Thomas Mann Randolph

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Thomas Mann Randolph (1768–1828) shared close ties with the Thomas Jefferson family. Thomas Jefferson’s mother was Randolph’s second cousin and Jefferson’s father Peter had served as guardian of Randolph’s father. These ties were strengthened when Randolph married Jefferson’s eldest daughter Martha in 1790 and built a home at Edgehill near Monticello. Randolph often looked after Jefferson’s concerns when Jefferson was absent and shared many interests with his father-in-law, including classics and science, which he had pursued while educated at home, at the College of William and Mary, and at Edinburgh University. Though he did not graduate, Randolph applied his studies to experiment with scientific agriculture and become a respected botanist. He also pursued a political career that included terms as a Virginia delegate, senator, governor, and congressman. While in office, Randolph supported Jefferson’s policies, but he became estranged from his father-in-law and his own family after returning from service as a colonel in the War of 1812. His financial and personal affairs continued to deteriorate but he eventually reconciled with his wife and children, all of whom had moved permanently to Monticello upon Jefferson’s retirement in 1809. Randolph died at Monticello and was buried in the family cemetery.

Further Sources

  • ANB
  • DAB
  • Gaines Jr. William H. Thomas Mann Randolph: Jefferson’s Son-in-Law (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1966)
  • Shackelford, George Green ed., Collected Papers to Commemorate Fifty Years of the Monticello Association of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville: Monticello Association, 1965), 45, 252