Name:  Theodore Fitz Randolph

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Born:  June 24, 1826
Died:  November 7, 1883
Complete HarpWeek Biography:
Theodore Randolph was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to [mother's name unknown] and James Fitz Randolph, publisher of the New Brunswick Fredonian and member of Congress from New Jersey (1827-1833). Young Randolph attended school locally until the age of sixteen when he entered the labor force, spending four years in Vicksburg, Mississippi (1846-1850). At the age of twenty-four he began working in his father's coal and iron business. Over the years he accumulated substantial wealth, earning him the nickname "Mr. Moneybags of Morristown." In 1867 he became president of the Morris & Essex Railroad. In 1852 he married Fannie Coleman, the daughter of Nicholas Coleman, a Kentucky Congressman.

Randolph entered politics at the state level with election to the New Jersey assembly in 1859 and two years later was appointed to fill a vacancy in the state senate. In 1862 he was elected to a three-year term in the state senate. Randolph was an adamant states' rights Democrat and quickly became a legislative leader. When slave states began seceding he initially favored reconciliation with the Confederacy, but after compromise failed, he accepted the Union war effort as necessary.

In 1868 Randolph ran for governor of New Jersey and defeated the Republican candidate by a comfortable margin. During his administration the railroad "monopoly tax" was repealed, the prison was made self-supportive, bribes in exchange for votes were explicitly penalized, and plans for an insane asylum at Morristown were inaugurated. In 1872 he chaired the executive committee of the national Democratic party. The New Jersey legislature chose Randolph to represent the state in the U.S. Senate. During his term (1875-1881), he was chair of the military affairs committee and a supporter of "hard money."

Source consulted:Dictionary of American Biography.











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