Ann Cary Randolph Morris

Ann Cary Randolph Morris (1774-1837), born on Tuckahoe Plantation near Richmond, was the eighth child of Ann Cary and Thomas Mann Randolph (Sr.). From childhood Ann was close to her cousin, Martha Jefferson, and the two women corresponded intermittently throughout their lives. Following her mother's death in March 1789 and her father's subsequent remarriage in September 1790, Ann took up residence with her sister Judith and family at Bizarre, near Farmville, Virginia. In April 1793, Judith's husband Richard was accused of "feloniously murdering a child said to be borne of Nancy [Ann] Randolph."[1] Defended by Patrick Henry and John Marshall, he was acquitted of the crime. Ann remained at Bizarre after her brother-in-law's death in 1796, but was asked to leave in 1805. She returned to Tuckahoe briefly, stayed with friends in the vicinity, visited for extended periods at Monticello, where her brother, Thomas Mann Randolph (Jr.) and her now sister-in-law Martha Jefferson Randolph lived, and then moved on to Richmond. Ann found it difficult to live there on her limited means, however, so she traveled north to Rhode Island and then to Connecticut in hopes of improving her circumstances. Finally, having agreed to work as housekeeper for Gouverneur Morris, whom she had met in 1788, Ann settled at Morrisania in New York in April 1809. In December of that year the two were married and their son Gouverneur Morris Jr. was born in 1813. Ann's husband died in 1816 and she remained at Morrisania, looking after the welfare of their son, until her own death.

Further Sources

Footnotes

  • 1. The Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser, March 29, 1793; Commonwealth v. Richard Randolph, Cumberland County Order Book, April 29, 1793.

Discussion

says

Dubbed "the Jezebel of the Old Dominion." When John Randolph of Roanoke wrote to her (through her husband Gouveneur Morris), "If he [her husband] be not both blind and deaf, he must sooner or later, unmask you, unless he too die of the 'cramp in his stomach' you understand me!"; she responded, "I observe, Sir, in the course of your letter, allusions to all of Shakespeare's best tragedies. I trust you are, by this time, convinced that you have clumsily performed the part of 'honest Iago '. Happily for my Life, and for my husband's peace, you did not find in him a headlong, rash Othello. For a full and proper description of what you have written and spoken on this occasion, I refer you to the same admirable Author. He will tell you, 'It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!'" (full text of correspondence at Virginia Historical Society, MSS2R1554a5)

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