knighted. The date and the circumstances of the honor are not known, but he was listed on the rolls of the Imperial Society of the Knights Bachelor by September 1732.

Patron of Indian school library

Before returning to Virginia in the summer of 1733, Randolph asked the bishop of London and the archbishop of Canterbury for advice on books for the library of the Brafferton, the Indian school at the College of William and Mary, and he attempted to secure a long-promised donation of volumes.

Multiple civic responsibilities

On August 22, 1734, Sir John Randolph resigned the clerkship of the House of Burgesses. The next day, the college administration elected him its burgess, and on Saturday the burgesses elected him Speaker of the House. In September he became a justice of Gloucester County, and in October he became treasurer of the colony. When Norfolk was incorporated in 1736, it made Randolph its recorder. Although a deputy would perform the actual work of the office, the city marked his swearing in with an elaborate celebration.

Despite the accumulation of wealth, honors, and offices – perhaps because of it –Randolph did not escape criticism or controversy. Spotswood, now a private citizen embittered by political battles of the past, attacked Randolph in the public prints, describing him as "a fawning creature . . . whose Pride and Spell has made him turn against his Benefactor, who first promoted him in the World." Randolph answered the assault in the Virginia Gazette with an angry rejoinder.

An ethical man and a simple Christian

John Randolph preferred simplicity in religion, which offended the dogmatism of the established clergy. In some quarters he was regarded as a deist, a heretic, and a schismatic. These charges he answered in his will, writing a long profession of Christian faith based on the unembellished precepts of the Bible.

He also recorded in his will that he had earned his estate honestly, "tho' by a profession much exposed to temptations of deceit and extortion."

Randolph died on March 7, 1737, and "was (according to his own Directions) carried from his House to the Place of Interment, by Six honest, industrious, poor-House-keepers of Breton Parish " who divided £20 for their services. The place of interment was the chapel of the Wren Building at the College of William & Mary.

Fire gutted the Wren in 1859 and the burial vaults were disturbed. A physician who examined the contents of Sir John Randolph's tomb discovered the bones of two men. The identity of the second is a mystery.

--------------------

Was son of Colonel William Randolph of "Turkey Island," Henrico county; born 1693, died March 9, 1737. He was educated at William and Mary College, Gray's Inn, and the Temple in London and on his return engaged in the practice of law in Virginia; was clerk of the council, treasurer, agent of the assembly in England, president of the county court of Gloucester, lieutenant-colonel of the militia for that county; burgess and speaker. He was the only native resident, who ever received the honors of knighthood. He was also first recorder, in 1736, of the borough of Norfolk. He seems to have been considered as head of the Virginia bar in his day. He was interred in the chapel of William and Mary College, which he represented in the legislature. He was a great nephew of Thomas Randolph, the poet. He was father of John Randolph, attorney general of Virginia, and of Peyton Randolph, first president of the continental congress. In his latter years he resided in Williamsburg.

Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Volume I

IV--Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons

______________________________________________________________

Sir John Randolph

(Born 1693, died 1737)

It was written of Sir John Randolph that "his Parts were bright and strong; his Learning extensive and useful." He was, it was said, "An Assertor of the just Rights and natural Liberties of Mankind; an Enemy of Oppression; a Support to the Distressed." He had, in short, "the Air of a man of quality."

The phrases are lifted from Randolph's obituary in the March 11, 1737, edition of Williamsburg's Virginia Gazette. Had they been written about another man, they might be discounted as the sort of overgenerous flattery that characterized the death notices of prominent men. But such things were said of Sir John Randolph while he lived, and modern biographers fill their columns with his praise.

According to these reports, Sir John was modest and sincere, a man of integrity and patience who had great concern for impartiality and the rule of law. He was tactful, warm, and good-humored. He was the only colonial-born Virginian to be distinguished with knighthood and the best-regarded lawyer in the colony. A legal scholar, he had an interest in literature and history and a remarkable library.

Born in 1693 to William and Mary Isham Randolph of Turkey Island in Charles City County, Sir John was the youngest of six brothers who, with their two sisters, led Virginia's most powerful family into the 18th century.

