Family Stories

Frontiersman Nathaniel F. Randolph

About a month ago I posted obituaries for Thomas Jefferson Randolph and his wife, Nancy Bailey, both of whom are buried in Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  While at our public library I found the following article on the Randolph family.  Thomas Randolph’s parents were George M. and Julian Hatchell Randolph – and his great-grandparents were Malachi and Mary Elizabeth Fallon FitzRandolph (later dropping the “Fitz”).  This is the brother of Nathaniel Randolph of the article.  Every time I go ‘home’ to Marion County I follow U.S. 68 past Bethel Church – close to where the farm of Malachi Randolph used to be.  If you turn right, just before the church, onto Catlett Road, then a left onto Dixville Road, you will drive past Benton Church where some of the Randolph family members are buried.

from The Kentucky Advocate, Boyle County

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Randolph Story Continues

by Brenda S. Edwards

Nathaniel F. Randolph, a pioneer surveyor, arrived in Kentucky in May 1774, two weeks after James Harrod and his party arrived in Harrodsburg.

Nathaniel was given 2,000 acres of land in Lincoln County for surveying 37,000 acres from the Tennessee River to the Ohio River.  He was hired June 7, 1784, by George Rogers Clark to survey the land included on a Treasury Warrant.

Nathaniel was employed by Clark in public and private affairs which led him west after the Revolutionary War.  He served as a captain during the war.

Nathaniel also was one of 30 men recruited in January, 1777, in Harrodsburg by Clark to transport powder from Limestone Creek to the interior of what was then Kentucky County, Virginia, for relief for the western settlers in what was to become Kentucky.

Ten men left behind by another company led by Colonel John Todd attempted to transport the powder, but were attacked by Indians; several were taken prisoner and three killed.

According to the book, “Early Life of George Rogers Clark”, Clark’s brother Joseph was one of the men taken prisoner.

Clark described Nathaniel as “respectable” in his biographical data, according to the Draper Manuscripts.  Clark said Nathaniel lived out his life and died in Mercer County.

Busy Frontiersman

Research also shows that Nathaniel was busy on the frontier:

  • Nathaniel was listed as living from December 16, 1777, to October 16, 1778, at Fort Harrod or in the neighborhood, according to a history of Mercer County.
  • A history of Fayette County shows that Nathaniel and others were on a jury when two men, John Connolly and Alexander McKee, were accused of being British subjects and about to have their land confiscated in Kentucky County Court in Lexington.  The verdict stated that the men were British subjects, but after April 19, 1775, of their own free will departed from the States and joined the Britannic Majesty in July, 1776.  Their land was confiscated and 12,000 acres were granted to Transylvania Seminary.
  • He was mentioned in a history of Jefferson County and was surveying in December, 1775, along Harrod’s Creek with Abraham Hite, Isaac Hite, Joseph Bowman, Peter Casey, Ebenezer Severns and Moses Thompson.
  • Nathaniel lost a rifle during Squire Boone’s defeat on September 14, 1781, and billed Clark $5 for the loss.
  • Nathaniel and others were petitioned by Mercer County in 1800 to select a way for a road from Nathaniel’s Mill (formerly Peter Casey’s mill) on Salt River, through land belonging to Randolph and others in a direction to the salt works through the Kincheloe Settlement.  The project was approved.
  • He once owned the Fountaine Bleau, an early station near the boiling blue spring in Mercer County.  The site is on Ky. 390, 1.6 miles west of  U.S. 127 according to Harrodsburg/Mercer County Tourism Commission.

Name Change

The original Randolph surname was FitzRandolph; the Fitz was later dropped and Nathaniel used the “F” as his middle initial.

Nathaniel came to Kentucky from Middlesex County, New Jersey, after serving in the Revolutionary War.  He lived out his life in the Mercer County area.

He was the brother of Malachi and Enoch Randolph who followed him to the area.  Malachi stayed in Mercer County and Enoch moved to Henderson County.

“He (Nathaniel) was an old bachelor, with no issue, his only heirs were his brothers and their children,” according to Elizabeth Randolph, wife of Malachi.

The family members also commented on what great penmanship Nathaniel had, according to the family genealogy.  He wrote a letter to General Washington asking for a job in 1791.  No record has been found of the answer.

Nathaniel died between 1810-1820 at the home of his brother, Malachi, three miles southwest of Harrodsburg, and a half mile from Bethel Church.  No information has been found about where he is buried.

(Editor’s note:  The final series in the Randolph history will be about a lawsuit Peter Casey and his son-in-law John Waggoner filed against Nathaniel Randolph involving a land deal.  Research for the series of articles was provided by Monty J. Bryant, a local researcher and genealogist.)

4 replies »

  1. Phyllis. Your website is a treasure trove of interesting pictures, information and stories. I read it daily and have learned many helpful historical facts.

    Thank you so much…..keep up the good work!
    Kind Regards,
    A fellow lover of history,
    Claudia Randolph

  2. Phyllis, forgive me, I don’t remember. Did I tell you this story is about our “Randolph” family? Danny is a direct descendant of Malachi and Mary Elizabeth Fallon Randolph.

    Who are the Randolphs buried at Benton Church?

  3. At the end of her article on Nathaniel, the author mentions that she planned another installment dealing with the law suit between Peter Casey and Nathaniel Randolph. Do you know if she ever published it and how I might find a copy of it?

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