Martha Washington Randolph

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About Martha Washington Randolph

"First Lady of the United States"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Jefferson_Randolph

Martha Washington Jefferson Randolph (* September 27, 1772 – † October 10, 1836) was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.

She was born in Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia and was named in honor of her mother and name of Martha Washington, wife of George Washington. Her nickname was Patsy.

Early Life and Marriage

Tall and slim with angular features and red hair, she closely resembled her father, to whom she was devoted. From age 12 to 17, she lived in Paris while her father served as U.S. Minister to France. Jefferson enrolled her at Abbaye Royale de Panthemont, an exclusive convent school, after receiving assurances that Protestant students were exempt from religious instruction. Nevertheless, Patsy not only expressed a desire to convert to Catholicism, but also informed her father that she was thinking about becoming a nun. Jefferson quickly withdrew her from the school.

In 1790, Martha married Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., who served as Governor of Virginia from 1819 to 1822. The couple had twelve children:

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. Married to Joseph Coolidge {1798-1879} {Via common ancestor John Coolidge a cousin 10 times removed was US President Calvin Coolidge}.

Cornelia Jefferson Randolph (1799–1871).

Virginia Jefferson Randolph (1801–1882).

Mary Jefferson Randolph (1803–1876).

James Madison Randolph (1806–1834). First child born in the White House.

Benjamin Franklin Randolph (1808–1871).

Meriwether Lewis Randolph (1810–1837). His widow Elizabeth Martin remarried to Andrew Jackson Donelson—nephew of President Andrew Jackson.

Septimia Anne Randolph (1814–1887).

George Wythe Randolph (1818–1867), briefly in 1862 he was Secretary of War of the Confederate States of America.

She educated her children at home. Being engrossed with the cares of her large family, she passed only a portion of her time in the White House, which she visited with her husband and children in 1802, with her sister in 1803, and during the winter of 1805/06. After Thomas Jefferson's retirement, she devoted much of her life to his declining years. He describes her as the "cherished companion of his youth and the nurse of his old age," and shortly before his death remarked that the "last pang of life was parting with her."

She inherited Monticello from her father in 1826. After business reverses and the death of her husband, she contemplated establishing a school, but was relieved from the necessity by a donation of $10,000 each from South Carolina and Virginia. However increasing financial difficulties still obligated her to sell Monticello to James T. Barclay in 1831, who then sold it, in 1834, to a naval officer and Jefferson admirer named Uriah P. Levy. Martha was estranged from her husband until shortly before his death in 1828. She died at her Edgehill estate in Albemarle County, Virginia.

First Lady of the United States

She is now considered to have been First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1801 to March 3, 1809 because her father was a widower, making her the first First Lady not to be a wife of the president. She earned a reputation as an intellectual.


Martha Washington Jefferson Randolph (* September 27, 1772 – † October 10, 1836) was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.

She was born in Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia and was named in honor of her mother and name of Martha Washington, wife of George Washington. Her nickname was Patsy.

Early Life and Marriage

Tall and slim with angular features and red hair, she closely resembled her father, to whom she was devoted. From age 12 to 17, she lived in Paris while her father served as U.S. Minister to France. Jefferson enrolled her at Abbaye Royale de Panthemont, an exclusive convent school, after receiving assurances that Protestant students were exempt from religious instruction. Nevertheless, Patsy not only expressed a desire to convert to Catholicism, but also informed her father that she was thinking about becoming a nun. Jefferson quickly withdrew her from the school.

In 1790, Martha married Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., who served as Governor of Virginia from 1819 to 1822. The couple had twelve children:

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. Married to Joseph Coolidge {1798-1879} {Via common ancestor John Coolidge a cousin 10 times removed was US President Calvin Coolidge}.

Cornelia Jefferson Randolph (1799–1871).

Virginia Jefferson Randolph (1801–1882).

Mary Jefferson Randolph (1803–1876).

James Madison Randolph (1806–1834). First child born in the White House.

Benjamin Franklin Randolph (1808–1871).

Meriwether Lewis Randolph (1810–1837). His widow Elizabeth Martin remarried to Andrew Jackson Donelson—nephew of President Andrew Jackson.

Septimia Anne Randolph (1814–1887).

George Wythe Randolph (1818–1867), briefly in 1862 he was Secretary of War of the Confederate States of America.

