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Henry S. Randall: Wikis


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Henry Stephens Randall (May 3, 1811 - August 14, 1876 Cortland, Cortland County, New York) was an American agriculturist, writer, educator and politician.


He was the son of General Roswell Randall and Harriet Stephens of Shelbourne, VT. He came as a young boy from Madison County, New York to Cortland.

He wrote many articles for agricultural periodicals, and Sheep Husbandry, the "sheepman's bible" of the times.

Henry married Jane Rebecca Polhemus, the daughter of Rev. Henry Polhemus and Jane Anderson on February 4, 1834 in Auburn NY. They had a son, Roswell Stephens Randall born November 8, 1834, who married Mary Forby of Albany, NY.

Henry's son Francis died on June 29, 1844, aged 21 months. His daughter Hattie S. Randall married D. J. Mosher, MD, on June 18, 1872.

In 1849, he ran for Secretary of State on the Democratic ticket but was defeated by Whig Christopher Morgan. He was Secretary of State of New York from 1852 to 1853, elected in 1851.

He wrote The Life of Thomas Jefferson, a biography of Thomas Jefferson, published in three volumes in 1858, considered the most complete and authoritative ever written, for he was the only biographer permitted to interview Jefferson’s immediate family. In a letter to James Parton he relates that the family believed Jefferson's nephew Peter Carr was the father of Sally Hemings' children.

He was a delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention at Charleston, South Carolina.

He was buried at the Cortland Rural Cemetery.


  • [1] His letter to James Parton about Thomas Jefferson
  • [2] Political Graveyard
  • [3] His daughter's marriage, at Vital Statistics for Cortland County, transcribed from The Cortland County Standard
  • [4] His son Francis's death, at Vital statistics of Cortland County, transcribed from Cortland Democrat
  • [5] Short bio, at Cortland History
  • [6] Obit of his sister Lucy Maria Randall Hoes
Political offices
Preceded by
Christopher Morgan
New York Secretary of State
1852 - 1853
Succeeded by
Elias W. Leavenworth


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