An early student of the College of William and Mary, Randolph finished his studies in the fall of 1711 as "first scholar" and took up the study of the law Governor Alexander Spotswood made him a deputy attorney general of Charles City, Prince George, and Henrico Counties the following year.

Randolph prosecuted cases for the Crown until he followed his legal studies to London to be admitted to Grays Inn at the Inns of Court on May 17, 1715. He made short work of his courses, being called to the bar November 25, 1717, and leaving for Virginia the following spring. Spotswood appointed him clerk of the House of Burgesses as soon as he returned.

That appears to be the year Randolph married Susannah Beverley, whose elder sister had married his eldest brother. Their first child, a boy named Beverley, was born about 1720, and their second, Peyton, in 1721.

Randolph took leave of his young family in 1722 to act as secretary to the Virginia delegation that traveled to Albany, New York, for a meeting of Iroquois chiefs organized by Governor William Burnet of that stat

Williamsburg was incorporated that year, and Randolph was among the original aldermen. Although we do not know where the family first lived in Williamsburg, Randolph acquired two wooden houses thirty-six feet apart on Market Square in 1724. Joining them with a center section, he fashioned what today is called the Peyton Randolph House.

His most valuable property was a plantation across the York River in Gloucester County, and at the end of his life he also owned other lots in Williamsburg, lots with a tobacco warehouse at College Creek, a 100-acre plantation at Archer's Hope Creek, lands in Martin's Hundred near Carter's Grove, and lands on the Chickahominy River.

In April 1726 the governor appointed Randolph the colony's acting attorney general and acting clerk of its Council. Perhaps the year after, Susannah gave birth to their son John. The date of birth of their only daughter, Mary, is unknown.

Apart from his official duties, Randolph had a valuable private law practice. He represented prominent men, but accepted the cases of the less fortunate for "Fees he constantly remitted, when he thought the Paiment of them would be grievous to themselves or Families."

In 1728 he took the House of Burgesses for a client. The house sent Randolph to London as its special agent to secure repeal of a law that prohibited the export of tobacco leaf that had been removed from the stalk. The stems added to the bulk of shipments, and thus to the number of hogsheads the Crown might tax, but impaired the quality of the product and cheapened market prices.

In addition, Randolph represented the College of William and Mary in the transfer of its property from its trustees to its president and faculty. His service was memorialized in an illuminated and handsomely penned parchment.

Randolph returned to Virginia to report success in both endeavors and was dispatched again to England in 1732 to try to persuade Parliament to adopt an excise on tobacco imported to England. The intent was to improve the economics of the trade, but in this he failed, despite enlisting the help of the prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole.

In any case, Randolph distinguished himself by his industry and skill and, perhaps because of them, was knighted. The date and the circumstances of the honor are not known, but he was listed on the rolls of the Imperial Society of the Knights Bachelor by September 1732.

Before returning to Virginia in the summer of 1733, Randolph asked the bishop of London and the archbishop of Canterbury for advice on books for the library of the Brafferton, the Indian school at the College of William and Mary, and he attempted to secure a long-promised donation of volumes.

On August 22, 1734, Sir John Randolph resigned the clerkship of the House of Burgesses. The next day, the college administration elected him its burgess, and on Saturday the burgesses elected him Speaker of the House. In September he became a justice of Gloucester County, and in October he became treasurer of the colony. When Norfolk was incorporated in 1736, it made Randolph its recorder. Although the work of the office would be performed by a deputy, the city marked his swearing in with an elaborate celebration.

Despite the accumulation of wealth, honors, and offices--perhaps because of it--Randolph did not escape criticism or controversy. Spotswood, now a private citizen embittered by political battles of the past, attacked Randolph in the public prints, describing him as "a fawning creature . . . whose Pride and Spell has made him turn against his Benefactor, who first promoted him in the World." Randolph answered the assault in the Virginia Gazette with an angry rejoinder.

He preferred simplicity in religion, which offended the dogmatism of the established clergy. In some quarters he was regarded as a deist, a heretic, and a schismatic. These charges he answered in his will, writing a long profession of Christian faith based on the unembellished precepts of the Bible.

