Thomas Jefferson Randolph

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Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Randolph (1792–1875) of Albemarle County was a Virginia planter, soldier and politician who served multiple terms in the Virginia House of Delegates, as rector of the University of Virginia, and as a colonel in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Member of Board of Visitors, 1829-1853; 1857-1864. President of the Woolen Mills, 1868.

Thomas Jefferson Randolph was born at Monticello, September 12. 1792, son of Governor Thomas Mann Randolph, Governor of Virginia from 1819 to 1821. His mother, Martha (Jefferson) Randolph, was a daughter of Thomas Jefferson. The eldest grandson of Thomas Jefferson, he became TJ's favorite grandson and beneficiary of his papers.

Jeff Randolph acquired his debt-ridden father's estate "Edgehill" (house, land and slaves) at an auction on January 2, 1826.

For seven years he was Rector of the University of Virginia, and for thirty-one years a member of its Board of Visitors.

His last appearance in public office was as chairman of the Democratic National Convention which was convened in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1872. He died in Edgehill, Virginia, October 8, 1875 (aged 83).


In 1829 he published the “Life and Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson,” in four volumes. He served several terms in the House of Delegates. He was a member of the Legislature at the time of the Nat. Turner insurrection, and distinguished himself by a speech favoring abolition of slavery, and was re-elected the next year, although Albemarle was one of the largest slaveholding counties. In 1851-’52 he became a member of the convention which met to revise the constitution of the State, and was once afterwards in the Legislature.[1]

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Marriage and family

In 1815 Randolph married Jane Hollins Nicholas (1798–1871), daughter of Wilson Cary Nicholas. Thomas and Jane Randolph had thirteen children:

  1. Margaret Smith Randolph (1816–1842)
  2. Martha Jefferson ('Patsy') Randolph (1817–1857)
  3. Mary Buchanan Randolph (1818–1821)
  4. Careyanne Nicholas Randolph (1820–1857)
  5. Mary Buchanan Randolph (1821–1884)
  6. Ellen Wayles Randolph (1823–1896)
  7. Maria Jefferson Carr Randolph (1826–1902)
  8. Carolina Ramsey Randolph (1828–1902)
  9. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Jr. (1829–1872)
  10. Jane Nicholas Randolph (1831–1868)
  11. Wilson Cary Nicholas Randolph (1834–1907), a leading physician in the Charlottesville community, rector of the University of Virginia for eight years and was a member of the Charlottesville City Council for the First Ward in 1891.
  12. Meriwether Lewis Randolph (1837–1871)
  13. Sarah Nicholas Randolph (1839–1892), an educator, school principal, historian, and an author. She wrote The Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson and The Life of General Thomas J. Jackson.

According to oral tradition and several historical records, Randolph was the father of Elizabeth Scott, whom he had with Nancy Colbert Scott an enslaved woman that he inherited from his grandfather. Elizabeth was sold to the Garrett family in Albemarle, who sold her to Dr. William Cox after she attempted to escape from them. Dr. Cox made Elizabeth his mistress, and had several children with her, including Nannie Cox Jackson, who would be a prominent Charlottesville educator and businesswoman in the Black community.[2]


  1. Alexandria gazette. [volume] (Alexandria, D.C.), 11 Oct. 1875. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
  2. Web. Nancy Colbert Scott

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