She educated her children at home. Being engrossed with the cares of her large family, she passed only a portion of her time in the White House, which she visited with her husband and children in 1802, with her sister in 1803, and during the winter of 1805/06. After Thomas Jefferson's retirement, she devoted much of her life to his declining years. He describes her as the "cherished companion of his youth and the nurse of his old age," and shortly before his death remarked that the "last pang of life was parting with her."

She inherited Monticello from her father in 1826. After business reverses and the death of her husband, she contemplated establishing a school, but was relieved from the necessity by a donation of $10,000 each from South Carolina and Virginia. However increasing financial difficulties still obligated her to sell Monticello to James T. Barclay in 1831, who then sold it, in 1834, to a naval officer and Jefferson admirer named Uriah P. Levy. Martha was estranged from her husband until shortly before his death in 1828. She died at her Edgehill estate in Albemarle County, Virginia.

First Lady of the United States

She is now considered to have been First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1801 to March 3, 1809 because her father was a widower, making her the first First Lady not to be a wife of the president. She earned a reputation as an intellectual.

Thomas Jefferson took charge of the entertaining details at the White House during his presidency, particularly the food and the form of protocol and ceremony; whenever he had women dinner guests, he invited Dolley Madison (1768-1849), the wife of his highest-ranking Cabinet member, Secretary of State James Madison, as his escort, his vice president Aaron Burr also being a widower. At large open functions in the White House, Dolley Madison also assumed a public role as hostess, assisting the President in welcoming the general citizenry.

 

Patsy Randolph, eldest daughter of Thomas and Martha Jefferson, has often been incorrectly identified as the White House hostess during the eight-year Jefferson presidency. In fact, she spent almost his entire time in the White House at either Monticello or the Virginia plantation, "Edgehill" of her husband. She bore four of her twelve children during the eight-year Administration. She was not present at either of his Inaugurations, in 1801 and 1805 and made only two lengthy stays with her father in Washington, during which time she served as his White House hostess - the winter of 1802 and the winter of 1806. During her second visit, she gave birth on January 17, 1806 to her eighth child, James Madison Randolph; thus he became the first child born in the White House.

 

During Patsy Randolph's 1802 sojourn there, she was accompanied by Jefferson's other child who survived into adulthood, Polly Eppes. Both Thomas Mann Randolph and John "Jack" Eppes, the husbands of Jefferson's daughters, lived in the White House with their father-in-law the President during their terms as U.S. Congressmen from Virginia. Polly Eppes died at her Virginia plantation, "Eppington," during the Jefferson presidency on April 17, 1804 just eight weeks after giving birth to her third child, a daughter, on February 15, thus dying shortly after childbirth as had her mother and maternal grandmother.

 

Largely through their correspondence, but also during his lengthy visits home, Patsy Randolph became her father’s comfort and close advisor, perhaps the single most important personal factor that stabilized him during his presidency. When the newspaper story that Jefferson and his half-sister-in-law and Monticello slave Sally Hemings had children out of wedlock was first widely reprinted in the first weeks of 1802, Patsy Randolph may have served a political purpose: she immediately joined her troubled father in Washington, along with her two children, Ellen and Jeff, and her delicate sister Polly Eppes, as a sign of family unity. The usually non-churchgoing Jefferson also suddenly began publicly appearing at the Sunday religious services then held in the hall of Congress - always politically shielded by the presence of his two daughters and two grandchildren. When she was at Monticello, Patsy Randolph was put in the difficult situation of supervising her half-aunt, Sally Hemings as a privileged house slave - without ever openly acknowledging that they shared the same blood.

 

After the Jefferson presidency, Patsy Randolph continued to live at her home Edgehill; eventually the heavy debts incurred by the late president at Monticello, and the mental illness endured by Thomas Randolph forced the clan to sell both plantations. Patsy Randolph initially lived in Boston with her daughter Ellen and her husband, Joseph Coolidge. Although estranged from her husband in the last years of their marriage, Patsy Randolph returned to Virginia to care for him in his final days; he died in 1829. She often visited her daughter Septimia Meikleham (1814-1887) in Washington, D.C. and later lived there; she was a guest of President Andrew Jackson in the White House on several occasions. At one point, some Democratic Congressmen, loyal to Jeffersonian principals, considered proposing a pension for the impoverished and widowed Mrs. Randolph as a sign of respect for her late father, but none was made. South Carolina and Louisiana, however, awarded her cash gifts totaling $20,000, which she accepted; she died on October 10, 1836 during a visit to Virginia, and is buried with her parents at Monticello. In 1834, she dictated an informal addendum to her will, instructing her children that she wished that her half-aunt Sally Hemings would be given her "time," or freedom, but that would also mean the now-elderly mistress of Jefferson would be forced to leave Virginia by law. It became moot since Sally Hemings died a year before Patsy Randolph.