He also recorded in his will that he had earned his estate honestly, "tho' by a profession much exposed to temptations of deceit and extortion."

Randolph died on March 7, 1737, and "was (according to his own Directions) carried from his House to the Place of Interment, by Six honest, industrious, poor-House-keepers of Bruton Parish" who divided £20 for their services. The place of interment was the chapel of the Wren Building at the College of William and Mary.

Fire gutted the Wren in 1859 and the burial vaults were disturbed. A physician who examined the contents of Sir John Randolph's tomb discovered the bones of two men. The identity of the second is a mystery.

Copyright © 2003 The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation -------------------- .Sir John Randolph was born in Apr 1693 at Turkey Island / Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg. He married Lady Susanna Beverley, daughter of Peter (Colonel) Beverley and Elizabeth Peyton, circa 1718. He died on 5 Mar 1736/37 at age 43; Williamsburg says died March 7, 1737. He was buried in 1737 at buried chapel of Wren Building at College of Wm. & Mary.

He was Lawyer, Burgess. He was educated in 1711; Graduated from College of William & Mary. He lived in 1724; Purchased what was to become the Peyton Randolph House in Williamsburg. In 1730 knighted.

Children of Sir John1 Randolph and Lady Susanna Beverley were as follows:

i.   Beverly Randolph was born circa 1719 at Of Gloucester. He married Sarah (Agatha) Wormeley, daughter of John Wormley and (--?--) Elizabeth, in 1742. 

ii. Peyton (of Williamsburg) Randolph was born in 1721. He married Elizabeth (Betty I) Harrison, daughter of Benjamin (of Berkeley) Harrison IV and Ann Carter, on 8 Mar 1745/46 Berkeley. He died on 24 Oct 1775 at Philadelphia, Buried at William and Mary?

Died of paralysis at friend's home in Phila. He lived at Williamsburg. He was 1st Pres of American Congress. No issue.

iii.   John "The Tory" Randolph was born in 1727. He married Arianna Jennings, daughter of Edmund Jennings, circa 1752. 
iv.   Mary Randolph was born circa 1728. She married Philip Grymes circa 1743. 

Sir John Randolph

•Born 1693

•Youngest of six sons

•Early student at the College of William & Mary

•Simple, ethical, kindhearted man

•Member of Virginia House of Burgesses

•Lifelong interest in Native American Indians

•Died 1737

•Buried at Wren Chapel at William & Mary

A man of quality

It was written of Sir John Randolph that "his Parts were bright and strong; his Learning extensive and useful." He was, it was said, "An Assertor of the just Rights and natural Liberties of Mankind; an Enemy of Oppression; a Support to the Distressed." He had, in short, "the Air of a man of quality."

The phrases are lifted from Randolph's obituary in the March 11, 1737 edition of Williamsburg's Virginia Gazette. Had they been written about another man, they might be discounted as the sort of overgenerous flattery that characterized the death notices of prominent men. But such things were said of Sir John Randolph while he lived, and modern biographers fill their columns with his praise.

According to these reports, Sir John was modest and sincere, a man of integrity and patience who had great concern for impartiality and the rule of law. He was tactful, warm, and good-humored. He was the only colonial-born Virginian to be distinguished with knighthood and the best-regarded lawyer in the colony. A legal scholar, he had an interest in literature and history and a remarkable library.

Early years

Born in 1693 to William and Mary Isham Randolph of Turkey Island in Charles City County, Va., Sir John was the youngest of six brothers who, with their two sisters, led Virginia's most powerful family into the 18th century.

An early student of the college of William & Mary, Randolph finished his studies in the fall of 1711 as "first scholar" and took up the study of the law. Governor Alexander Spotswood made him a deputy attorney general of Charles City, Prince George, and Henrico Counties the following year.

Appointed to Virginia’s House of Burgesses

Randolph prosecuted cases for the Crown until he followed his legal studies to London to be admitted to Grays Inn at the Inns of Court on May 17, 1715. He made short work of his courses, being called to the bar November 25, 1717, and leaving for Virginia the following spring. Spotswood appointed him clerk of the House of Burgesses as soon as he returned.

