William Randolph


William Randolph : biography

November 1650 – 11 April 1711

Randolph was a friend of William Byrd, and he served as an advisor to Byrd’s sons during their political careers.Sankey, Margaret D. “Randolph, William (1650–1711), colonist in America” He is mentioned in one of Byrd’s diaries as "Colonel Randolph", his militia title.

Randolph built a mansion on the Turkey Island plantation on high ground overlooking the island and the river. It featured a ribbed dome and was known as the "Bird’s Cage".


In their wealth and social status, the Randolphs were much like other families of the Chesapeake elite. If anything set them apart it was their participation in the political life of the colony, clearly traceable to William Randolph’s example. Randolphs and close relatives formed the predominant political faction in the colonial government during the 18th century, with many members of the elected House of Burgesses and the appointed, and more exclusive, Council.

Most of the Randolphs, like the rest of the Virginia gentry, strongly supported the Revolution. However, John Randolph (son of Sir John), in opposition to both his brother Peyton and son Edmund, remained loyal to Great Britain and left Virginia. It was the period of William Randolph’s most famous descendants. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and 18-year-old John Marshall was at Valley Forge for the trying winter of 1777–1778.


William Randolph had at least nine children and was familially connected to many other prominent individuals:

  • William Randolph II of Wilton (born November 1681) married Elizabeth Beverley (the daughter of Peter Beverley, a Speaker of the House of Burgesses and Treasurer of Virginia) around 1705 and had five children who lived to adulthood. –> He was the grandfather of Beverley Randolph, the eighth Governor of Virginia. and Ann Bolling Randolph Fitzhugh.
  • Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe (born ~June 1683) married Judith Churchill and/or Judith Fleming between 1705 and 1712. He was the great-grandfather of John Marshall, as well as the great-great-grandfather of Ann Cary (Nancy) Randolph, who married Gouverneur Morris, and her brother Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., who married Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Martha.
  • Isham Randolph of Dungeness (born December 1684) married Jane Rogers in 1717 and had nine children, including Jane Randolph (who married Peter Jefferson and was the mother of Thomas Jefferson), Mary Randolph (who was the mother of Charles Lilburn Lewis and grandmother of Isham and Lilburn Lewis), Ann Randolph (who was the mother of James Pleasants, Jr., the 22nd Governor of Virginia), and Susannah Randolph (who married Carter Henry Harrison I and was the great-grandmother of Carter Henry Harrison III and great-great-grandmother of Carter Henry Harrison IV) – both five-time mayors of Chicago.
  • Richard Randolph of Curles Neck (born ~May 1686) married Jane Bolling, a descendant of Pocahontas, around 1714. He was the grandfather of the colorful Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke.
  • Henry Randolph (born ~October 1687) did not marry.
  • Sir John Randolph of Tazewell Hall (born ~April 1689) married Susanna Beverley around 1718. He studied at the Inns of Court, practiced law in Williamsburg. John was the only native of Colonial America to receive a knighthood. He was the father of Peyton Randolph, President of the First Continental Congress, and John Randolph, a Loyalist. The latter’s son, Edmund Randolph, served as a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention and became the first U.S. Attorney General.
  • Edward Randolph of Bremo (born ~October 1690) married Miss (Elizabeth?) Grosvenor around 1715.
  • Mary Randolph (born ~1692) married Captain John Stith, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and the son of John Stith, around 1712. Her son, William Stith, was the third president of the College of William and Mary; her son-in-law, William Dawson, was the second president of The College of William & Mary. Mary was the great-grandmother of Congressman William Johnston Dawson. Her second son, John Stith III, was the great-great-grandfather of Armistead C. Gordon and also Junius Daniel, Brigadier General of the Confederate States Army.
  • Elizabeth Randolph (born ~1695) married Richard Bland around 1711 and had five children, including Mary Bland (who married Henry Lee I and was the mother of Henry Lee II, the grandmother Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III, and the great-grandmother of Robert E. Lee), Theodorick Bland of Cawsons (who was the father of Congressman Theodorick Bland as well as grandfather to John Randolph of Roanoke), and the statesman Richard Bland (who was the great-great-grandfather of Roger Atkinson Pryor).