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Cash Arehart as Edmund Randolph

Cash Arehart as Edmund Randolph

Edmund Randolph

  • Born August 10, 1753, in Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Parents: John and Ariana Jenings Randolph
  • Siblings: Susannah Beverly and Ariana
  • Spouse: Elizabeth Nicholas
  • Children: Peyton, Susan, John Jenings, Edmonia, and Lucy
  • Died September 13, 1813 at Carter Hall, Frederick County, Virginia

Attended College of William & Mary

Edmund's "autobiographical" letter states that he and his wife learned the basics of reading at a local school. He attended the College of William and Mary grammar and philosophy schools in 1770 – 1771. After leaving William and Mary, he studied law, but it is unknown from whom he received his instruction. It is possible that he studied with his father, John.

Practiced law until his death

In 1774, Thomas Jefferson retired from his law practice and turned his clients over to Edmund Randolph. Edmund practiced law until his death, although he did so only part-time while he held public office.

Served in public offices

Edmund Randolph served in the following positions:

  • Clerk of the Committee on Courts and Justice, House of Burgesses, May 1774
  • Deputy Muster Master General of the Continental Army, Southern District, 1775 – 1776 (he was appointed to this position by the Continental Congress. He had to resign when he was elected to the Virginia Convention.)
  • Aide-de-camp to General Washington, August – November 1775
  • Delegate (representing Williamsburg) to the Fifth Virginia Convention, 1776
  • Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1776-1786
  • Mayor of Williamsburg, 1776 – 1777; Justice of the Peace for James City County, 1777
  • Clerk of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1778 – 1779
  • Delegate to the Continental Congress, 1779, 1781 –1786
  • Governor of Virginia, 1786 – 1788
  • Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, 1787
  • Delegate to the Virginia Ratification Convention, 1788
  • United States Attorney General, 1789 – 1794
  • United States Secretary of State, 1794 – 1795

Resided in:

  • Williamsburg, 1753 – 1775
  • Philadelphia and Boston, July 1775 – November 1776
  • Williamsburg, December 1776 – early 1780
  • Richmond, Virginia, 1780 – 1813

Disagreement with John Randolph

The only evidence about the tension that must have existed between Edmund and his father, John, as the colonies moved to war with Great Britain is a letter from Benjamin Harrison to General George Washington written July 21, 1775. In this letter, Harrison reported that Edmund was seeking support for his effort to become an aide to General Washington. Harrison noted that Edmund made his decision to join the army at Boston without consulting anyone and that he did so because he feared "his father's conduct may tend to lesson him in the esteem of his countrymen." By joining the American army, Edmund may have felt that his loyalty to the colonial cause would not be questioned. His father's reaction to Edmund's act is summed up in a line from a letter he wrote to his son in August 1775: "For God's Sake, return to your Family & indeed to yourself."