Randolph married Susannah Beverly, whose elder sister had married his eldest brother. Their first child, a boy named Beverley, was born about 1720, and their second son, Peyton, in 1721.

Early interest in American Indians

Randolph took leave of his young family in 1722 to act as secretary to the Virginia delegation that traveled to Albany, New York, for a meeting of Iroquois chiefs organized by Governor William Burnet of that state.

Property Owner

John Randolph was among the original aldermen of the newly incorporated town of Williamsburg. We do not know where the family first lived in Williamsburg, but in 1724, Randolph did acquire two wooden houses thirty-six feet apart on Market Square. Joining them with a center section, he fashioned what today is called the Peyton Randolph House.

His most valuable property was a plantation across the York River in Gloucester County, and at the end of his life he also owned other lots in Williamsburg, lots with a tobacco warehouse at College Creek, a 100-acre plantation at Archer's Hope Creek, land in Martin's Hundred near Carter's Grove, and land on the Chickahominy River.

Attorney General for Virginia Colony

In April 1726, the governor appointed Randolph the colony's acting attorney general and acting clerk of its Council. Perhaps the year after, Susannah gave birth to their son John. The date of birth of their only daughter, Mary, is unknown.

Prominent Attorney

Apart from his official duties, Randolph had a valuable private law practice. He represented prominent men, but accepted the cases of the less fortunate for "Fees he constantly remitted, when he thought the Paiment of them would be grievous to themselves or Families."

In 1728, John Randolph took the House of Burgesses for a client. The house sent Randolph to London as its special agent to secure repeal of a law that prohibited the export of tobacco leaf that had been removed from the stalk. The stems added to the bulk of shipments, and thus to the number of hogsheads the Crown might tax, but impaired the quality of the product and cheapened market prices.

In addition, Randolph represented the College of William and Mary in the transfer of its property from its trustees to its president and faculty. His service was memorialized in an illuminated and handsomely penned parchment.

Colonial Virginian Knighted

Randolph returned to Virginia to report success in both endeavors and was dispatched again to England in 1732 to try to persuade Parliament to adopt an excise on tobacco imported to England. The intent was to improve the economics of the trade, but in this he failed, despite enlisting the help of the prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole.

In any case, Randolph distinguished himself by his industry and skill and, perhaps because of them, was knighted. The date and the circumstances of the honor are not known, but he was listed on the rolls of the Imperial Society of the Knights Bachelor by September 1732.

Patron of Indian school library

Before returning to Virginia in the summer of 1733, Randolph asked the bishop of London and the archbishop of Canterbury for advice on books for the library of the Brafferton, the Indian school at the College of William and Mary, and he attempted to secure a long-promised donation of volumes.

Multiple civic responsibilities

On August 22, 1734, Sir John Randolph resigned the clerkship of the House of Burgesses. The next day, the college administration elected him its burgess, and on Saturday the burgesses elected him Speaker of the House. In September he became a justice of Gloucester County, and in October he became treasurer of the colony. When Norfolk was incorporated in 1736, it made Randolph its recorder. Although a deputy would perform the actual work of the office, the city marked his swearing in with an elaborate celebration.

Despite the accumulation of wealth, honors, and offices – perhaps because of it –Randolph did not escape criticism or controversy. Spotswood, now a private citizen embittered by political battles of the past, attacked Randolph in the public prints, describing him as "a fawning creature . . . whose Pride and Spell has made him turn against his Benefactor, who first promoted him in the World." Randolph answered the assault in the Virginia Gazette with an angry rejoinder.

An ethical man and a simple Christian

John Randolph preferred simplicity in religion, which offended the dogmatism of the established clergy. In some quarters he was regarded as a deist, a heretic, and a schismatic. These charges he answered in his will, writing a long profession of Christian faith based on the unembellished precepts of the Bible.

He also recorded in his will that he had earned his estate honestly, "tho' by a profession much exposed to temptations of deceit and extortion."

