Meriwether Lewis Randolph

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Meriwether Lewis Randolph (1810–1837) was the ninth child of Martha Jefferson Randolph and Thomas Mann Randolph. He was born at Monticello and named for his grandfather’s secretary, the explorer Meriwether Lewis. Randolph studied law and moral and natural philosophy at the University of Virginia, 1829–1831, but chose to pursue a career on the western frontier. He worked briefly as a clerk for the Department of State before being appointed Secretary of the Arkansas Territory by President Andrew Jackson in February 1835, a position Randolph held through the transition to statehood. On 9 April 1835 he married Elizabeth Martin, daughter of James Glasgow Martin of Nashville, and grand-niece to President Jackson. They had one son, Lewis Jackson Randolph (1836–1840). After his commission expired, Randolph began purchasing large tracks of land, eventually acquiring over ten thousand acres. He died of malaria in Clark County, Arkansas, on 24 September 1837, and was buried on his newly established plantation, Terre Noir. [1]


  1. George Green Shackelford, ed., Collected Papers of the Monticello Association of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville: Monticello Association, 1984), 1:32, 122–7, 2:171–2; Clarence Edwin Carter, ed., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 21:1024–5, 1030–1, 1038–46, 1255–6; Journal of Executive Proceedings, 4:463–4, 470–1 (2, 23 Feb. 1835); Arkansas State Gazette, 3 Oct. 1837; Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser, 24 Oct. 1837.