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A Short History of the Randolph Famly Randolphs in Scotland   It was customary during the reign of King Edward I (1272-1307) for well to do Englishmen to have estates in both England and Scotland, and at about this time a line of Randolphs was established in Scotland. No Documentary evidence of a connection between the English and the Scottish Randolphs is known. But President Thomas Jefferson, whose mother was Jane Randolph, stated the Randolphs of Virginia could trace their ancestors to the Randolphs of England and Scotland. Jefferson usually had grounds for his statements and he may have had some evidence or knowledge of family tradition.   Thomas Randolph of Nithsdale, Chamberlain of Scotland, married Lady Isabel Bruce (aka de Brus), sister of King Robert Bruce of Scotland. Their son Thomas Randolph 1st Earl of Moray was a confidant and advisor of King Robert and attended his coronation.   In 1314 Earl Thomas Randolph and a few comrades scaled steep rocks under Edinburgh Castle, took the guards by surprise and captured the castle. Later when King Robert Bruce stormed Stirling castle, Earl Thomas commanded the first wing of the force and Black James Douglas commanded the second wing.    On 23 June 1314 King Edward II of England sent a force of what was said to be 100,000 men to relieve Stirling Castle. This is no doubt vastly exaggerated, but still the English far outnumbered the Scots, were better equipped with armor and weapons and had far more cavalry.    Earl Thomas had his troops positioned in front of the tower and Lord Clifford, the English commander, managed to penetrate the tower. Earl Thomas spurred his horse in pursuit of the English, but his men were mostly on foot and could not keep pace. Douglas asked King Robert for permission to rush to support Randolph, but the king said to let him repair his own mistakes. As the situation worsened Douglas told the king he did not like to disobey orders, but he could not let Randolph die unaided. The king told Douglas to go. When Douglas neared the battle he saw rider-less horses scattering and the English were routed. Douglas stopped and said: Randolph has won without us and we shall not deprive him of his glory. The next day at the Battle of Bannockburn Earl Thomas commanded the right wing and again routed the English.   When King Robert Bruce died on 7 June 1329 his son David was a minor five years of age and the king had named Earl Thomas Randolph of Moray as Regent of Scotland to rule until his son came of age. When Thomas died his son John succeeded as the 2nd earl of Moray.   The Earl of Mar succeeded Robert as regent and proved to be incompetent. An army of English and Scots surprised and defeated him. Earl John Randolph was one of the few Scottish nobles to escape alive. The English put Edward Baliol on the throne of Scotland as a vassal king of King Edward III of England.   Earl John Randolph and Archibald Douglas, son of Black Douglas, conspired to overthrow Baliol. When Baliol was celebrating his victory Earl John, Archibald and a few followers killed the castle guards, stormed into the banquet hall and killed the guests at the dining table. Only Baliol escaped.   King Edward III of England sent a large army to support Baliol and John Randolph and Archibald Douglas, as well as a large part of the Scottish nobility, were killed.    John Randolph's sister Agnes was called Black Agnes because of her unusual black hair and eyes. She turned down many suitors because she wanted to know who was the bravest. The Earl of Dunbar and March defeated all contestants at a tournament and won Agnes's hand in marriage.    When the Earl of Dunbar and March went to join his regiment Agnes took command of the defense of his Dunbar Castle. In 1338 the English Earl of Salisbury besieged the castle; it was said in revenge because Agnes rejected him. The castle defenders were afraid when they saw that Salisbury built wooden towers to protect his troops from arrows. Agnes said: Is it possible you are more fearful than a woman? I have promised Salisbury will retire in shame. The defenders destroyed the towers with large rocks and after a month Salisbury withdrew.   King David was restored to the throne, but he was later captured and King Edward III imprisoned him for eleven years. He returned to Scotland but died soon after in 1371. Robert Stuart, son of King Robert Bruce's daughter Margery, succeeded to the throne as the first of the Stuart line.     Earl John Randolph' brother succeeded as the 3rd Earl of Moray and he was killed in battle. The earldom passed to his sister Agnes Countess of Dunbar and March. This ended the role of the Randolphs in the history of Scotland.     Randolphs in England   The Randolph family was well established in England during the reign of King Edward I (1272-1307). John Randolph of Hampshire was a well-regarded judge in 1298 and other Randolphs held important positions. Sir Thomas Randolph of Kent, born in 1523, was a respected diplomat. He was a protestant and was exiled during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary (1553-1558). Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1602) supported the Protestants against the Catholics and in 1560 she sent Sir Thomas to Scotland and negotiated an understanding with the Protestants. Queen Elizabeth again sent him to Scotland to bring the Earl of Arram to England as a contender for the throne of Scotland.  In 1563 Queen Elizabeth sent him to Scotland a 3rd time to arrange a marriage for Queen Mary, but Mary married her cousin Lord Darnley against Sir Thomas' advice that this would anger Queen Elizabeth. Sir Thomas was sent on another diplomatic mission to Russia and he negotiated a treaty with Czar Ivan the Terrible to introduce English trade into the remote areas of Russia.   Sir Thomas's brother, William Randolph of Sussex, moved to Northamptonshire and married twice. He and his first wife Elizabeth Smyth had three children, among them a son named Thomas. Thomas was a poet and a dramatist with a talent for comedy. He graduate from Cambridge and was the protégé of Shakespeare's contemporary Ben Johnson.   