Randolph died on March 7, 1737, and "was (according to his own Directions) carried from his House to the Place of Interment, by Six honest, industrious, poor-House-keepers of Breton Parish " who divided £20 for their services. The place of interment was the chapel of the Wren Building at the College of William & Mary.

Fire gutted the Wren in 1859 and the burial vaults were disturbed. A physician who examined the contents of Sir John Randolph's tomb discovered the bones of two men. The identity of the second is a mystery.

--------------------

Was son of Colonel William Randolph of "Turkey Island," Henrico county; born 1693, died March 9, 1737. He was educated at William and Mary College, Gray's Inn, and the Temple in London and on his return engaged in the practice of law in Virginia; was clerk of the council, treasurer, agent of the assembly in England, president of the county court of Gloucester, lieutenant-colonel of the militia for that county; burgess and speaker. He was the only native resident, who ever received the honors of knighthood. He was also first recorder, in 1736, of the borough of Norfolk. He seems to have been considered as head of the Virginia bar in his day. He was interred in the chapel of William and Mary College, which he represented in the legislature. He was a great nephew of Thomas Randolph, the poet. He was father of John Randolph, attorney general of Virginia, and of Peyton Randolph, first president of the continental congress. In his latter years he resided in Williamsburg.

Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Volume I

IV--Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons

______________________________________________________________

Sir John Randolph

(Born 1693, died 1737)

It was written of Sir John Randolph that "his Parts were bright and strong; his Learning extensive and useful." He was, it was said, "An Assertor of the just Rights and natural Liberties of Mankind; an Enemy of Oppression; a Support to the Distressed." He had, in short, "the Air of a man of quality."

The phrases are lifted from Randolph's obituary in the March 11, 1737, edition of Williamsburg's Virginia Gazette. Had they been written about another man, they might be discounted as the sort of overgenerous flattery that characterized the death notices of prominent men. But such things were said of Sir John Randolph while he lived, and modern biographers fill their columns with his praise.

According to these reports, Sir John was modest and sincere, a man of integrity and patience who had great concern for impartiality and the rule of law. He was tactful, warm, and good-humored. He was the only colonial-born Virginian to be distinguished with knighthood and the best-regarded lawyer in the colony. A legal scholar, he had an interest in literature and history and a remarkable library.

Born in 1693 to William and Mary Isham Randolph of Turkey Island in Charles City County, Sir John was the youngest of six brothers who, with their two sisters, led Virginia's most powerful family into the 18th century.

An early student of the College of William and Mary, Randolph finished his studies in the fall of 1711 as "first scholar" and took up the study of the law Governor Alexander Spotswood made him a deputy attorney general of Charles City, Prince George, and Henrico Counties the following year.

Randolph prosecuted cases for the Crown until he followed his legal studies to London to be admitted to Grays Inn at the Inns of Court on May 17, 1715. He made short work of his courses, being called to the bar November 25, 1717, and leaving for Virginia the following spring. Spotswood appointed him clerk of the House of Burgesses as soon as he returned.

That appears to be the year Randolph married Susannah Beverley, whose elder sister had married his eldest brother. Their first child, a boy named Beverley, was born about 1720, and their second, Peyton, in 1721.

Randolph took leave of his young family in 1722 to act as secretary to the Virginia delegation that traveled to Albany, New York, for a meeting of Iroquois chiefs organized by Governor William Burnet of that stat

Williamsburg was incorporated that year, and Randolph was among the original aldermen. Although we do not know where the family first lived in Williamsburg, Randolph acquired two wooden houses thirty-six feet apart on Market Square in 1724. Joining them with a center section, he fashioned what today is called the Peyton Randolph House.

His most valuable property was a plantation across the York River in Gloucester County, and at the end of his life he also owned other lots in Williamsburg, lots with a tobacco warehouse at College Creek, a 100-acre plantation at Archer's Hope Creek, lands in Martin's Hundred near Carter's Grove, and lands on the Chickahominy River.

In April 1726 the governor appointed Randolph the colony's acting attorney general and acting clerk of its Council. Perhaps the year after, Susannah gave birth to their son John. The date of birth of their only daughter, Mary, is unknown.

