William Randolph, son of Richard Randolph, Gent., and Elizabeth Ryland, daughter of John Ryland, Gent., was baptized 7 November 1650 at Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire, England. William was the second son of the eight Randolph children, seven who were baptized in Moreton Morrell between 1647 and 1657.
The last Randolph family record at Moreton Morrell was the birth of Richard and Elizabeth's daughter, Margaret, on 25 February 1656. The "Randolphs were high Loialists [sic] in the Civil Wars" (1642-1651), their family being "entirely broken and dispersed". Sometime during the interregnum (1649-1660), William's family removed to Dublin, where his father died (in 1671 or 1678). Perhaps this means William spent some of his formative years in Ireland.
It is also known that William's uncle, Henry Randolph (1623-1673), a 1642 emigrant to Virginia, had made a visit to Britain from Virginia in 1669 and had returned to Virginia by 31 Mar 1670, when he witnessed a will. Some believe that William went to Virginia with his uncle in 1669 or 1670.
William had immigrated to Virginia by 1672, arriving before 12 February 1672, when he appears in the record as a witness to a land transaction between Henry Randolph and William Rookins. He likely lived at Jamestown during his first years in the colony. Randolph appears to have arrived in the province with little capital and few transatlantic connections. It is thought that he may have spent the earliest part of life in Virginia building houses and barns, but by 1674 he had enough wealth to bring over twelve indentured servants and, on 1 October 1674, William received his first patent for 591 acres on Swift Creek for transporting the twelve to the Colony. This was the first of his many land patents.
Planter and Merchant
In the Colony of Virginia, William became planter and a merchant. Virginia's economy was centered around tobacco, grown within the English mercantile system for export to markets in Britain and Europe. Between 1674 and 1697, William imported 72 servants and 69 slaves for which he collected patents for more than 7,000 acres.
In 1676, a Virginia colonist, Nathaniel Bacon, led a revolt against the colonial government. Although William remained neutral during Bacon's Rebellion, he maintained his friendships with William Byrd and Capt. Henry Isham (his future father-in-law), who were both Baconites. On Bacon's defeat, William was able to purchase the estates that were forfeited by the rebels, including Turkey Island in 1684 and two others in 1698. Although he was able to acquire a great deal of land as a result of the rebellion, William had also sustained substantial losses during the fighting. His "account of the losses of diverse particulars sustained by William Randolph" can be found in Henrico County Records (Vol. 1677-1692, p.30).
On 1 Apr 1678, William sold his land on Swift Creek to William Bevin and, on 18 February 1679, he made his first of several purchases of land on the Henrico County, Turkey Island tract: 150 acres, recorded in April 1680. William and his family settled there, near the head of the tidewater on the James River, where he built the family home. This land had been settled for decades, and was held by several owners, from whom he purchased over a period of about thirty years, until he owned the entire plantation of 1,000 acres "more or less".
"Brick gate posts are at the entrance to Turkey Island, ancestral seat of the Randolph family. The present house, near the James, is relatively modern. Within a walled enclosure are ironstone table tombs, that of the immigrant bearing the Randolph arms. The plantation, so named for an island nearby where the first explorers of the river found many wild turkeys, was owned in 1676 by Colonel James Crews, who was hanged for participating with his neighbor, Bacon, in the rebellion. In 1684 the land was sold to William Randolph."
William was also a ship-owner, whose ships sailed frequently to England, carrying produce and tobacco from his plantations to be sold through his agent there, Micajah Perry. These ships would also carry goods back to Virginia.
William served as clerk of the Henrico County Court, a position inherited from his uncle. He held this position from 1675 to 1683, when he became a Justice. He was also a clerk for the House of Burgesses in 1682.
He was a member of the House of Burgesses, representing Henrico County, in 1684, 1685/6, 1691/2 and 1693 and was Speaker of the House in 1698, confirmed to that role on 30 September 1698. During that period, William also held the office of Attorney General of the Colony from 1694 to 1698. He was the Clerk of the House from 1699 to 1702, and was replaced by his son, William, on 15 August 1702 “to officiate as Clerk of the house of Burgesses during his fathers illness.” William Jr. was appointed as a clerk in his own right on 21 April 1704. William Sr. resigned his clerkship on 19 March 1703 and returned to the House as one of Henrico County's representatives in the assemblies of 1703-1705, 1705-1706, and 1710-1712.
William served in the Virginia militia and was referred to as Captain in 1680, using that title until 1698, when he was called Lieutenant Colonel of the Henrico County militia. In 1705 tax records, he is referred to as Colonel.
At some point in his long career, William had also served as county sheriff and coroner and had held the position of escheator-general, which helped him in his accumulation of more than 10,000 acres of tobacco land.
William was a friend of William Byrd (1652-1704) and, after Byrd's death, he served as an advisor to Byrd’s sons during their political careers.
Marriage and Children
William Randolph and Mary Isham, daughter of Capt. Henry Isham, Gent., were married before 13 November 1678. They are sometimes referred to as the "Adam and Eve of Virginia" because of their numerous and illustrious progeny. They had nine surviving children:
William, was born 1 November 1681, inherited from his father the Turkey Island plantation where he was buried in 1741.
Henry, was born c. 1681, he was named in grandmother's will dated 10 October 1686 and died in England, unmarried.
Mary, wife of William Stith. She was born ca. Nov 1683 and was named in her grandmother's will dated 10 October 1686.
Elizabeth, wife of Richard Bland who she married in 1702, was born before April 1685 and was named in her grandmother's will dated 10 October 1686.
Isham, 3rd son, was born ca. 1686 and died 2 November 1742, aged 57.
Thomas, 4th son, was born 1689, died ca. September 1729.
Sir John, the colonial lawyer and legislator, was knighted during a 1730 visit to England. He was born in 1692 and died 2 March 1736, aged 44.
Edward, was born ca. 1693 and was a sea captain, living in England for much of his life.
William and Mary also had a daughter, Elizabeth, perhaps their first-born child, who died in infancy on 17 Apr 1685.
Over the years, William acquired other property by purchase, headright, marital interest and land grant. In addition to Turkey Island, William procured the following:
In 1680, William was one-third owner of Captain Martin's Swamp, 580 acres of swamp land on the James River, with Francis Epes and Joseph Royal.
After Nathaniel Bacon's portion of Curles plantation was escheated, William obtained patent for 480 acres of Curles plantation, formerly known as Longfield.
William purchased the lower half of Tuckahoe plantation, 3,256 acres, perhaps in April 1690, for 1,500 pounds of tobacco and cask.
In 1700, he purchased [another?] 1,280 acres of Curles plantation for 150 pounds sterling.
On 21 Apr 1695, 1,221 acres on Tuckahoe creek was deeded to William for importing 25 persons.
His 1,100 acre Pigeon Swamp in Surrey County was set aside in William's will to pay his debt to Micajah Perry & Co.
Col. William Randolph paid tax on 9,465 acres (including 1,185 acres swamp) in Henrico County in 1705 and on 1,655 acres in Surry County.
William Randolph also owned a considerable number of slaves. Around 1675, Governor Berkeley reported the population of the colony as 40,000, with 4,000 indentured servants and 2,000 slaves. But as the supply of indentured servants declined late in the 17th century, the planters turned to slaves for work in the labor-intensive tobacco cultivation. It has been difficult to determine the acreage or number of slaves he owned at his death.
Death and Burial
William died at his home on Turkey Island, Henrico County, Virginia on 21 April 1711. His wife, Mary survived him and is found in a record dated 12 August 1718. She died 29 December 1735.