William's second wife was Dorothy Lane. She was a direct descendent of King Edward III of England and of King Edward I by another genealogical path. William and Dorothy had eight children, among them Richard born in 1620 and Henry born in 1623. Richard married Elizabeth Ryland and they had a son named William, born in 1651 in Moreton-Morrell, Warwickshire. Henry was the first Randolph to immigrate to Virginia. Henry's nephew William also later immigrated to Virginia three years before Henry's death.     Randolphs in Virginia The settlers in the first permanent English colony at Jamestown in 1607 were mostly adventurers seeking a better life. They were poorly prepared for the extreme hardships they faced from Indian attacks, disease and starvation and most of them died. Captain Thomas Graves and John Rolfe, both ancestors of the Randolphs of Virginia, were among these first settlers.     A half-century later the settlers were of a different type. In 1642 a civil war broke out in England and when Oliver Cromwell took power (1653-1658) and executed King Charles I, New England supported Cromwell's parliament, but Virginians were loyal to the crown. Many of the king's supporters took refuge in Virginia. By that time Virginia was a successful colony with large tracts of land cleared and under cultivation. The Indians were driven back and there was no danger of starvation.  John Rolfe had crossed the harsh Virginia tobacco with a milder Caribbean variety and established a tobacco industry in Virginia. Tobacco was sent to England in return for manufactured goods the colonists needed.  In 1660 the monarchy was restored and many of the royalists returned to England, but the Randolphs stayed in Virginia. The immigrants who fought for the king were called cavaliers and they brought a different social hierarchy to Virginia that remained.     Henry Randolph immigrated to Virginia in 1642 at the outbreak of the English civil war. He was Henrico County Clerk and later Clerk of the House of Burgesses from 1660 until his death 1672. He married Judith Sloan, the daughter of Henry Sloan, the Speaker of the House of Burgesses.   Henry Randolph's nephew William Randolph was the patriarch of the Randolph family of Virginia. He was the 10th great-grandson of King Edward III of England. He came to Virginia in 1669 and later that year married Mary Isham of the Bermuda Hundred, plantation. She was from an ancient family of Northamptonshire. William built a house and settled on Turkey Island in the James River and was then known as William Randolph of Turkey Island. The Island got its name because the early settlers found many wild turkeys there.    William's family was well to do in England, but was ruined by the civil war and the victory of Cromwell, as were many other prominent English families. William arrived in Virginia poor, but  with considerable influence.    William began as a building contractor, was not regarded as an exalted profession. In 17th century England building contractors were called undertakers, a direct translation of the German word Unternehmer. It did not take William long to acquire a large tract of land and become a tobacco planter, the most respectable occupation for Virginia gentlemen. Before he died he owned 10,000 acres and had established the leading and most powerful family in Virginia.    Nathaniel Bacon had a large plantation called Curles on the James River. He was a relative of Lord Bacon, was well educated, a born leader and very well connected. Bacon came into conflict with the autocratic Governor Berkeley because he led a party to pursue a group of rebellious Indians without first obtaining Governor Berkeley's consent. The governor attempted to arrest Nathaniel Bacon and this escalated into a rebellion by Bacon's friends. Bacon fell ill and died during the conflict and the rebellion collapsed. Berkeley confiscated the property of those involved in the rebellion on grounds of high treason. These confiscations allowed William Randolph to acquire large tracts of good land, at very low prices, in the old settled part of Virginia near the center of power at Williamsburg, rather than go west into unsettled areas.   James Crew owned part of Turkey Island and in 1684 William bought 640 acres on Turkey Island at a low price from James Crew's heirs after Governor Berkeley hanged him for association with Nathaniel Bacon's revolt.    In 1698 William Randolph bought the 1,230 acre Curles plantation, confiscated from Nathaniel Bacon for only £150, a mere fraction of its value. He willed Curles to this son Richard who was grandfather of John Randolph of Roanoke.    William and Mary had seven sons and two daughters who lived to adulthood. Child mortality was extremely high and it is not known how many of their children died in infancy. William was among the founders of William and Mary College in Williamsburg, where most of his sons were educated. He built impressive houses for all of his sons along the James River. It was customary to have town houses in Williamsburg and some of these houses still exist and have been restored. The house on Turkey Island has long since disappeared and the old plantation reverted to a wilderness.   William's children married into most of the important colonial families. Some of these families produced important historical figures such as.    □ Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States and the author of             the Declaration Of Independence □ Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence □ General William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States □ Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States □ John Marshal, 1st Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court □ General Robert E. Lee, Commander in Chief of the army of the             Confederate States of America □ John Rolfe, who founded the tobacco industry in America. Some of his children and grandchildren were exceptionally gifted. His son Sir John Randolph was a brilliant lawyer. He graduated from William and Mary College in Williamsburg and then studies law at Gray's Inn in London in 1715. He then studied at the Temple and was admitted to the bar in 1717. After he returned to Virginia he was appointed Clerk to the House of Burgesses until 1734. He was considered the best lawyer in the colonies. He married Susanna Beverley, daughter of Peter Beverley, an important man in Virginia. Sir John completed several difficult diplomatic missions to England before the revolution. England prohibited importation of stripped tobacco to depress the price to English merchants. Sir John negotiated the repeal of this restriction. In 1732 he was sent to England to settle a credit dispute. English merchants wanted a law to speed the collection of debt. Planters required long credits because the shipping time was so long. He settled this issue and prevented an excise tax on tobacco.  