Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

CW Foundation navigation

Looking to Buy Tickets & Gifts or Book a Vacation? Click Here

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger
Woman reading book

Betty Randolph

  • Birth date unknown
  • Parents: Ann Carter Harrison and Benjamin Harrison
  • Formal education unknown; able to read and write
  • Baptism unknown
  • Married Peyton Randolph March 8, 1745/6 at about 21 years of age
  • Wife of Attorney General of Virginia and Speaker of the House of Burgesses
  • No children
  • Died January 31, 1783


13 March 45/6 Virginia Gazette:

"Peyton Randolph Esq, his majesty's atto. Genl of this colony was marry'd to Bettye Harrison daughter of the late Col. Benjamin Harrison of Berkley in Charles City County, deceased."

7 July 1751 John Blair Diary

"Sun p.m. Mrs. Bride, Mrs. Grimes, Mrs. Burwell, Mrs. Atto. &c., visited Mrs. Blair who could not go to church."

25 Nov. 1751 John Blair Diary

"The Govr, his lady and Mrs. Dinwiddie, Mr. Attorney and his lady, the Councilr and his lady dined and supped with us this day [Monday]"

"17 March 1755 Daughter Ann to be kept by Mrs. Dinwiddie, Mrs. Attorney, Mrs. Chiswell. or one of them. Will of Kenneth McKenzie, Surgeon of Williamsburg, decd."

"16 Feb. 1769 Wife of the Speaker owns slave attending the Bray School in Wmsburg"

  • Peyton Randolph died 23 October 1775

Last Will and Testament of Peyton Randolph

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I Peyton Randolph do make this my last will & testament. I give & devise to my beloved wife my dwelling house, lots & all the outhouses thereto belonging in the city of Williamsburg, with the furniture of the same, & also my chariot & horses & all her wearing apparel rings & jewels, all which estates real & personal I give to her heirs, exrs, & adrs. I give to my sd wife also Little Aggy & her children, Great Aggy & her children, Eve & her children Lucy & her children to her & her heirs forever. I give to my wife also the use & enjoyment of my whole estate real & personal, not hereafter given away during her natural life. I give to Harrison Randolph a negro boy called Caesar, the son of Sue to him & his heirs forever. I give to my brother John Randolph the two negro boys such as he shall choose out of my estate which have not been particularly disposed of to him & his heirs, after the death of my wife I give to my sd brother all my estate both real & personal to hold the same during his life except my man Johnny whom in that case I give to my nephew Edmund Randolph to him & his heirs & after the death of my brother John I give all the estate devised to him for life to the sd Edmund Randolph his heirs exrs & admrs, subject nevertheless to the payment of £500 each to his sisters Susanna & Arrianna Randolph for the payment of which sums I allow him four years after the estate shall come into his hands, he paying them interest yearly for such sums as remain unpaid. I do hereby empower my exrs. to sell my books & presses to pay my debts & if that is not sufficient to sell so many of the negroes as they think can be best shared from the use of the plantations to answer that purpose. I do appoint my wife, my brother John Randolph & Mr. James Cocke exrs. of this my will. IN WITNESS whereof I have set my hand & seal this 18th day of August in the year of our Lord 1774

Peyton Randolph L.S.

Signed sealed published & declared by the sd Peyton Randolph as & for his last will (he being present at the [signing ?] of this attestation in presence of

Thomas Mason
Samuel Henley
John Pope

3 Jan. 1776 All persons who have any Demands against the Estate of Peyton Randolph, Esq.; deceased, are desired to bring their Accounts properly proved. Those indebted to the said estate are requested to make immediate Payment.

Betty Randolph
James Cocke

Those Gentlemen who have borrowed any Books of the late speaker are desired to return them immediately

  • 21 August 1780 Ordered that . . . Betty Randolphs Nineteen Tiths be added to Bruton list
  • 1782 Wmsbg Land Tax: Betty Randolph 3 lots
  • 17 Feb. 1783 Estate auction

