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TRANSCRIBED RANDOLPH FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY
Posted by: Karen Cotter (ID *****8605) Date: August 09, 2002 at 21:51:06
  of 3733

Tuckahoe and the Tuckahoe Randolphs by Jefferson Randolph Anderson, Savannah, Georgia, from Genealogies of Virginia Families - from The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

The early history of this ancient Virginia estate, and of the branch of the Randolph family which founded it and is designated by its name, has been in many particulars a matter of argument and even of controversy for many years; due largely to lack of, or to imperfection of, the very early records.

Even such records as existed have only in recent years become really accessible and available. Goochland County, where the estate is located, was not laid off until 1728, and its records only run from that time. Prior to that time, it was geographically included in Henrico County, which stretched indefinitely to the mountains, but actually it was a very sparsely inhabited frontier region. Dover Church, the nearest Church in Tuckahoe was not built until 1720-1724. (Douglass Register, p. 5). The Parish of St. James, to which it belonged, was not established until 1720, and no Parish Register, containing statistics of births, marriages and deaths, etc., was kept prior to the year 1756 when it was begun by Reverend William Douglass, who had been installed as minister to the parish in 1750. (See Douglas Register, p. 8). In September 1744, St. James Parish was subdivided into three: St. James Northan, St. James Southan and St. Anne. Tuckahoe is located in Northam.

With the view of endeavoring to settle all controversial points as far as possible, the author, during the past four years, has made, or caused to be made, an exhaustive investigation into all extant records of which he could find trace or reference; not only those at the State Capitol in Richmond, but also all county and parish or other records which it might be supposed could relate to this place or family. The result of this investigation is given here and it is confidently submitted that it is as accurate and authentic an account as it is possible to make at this late date: more than two hundred years after the founding of Tuckahoe.

All records and all authorities agree that Thomas Randolph was the founder of Tuckahoe, but here have been many widely divergent and conflicting statements as to when it was founded and as to when and how he became its owner. The first error requiring correction is a statement appearing on page 125 of the book "Homes and Gardens in Old Virginia", Garden Club of Virginia Edition 1932; where the writer of the article on Tuckahoe states that Thomas Randolph was the third son of William and Mary Randolph of Turkey Island. The fact is that he was their "second" son and their third son was Isham Randolph of Dungeness. That Isham was the third son is expressly stated in the inscription on his tomb, which is still standing in the family graveyard at Turkey Island. This inscription was copied by me on June 1st, 1933, when I visited Turkey Island.

The question as to when Tuckahoe was founded is also one that has given rise to many conflicting opinions. In the above mentioned book "Homes and Gardens in Old Virginia", it is stated on p. 125, "Tuckahoe has been given a widely varying birthday, ranging from 1674 to 1725... The combined weight of authority, however, seems to point conclusively to its having been built prior to 1700,by or for Thomas Randolph; ana again of p. 129 of the same book, it is stated "Thomas Randolph, the founder, whether he moved there in 1690 or earlier" etc. In the book "Virginia Beautiful", published by Wallace Nutting in 1930, it is stated on page 221: "Tuckahoe -- The date of this house, like that of most others, can be fixed on approximately. Perhaps 1690 would be as correct a date as it is possible now to fix". Other writers, even some members of the family, have said that William Randolph of Turkey Island gave the land to his son, Thomas, about or prior to 1690, and sent him there at that time to take possession and build a home for himself. The fallacy of all these claims and statements become apparent when two established facts are taken into consideration. The first is that all genealogical writers and records agree that Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe was born in June 1683. He was therefore only 7 years old in 1690, and even as late as 1700, he was only 17 years old. Manifestly no boy of 7 or lad of 17 would be sent into a wilderness, then still, in part, inhabited by roving Indians, to take up land and a "family home". The second fact is that William Randolph of Turkey Island did not himself acquire the land on which the Tuckahoe House now stands until 1695, and that Thomas Randolph did not acquire the land until in 1714, as is shown below.

