Peyton Randolph
Overview
 
Peyton Randolph was a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia. He served as speaker
Speaker (politics)
The term speaker is a title often given to the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body. The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the...

 of the Virginia House of Burgesses
House of Burgesses
The House of Burgesses was the first assembly of elected representatives of English colonists in North America. The House was established by the Virginia Company, who created the body as part of an effort to encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America...

, chairman of the Virginia Conventions
Virginia Conventions
The Virginia Conventions were a series of five political meetings in the Colony of Virginia during the American Revolution. Because the House of Burgesses had been dissolved in 1774 by Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, the conventions served as a revolutionary provisional government until the...

, and the first President of the Continental Congress
President of the Continental Congress
The President of the Continental Congress was the presiding officer of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that emerged as the first national government of the United States during the American Revolution...

.
Randolph was born in Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg is an independent city located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, USA. As of the 2010 Census, the city had an estimated population of 14,068. It is bordered by James City County and York County, and is an independent city...

 to a prominent family. His parents were Sir John Randolph
Sir John Randolph
Sir John Randolph of Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg was a Speaker of the House of Burgesses, an Attorney General for the Colony of Virginia, and the youngest son of William Randolph and Mary Isham.-Biography:...

, the son of William Randolph
William Randolph
William Randolph was a colonist and land owner who played an important role in the history and government of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham a few years later...

, and Susannah Beverley, the daughter of Peter Beverley
Peter Beverley
Peter Beverley was a Speaker of the House of Burgesses and Treasurer of Virginia.-Ancestry and family:Beverley was the oldest of three sons born to Major Robert Beverley and his wife, Mary of Yorkshire, England. He was the brother of Robert Beverley, Jr....

; his brother was John Randolph. His father died when he was 16.

Randolph attended the College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

, and later studied law at Middle Temple at the Inns of Court
Inns of Court
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All such barristers must belong to one such association. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, becoming a member of the bar in 1743.
Randolph returned to Williamsburg after he became a member of the bar, and was appointed Attorney General
Attorney General of Virginia
The Attorney General of Virginia is an executive office in the Government of Virginia. Attorneys General are elected for a four-year term in the year following a presidential election . There are no term limits restricting the number of terms someone can serve as Attorney General...

 of the Colony of Virginia the next year.

He served several terms in the Virginia House of Burgesses
House of Burgesses
The House of Burgesses was the first assembly of elected representatives of English colonists in North America. The House was established by the Virginia Company, who created the body as part of an effort to encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America...

, beginning in 1748.
Encyclopedia
Peyton Randolph was a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia. He served as speaker
Speaker (politics)
The term speaker is a title often given to the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body. The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the...

 of the Virginia House of Burgesses
House of Burgesses
The House of Burgesses was the first assembly of elected representatives of English colonists in North America. The House was established by the Virginia Company, who created the body as part of an effort to encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America...

, chairman of the Virginia Conventions
Virginia Conventions
The Virginia Conventions were a series of five political meetings in the Colony of Virginia during the American Revolution. Because the House of Burgesses had been dissolved in 1774 by Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, the conventions served as a revolutionary provisional government until the...

, and the first President of the Continental Congress
President of the Continental Congress
The President of the Continental Congress was the presiding officer of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that emerged as the first national government of the United States during the American Revolution...

.

Early life

Randolph was born in Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg is an independent city located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, USA. As of the 2010 Census, the city had an estimated population of 14,068. It is bordered by James City County and York County, and is an independent city...

 to a prominent family. His parents were Sir John Randolph
Sir John Randolph
Sir John Randolph of Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg was a Speaker of the House of Burgesses, an Attorney General for the Colony of Virginia, and the youngest son of William Randolph and Mary Isham.-Biography:...

, the son of William Randolph
William Randolph
William Randolph was a colonist and land owner who played an important role in the history and government of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham a few years later...

, and Susannah Beverley, the daughter of Peter Beverley
Peter Beverley
Peter Beverley was a Speaker of the House of Burgesses and Treasurer of Virginia.-Ancestry and family:Beverley was the oldest of three sons born to Major Robert Beverley and his wife, Mary of Yorkshire, England. He was the brother of Robert Beverley, Jr....

; his brother was John Randolph. His father died when he was 16.

Randolph attended the College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

, and later studied law at Middle Temple at the Inns of Court
Inns of Court
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All such barristers must belong to one such association. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, becoming a member of the bar in 1743.

Political career

Randolph returned to Williamsburg after he became a member of the bar, and was appointed Attorney General
Attorney General of Virginia
The Attorney General of Virginia is an executive office in the Government of Virginia. Attorneys General are elected for a four-year term in the year following a presidential election . There are no term limits restricting the number of terms someone can serve as Attorney General...

 of the Colony of Virginia the next year.

He served several terms in the Virginia House of Burgesses
House of Burgesses
The House of Burgesses was the first assembly of elected representatives of English colonists in North America. The House was established by the Virginia Company, who created the body as part of an effort to encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America...

, beginning in 1748. It was Randolph's dual roles as attorney general and as burgess that would lead to an extraordinary conflict of interest in 1751.

The new governor, Robert Dinwiddie
Robert Dinwiddie
Robert Dinwiddie was a British colonial administrator who served as lieutenant governor of colonial Virginia from 1751 to 1758, first under Governor Willem Anne van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle, and then, from July 1756 to January 1758, as deputy for John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun...

, had imposed a fee for the certification of land patents, which the House of Burgesses strongly objected to. The House selected Peyton Randolph to represent their cause to Crown authorities in London. In his role as attorney general, though, he was responsible for defending actions taken by the governor. Randolph left for London, over the objections of Governor Dinwiddie, and was replaced for a short time as attorney general. He was reinstated on his return at the behest of officials in London, who also recommended the Governor drop the new fee.

In 1765 Randolph found himself at odds with a freshman burgess, Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry was an orator and politician who led the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and subsequently, from 1784 to 1786...

, over the matter of a response to the Stamp Act
Stamp Act 1765
The Stamp Act 1765 was a direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp...

. The House appointed Randolph to draft objections to the act, but his more conservative plan was trumped when Henry obtained passage of five of his seven Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions. This was accomplished at a meeting of the House in which most of the members were absent, and over which Randolph was presiding in the absence of the Speaker.

Randolph resigned as attorney general in 1766. As friction between Britain and the colonies progressed, he became more in favor of independence. In 1769 the House of Burgesses was dissolved by the Governor in response to its actions against the Townshend Acts
Townshend Acts
The Townshend Acts were a series of laws passed beginning in 1767 by the Parliament of Great Britain relating to the British colonies in North America. The acts are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who proposed the program...

. Randolph had been Speaker at the time. Afterwards, he chaired meetings of a group of former House members at a Williamsburg tavern, which worked toward responses to the unwelcome tax measures imposed by the British government.

Continental Congress and later life

Randolph was elected as presiding officer in both the First and Second Continental Congresses, in large part due to his reputation for leadership while in the House of Burgesses. He did not, however, live to see American independence; Randolph died in Philadelphia, and was buried at Christ Church
Christ Church, Philadelphia
Christ Church is an Episcopal church located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1695 by members of the Church of England, who built a small wooden church on the site by the next year. When the congregation outgrew this structure some twenty years later, they decided to erect a new...

. He was later re-interred at the College of William and Mary chapel.

Randolph County, North Carolina
Randolph County, North Carolina
-Notable people:*Naomi Wise, murder victim*Richard Petty - Nascar driver.*Lee Petty - Nascar pioneer. Richard Petty's father.*Kyle Petty - Nascar driver. Son of Richard Petty*Adam Petty - Nascar driver. Kyle Petty's son...

, formed in 1779, two United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 ships called , and Randolph Street in Philadelphia were named in his honor, as was the Peyton Randolph elementary school in Arlington, Virginia and Randolph, Massachusetts
Randolph, Massachusetts
The Town of Randolph is a city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 32,112. Randolph adopted a new charter effective January 2010 providing for a council-manager form of government instead of the traditional town meeting...

