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William Harrison Randolph

RANDOLPH, William Harrison (deceased), previous to and during the Civil War, one of the most conspicuous among the historic characters of McDonough County, Ill., was born in Lebanon, Ohio, August 20, 1813, a son of David and Rebecca (Sutphin) Randolph, who moved from Lexington, Ky., to Ohio at an early period. On coming to Illinois, they first located at Rushville, whence they moved to Macomb. David Randolph, the father, followed farming throughout his life, and William H. was reared on the farm. In youth he received his mental training in the common schools of Lebanon. Ohio, and for some time afterward continued to assist his father in farming. His first venture in Macomb was in the grocery business, to which he subsequently added a line of dry-goods. At a later period he built the Randolph Hotel, which he conducted for about twenty years. He also built the residence, which his widow, at the advanced age of eighty-eight years, now occupies. He laid out Oakwood Cemetery, donating it in part to McDonough County. Although he paid close attention to his business affairs, he did not neglect recreation and his leisure trips covered a good part of the United States. In the Civil War, Mr. Randolph was with the troops at Quincy, Ill., and while in the discharge of his duties as Provost Martial, he was killed at Blandinsville, McDonough County.

Mr. Randolph was married in Macomb, December 6, 1837, to Matilda Jane Brooking, now familiarly known as Aunt Jane Randolph. Her father was a resident of Richmond, Va., and the home of her mother, whose maiden name was Mary Louisa Sthleshley, was in Lexington. Ky. Mr. and Mrs. Randolph had no offspring, but reared several adopted children, including some of Mr. Randolph's brother's, namely: James; John, who died February 12, 1858; Frank, deceased; and Rebecca, who died September 26, 1870. Among others thus adopted were Jennie Cook, and Rosetta, who died a widow, July 4, 1852.

In politics. Mr. Randolph was an active and influential Republican. He served two terms (1844-48) as Representative in the State Legislature, and was Clerk of the County Court. He was also Tax Collector, and was twice elected Sheriff of McDonough County. He was not a church member, but it was his custom to attend divine worship. In many respects Mr. Randolph was a remarkable man. While suave in deportment and of genial disposition, he was resolute and determined in the discharge of any trust imposed upon him in an official position. Danger he confronted, undismayed, and obstacles did not check him in the performance of duty. With the business and social interests of Macomb he was probably as prominently identified as any man of his time.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, page 986, extracted 29 May 2020 by Norma Hass.

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