Martha Washington Jefferson Randolph (* September 27, 1772 – † October 10, 1836) was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.

She was born in Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia and was named in honor of her mother and name of Martha Washington, wife of George Washington. Her nickname was Patsy.

Early Life and Marriage

Tall and slim with angular features and red hair, she closely resembled her father, to whom she was devoted. From age 12 to 17, she lived in Paris while her father served as U.S. Minister to France. Jefferson enrolled her at Abbaye Royale de Panthemont, an exclusive convent school, after receiving assurances that Protestant students were exempt from religious instruction. Nevertheless, Patsy not only expressed a desire to convert to Catholicism, but also informed her father that she was thinking about becoming a nun. Jefferson quickly withdrew her from the school.

In 1790, Martha married Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., who served as Governor of Virginia from 1819 to 1822. The couple had twelve children:

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. Married to Joseph Coolidge {1798-1879} {Via common ancestor John Coolidge a cousin 10 times removed was US President Calvin Coolidge}.

Cornelia Jefferson Randolph (1799–1871).

Virginia Jefferson Randolph (1801–1882).

Mary Jefferson Randolph (1803–1876).

James Madison Randolph (1806–1834). First child born in the White House.

Benjamin Franklin Randolph (1808–1871).

Meriwether Lewis Randolph (1810–1837). His widow Elizabeth Martin remarried to Andrew Jackson Donelson—nephew of President Andrew Jackson.

Septimia Anne Randolph (1814–1887).

George Wythe Randolph (1818–1867), briefly in 1862 he was Secretary of War of the Confederate States of America.

She educated her children at home. Being engrossed with the cares of her large family, she passed only a portion of her time in the White House, which she visited with her husband and children in 1802, with her sister in 1803, and during the winter of 1805/06. After Thomas Jefferson's retirement, she devoted much of her life to his declining years. He describes her as the "cherished companion of his youth and the nurse of his old age," and shortly before his death remarked that the "last pang of life was parting with her."

She inherited Monticello from her father in 1826. After business reverses and the death of her husband, she contemplated establishing a school, but was relieved from the necessity by a donation of $10,000 each from South Carolina and Virginia. However increasing financial difficulties still obligated her to sell Monticello to James T. Barclay in 1831, who then sold it, in 1834, to a naval officer and Jefferson admirer named Uriah P. Levy. Martha was estranged from her husband until shortly before his death in 1828. She died at her Edgehill estate in Albemarle County, Virginia.

First Lady of the United States

She is now considered to have been First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1801 to March 3, 1809 because her father was a widower, making her the first First Lady not to be a wife of the president. She earned a reputation as an intellectual.

Thomas Jefferson took charge of the entertaining details at the White House during his presidency, particularly the food and the form of protocol and ceremony; whenever he had women dinner guests, he invited Dolley Madison (1768-1849), the wife of his highest-ranking Cabinet member, Secretary of State James Madison, as his escort, his vice president Aaron Burr also being a widower. At large open functions in the White House, Dolley Madison also assumed a public role as hostess, assisting the President in welcoming the general citizenry.

Patsy Randolph, eldest daughter of Thomas and Martha Jefferson, has often been incorrectly identified as the White House hostess during the eight-year Jefferson presidency. In fact, she spent almost his entire time in the White House at either Monticello or the Virginia plantation, "Edgehill" of her husband. She bore four of her twelve children during the eight-year Administration. She was not present at either of his Inaugurations, in 1801 and 1805 and made only two lengthy stays with her father in Washington, during which time she served as his White House hostess - the winter of 1802 and the winter of 1806. During her second visit, she gave birth on January 17, 1806 to her eighth child, James Madison Randolph; thus he became the first child born in the White House.

During Patsy Randolph's 1802 sojourn there, she was accompanied by Jefferson's other child who survived into adulthood, Polly Eppes. Both Thomas Mann Randolph and John "Jack" Eppes, the husbands of Jefferson's daughters, lived in the White House with their father-in-law the President during their terms as U.S. Congressmen from Virginia. Polly Eppes died at her Virginia plantation, "Eppington," during the Jefferson presidency on April 17, 1804 just eight weeks after giving birth to her third child, a daughter, on February 15, thus dying shortly after childbirth as had her mother and maternal grandmother.

