He Was A Dastardly Dandy Too!
Andrew Jackson appointed him U.S. Minister to Russia, but was only there for a week when he returned home. Randolph was consistently drunk and high, and then became obsessed with Jackson. (Crawford)
John Randolph had fallen deeply and madly (literally from what I can tell!) in love with his cousin Nancy. When he found out that she was to marry another cousin, he met with her and told her that he hoped it wasn't true because he wasn't worthy of her. He left the plantation house where they were, "Bazarre," her sister and brother-in-law's home. Afterward, he came to despise Nancy possibly because she turned him down, or possibly because of the horrible scandal she was involved in. (A great story!) He treated her with contempt for the rest of his life.
John Randolph of Roanoke was one of the leaders of perhaps the most powerful family in the South from the late 1700's until at least the Civil War. He had served as the legislative leader in the Virginia Assembly for his cousin, Thomas Jefferson. History records that he ruled the Assembly with an iron hand - and a whip. He was the unquestioned master of a string of plantations in the Tidewater area of Virginia. Jonathan Daniel's, in his book The Randolphs of Virginia described the family as "America's foremost family," and Randolph as an orator and businessman "with few peers."
|Photograph from the nomination quoted in part below.|
Although he competed stride for stride with other members of the Virginia aristocracy by amassing over 8,000 acres of land and 400 slaves, John Randolph had doubts about the morality of the use of slaves all of his life.
He was one of the first plantation owners to recognize the benefits of educating his slaves and treating them as humanely as possible. Randolph personally taught many of them to read and write. He also organized them into groups and gave each separate tracts of land for which they were to be responsible - an unusual approach in those days.
So, the man beat his enslaved privately, yet protested their enslavement publicly, and Randolph set them free upon his death. He was a man of contradictions. Being the daughter of an alcoholic myself, I would guess that he was cruel partly because of his addictions. They also came from a need for adulation and a superiority complex, in my opinion. Maybe it was because he was jilted by the woman he loved and still carried a jealousy for his rival? Or, some would say that he was a product of where he grew up. This could be argued in the fact that he tried to push through abolitionist positioning. Yet, he did not release his own slaves until he died....
Alan Pell Crawford, Unwise Passions. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000)
|State's rights were argued in 1799, much sooner than what a lot of people realize.|
The above news article reads:
|A little bit of a different story here than what Crawford accounts.|
Following the prolonged Randolph - will litigation, Judge Wood Bouldirt
purchased the Middle Quarter of Roanoke; the Lower and Ferry Quarters along
with Randolph's other plantations passing to other owners. The Middle
Quarter, being most intimately associated with the great and eccentric
Randolph, attracted the attention of his contemporaries and successors who
recorded their impressions of the land and buildings....
The remaining cottage is an extremely simple one-story three-bay
structure with exterior-end brick chimneys. The building is covered by a
steep gable roof and is
by a shed roof porch that is
framed into the
structure of the cottage.
Immediately to the west of
the second cottage is a
frame structure that has not
been positively identified as dating from the Randolph occupancy. Behind these two build-
ings is an early smokehouse. On the lawn just to the west of the present
residence is a low rough boulder marking the site of John ~Randolph's first grave.
Roanoke Plantation still evokes the image of ~Randolph's time and
milieu, and suggests something of his personality. While one of his
replaced by a later
house, the second
(with its kitchen and
remains in a good
state of preservation.The wood has been
cut back, but not eliminated. The roadway through the plantation has been improved, but
follows the original roadbed. At some distance from the house complex, there is another
early building; this may have been an overseer's house and is presently is unoccupied.