Septimia Anne Randolph Meikleham

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Born at Monticello, the seventh and last daughter of Thomas Mann and Martha Jefferson Randolph was appropriately named Septimia Anne Randolph (1814–1887). “Tim,” or “Pet” as her family often called her, spent the first twelve years of her life at Monticello, accompanying her mother and younger brother George to Boston in the fall of 1826 after the death of her grandfather Thomas Jefferson. While there Septimia attended a day school and studied music at the home of her sister Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, eventually learning to play the piano and her favorite instrument, the guitar. She returned briefly to Virginia in the fall of 1828, and then moved to Washington, D.C., with her mother the following year to live in the household of another sister, Virginia Jefferson Randolph Trist. Septimia attended St. Mary’s convent school and accompanied her mother and sisters Cornelia and Mary back to Edgehill, their home in Albemarle County, in the summertime. Possibly suffering from tuberculosis, Septimia traveled south for her health, visiting family and friends in Louisiana, Florida, and Havana, Cuba. Upon her mother’s death in October 1836, Septimia used her mother’s bequest of $4,000 to return to Havana, where she soon became engaged to Dr. David Scott Meikleham, a Scottish graduate of Cambridge. They married on 13 August 1838 at Edgehill and returned to Havana. The Meiklehams left Havana in 1844 for a healthier climate and better educational opportunities for their children. After visiting family in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Scotland, where their one-year-old baby died, the Meiklehams settled in New York City and David practiced medicine there until his death from malaria on 20 November 1849. To support herself and four children Septimia kept a boardinghouse in New York until her eldest son William Moreland bought it from her. She then took her two daughters, Alice Esther and Ellen Wayles, and her son Thomas Mann Randolph to live in Virginia near Edgehill. Septimia later lived in Maryland and Washington, D.C., where she remained until her death.

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