Apart from his official duties, Randolph had a valuable private law practice. He represented prominent men, but accepted the cases of the less fortunate for "Fees he constantly remitted, when he thought the Paiment of them would be grievous to themselves or Families."

In 1728 he took the House of Burgesses for a client. The house sent Randolph to London as its special agent to secure repeal of a law that prohibited the export of tobacco leaf that had been removed from the stalk. The stems added to the bulk of shipments, and thus to the number of hogsheads the Crown might tax, but impaired the quality of the product and cheapened market prices.

In addition, Randolph represented the College of William and Mary in the transfer of its property from its trustees to its president and faculty. His service was memorialized in an illuminated and handsomely penned parchment.

Randolph returned to Virginia to report success in both endeavors and was dispatched again to England in 1732 to try to persuade Parliament to adopt an excise on tobacco imported to England. The intent was to improve the economics of the trade, but in this he failed, despite enlisting the help of the prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole.

In any case, Randolph distinguished himself by his industry and skill and, perhaps because of them, was knighted. The date and the circumstances of the honor are not known, but he was listed on the rolls of the Imperial Society of the Knights Bachelor by September 1732.

Before returning to Virginia in the summer of 1733, Randolph asked the bishop of London and the archbishop of Canterbury for advice on books for the library of the Brafferton, the Indian school at the College of William and Mary, and he attempted to secure a long-promised donation of volumes.

On August 22, 1734, Sir John Randolph resigned the clerkship of the House of Burgesses. The next day, the college administration elected him its burgess, and on Saturday the burgesses elected him Speaker of the House. In September he became a justice of Gloucester County, and in October he became treasurer of the colony. When Norfolk was incorporated in 1736, it made Randolph its recorder. Although the work of the office would be performed by a deputy, the city marked his swearing in with an elaborate celebration.

Despite the accumulation of wealth, honors, and offices--perhaps because of it--Randolph did not escape criticism or controversy. Spotswood, now a private citizen embittered by political battles of the past, attacked Randolph in the public prints, describing him as "a fawning creature . . . whose Pride and Spell has made him turn against his Benefactor, who first promoted him in the World." Randolph answered the assault in the Virginia Gazette with an angry rejoinder.

He preferred simplicity in religion, which offended the dogmatism of the established clergy. In some quarters he was regarded as a deist, a heretic, and a schismatic. These charges he answered in his will, writing a long profession of Christian faith based on the unembellished precepts of the Bible.

He also recorded in his will that he had earned his estate honestly, "tho' by a profession much exposed to temptations of deceit and extortion."

Randolph died on March 7, 1737, and "was (according to his own Directions) carried from his House to the Place of Interment, by Six honest, industrious, poor-House-keepers of Bruton Parish" who divided £20 for their services. The place of interment was the chapel of the Wren Building at the College of William and Mary.

Fire gutted the Wren in 1859 and the burial vaults were disturbed. A physician who examined the contents of Sir John Randolph's tomb discovered the bones of two men. The identity of the second is a mystery.

Copyright © 2003 The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

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From Colonial Williamsburg web site

http://www.history.org/almanack/people/bios/biorasjr.cfm


Sir John RandolphBorn 1693 Youngest of six sons Early student at the College of William & Mary Simple, ethical, kindhearted man Member of Virginia House of Burgesses Lifelong interest in Native American Indians Died 1737 Buried at Wren Chapel at William & Mary A man of quality It was written of Sir John Randolph that "his Parts were bright and strong; his Learning extensive and useful." He was, it was said, "An Assertor of the just Rights and natural Liberties of Mankind; an Enemy of Oppression; a Support to the Distressed." He had, in short, "the Air of a man of quality."

The phrases are lifted from Randolph's obituary in the March 11, 1737 edition of Williamsburg's Virginia Gazette. Had they been written about another man, they might be discounted as the sort of overgenerous flattery that characterized the death notices of prominent men. But such things were said of Sir John Randolph while he lived, and modern biographers fill their columns with his praise.