All these divergent ideas and publications as to the original acquisition and ownership of Tuckahoe seem to have grown out of a tradition that has been widely accepted throughout Virginia and William Randolph of Turkey Island either gave the Tuckahoe plantation to his son, Thomas or devised it to him in his Will. This is not the fact. The early records of grants and of land titles are still accessible and are practically complete; and an investigation of these records shows that the actual facts are as set out below. The earliest surveys of the region West of the falls of James River showed an island located near the North bank, opposite the mouth of Tuckahoe Creek, and extending above and below that point. The channel between the island and the north bank was spoken as the upper and lower branches of Tuckahoe Creek, and the island, after 1695, was known as Randolph's Island.

On April 21, 1695, William Randolph of Turkey Island obtained a grant, or Patent as it was called, from Sir Edward Andros, Lieut-Governor, conveying to him 1221 acres of land on the north side of James River above Westham Creek "beginning at ye mouth of Westham Creek and ye mouth of a branch of Tuckahoe Creek" (Grant Book 8, p. 408). This Patent included the Island and a strip of land along the north bank of the river containing the site on which the Tuckahoe House is located.

William Randolph also obtained from or through Edmund Jennings, a tract of 3256 acres lying east of Tuckahoe Creek. The exact date of this conveyance is not known as no record of it has been found, but the fact is mentioned in William Randolph's Will; and in Henrico Deed Book 5, p. 371, is recorded a deed, dated December 1, 1692, from Jno. Pleasants to William Randolph, conveying one or more islands in the James River on the north side and reciting that they contain 165 acres "next the land which ye said William Randolph purchased from Edmund Jennings". The above tract of 3256 acres is exactly one half of a tract of 6513 acres, patented by Edmund Jennings October 20th, 1689, (Grant Book 8, p. 2) and it seems possible that he was acting jointly for himself and Randolph. In fact, the Will of John Pleasants, 25 September 1690, devised some land to his son, Joseph, and says that one section "borders on the land taken up by Edmund (Edward) Jennings and William Randolph" (Henrico Co., Wills and Deeds, Book 5, p. 149). This tract of land is mentioned here because this and the Randolph Island grant covered most of the lands above the falls devised by William Randolph of Turkey Island to five of his seven sons.

William Randolph of Turkey Island died in 1711. His Will, dated March 6, 1710/11, and proved June 5, 1713, did not devise the site of Tuckahoe to his son, Thomas. (See Records Henrico County Court, Part 1, 1710-1714, pp. 215-208). On the contrary, the Will states an express desire that his son Thomas, or son Henry, should take charge of a plantation of 1100 acres at Pigeon Swamp in Surrey County to work off an indebtness to Micajah Perry & Company of London; and provided that if either son would do so, then, when the debt was paid, this property was to belong to such son in fee. As to the lands above the falls of James River, the Will recited that he had already given the lower part of this (Jennings) land to his (eldest) son William, and the Will then directed that the remaining land be equally divided between five of his sons as follows: -- "My son Isham to have the lower part, adjoining to my son William; my son Thomas to joyne upon Isham; my son Richard to joyne upon Thomas; my son John to joyne upon Richard; and my son Edward to joyne upon John, being the upper part of said land." It is to be noted that this provision of the Will does not even give to Thomas the part of the Jennings land nearest to Tuckahoe, as would be natural if it was intended or even expected that he was to have Tuckahoe.

As to the "upper island" property, which actually included the site of the Tuckahoe House, and was covered by the Randolph Island Grant of 195, the Will provided that this property was to be divided into three equal parts, "my son John to have the upper part, Thomas the middle part and Richard the lower part". These were devised in fee simple, and under this provision of the Will, Thomas was definitely excluded from that part (the upper part) of the land afterward forming that portion of the Tuckahoe Plantation, on which the House is located.