William is buried at the Randolph Family Cemetery in Henrico County, his grave is inscribed as follows:
Wm. Randolph of Warick Shire but late of Virginia General dyed April 11, 1711
The portion of William's Find A Grave memorial that describes his burial place is unsourced, stating that William is buried at the "Randolph Family Cemetery, Presque Isle" in Henrico County which is located "on the South-West side of the old Turkey Island Plantation. The Turkey Island Plantation is NOT on Turkey Island, but across the James River, north of Turkey Island. The family plot is now on private property and the owner does not allow people to visit the walled in cemetery (according to G. Parsons)."
Estate of William Randolph
The will of William Randolph was dated 6 March 1711 and proved 5 June 1713 (Henrico Co. Probate Court, Part I, 1710-1714, pages 215-218). It directed that the following children were to be given lands to be divided among them: Isham, Thomas, Richard, John and Edward. His son William was named in the will, noting that he had already received his portion of his father's lands. And, although William's second son, Henry, was named as one of the executors of his father's will, he was not a legatee as his father had transferred "Longfield" to Henry before he died.
↑ Knafla, Louis A. "Zouche, Edward la, eleventh Baron Zouche (1556–1625), landowner." in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. January 03, 2008. Oxford University Press. Accessed 11 Nov. 2019, online with subsc. at ODNB.
↑ Virginia House of Delegates Clerk's Office website House History: Members, profile of William Randolph I (full history of his service in House of Burgesses).
↑ “Virginia Militia Officers, 1698” in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 49, no. 4, 1941, page 305. Online at JSTOR.
↑ 11.011.1 "Virginia Quit Rent Rolls, 1704, Henrico County" in Virginia Tax Records. Online at Ancestry.com, page 399 (Henrico Co.) and page 421 (Surry Co.).
↑ 12.012.112.2 Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham. (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), vol. IV, page 458, RANDOLPH 24.
↑ 13.013.113.213.313.413.5 Anderson, Jefferson Randolph. “Tuckahoe and the Tuckahoe Randolphs” in the Register of Kentucky State Historical Society, vol. 35, no. 110, 1937, pages 29–59. Online at [www.jstor.org/stable/23371542 JSTOR].
↑ Find A Grave, database and images (accessed 11 Nov 2019), memorial page for Col William Randolph (Nov 1651–11 Apr 1711), Find A Grave: Memorial #16714316, citing Randolph Family Cemetery, Presque Isle, Henrico County, Virginia, USA; Maintained by Kaaren Crail Vining (contributor 11705756): unsourced bio & copy/paste from wikipedia; no photos.
Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. (Salt Lake City: the author, 2011). See also WikiTree's source page for Magna Carta Ancestry.
Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham. (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013). See also WikiTree's source page for Royal Ancestry.
Randolph, Robert Isham. The Randolphs of Virginia. (Chicago: 1936). Online at HathiTrust.
Randolph, Wassell. William Randolph I of Turkey Island, (Memphis, TN: Seebode Mimeo Service, 1949). Online at HathiTrust.
Randolph, Wassell. Pedigree of the Descendants of Henry Randolph I, (Memphis, TN: Memphis Public Library, 1957). Online at HathiTrust.
Sons of the Revolution in State of Virginia Quarterly Magazine, 2 vols. (Sons of the Revolution in the State of Virginia, 1922), Online at GoogleBooks, page 64, Genealogical Section.
Mackenzie, George Norbury, and Nelson Osgood Rhoades, ed. Colonial Families of the United States of America. 7 vols. (1912. Reprinted, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1966, 1995). Online at Ancestry.com, Vol. 5, pages 426-431.
Appletons' Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889. [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Online at Ancestry.com Vo. V, pages 174-175.
Ancestry.com. American Marriages Before 1699. [on-line index]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997. Online at Ancestry.com: Married 1680 in Henrico Co., VA.
Kinard, June. comp. Early Immigrants to Virginia from the 1500s and 1600s. [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Online at Ancestry.com
Click the Changes tab to see edits to this profile. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this profile.
Magna Carta Project
This profile was re-reviewed/updated to meet current standards and approved by Traci Thiessen November 12, 2019.
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with William by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with William: