Extract from a letter written by Henry S. Randall, as published in the Cleveland Daily Herald, 16 Nov. 1863

Jefferson’s Descendants.—Hon. Henry S. Randall, of Courtland Village, N.Y., and author of a “Life of Jefferson,” writing to a friend in Columbus,1 says:

“Alas how his descendants are divided in this war! All his grandsons go with the South. George Wythe Randolph, the2 Confederate Secretary of War, is one of these—misled on this question, but a noble man. So is his older brother, Thos. J. Randolph. Dr. Ben Randolph I never met. All his grand-daughters but one (she a resident of New-York) are firmly for the Union, and so are their husbands, where they are married. Two of them have sons in the army3—who are liable any day to meet their kinsmen in battle. N. P. Trist,4 who married Virginia Randolph, is a devoted Union man. He has a daughter married to a Confederate. She stands up resolutely for the Union, and would if the scaffold was before her.”5

Published in the Cleveland Daily Herald, 16 Nov. 1863, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7 Dec. 1863, and elsewhere.

Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge was the only one of Jefferson’s granddaughters with a son, Philip Sidney Coolidge, in the Union army. Another of Coolidge’s sons and Philip Sidney’s twin, Algernon Sidney Coolidge, contracted as a surgeon for the Union Army’s Chesapeake Hospital at Old Point Comfort, Virginia, while her youngest son Thomas Jefferson Coolidge paid a substitute $785 to serve in his place. Virginia J. Randolph Trist’s son Hore Browse Trist served as a surgeon in the United States Navy. Neither of Septimia A. Randolph Meikleham’s sons served in any capacity. Cornelia J. Randolph and Mary J. Randolph never married (George Green Shackelford, ed., Collected Papers of the Monticello Association of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson [1965–84], 2:132–3, 135, 159, 173–7; The Autobiography of T. Jefferson Coolidge, 1831–1920 [1923], 43.)

1Preceding two words not in Philadelphia Inquirer.
2Philadelphia Inquirer: “late.”
3Philadelphia Inquirer: “in our armies.”
4Philadelphia Inquirer here adds: “(of Philadelphia).”
5Philadelphia Inquirer here adds: “But I forget these details do not interest you as they do me.”
Air Jordan 1
Henry S. Randall
Date Range
November 16, 1863
Cleveland Daily Herald, 16 Nov. 1863
Philadelphia Inquirer