Thomas Randolph therefore, did not acquire the site of Tuckahoe House either as a gift from his father, or under his father, or under his father's Will. He obtained the river bank and island part of it by purchase from his brother John, under a deed dated September 4, 1714, and to the property thus conveyed to him plus the middle third devised to him by his father, Thomas Randolph, gave the name "Tuckahoe" by which it has ever since been known. The above deed conveyed, in consideration of ninety pounds Sterling, a tract of land devised to the said John Randolph in fee simple by the last Will and Testament of his deceased father, situate, lying and being in the County and parish of Henrico on the north side of James River at the upper end of Randolph Island, etc. (Deed Book Henrico County, 1710-1714, p. 287)

There is no actual record of the exact date when the present Tuckahoe House was erected by Thomas Randolph. His father died in 1711, he was married in 1712, and he probably started building the house shortly after his purchase of the land from his brother, John, in 1714. We know he was living there is 1723, because on September 5, 1723, he enlarged the estate by obtaining a grant of 734 acres on the north side of the James River, "lying along the South side of the River Road, West of Tuckahoe Creek and back of a survey formerly made by William Randolph"; and on which the said Randolph now lives". (Book of Grants, No. 11, p. 734; State Capitol). This grant was over ten years after the death of William Randolph, so this last clause clearly refers to Thomas Randolph himself, as the one then living there. It can be definitely stated therefore, that the Tuckahoe House was built between 1714 and 1723. This confirms the statement made on page 116, of the "Manors of Virginia in Colonial Times" published by Edith Tunis Sale in 1909. It was probably completed by or before 1720 for in that year we find that Thomas Randolph undertook the contract for building Dover Church, the first church in that part of Henrico, for the consideration of 54990 pounds of tobacco. (Douglass Register, p. 5). It may be noted here that the Tuckahoe estate was later further enlarged by Thomas Mann Randolph (1st), the grandson of the founder, who in 1772 purchased from Stephen Woodson 363 adjoining acres along the River Road (Deed Book 12, p. 60 G.C.C.) and in 1775 he purchased from John Martin 343 acres lying between the above tract and the James River and adjoining Tuckahoe on the west (Deed Book 11. p. 111. C.) A portion of this last tract, designated as "Middle Quarter" was devised by said Thomas Mann Randolph (1st) to his son, Dr. John Randolph; great grandfather of this present writer, who is also a great great grandson of Thomas Mann Randolph (2nd), the founder of Edgehill in Albemarle County.

One of the most controversial questions that has agitated the genealogists of Virginia is the question, who was the wife of Thomas Randolph, the founder of Tuckahoe? It has been termed "the fascinating mystery of the two Judiths". Was she Judith Churchill or Judith Fleming, or did he marry both of these women, as is stated by Mr. William E. Railey, Curator, Kentucky Historical Society, in his book "The Raileys and Kindred Families". Except for him those genealogists who say she was Churchill do not mention the name Fleming and those who say she was Fleming, do not mention the name Churchill. The great majority of the earlier writers, in fact nearly all of them, prior to 1900, said she was Judith Churchill and only a comparative few could be found to the contrary. The unbroken family tradition prior to 1895 both at "Edgehill" and at "Tuckahoe" has been that she was Judith Churchill. It should be remembered that after the time of the first Thomas Mann Randolph (born 1741, died 1793) the Tuckahoe branch of the Randolphs became separated into two distinct families, caused by his having married first Ann Cary, November 18, 1761, and after her death, he was married secondly to Gabriella Harvie, September 15, 1790; and by each of these wives he had a son to whom was given the name Thomas Mann Randolph.

The eldest son, Thomas Mann Randolph (2nd) inherited the lands belonging to his father in Albemarle County, where after his marriage to Martha Jefferson, eldest daughter of President Thomas Jefferson, he built his home at "Edgehill" about the year of his father's death, 1793. To the younger son, Thomas Mann Randolph (3rd) was devised the greater part of the "Tuckahoe" estate, including the mansion; the portion known as "Middle Quarter" being given to another son, Dr. John Randolph. Thus the "Edgehill" family thereafter was the Senior line, while the "Tuckahoe family became the Junior line of the Tuckahoe Randolphs; and as we have said above, the accepted tradition in both these families was that their ancestress, the wife of Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe, was Judith Churchill. So firmly was this tradition established at "Edgehill" that the author's father, prior to the year 1870, and with the assistance of all the then family elders, prepared a family Roll which we know as the Edgehill Roll of the Randolphs of Virginia. On this Roll all the various branches of the family and their descendants are shown from the first William Randolph of Turkey Island down to the close of the Civil War; and on this Roll the name of the wife of Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe is given as Judith Churchill. So, likewise, in the Tuckahoe family, this tradition was so firmly fixed that Miss Frances Margaret Dickins, a descendant, in repairing the old wall of the family graveyard at Tuckahoe about the year 1892, caused a marble tablet to be inserted in the wall with an inscription showing, inter alia, that the wife of Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe was Judith Churchill of Middlesex.