.

Randolph's house survives and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

. Known as Peyton Randolph House
Peyton Randolph House
Peyton Randolph House, also known as Randolph-Peachy House, is a home in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was the home of Peyton Randolph , first President of the Continental Congress. It is located within what is now known as Colonial Williamsburg.It was declared a National Historic Landmark in...

, it is shown to the public as part of the Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is the private foundation representing the historic district of the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. The district includes buildings dating from 1699 to 1780 which made colonial Virginia's capital. The capital straddled the boundary of the original shires of Virginia —...

 complex.

Family ties

  • His nephew, Edmund Randolph
    Edmund Randolph
    Edmund Jennings Randolph was an American attorney, the seventh Governor of Virginia, the second Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General.-Biography:...

    , became the first United States Attorney General
    United States Attorney General
    The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

    .
  • His wife (m. March 8, 1745/1746) Elizabeth "Betty" Harrison (Berkeley Plantation, Charles City County (?), Virginia, c. 1723 - Williamsburg, James County, Virginia, January 31, 1783) was the sister of Benjamin Harrison V
    Benjamin Harrison V
    Benjamin Harrison V was an American planter and revolutionary leader from Charles City County, Virginia. He earned his higher education at the College of William and Mary, and he was perhaps the first figure in the Harrison family to gain national attention...

    , a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • His son Peyton Randolph, Jr. (Virginia, 1739 - Virginia, May 16, 1784) was a Major in the American Revolution and aide-de-camp to the Marquis of Lafayette and married (1763) his first cousin Lucy Harrison (Berkeley Plantation, Charles City County (?), Virginia - Staunton, Virginia, September 1809).
  • His first cousin once removed was President
    President
    A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

     Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

    . Jefferson's daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph
    Martha Jefferson Randolph
    Martha Washington Jefferson Randolph was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson. She was born in Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia and was named in honor of her mother and of Martha Washington, wife of...

    's husband Thomas Mann Randolph was a descendant of Peyton's uncle Richard Randolph
    Richard Randolph
    Richard Randolph , sometimes referred to as Richard Randolph of Curles Neck, was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and a Treasurer for the Colony of Virginia...

     and his wife Jane Bolling, Major John Bolling
    John Bolling
    Major John Fairfax Bolling was a colonist, farmer, and politician in the Virginia Colony. He was the son of Colonel Robert Bolling and Jane Bolling...

    's daughter.
  • His first cousin twice removed was Supreme Court Justice John Marshall
    John Marshall
    John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the United States whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court of the United States a coequal branch of government along with the legislative and executive branches...

    .
  • His niece Lucy Grymes married Virginia Governor Thomas Nelson Jr. Her first cousin once removed, also named Lucy Grymes, married Henry Lee II
    Henry Lee II
    Henry Lee II of “Leesylvania”, Prince William County, Virginia was the father of Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III and grandfather of Robert E. Lee....

     (who was in fact Peyton Randolph's first cousin once removed), and was the mother of Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, who was the father of Confederate General Robert Edward Lee.
  • He is also related to the Confederate Generals Fitzhugh Lee
    Fitzhugh Lee
    Fitzhugh Lee , nephew of Robert E. Lee, was a Confederate cavalry general in the American Civil War, the 40th Governor of Virginia, diplomat, and United States Army general in the Spanish-American War.-Early life:...

    , Edmund Jennings Lee, Nelson Pendelton Lee, and Richard L. Page; and to US Admiral Samuel P. Lee.
  • Confederate General John Pegram
    John Pegram (general)
    John Pegram was a career soldier from Virginia who served as an officer in the United States Army and then as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He became the first former U.S...

     married Hetty Cary
    Hetty Cary
    Hetty Carr Cary was the wife of CSA General John Pegram and, later, of pioneer physiologist Henry Newell Martin. She is best remembered for making the first three battle flags of the Confederacy...

    , a cousin to the Randolphs.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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