According to these reports, Sir John was modest and sincere, a man of integrity and patience who had great concern for impartiality and the rule of law. He was tactful, warm, and good-humored. He was the only colonial-born Virginian to be distinguished with knighthood and the best-regarded lawyer in the colony. A legal scholar, he had an interest in literature and history and a remarkable library. Early years Born in 1693 to William and Mary Isham Randolph of Turkey Island in Charles City County, Va., Sir John was the youngest of six brothers who, with their two sisters, led Virginia's most powerful family into the 18th century.

An early student of the college of William & Mary, Randolph finished his studies in the fall of 1711 as "first scholar" and took up the study of the law. Governor Alexander Spotswood made him a deputy attorney general of Charles City, Prince George, and Henrico Counties the following year. Appointed to Virginia’s House of Burgesses Randolph prosecuted cases for the Crown until he followed his legal studies to London to be admitted to Grays Inn at the Inns of Court on May 17, 1715. He made short work of his courses, being called to the bar November 25, 1717, and leaving for Virginia the following spring. Spotswood appointed him clerk of the House of Burgesses as soon as he returned.

Randolph married Susannah Beverly, whose elder sister had married his eldest brother. Their first child, a boy named Beverley, was born about 1720, and their second son, Peyton, in 1721. Early interest in American Indians Randolph took leave of his young family in 1722 to act as secretary to the Virginia delegation that traveled to Albany, New York, for a meeting of Iroquois chiefs organized by Governor William Burnet of that state. Property Owner John Randolph was among the original aldermen of the newly incorporated town of Williamsburg. We do not know where the family first lived in Williamsburg, but in 1724, Randolph did acquire two wooden houses thirty-six feet apart on Market Square. Joining them with a center section, he fashioned what today is called the Peyton Randolph House.

His most valuable property was a plantation across the York River in Gloucester County, and at the end of his life he also owned other lots in Williamsburg, lots with a tobacco warehouse at College Creek, a 100-acre plantation at Archer's Hope Creek, land in Martin's Hundred near Carter's Grove, and land on the Chickahominy River. Attorney General for Virginia Colony In April 1726, the governor appointed Randolph the colony's acting attorney general and acting clerk of its Council. Perhaps the year after, Susannah gave birth to their son John. The date of birth of their only daughter, Mary, is unknown. Prominent Attorney Apart from his official duties, Randolph had a valuable private law practice. He represented prominent men, but accepted the cases of the less fortunate for "Fees he constantly remitted, when he thought the Paiment of them would be grievous to themselves or Families."

In 1728, John Randolph took the House of Burgesses for a client. The house sent Randolph to London as its special agent to secure repeal of a law that prohibited the export of tobacco leaf that had been removed from the stalk. The stems added to the bulk of shipments, and thus to the number of hogsheads the Crown might tax, but impaired the quality of the product and cheapened market prices.

In addition, Randolph represented the College of William and Mary in the transfer of its property from its trustees to its president and faculty. His service was memorialized in an illuminated and handsomely penned parchment. Colonial Virginian Knighted Randolph returned to Virginia to report success in both endeavors and was dispatched again to England in 1732 to try to persuade Parliament to adopt an excise on tobacco imported to England. The intent was to improve the economics of the trade, but in this he failed, despite enlisting the help of the prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole. In any case, Randolph distinguished himself by his industry and skill and, perhaps because of them, was knighted. The date and the circumstances of the honor are not known, but he was listed on the rolls of the Imperial Society of the Knights Bachelor by September 1732. Patron of Indian school library Before returning to Virginia in the summer of 1733, Randolph asked the bishop of London and the archbishop of Canterbury for advice on books for the library of the Brafferton, the Indian school at the College of William and Mary, and he attempted to secure a long-promised donation of volumes. Multiple civic responsibilities On August 22, 1734, Sir John Randolph resigned the clerkship of the House of Burgesses. The next day, the college administration elected him its burgess, and on Saturday the burgesses elected him Speaker of the House. In September he became a justice of Gloucester County, and in October he became treasurer of the colony. When Norfolk was incorporated in 1736, it made Randolph its recorder. Although a deputy would perform the actual work of the office, the city marked his swearing in with an elaborate celebration.