Although this Churchill tradition was thus firmly fixed and accepted by both the Edgehill family and the Tuckahoe family, yet it is to be noted that the Fleming tradition obtained among may other descendants. Strangely enough the Churchill tradition seems to have prevailed among those descended from him through his daughter Mary, who married Reverend James Keith and most of whom live in Kentucky. In the five published volumes of the Compendium of America Genealogy, (The Virkus Co., Chicago) there are published the lineage of sixteen families, in different parts of the United States, who descend from Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe. From an analysis of these sixteen lineages, the author found that eight traced their descent through his only son, William, and eight traced back through his daughter, Mary Isham Keith. Of the eight tracing back through the son, William, seven give Judith Churchill as the name of William's mother, and only one gives Judith Fleming. Of the eight lineages tracing back through his daughter, Mary, five give Judith Fleming as the name of her mother, one gives Judith Churchill, one gives no name and one, Mr. Wm. E. Railey says, as stated above that Thomas R. of Tuckahoe was married twice; 1st to Judith Churchill and 2nd to Judith Fleming.

It is also a curious and interesting fact about these two conflicting family radiations that Richard Randolph of Bizarre, and his brother John Randolph of Roanoke, whose mother Judith Randolph of Tuckahoe was a daughter of Thomas Mann Randolph (1st) should each have left a memorandum or genealogical family sketch; and that Richard Randolph, an acknowledged antiquarian, should have therein stated that wife of their ancestor, Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe, was Judith Churchill, while John Randolph of Roanoke in his memorandum stated she was Judith Fleming. She was their great great grandmother so it is evident that the question as to her identity and name had become a matter of tradition, and that these tow conflicting traditions about her antedated even their generation. The facts as to these two memoranda are stated in a letter written to my great Aunt, Mrs. Ellen Wayles Harrison at Edgehill in 1883 by Captain Wilson M. Cary, who was himself a descendant and a recognized authority on the family history. In this letter, he stated that he accepted Richard Randolph's statement of the Churchill tradition rather than that of John R. of Roanoke of the Fleming tradition. A copy of this letter is in my possession; and substantially the same letter was written by him under date of March 8th, 1883, to Dr. R. C. M. Page and was published in 1893 in his book "Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia".

The author, having spent a great part of his childhood at Edgehill, and practically having had his home there from 1876 into 1885, while he was attending school and the University, naturally believed in and accepted the Churchill tradition held by the Edgehill family and did not know until about five years ago that it was then being seriously questioned. This is primarily the reason he began four years ago to make this investigation to see if the correctness of the family tradition could be established by record evidence; and in the hope and expectation that this Might be possible, even at this late day. The result of the investigation however, has showed the following facts:

1. The old Parish Register of St. Peters Parish in New Kent County had been found in the 1890's and deposited in the Library of the Virginia Theological Seminary at Alexandria. It contains the following entry in its record of marriages:

"Thomas Randolph of Henrico and Judith Fleming was (sic) married Octo ye 16th, 1712"

Henrico County at that time included the territory that is now in Goochland, which was not laid off until 1728. The presumption therefore immediately arises that this was the Thomas Randolph later known as Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe. This presumption becomes conclusive when it is noted from other official records shown below that after his death in 1730. his widow was married December 24, 1733, to Nicholas Davies. It was largely the discovery of this entry that caused Captain W. M. Cary, in answer t an inquiry from her, to write Miss Frances M. Dickens under date of July 28, 1897, that he had abandoned the Churchill tradition and had accepted the Fleming tradition. The original letter was found by the author among the family papers of Miss Dickens, lent him by her niece, Mrs. Theodora Keim of Federal Hill, Fredericksburg, Virginia; and a copy of the letter placed in the author's files. This letter however, was received by Miss Dickins over five years after she had placed the inscription in the Tuckahoe graveyard showing the wife of Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe as Judith Churchill of Middlesex.