Last Will and Testament of Betty Randolph

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I Betty Randolph do make her my last Will and Testament June 1st 1780 I give to Edmund Randolph Esqr nephew of my dear departed Husband the Family Picture the Silver Chafing Dishes the four New Silver Salt Cellars the Silver Cup and two Silver Waiters I also give him the Suit of Yellow printed Cotton Curtains, the Bed, Bedstead, and Blankets thereunto belonging the Clock, and his uncles Seal which I wear to my Watch. I give to my nephew Harrison Randolph the silver cruet frame Table Spoons, Sout ditto, Punch Strainer ladle the four old silver Candlesticks two old Silver Salt cellars the Cross the China Bowls the Tea set of India China all the House Linnen and half the Beds with Blankets &c. I give to my niece Elizabeth Harrison who lives with me the new Tea spoons four Silver Saucers all my w/earing Cloths my miniature Picture of my dear Husband my Watch and the Treasury Bond of the United States for Ninety Pounds now in the House I give to my Niece Lucy Burwell the set of Chelsea Tea China, as a token she is not forgot. I give to my Nephew Peyton Randolph the Silver coffee Pot for the same reason. I give to my Nephew Benjamin Harrison of Berkley four Silver Candlesticks called the new ones which were given me by my grandmother Harrison I also give him a mulatto Woman called little Aggy, her Daughter Betsy and her son Nathan to him and his heirs forever. I also give him the other half of the Beds Blankets and Curtains. I give to my Nephew Carter Harrison of Berkley a Molatto Boy named Wat, to him and his Heirs forever. I give to my niece Ann Coupland a Negro woman named Eve and her son George to her use and after her death to her Heirs. I give to my niece Elizabeth Rickman a Negro woman called great Aggy and her son Henry to her use and after her death to her Heirs. I give to my Niece Lucy Randolph Daughter of my sister Necks a molatto girl named Charlotte to her use and after her death to her Heirs. I give to my Nephew Harrison Randolph a negro woman named Lucy and her Children to him and his Heirs forever. I have in the loan office of this Commonwealth the sum of nine hundred pounds which I dispose of in the following manner, five hundred pounds I give and bequeath to my niece Elizabeth Harrison who lives with me. One hundred to her sister Ann Harrison, One hundred to Sarah Harrison, daughter of my Brother Benjamin Harrison, One hundred to Ann Harrison daughter of my Br Charles Harrison, and One hundred to his daughter Betty Randolph Harrison My Will and desire is that the House and all the lots in Williamsburg given me by my dear Husband together with the furniture not particularly given away, Chariot, Waggon & Horses in town, and all the Estate I shall die possessed of not particularly disposed of may be sold, and after paying any debts (which I design shall be very few) the money arising from the sale thereof may be divided into two equal parts, the one half I give and bequeath to my Nephew Harrison Randolph, out of the other half I desire forty Pounds may be divided among the servants that shall attend me in my illness as they shall deserve, the remainder to be divided into six equal parts to be given to six persons hereafter mentioned Viz, Peyton Harrison, son of my Br Carter Harrison, William Harrison son of my Br Benjamin, the youngest son of my br Nat. the youngest son of my Br Charles and the two sons of my Br Robert Harrison. If either of my Brother Roberts sons should die before the age of twenty one the survivor to take both his own and his brothers part. My Will & desire is that the Heirs of my dear & honoured Husband (by whose bounty I have been enabled to make these bequests) may be put to no inconveniency by my heirs for which reason I desire the Carts Waggons & work Horses on the Plantation & tools for the use of the Plantation tho purchased by me may not be looked on as part of my Estate. I also desire a sufficient quantity of Corn and fodder may be left on the Plantations for the use of the Negroes & Stocks. I also direct that whatever Cloths, or materials for making Cloths for the Negroes, that shall be found in the House shall be given up for that purpose. If I should have any money in the House or Treasury not already given away I give it to Harrison Randolph I have lent the Estate money as Mr Cocks receipt & Books will shew to the amount of One hundred & thirty pounds which I designed should be laid out in a monument to the memory of my dear and blessed husband. My Will & desire is that the above Sum of One hundred & thirty pounds due from the Estate be paid to Edmund Randolph esqr he giving bond to my Executors to put up a monument in the Chapel of Wm and Mary College opposite to that of his grandfather Sir John Randolph (which I have been informed cost about that sum) as soon as possible. he is to pay no Interest for the money. only to lay out the sum of One hundred & thirty pounds. My Body which I had almost forgot. I desire may be put in the Vault in the College Chapel in which the remains of my blessed Husband are deposited with as little ceremony & expense as possible, as being there is the summitt of all my wishes with regards to this world & that the expenses of the funeral may be paid before the division is made. My share in the Wmburg factory I give & devise to Harrison Randolph my Books to his sister Lucy Randolph I do appoint my Brother Benjm Harrison my Nephew Benjm Harrison my Nephew Harrison Randolph Exors or this my last Will & Testament In witness whereof I have set my hand & seal this 23d day of October in the Year of our Lord 1780

Signed Sealed & declared by the said Betty Randolph LS

Betty Randolph to be her last Will in presence of us Rachel Whitaker, Sally Singleton

20 July 1782 A Codicil to the above Will

Whereas Eve's bad behaviour laid me under the necessity of selling her. I order and direct the money she sold for may be laid out in purchasing two negroes Viz, a Boy & Girl, the Girl I give to my niece Ann Copland in lieu of Eve, in the same manner that I had given Eve. The Boy I give to Peyton Harrison son of my Brother Carter Harrison, to him & his heirs forever. I have lent Charlotte to my nephew Harrison Randolph during my life. As he will perhaps be at some expense in raising & maintaining other children she may have as a gratuity I give to him & his Heirs forever her Son called Thomas Prouce. I have given in my Will forty Pounds paper Currency to be divided amongst the Servants, instead of which I order Ten Pounds of the money found in the House to be divided as afore directed. I also Order Twenty Pounds out of the same money to be given to my Niece E Harrison if she should be living with me at the time of my death in order to enable her to pay her Expenses to some friendly roof. I think I have express myself with regard to Thomas Pruse in a manner that may leave room for a dispute to prevent which I declare my Will is that Harrison Randolph is to have the said Thomas Pruse at all events. I give to my Niece Eliza Harrison my dressing Table and Glass that stands in my Chamber and the Cabinet on the Top of the Desk.

Betty Randolph

This Codicil was Signed, Published and declared to be part of the last Will of the said Betty Randolph in presence of us

John Blair
James Madison

Learn more: