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Randolph Jefferson (October 1, 1755—August 7, 1815) was Thomas Jefferson's younger brother and the only other surviving son of Peter Jefferson.
The twin brother of Anna Scott Jefferson, Randolph Jefferson was born at Shadwell and was only two years old when his father died. According to the terms of Peter Jefferson's will, his older son Thomas would inherit his choice of a portion of his landholdings, while Randolph would receive the remaining portion. Randolph inherited the "Fluvanna lands," 2,291⅔ acres in the area of present-day Scottsville and the Hardware River, along with the plantation known as Snowden in Buckingham County.1
As a young boy, Randolph was educated by Benjamin Snead, whose school was located at Buck Island, the plantation of his uncle Charles Lewis, Jr. When he was sixteen, Randolph was sent to Williamsburg for further schooling, although his stay there was not long (1771-1772). He served in the Virginia Light Dragoons during the Revolutionary War and was a signer of the "Oath of Allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia" in 1777.2
On July 30, 1781, Randolph Jefferson married Anna Jefferson Lewis (daughter of the aforementioned uncle, Charles Lewis, and his wife, Mary Randolph Lewis). They had six children: Isham Randolph, Thomas (known as Thomas Jefferson, Jr.), Field, Robert Lewis, James Lilburne, and Anna Scott. Anna Jefferson Lewis Jefferson died sometime before 1808; Randolph married again, presumably around 1809. Evidence exists that Mitchie Ballow Pryor, Randolph's second wife, did not get along well with Randolph's sons. Apparently, Mitchie Jefferson convinced Randolph to amend his will in her favor.
Randolph Jefferson died at Snowden, of unknown causes, on August 7, 1815. His older brother was on the way to see him at the time, and noted in his memorandum book for that day, "My brother Randolph Jefferson died this morning."3 Mitchie Jefferson gave birth to one posthumous son, named John.4
- Mayo, Bernard and James A. Bear, Jr., eds. Thomas Jefferson and His Unknown Brother. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1981. Mainly a collection of the correspondence between Randolph and Thomas Jefferson, with some brief introductory material and a small genealogical chart.
- Yeck, Joanne Louise. The Jefferson Brothers. Kettering, OH: Slate River Press, 2012.
- Randolph Jefferson and Thomas Jefferson Correspondence. Transcriptions available at Founders Online.
- Search for further sources on Randolph Jefferson in the Thomas Jefferson Portal.
- 1. Will Book, No. 2, Albemarle County, pp. 32-34, 41-47. Transcription available at Jefferson Quotes and Family Letters.
- 2. Oath of Allegiance Signed by Citizens of Albemarle County, , in PTJ, 2:128-29. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- 3. MB, 2:1312.
- 4. After Randolph's death, Mitchie Jefferson moved to Tennessee with John and remarried. John Jefferson died there at the age of 29, apparently childless. See "Jefferson, John R.," in the Nashville City Cemetery.