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Virginia Jefferson Randolph (Trist) (1801-1882) View Interactive Version ]

Virginia Jefferson Randolph was born on 22 August 1801 at Monticello, the plantation home of her grandfather, Thomas Jefferson. She was the sixth child and fourth surviving daughter of Martha Jefferson Randolph and Thomas Mann Randolph. Like her siblings, Virginia spent much of her childhood at Monticello and occasionally accompanied her grandfather on trips to Poplar Forest, his plantation in Bedford. Virginia shared an affinity for music with Jefferson, who bought her a pianoforte from Boston though he could ill afford it. After a youthful romance and long engagement with the grandson of an old friend of Jeffersonís, Virginia married Nicholas Philip Trist at Monticello on 11 September 1824. They remained there while Nicholas studied law, acted as Jeffersonís secretary, and then served as an executor of the estate after Jeffersonís death in 1826. When Nicholas accepted a State Department clerkship in Washington, D.C., in 1828, Virginia remained at her brotherís plantation, Edgehill. A year later, she and their children and her mother joined Nicholas and enjoyed the attentions of Washington society. The Trists removed to Havana, Cuba, in 1834, when Nicholas was appointed Consul and remained there until his recall in 1841 when they returned again to Washington. After her husbandís near financial ruin when he was dismissed by President Polk following negotiation of the treaty that ended the war with Mexico in 1848, Virginia and Nicholasís sisters attempted to run a school for young ladies, but it failed and added to their debts. Virginia lived with one of her three children in Alexandria, Virginia, after her husbandís death, and she died there on 26 April 1882.


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