Despite the accumulation of wealth, honors, and offices – perhaps because of it –Randolph did not escape criticism or controversy. Spotswood, now a private citizen embittered by political battles of the past, attacked Randolph in the public prints, describing him as "a fawning creature . . . whose Pride and Spell has made him turn against his Benefactor, who first promoted him in the World." Randolph answered the assault in the Virginia Gazette with an angry rejoinder. An ethical man and a simple Christian John Randolph preferred simplicity in religion, which offended the dogmatism of the established clergy. In some quarters he was regarded as a deist, a heretic, and a schismatic. These charges he answered in his will, writing a long profession of Christian faith based on the unembellished precepts of the Bible.

He also recorded in his will that he had earned his estate honestly, "tho' by a profession much exposed to temptations of deceit and extortion."

Randolph died on March 7, 1737, and "was (according to his own Directions) carried from his House to the Place of Interment, by Six honest, industrious, poor-House-keepers of Breton Parish " who divided £20 for their services. The place of interment was the chapel of the Wren Building at the College of William & Mary.

Fire gutted the Wren in 1859 and the burial vaults were disturbed. A physician who examined the contents of Sir John Randolph's tomb discovered the bones of two men. The identity of the second is a mystery.

For further reading: College of William & Mary Market Square Lady Susannah Beverley Randolph Peyton Randolph Peyton Randolph House Brafferton Bruton Parish Wren Building John "The Tory" Randolph

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He married (1718) Susanna Beverly, daughter of Peter Beverly, of Gloucester Co., Va., and sister of Elizabeth, the wife of William Randolph, his eldest brother, known as Councillor Randolph. The mural tablet, above mentioned, to Sir John Randolph and Susanna, née Beverly, gave also a list of their four children. as follows:

I. John Randolph, son of Sir John Randolph, b. at Williamsburg 1727. Married (1752) Airanna Jennings, daughter of Edmond Jennings.

II. Peyton Randolph, son of Sir John Randolph, b. at Williamsburg, d. in Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 22, 1775, aged 53 years. He was Attorney General for Virginia, Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses and President of the first American Congress. Married Elizabeth Harrison. No children.

III. Beverley Randolph. Married Miss Wormeley.

IV. Mary Randolph, daughter of Sir John Randolph, b. at Williamsburg, Va. Married (1743) Philip Grymes, of Brandon, Middlesex Co., Va. Issue four children:

(1) Philip Grymes, Jr. Married (1762) Elizabeth, daughter of William Randolph, of Wilton, and Anne Harrison, his wife.

(2) Lucy Grymes. Married (1761) Gov. Thomas Nelson, of Yorktown, York Co., Va.

(3) Susan Grymes. Married Nathaniel Burwell, of "The Grove," York Co., Va., and later of Carter Hall, Clarke Co., Va.

(4) Mary Grymes. Married (1777) Robert Nelson, of "Malvern Hill," Charles City Co., Va., younger brother of Gov. Thomas Nelson, and was his first wife.

III. John Randolph, of Williamsburg, son of Sir John Randolph and Susanna, née Beverly, was b. 1727, and was Attorney General for the Colony of Virginia. He married (1752) Airanna Jennings, daughter of Edmund Jennings, of Annapolis, Md., who was at one time Attorney General for both Maryland and Virginia. They had two children.

Source: About Virginia, Prominent Families, Vol. 1-4, Compiled biography of prominent families in Virginia, pg 1219



      
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Sir John Randolph of Tazwell's Timeline

1693
July 20, 1693
Williamsburg, Charles City, Virginia
1718
1718
Age 24
Virginia USA
1720
1720
Age 26
1721
September 10, 1721
Age 28
Williamsburg, Virginia, United States
1727
1727
Age 33
Williamsburg, VA, USA
1729
1729
Age 35
Gloucester, Virginia, United States
1737
March 15, 1737
Age 43
Williamsburg, VA, USA
????
Williamsburg, Va