Robert John Randolph, Jr. is a historical figure that is usually quickly dismissed as the husband of Jessie Harlan Lincoln and nothing more. Being President Abraham Lincoln’s granddaughter, Jessie Lincoln is a figure that has been thoroughly researched and was the focus of attention during her lifetime. To marry into the Lincoln family and be the stepfather to the last two undisputed Lincoln descendants is certainly worthy of note, but unfortunately that is where most documents end their description of Randolph Jr.: with a byline of his childless Lincoln marriage. This historical profile delves deeper into Randolph Jr.’s life.
Robert John Randolph, Jr. was a member of the “distinguished Virginia family of Randolphs, whose family tree goes back to John Rolfe and Pocahontas of early colonial history.”
Robert John Randolph, Sr. was born in Buffalo, New York, on January 3, 1847. Randolph Sr. moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1865 at the age of 18, then moved to Illinois about a decade later. On January 20, 1874, Randolph Sr. married Francis Dyer in Winnebago County, Illinois. On April 2, 1875, Robert John Randolph, Jr. was born to the couple. Randolph Sr. was involved in local-level politics in Illinois, his first position being a post on the Rockford Board of Aldermen. The Aldermen are a city council in Rockford, acting in conjunction with the Mayor.
Randolph Jr.’s father’s politics were not considered to be a driving force between his marriage to Jessie; it was not remarked upon in any books mentioning their marriage. Research into the family background provided details on his father’s politics, but in no reports on the Randolph-Lincoln marriage are they mentioned.