Largely through their correspondence, but also during his lengthy visits home, Patsy Randolph became her father’s comfort and close advisor, perhaps the single most important personal factor that stabilized him during his presidency. When the newspaper story that Jefferson and his half-sister-in-law and Monticello slave Sally Hemings had children out of wedlock was first widely reprinted in the first weeks of 1802, Patsy Randolph may have served a political purpose: she immediately joined her troubled father in Washington, along with her two children, Ellen and Jeff, and her delicate sister Polly Eppes, as a sign of family unity. The usually non-churchgoing Jefferson also suddenly began publicly appearing at the Sunday religious services then held in the hall of Congress - always politically shielded by the presence of his two daughters and two grandchildren. When she was at Monticello, Patsy Randolph was put in the difficult situation of supervising her half-aunt, Sally Hemings as a privileged house slave - without ever openly acknowledging that they shared the same blood.

After the Jefferson presidency, Patsy Randolph continued to live at her home Edgehill; eventually the heavy debts incurred by the late president at Monticello, and the mental illness endured by Thomas Randolph forced the clan to sell both plantations. Patsy Randolph initially lived in Boston with her daughter Ellen and her husband, Joseph Coolidge. Although estranged from her husband in the last years of their marriage, Patsy Randolph returned to Virginia to care for him in his final days; he died in 1829. She often visited her daughter Septimia Meikleham (1814-1887) in Washington, D.C. and later lived there; she was a guest of President Andrew Jackson in the White House on several occasions. At one point, some Democratic Congressmen, loyal to Jeffersonian principals, considered proposing a pension for the impoverished and widowed Mrs. Randolph as a sign of respect for her late father, but none was made. South Carolina and Louisiana, however, awarded her cash gifts totaling $20,000, which she accepted; she died on October 10, 1836 during a visit to Virginia, and is buried with her parents at Monticello. In 1834, she dictated an informal addendum to her will, instructing her children that she wished that her half-aunt Sally Hemings would be given her "time," or freedom, but that would also mean the now-elderly mistress of Jefferson would be forced to leave Virginia by law. It became moot since Sally Hemings died a year before Patsy Randolph.


Martha Jefferson Randolph was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson. She was born at Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia. Her nickname was Patsy.

She married Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., who served as a politician at the federal and state levels and was elected a governor of Virginia (1819–1822). They had twelve children together. When her widowed father was President, she sometimes lived with him at the White House, serving as his hostess and informal First Lady. Martha was very close to her father in his old age. She was the only one of his acknowledged children to survive past age 25.

Martha Jefferson was born on September 27, 1772 at Monticello, her father's estate in Virginia, which was then British America, to Thomas Jefferson and Martha Wayles Skelton. During her parents' ten years of marriage, they had six children: Martha "Patsy" (1772–1836); Jane (1774–1775); a son who lived for only a few weeks in 1777; Mary Wayles "Polly" (1778–1804); Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781); and another Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785). Only Martha and Mary survived more than a few years.

Martha was tall and slim with angular features and red hair, and was said to have closely resembled her father. She became devoted to him.

Her paternal grandparents were Peter Jefferson, a planter and surveyor who died when her father was 33, and Jane Randolph. Jefferson vaguely knew that his grandfather "had a place on the Fluvanna River which he called Snowden after a mountain in Wales near which the Jeffersons were supposed to have once lived". Her mother was the only child and daughter of John Wayles (1715–1773) and his first wife, Martha Eppes (1712–1748). Wayles was an attorney, slave trader, business agent for Bristol-based merchants Farrell & Jones, and prosperous planter who was born in Lancaster, England and had emigrated alone at the age of 19 to Virginia in 1734, leaving family in England. Her maternal grandfather died in 1773, and her parents inherited 135 slaves, 11,000 acres (4,500 ha; 17 sq mi), and the estate's debts. The debts took her father years to satisfy, contributing to his financial problems.

Her mother died on September 6, 1782, four months after the birth of the Jeffersons' last child, at age 33. She later wrote that about this period, stating "in those melancholy rambles I was his constant companion, a solitary witness to many a violent burst of grief." Not until mid-October 1782 did her father, then 39, begin to resume a normal life when he wrote, "emerging from that stupor of mind which had rendered me as dead to the world as was she whose loss occasioned it."

