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Thomas Mann Randolph (1768-1828) View Interactive Version ]

From the time of his birth, Thomas Mann Randolph shared close ties with the Jefferson family; Thomas Jefferson’s mother was Randolph’s second cousin and his father, Peter Jefferson, had served as guardian of Randolph’s father. These ties were strengthened when Randolph married Jefferson’s eldest daughter Martha in 1790 and built a home at Edgehill near Monticello (1798-1800). Randolph often looked after Jefferson’s concerns when Thomas Jefferson was absent and shared many interests with his father-in-law, including classics and science, which he had pursued while educated at home, at the College of William and Mary, and at Edinburgh University. Though he did not graduate, Randolph applied his studies to experiment with scientific agriculture and become a respected botanist. Randolph also pursued a political career that included terms as a Virginia delegate, senator, governor, and congressman. While in office, Randolph supported Jefferson’s policies, but he became estranged from his father-in-law and his own family after returning from service as a colonel in the War of 1812. His financial and personal affairs continued to deteriorate although he eventually reconciled with his wife and children, who had moved permanently to Monticello upon Jefferson’s retirement in 1809, and he died on the estate.


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