Meet the Grandkids

anneThomas Jefferson had a total of twelve grandchildren to survive to adulthood. Eleven of the twelve were born to Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha, and Thomas Mann Randolph Jr. who served as Governor of Virginia from 1819 to 1822. Martha’s younger sister, Maria, gave birth to her only surving child, Francis Eppes, in 1801.

  1. Anne Cary Randolph (1791–1826) Named after her paternal grandmother.
  2. Thomas Jefferson Randolph (1792–1875) Named after his grandfather.
  3. Ellen Wayles Randolph (1796–1876) Named after her deceased older sister (born in 1794 and died 1795).
  4. Cornelia Jefferson Randolph (1799–1871)
  5. Virginia Jefferson Randolph (1801–1882)
  6. Francis Wayles Eppes VII (1801- 1881) The only surviving child of Jefferson’s youngest daughter.
  7. Mary Jefferson Randolph (1803–1876) Possibly named after her Aunt Polly.
  8. James Madison Randolph (1806–1834) Named after his grandfather’s friend and protege.
  9. Benjamin Franklin Randolph (1808–1871) Named after the Founding Father.
  10. Meriwether Lewis Randolph (1810–1837) Named after his grandfather’s secretary and explorer of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
  11. Septimia Anne Randolph (1814–1887) Named as the seventh granddaughter (if you count Ellen Wayles, the first).
  12. George Wythe Randolph (1818–1867) Named after his grandfather’s mentor and law teacher.

Grandfather Jefferson had an impact on every one of his grandchildren. Their pursuit of education, public service, farming, and family is evident in each or their lives.

  • Anne – Born at Monticello; had her grandfather’s love for gardening; lived on the 800-acre Carlton farm near Monticello; died after giving birth to her 4th child, 5 months before her grandfather and is buried at Monticello.
  • Jeff – Martha’s oldest son had perhaps the biggest burden of any of the grandchildren; he took the role that probably should have been filled by his father, managing his grandfather’s estate and near overwhelming debt, which he eventually paid off only by selling Monticello and moving his family to Edgehill where he later died.
  • Ellen – If it is unfair to say that Thomas Jefferson had a “favorite’ granchild, it is possible that he enjoyed Ellen’s company the most; she was clearly his intellectual heir despite never attending college as her brothers did; for her part she called her grandfather her “earliest best friend” and often accompanied him to Poplar Forest. Married to Joseph Coolidge in the parlor at Monticello in 1825 and lived in Boston raising her 6 children mostly by herself  though she always kept strong ties to Monticello.
  • Cornelia – Born at Monticello and never married, Cornelia was like her like her sister, Ellen, an avid student of her grandfather’s, excelling particularly in drawing; lived with her brother Jeff at his Tufton and Edgehill estates; taught at the school established at Edgehill to try to prevent the family’s financial Titanic from sinking; buried at the Monticello cemetery.
  • Virginia – Also born in Monticello, developed a passion for music from her grandfather; married Nicholas Trist, a West Point graduate who later became her grandfather’s secretary and one of the executor’s of his estate; taught with her sisters at the failed school at Edgehill;
  • Francis– perhaps because his mother died so young, he and his grandfather were quite close and Francis spent a good deal of time at Monticello. As he would on all his grandchildren, Grandfather Jefferson impressed his passion for learning upon Francis, who attended Georgetown. He inherited Poplar Forest and lived there for a time, until both his father as grandfather died. Within two years of Thomas Jefferson’s death, Francis moved south to Florida spent most of his remaining life in public service. He died in 1881 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Orlando.
  • Mary – Never married; lived with brother Jeff, and later 2 other sisters. Died in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • James – Second son of Martha and Thomas Randolph; first child to be born in the White House; graduated from Mr. Jefferson’s University (UVA); was considered quiet and gentle natured; lived alone and never married; died in his late 20s at his older brother Jeff’s estate at Tufton farm.
  • BenDr. Randolph studied medicine at Mr. Jefferson’s University becoming a physician and also a farmer; later become a state Senator from 1853-1856; supported the South during the Civil War, as did his youngest sibling, George.
  • Meriwether – After studying at his grandfather’s University, followed after his namesake and worked on the western frontier. Became Secretary of Arkansas under President Andrew Jackson; died there of malaria and was buried at his plantation.
  • Tim (Septimia)- Was probably the most widely travelled of the grandchildren; moved with her mother to Boston after her grandfather died, and to Havanna, Cuba after her mother died where she married a Scottish doctor. After visiting Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Scotland, they settled in New York until her husband died. She retired near Edgehill, Virginia and later near Washington, D.C. where she stayed until her death.
  • Geordie (George) – Achieved the highest political office of the grandchildren (albeit for the Confederacy) where he served as Secretary of War; died at Edgehill and buried at Monticello.

Source: Wikipedia 1; Wikipedia 2; The Jefferson Encyclopedia; Monticello

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5 Responses to Meet the Grandkids

  1. Anna Bentson says:

    This is an extraordinary resource for those that want to learn more about Jefferson. We’ve learned that Francis Eppes VII did not have the middle name “Wayles.” Various authors and scholars have sometimes referred to him as Francis Wayles Eppes or Francis W. Eppes. However, his actual name was simply Francis Eppes VII.

    He was named for his grandfather, Francis Eppes VI. His father was John Wayles Eppes, but the Wayles was not added to Francis’ name because it was not part of his grandfather’s name.

    All of the letters written in his lifetime from the age of 10 through his seventies were signed “Francis Eppes” or “F. Eppes” or “FE.”

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