He returned to Virginia in 1734 and was unanimously elected Speaker of the House of Burgesses. He was one of the very few colonials that the king of England knighted. He was knighted for services in the first part of the 18th century. When he died in 1737 a monument was erected in his memory at the chapel of William and Mary College.    Sir John Randolph's two sons, John and Peyton were both brilliant lawyers. They graduated from William and Mary College in Williamsburg and studied law at Middle Temple Inns Court in London.    When Peyton returned to Virginia he was appointed King's Attorney (Attorney General). He served several terms in the Virginia House of Burgesses. He was the Speaker of the House of Burgesses and the Chairman of the 1st and the 2nd Continental Congress. Peyton Randolph supported the English monarchy, but found himself being forced into the position of defending Virginia against increasing tax demands and restrictions of trade by England. When hostilities broke out he became an unwilling revolutionary. He died in 1775 and did not live to see the end of the revolution. Randolph County, North Carolina was named for him and two U.S. naval ships were christened U.S.S. Randolph in honor of Peyton Randolph.    Peyton's brother John was King's Attorney and when the revolution broke out believed this position required loyalty to the crown. He went to England and his estates were confiscated. He died in England in reduced circumstances and asked to be buried in Virginia. Other Tories who remained in Virginia did not fare as badly after the revolution.    John's son Edmund remained in Virginia when his two sisters sailed with their father to England. Edmund and his wife Betsy were both born on the same day in the same year. She brought no money to the marriage and Edmund was poor because his father's property was confiscated. George Washington made Edmund his aide in 1775, but he had to leave soon afterwards to settle the estate of his uncle Peyton after his death. Afterwards he was made a judge to deal with confiscation of Tory properties. In 1776 he was elected as a member of the Constitutional Convention and could not return to General Washington. At the age of only 22 he was the youngest member of the Constitution Convention. He was elected Attorney General and mayor of Williamsburg. He was elected to the U.S. congress in 1779 but he resigned his seat in 1782.   John inherited his uncle Peyton's estates when his father died. Peyton's estates were willed to John's father. But he also inherited massive debts. Selling the slaves would have paid the debts, but John was against slavery and refused to sell them. He took over the management of Washington's vast estates but refused any compensation. In 1786 he was elected governor of Virginia. George Washington appointed Edmund to the United States cabinet position of Attorney General, but he resigned in 1795 after a dispute with other cabinet members over a treaty imposed by England that would restrict American trade and put American seamen at risk of impressments into the English navy.  His position on the treaty opposed all other cabinet members and his enemies trumped up a scandal based on a vague letter written by the French ambassador. Edmund publish a vindication that accused Washington of a lack of candor. Critical remarks about Washington were politically fatal. Ultimately the treaty Edmund opposed resulted in the War of 1812. Edmund's last public appearance was as defense attorney in the treason trial of Aaron Burr in 1807. Burr was acquitted of the charges. Edmund died in 1813.   John Randolph of Roanoke was brilliant but a mediocre student at both Columbia College in New York and at William and Mary College. He did not have to work for a living and did not like the drudgery of a law practice. He had a 9,000 acre estate of tobacco, cornfields, pasture and woodlands. His plantation never had a mansion because he was a bachelor all of his life and felt no need for one. He lived in two cabins not adequate for entertaining visitors, but he rode great distances on horseback visiting neighbors.     He entered politics in 1799 to contest a seat in the House of Representatives and was seated in congress in 1801 when Jefferson became president. He became chairman of the powerful house ways and means committee when he was thirty years old and had been in congress only two years. He was well known for his sharp tongue and barbed remarks, but was well liked by his neighbors who repeatedly re-elected him to congress as an independent. Most of the Randolphs were federalists, but John was a strong defender of state rights. This had always been the position of John's cousin Thomas Jefferson. John was a leading figure in the House of Representatives and became the Republican (later called the Democratic) party floor leader. He supported Jefferson with enthusiasm.    A Supreme Court judge named Samuel Chase was accused of political partisanship in decisions and browbeating witnesses who opposed his position. President Jefferson had no control over the judiciary and wanted Chase impeached. He appointed John Randolph as prosecutor. The defense included the finest lawyers in the country. John Randolph had a great reputation as an orator, but no experience as a trial lawyer. The trial before the senate as judges was a disaster. Chase's misbehavior was demonstrated and the defense did not deny it.  The defense said other judges did the same thing and no corruption was shown. Chase was acquitted. Jefferson was disappointed by his cousin's failure, but in the end he achieved his goal. Federal judges no longer used these tactics.  
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