Her mother asked her father to never marry again, and he never did. Her request has been attributed to protective feelings for her children, in view of her mother's own disagreeable relationships with her step-mothers.

From age 12 to 17, after her mother's death, she lived in Paris with her father while he served as U.S. Minister to France. Jefferson enrolled her at the Pentemont Abbey, an exclusive convent school, after receiving assurances that Protestant students were exempt from religious instruction. After Patsy expressed a desire to convert to Catholicism and said she was considering religious orders, Jefferson quickly withdrew her and her younger sister Polly from the school.

In 1790 at the age of 18, Martha married Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., a planter, who was her third cousin. Soon after their marriage, her father, Thomas Jefferson, deeded eight slaves from Monticello as a wedding gift, including Molly Hemings, the eldest daughter of Mary Hemings.

The couple had twelve children. In contrast to her parents and sister, each of whom had most of their children die in childhood, eleven of the Randolphs' children survived to adulthood:

Anne Cary Randolph (1791–1826), who married Charles Lewis Bankhead (1788-1833). Thomas Jefferson Randolph (1792–1875), who married Jane Hollins Nicholas (1798-1871). Ellen Wayles Randolph (1794–1795). Ellen Wayles Randolph (1796–1876), who was named after deceased sister, and was married to Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) Cornelia Jefferson Randolph (1799–1871). Virginia Jefferson Randolph (1801–1882), who married Nicholas Philip Trist (1800–1874). Mary Jefferson Randolph (1803–1876). James Madison Randolph (1806–1834), who was the first child born in the White House. Benjamin Franklin Randolph (1808–1871), who married Sally Champe Carter. Meriwether Lewis Randolph (1810–1837), who married Elizabeth Martin. After his death, Martin remarried to Andrew Jackson Donelson, a nephew of President Andrew Jackson. Septimia Anne Randolph (1814–1887), who married Dr. David Scott Meikleham (d. 1849). George Wythe Randolph (1818–1867), who briefly in 1862 was Secretary of War of the Confederate States of America, and who married Mary Elizabeth Adams Pope. Martha Randolph educated her children at home, likely with the help of private tutors, as most planters did. Although she was engrossed with the cares of her large family, she made several extended visits to the White House (then known as the President's House) when her father was president. She visited with her husband and children in 1802, with her sister Mary in 1803, and during the winter of 1805-06. During her visits she served as his hostess and informal First Lady, since Jefferson was a widower.

After Thomas Jefferson's retirement, Martha devoted much of her life to his declining years. She had separated from her husband, who was said to suffer from alcoholism and mental instability. Jefferson describes her as the "cherished companion of his youth and the nurse of his old age". Shortly before his death, he said that the "last pang of life was parting with her."

Martha was estranged from her husband until shortly before his death in 1828. She died at their Edgehill estate in Albemarle County, Virginia. She was the last surviving child of Thomas Jefferson.

She inherited Monticello from her father in 1826, as well as his many debts. Her eldest son Thomas Randolph acted as executor of the estate. Except for five slaves freed in her father's will, and "giving her time" (informal emancipation) to Sally Hemings, they sold the remainder of the 130 slaves at Monticello to try to settle the debts. Within a few years, they sold the plantation as well.

After business reverses and the death of her husband, she considered establishing a school. The state legislatures of South Carolina and Louisiana each donated $10,000 to her for her support. Increasing financial difficulties obliged her to sell Monticello. The property was finally sold to James T. Barclay in 1831. He sold it in 1834 to Uriah P. Levy, a wealthy United States naval officer (later the first Commodore of the Navy) and Jefferson admirer. Although Levy was then based in New York, his Sephardic Jewish ancestors had been resident in the South for five generations. Levy invested his own funds in renovating and preserving Monticello.

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Martha Washington Randolph's Timeline

1772
September 27, 1772
Albemarle County, Virginia, United States
1791
January 23, 1791
Age 18
Monticello, Albemarle, Virginia, USA
1792
September 12, 1792
Age 19
EDGE Hill, Albemarle, Virginia, USA
1796
October 13, 1796
Age 24
Albermarle, Virginia
1799
July 26, 1799
Age 26
Albermarle, Virginia
1801
August 22, 1801
Age 28
Albermarle, Virginia
1803
November 3, 1803
Age 31
Albermarle, Virginia
1806
January 17, 1806
Age 33
The White House, Washington, DC
1808
July 14, 1808
Age 35
Albermarle, Virginia