Thomas Mann Randolph

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Thomas Mann Randolph (1768–1828) shared close ties with the Thomas Jefferson family. Randolph's father was first cousin of Thomas Jefferson’s mother, and Jefferson’s father Peter served as Randolph's guardian after his father died. 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.

Randolph shared many interests with his father-in-law, including the classics and science. He was educated at home as boy and attended the College of William and Mary and the University of Edinburgh. 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.

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