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The Fitz Randolphs go South

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Southern United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Fitz Randolph FitzRandolph Fitz-Randolph
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Fitz Randolphs go South

From the initial Fitz Randolph family foothold in New Jersey, some stayed and many went west, but a few Fitz Randolphs went south. This page identifies those folks and briefly tells their stories.


North Carolina

1732 -- Benjamin Fitz Randolph of Bladen County

Benjamin was the son of Benjamin and grandson of Edward the Pilgrim. His family were Quaker. He was born in New Jersey, married and started a family there before moving to Cape Fear in Bladen County, North Carolina in 1732. He had a land grant there and was referred to as a 'planter'. Benjamin and his wife Sarah eventually returned to New Jersey, but three of his children born in Bladen County continued to reside there after their parents left. There was a close connection at Cape Fear with the Singletary family; both of Benjamin's daughters born in Cape Fear married Singletary men. Some descendants from these families remained in Bladen County and North Carolina, while others moved to Georgia and Florida. The Fitz Randolph surname does not appear to have continued after the second generation in Bladen County.

This sketch draws from the wikitree profiles for this family, which merit additional work and contributions to understand more fully the experience of this branch.

c. 1768 -- Samuel Randolph of Buncombe County

Samuel was born FitzRandolph in 1741, the son of Nathaniel FitzRandolph of Princeton University fame. (Note that this sketch draws from and repeats part of the biosketch in his wikitree profile.) Samuel appears to have stopped using 'Fitz' as he came of age because it doesn't appear in the record of his first marriage or thereafter. Samuel married in 1762 at the age of 21. Between 1767 and 1770, Samuel and his young family moved to the Yadkin River area in what was then Rowan County, North Carolina. Most likely, this was at or very near to what was called the 'Jersey Settlement' around present-day Linwood, Davidson County, North Carolina. The Jersey Settlement had been established by a group of families who had essentially rebelled against corrupt land proprietors supported by the colonial administration in the Hopewell, Hunterdon County area of West Jersey – just north of Princeton -- and a number of whom had resettled as a group in North Carolina. Samuel’s sister Eunice had moved with her husband, a member of the Hopewell group, to Yadkin River, Rowan County --- presumably at the Jersey Settlement – where she had died in 1759. That connection and possibly others to that group likely facilitated Samuel’s move to North Carolina. There is no indication of what motivated Samuel to move to North Carolina, though there is some speculation that his dropping of ‘Fitz’ may have suggested some type of estrangement from his father. News coming back from North Carolina about easy access to rich farm land may have also played a part.

At some point between 1772 and 1790, the family moved about 150 miles westward to the frontier just before the Blue Ridge mountain chain and established themselves at Jack’s Creek Settlement near Burnsville in what became Buncombe County, North Carolina. It is not clear if Samuel participated in the Revolutionary War and whether he may have been given land grants as the result.

Records are sketchy for Samuel's family in North Carolina, and the 'Fitz' marker was never used. His children spread west over the Blue Ridge Mountains into the District of Washington and later Greene County, which were administered by North Carolina until at least 1790 and then became part of the new State of Tennessee from 1796. This branch of the family continued to evolve from there. In the main Fitz Randolph genealogies, Samuel records stop with his marriage and children in New Jersey and no clear link to Samuel in Buncombe County. There does appear to have been suspicions, but difficult to prove; see, for example, "The American Genealogist" for Jan/April 2008 and the article “New England and New Jersey origins of Samuel Randolph (Fitz Randolph) (1741-1815/16) of North Carolina.” by Clifford L. Scott. It is with the advent of dna testing that the link back to the Fitz Randolphs has been established.

South Carolina

A Forty-Year Stay

In the 1760s, a Quaker family who had adopted the surname spelling of Randal joined others from the Quaker community in moving from Pennsylvania to farm in the Newberry area in South Carolina, settling near Padget's Creek in Union District. A Quaker meeting house was established there, linked to the Monthly Meeting at nearby Bush River. With time, the Quaker community became increasingly uneasy with the institution of slavery, and in 1805-1806, the original Randal settler, Joseph Randal, and his children's families became part of the Quaker exodus to the northwest to re-settle in Preble County, Ohio.

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