2. Extract from Marriage Settlement between Nicholas Davies and Judith (Fleming) Randolph; made with her two brothers. Recorded in Goochland County Record Book 5, page 148:

"This deed made this 24th day of December, 1733, between Nicholas Davies of the County of Henrico, Merchant, of the one part and John Fleming and Tarleton Fleming, Gentlemen, of the other part; Witnesseth that in consideration of a marriage shortly to be had and solemnized between the said Nicholas Davies and Judith Randolph. late wife of Colonel Thomas Randolph, deceased;", etc.

The marriage bond of Nicholas Davies and Judith Randolph is on record in Goochland County. It is dated December 19th, 1733, with Middleton Shaw as Surety. This confirms the statement in "The Cabells and their Kin", page 245 that Nicholas Davies in 1733 married Judith Randolph nee Fleming, the widow of Colonel Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe.

3. Will of William Randolph of Tuckahoe. It is known from a release signed by his executors (William Randolph, John Fleming and Richard Randolph) that Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe left a will but no record of it has ever been found. The Will of his son, William, however is of record in Goochland County. It is dated March 2, 1743, (n. S.) and is recorded in Deed and Will Book 5, p. 75, and contains the following provision:

"And my Will also is that in case all my children before mentioned do die before they arrive to the age of twenty-one or (before they) do marry, then all my estate, both real and personal shall be equally divided between my children of Reverend Willith Stith (of Henrico) by his present wife, Judith, my beloved sister and their heirs forever."

This shows that Mrs. Judith (Randolph) Stith was his sister and they were the children of the same mother (Judith Fleming Randolph). This is important because several of the early genealogists and the Page Family book give the date of William's birth as 1712, which rather lent color to the theory that his father, that his father, Thomas R. of Tuckahoe, may have been married twice and that his own mother may been the Judith Churchill of the tradition.

4. Tripartite Deed; Randolph-Davies-Logwood; dated August 26th, 174, recorded in Circuit Court Clerk's office Cumberland County, Virginia, in Deed Book No. 5, pages 5=353-4-5, Conveys 1144 acres on lower side of Muddy Creek in said County in consideration of 600 pounds current money of Virginia. The following extract is taken from this deed.

"This Indenture Tripartite made this twenty-sixth day f August in the year of our Lord Christ One Thousand seven hundred and seventy four Between Thomas Mann Randolph and Ann, his wife, which said Thomas Man Randolph is son and heir at law of William Randolph deceased, who was son and heir-at-law of Judith Davies deceased, late wife of Nicholas Davies of the County of Goochland of the first part;" etc.

The foregoing recital speaks for itself and is a positive statement by Thomas Mann Randolph (1st) that his father, William Randolph of Tuckahoe was the son of Judith Fleming (Randolph) Davies.

5. Quit-claim Deed; Randolph Davies; dated December 2nd, 1774 and recorded in Circuit Court Clerk's office Cumberland County, Virginia, in Deed Book, No. 6, pages 124, 125, 126. The following extract is taken from this deed:

"This Indenture made the second day of December in the year of Christ One Thousand seven hundred and seventy four Between Thomas Mann Randolph of the County of Goochland of the one part and Henry Landon Davies of the County of Amherst of the other part:

Whereas Nicholas Davies of the County of Bedford, father of the said Henry Landon Davies, in and by certain articles of agreement bearing date the twenty fourth day of December in the year of Christ one thousand seven hundred and Thirty three made between the said Nicholas Davies, by the name of Nicholas Davies of the County of Henrico, Merchant, of the one part, and John Fleming and Tarleton Fleming, gentlemen, of the other part, in consideration of a marriage then shortly to be had and solemnized between the said Nicholas Davies and Judith Randolph then late wife of Colonel Thomas Randolph, deceased and the grandmother of the said Thomas M. Randolph, did among other things covenant", etc.

The foregoing recitals also speak for themselves and constitute a definite and official record that Judith Fleming was the widow of Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe and after his death had married Nicholas Davies and that she was the grandmother of Thomas Mann Randolph (1st) of Tuckahoe; and therefore that she was the mother of his father, William Randolph of Tuckahoe.

6. Middlesex and Churchill records. Most careful investigation of the records of Middlesex County and of Christ Church Parish shows no mention of Colonel William Churchill's ever having been married but once, or of his ever having had a daughter named Judith. William Churchill (1649-1711) came to Virginia from England in 1669 and settled at "Bushy Park" in Middlesex County, and was a Warden and Vestryman of Christ Church Parish there. He married October 5, 1703, Elizabeth (Armistead) Wormeley, daughter of Colonel John Armistead, and the widow of Hon. Ralph Wormely (Parish Register p. 63). His Will dated November 18, 1710, and proved March 10, 1711, gives the names of all his children and does not include any daughter named Judith. Under his Will certain property was entailed to his son. There is an official record of legislation for the Churchill family in April 1757, to set aside this entail. (Hen. VIII, p. 157). All of his children were jointed and had to be joined or made parties in a petition to the Va. Assembly for power to break this entail and sell the land, but there is no mention any Judith being among them, or referred to in any way. It is reasonable to conclude therefore, that he had no such daughter Judith; and certainly no daughter of his marriage in 1703 could have answered to the tradition of having married Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe in 1710.

The facts and circumstances shown from the official records referred to in the preceding six numbered paragraphs are absolutely conclusive and definitely establish that the family tradition about Judith Churchill is wrong and that the ancestress of the Tuckahoe Randolphs was Judith Fleming. She was a daughter of Charles Fleming and Susanna Tarleton of New Kent County. The first of her family in Virginia was Thomas Fleming, who married Miss Tarelton of England, (of the same family as Colonel Banastre Tarelton, the noted British cavalry officer of the time of the American Revolution) and emigrated to Virginia in 1616. He left three sons and several daughters. The sons were Tarleton, John and Charles; this last being the father of Judith Fleming, who was married to Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe October 16th, 1712, and had by him three children, William, Judith and Mary Isham. After his death, abut 1730, she was married again about December 24th, 1733, to Nicholas Davies, who was a large landed proprietor and originally came from Wales.

One of the authorities most generally quoted for the Judith Churchill tradition is the boo, “Virginia Genealogies” published in 1891 by Reverend Horace Edwin HAayden, where on page 253 he says that Colonel William Churchill settled in Middlesex County about 1672, and married Hannah Harrison; that his 2nd child Judith, born about 1690 married about 1710, Thomas Randolph and had William, b. 1712. Hayden cites as his authority The Richmond Critic II, 1. The trouble with Mr. Hayden’s above account is that the actual records show that he has confused Colonel William Churchill with his son, Armistead Churchill. It was the son Armistead, and not his father, who married Hannah Harrison and as Armistead was not born until 1704, no daughter of his could have married Thomas Randolph in 1710. We have seen also from the records referred to above that Colonel William Churchill himself married the widow Wormeley October 5, 1703, and had no daughter named Judith; and no daughter of that marriage could have been more than 7 years old in 1710, the year when Hayden says that Judith Churchill married Thomas Randolph.

In view of all the facts shown above the question may well be asked what explanation can be given for the Judith Churchill tradition. It is said that every tradition has some basis of truth. In this instance the curious co-incidence and basis for the tradition exists that there was a Judith and she was a member of the household of Colonel William Churchill and she was the grandmother of Thomas Mann Randolph (1st) of Tuckahoe; but she was the step-daughter instead of the daughter of William Churchill, her name was Judith Wormely instead of Judith Churchill. She married Hon. Mann Page of “Rosewell" instead of Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe and it was her daughter, Maria Judith Page, who married William, only son of the above Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe, and father of Thomas Mann Randolph (1st). Thus the latter had for his paternal grandmother Judith Fleming and for his maternal grandmother, Judith Wormeley, the step-daughter of William Churchill. The Randolph family tradition seems simply to have mixed up these two “Judith” grandmothers and changed William Churchill’s stepdaughter into his daughter.

In connection with the foregoing account of the Tuckahoe Randolphs, it seems very desirable to append at least an outline sketch of the ancient and illustrious family of which they are a branch. It may be safely stated that few, if any families in this country have been more prominent and more influential in the history and in the making of State and the Union than has this Randolph family of Virginia, and its blood descendants, bearing other names. For example, the mother of Thomas Jefferson was Jane Randolph of Dungeness, and her first cousin, Mary Isham Randolph of Tuckahoe was the grandmother of Chief Justice John Marshall. Thus both these commanding figures in American history trace back to the same Randolph ancestor, William Randolph of Turkey Island, the founder of the family in Virginia, and he was likewise the ancestor of General Robert E. Lee.

President Thomas Jefferson, in his Memoirs, says that his mother’s family trace their ancestry back into the early mists of Scottish and English history. Jefferson himself, apparently took very little interest in such matters, but the family traditions to which he refers go back in Scotland to Thomas Randolph, the Earl of Moray, who became the Lord Regent of Scotland. He was a nephew of Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and later King of Scotland. He makes his first appearance in history at the fatal battle of Methven, and later in 1312 he surprised and took by a desperate assault Edinburg Castle which was supposed to be impregnable. The next year he was advanced to the command of the center of the Scottish Army and the decisive battle of Bannockburn and greatly distinguished himself by the defeat of Sir Robert Clifford, who had been detached by the English King to turn the flank of the Scottish army and relieve the siege of Stirling Castle; which, if successful, would have put an end to the war.

Another noted member of the family in the Scotland of those days was Agnes Randolph, Countess of Dunbar. She was a great niece to Robert Bruce and the wife of the 9th Earl of Dunbar; and was known in legend and history as “Black Agnes of Dunbar’ f’rom her famous defense of Dunbar Castle against the English in 1337 during the absence of her husband.

In England, it is recorded in “Domesday Book” that Thomas Randolph of Wiltshire was ordered in the year 1294 to render military service in person against the King of France. A John Randolph was a Burgess from Southampton in the year 1300 and in 1301 was ordered to muster troops at Berwick on Tweed. Richard Randolph was a Burgess from Leicester in 1305. John Randolph was an eminent Judge, and was an official in the English Exchequer in 1385. (App. Cyc. Am. Giog. Vol. V., p 172). Sir Thomas Randolph, son of Avery Randolph, a Kentish Gentleman, was principal of Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1549, then called Broadgates Hall. From 1560 to 1585, he served as the confidential diplomatic agent of Queen Elizabeth at the Scottish Court, and also on various diplomatic missions to Russia and elsewhere; and he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in England for four years from1586 until his death in 1590 (Ency. Brit. 14th Ed. Vol. 18, p. 972). Thomas Randolph, the poet and dramatist, was born in Northamptonshirie June 15, 1605, and died March 12, 1635. (Ency. Brit.14th Ed. Vol 18, p. 972). He was half brother to Henry Randolph and Uncle to William Randolph, the two first members of the family to migrate to Virginia.

In the history of Bristol Parish, a footnote on page 213 states: “There was found among the papers of Sir John Randolph of Virginia ‘an old antique black-letter pedigree’ which thus deduced the descent of William Randolph of Turkey Island”: The statement following confirms in the main the account published in the Richmond Critic of September 3rd 1888, as follows: Robert Randolph of Hams, in Sussex. Married Rosa Roberts, daughter of Thomas Roberts of Hawkhurst, Kent, and had William of Harris near Lewes, Sussex. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Smith of Newnham, Northamptonshire and had (1), Thomas the poet and dramatist, born at Newnham, June 15, 1605, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, died March 12, 1635; (2) Robert, B. A. of Christ Church, Oxford, Vicar of Barnetly, and afterwards of Donnington, Lincolnshire, published his brother’s poems 1640, died at Donnington July 7, 1671; (3) William, who by his fourth wife, Dorothy, daughter of Richard Law, had William. The Critic article assumes this William to have been the immigrant to Virginia, but the note in the History of Bristol Parish says this William was born November27, 1623. William Randolph and Dorothy Law had several children, among whom were (1) Henry, the emigrant, (2) Richard, the father of William Randolph of Turkey Island and (3) William, (of the Critic article). Henry Randolph, the uncle of William R. of Turkey Island came to Virginia about 1650. He was clerk of Henrico County in 1656 and Clerk of the House of Burgesses from 16660 until his death in 1673. He married Judith Soane, daughter of Henry Soane, Speaker of the House of Burgesses and left one child, a son, Henry (1665-1693) who married Sarah Swann, daughter of Colonel Thomas Swann of Swanns’ Point. The author is not advised whether any members of the Randolph name of this family are still living. Representatives of this family were Judge Peter Randolph of the Virginia General Court (1812-1821), Joseph W. Randolph, the well known publisher in Richmond and his son, Major Norman V. Randolph. (The Richmond Critic 1888, Vol. 1, p. 2).

William Randolph, the progenitor of our family line, came to Virginia about 1672, and was known as William Randolph of “Turkey Island”, from the name of his estate. Tradition says he was born in 1651 in Yorkshire or at or near the village or Moreton Morrell in Warwickshire in England, but the author has not yet verified this tradition. The History of Bristol Parish says “Yorkshire”, but the inscription on his tomb says “of Warwickshire but late of Virginia”. His immediate ancestry was as follows: Robert Randolph of Hams in Sussex, married Rose Roberts, daughter of Thomas Roberts of Hawkhurst, Kent; their son William Randolph married Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Thomas Smith of Northamptonshire: and their third son, William Randolph, married Dorothy Law, a daughter of Richard Law, and widow of Thomas West, and had several children of whom Richard Randolph of Moreton Morrell and Henry Randolph, the above mentioned emigrant were two. This Richard married Elizabeth Ryland and on of their sons was our William Randolph of “Turkey Island”, who came to Virginia about 1672 and succeeded his Uncle Henry as Clerk of Henrico County in 1673. He purchased a large tract of land on the north side of the James River, about fifteen miles or so below the falls, which was called Turkey Island. There, tradition says, he built an imposing mansion of brick imported from England and with a high cupola; and there he lived until his death, April 11th, 1711; (The date inscribed on his tomb). He was for many ears a member of the House of Burgesses and was speaker of the House in 1698; Attorney General of the Colony 1694-98; member of the Council of the Colony, and one of the founders and trustees of William and Mary College. Arms: “gu upon a cross or, 5 mullets gu”, with two mottoes; “Nil Admirari” above and “Fari quae Sentiat” below. He married in 1680 Mary Isham, a daughter of Henry Isham “of the antient and eminent family of Ishams of Northamptonshire”, and his wife Katherine Banks of Bermuda Hundred on the South side of the James River.

William Randolph and Mary Isham, his wife, of Turkey Island, the founders of the family, and sometimes termed, from the great number of their descendants, the Adam and Eve of Virginia, had seven sons and two daughters: (1) William (Randolph), Jr. of “Turkey Island”; (2) Thomas (Randolph) of “Tuckahoe”; (3) Isham (Randolph) of “Dungeness”; (40) Richard (Randolph) of “Curles”; (5) Henry (Randolph) of “Longfield”; (6) Captain Edward (Randolph), the Mariner; (7) Mary (Randolph) married William Stith; (8) Sir John (Randolph) of “Tazewell Hall”, Williamsburg; (9) Elizabeth (Randolph) married Richard Bland. This is not the order in which these children are listed in some genealogies, but after a careful comparison of records and dates, we consider the foregoing order to be the correct one.

All of the sons took active and prominent part in the affairs of the Colony, and each received a large patrimony in the distribution of the great estate of their father. Most of them built fine houses and became known by the names of their estates. It is only possible here to make brief references to these various children and their descendants, as at least five of the sons became founders of the several distinct branches of this wide spread Virginia family. The facts here stated in regard to them we believe to be thoroughly accurate as they are based on a re-examination of County and Parish records, inscriptions and family papers, or taken from well recognized genealogical books and authorities; and a serious attempt has been made here to correct all the various errors that have been discovered in previous genealogies.

(To be continued)



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