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James Ryder Randall
Birth: Jan. 1, 1839
Baltimore
Baltimore City
Maryland, USA
Death: Jan. 15, 1908
Augusta
Richmond County
Georgia, USA

Poet, Journalist. He was the son of a wealthy Maryland family, and for his early education, the same teacher, who taught Edgar Allen Poe, tutored him. As a promising student, he entered Georgetown University prior to the age of twelve and won awards in literature. Abandoning his studies in formal education, he traveled to South America, Florida, and the West Indies. Upon his return to the United States about 1860, he taught English literature at a flourishing Creole institution, Poydras College, in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. After having two bouts with pneumonia, he had a chronic respiratory problem, which left him weak and with dyspnea from any physical activity, thus he was never military material. It was during his time in Louisiana that the tension between the southern and northern states increased. His home state of Maryland was on the edge, as it did not commit to be with southern rebels or the Union. A week after the Civil War started on April 19, 1861, the war came to Randall's hometown of Baltimore when Union Soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts Brigade encountered Southern sympathizers on the walk side near the train depot. The demonstrators attacked the soldiers, and people on both sides died including Randall's childhood friend, Francis X. Ward of Randallstown, Maryland. Federal troops soon occupied Baltimore. As a Confederate sympathizer, Randall was broken hearted at the death of his friend and the thought of the riot and bloodshed in his hometown. It was at this point that he penned the poem "Maryland, My Maryland". The nine-stanza poem, with the words "Northern scum", encouraged the overthrow of the Union. It was first published a week later on April 26, in the New Orleans newspaper, "The Sunday Delta." It became a war hymn of the Confederacy after the poem's words were set to an old German folk tone, "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree", during the Civil War by Jennie Cary. In 1939 by state law, it became the state song of Maryland. Just before the war's end, he had a shipping business, which involved the Confederate Navy in North Caroline. By 1870, Randall resided in Augusta, Georgia with his wife Katherine "Kate" Hammond of South Carolina and their children: Harriett, Marcus, Ruth, Lizette and the youngest daughter, Maryland. He became a newspaper editor and a correspondent in Washington, D.C., for local newspaper "The Augusta Chronicle". He continued to write poems, although none achieved the popularity of "Maryland, My Maryland", yet he was labeled the "Poet Laureate of the Lost Cause". He stated that his personal favorite poem was "At Arlington", which he wrote after seeing Confederate widows turned away from Arlington Cemetery at gunpoint by Federal soldiers as they attempted to place flowers on the graves. Later that night, the story goes, wind blew flowers from the Union graves onto the graves of the Confederate dead. His later poems were deeply religious in nature and were published as a collection with "Maryland, My Maryland". After being the honor guest for the Baltimore's Maryland Day Celebration in the winter of 1908, Randall's respiratory problems became worst and he died shortly after returning home. A detailed obituary appeared in the "New York Times" on January 15, 1908. The State of Maryland awarded Randal's family an annuity of $600 a year. The state song of Maryland still states today with Randall's words, even though many have attempted to change them or the song. A statue of James Ryder Randall was erected in 1936 on Green Street in Augusta by Chapter "A" United Daughters of the Confederacy Augusta Georgia. And, a public school was named in honor of him in Clinton, MD. At Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there is collection of letters and poems written by Randall to Mary Girvin Peters of Baltimore, MD from the 1850's, love letters to his wife Kate, and a diary dated 1855, which was kept by Randall while a student at Georgetown. (bio by: Linda Davis) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Katherine Hammond Randall (1844 - 1880)*
 
 Children:
  Marcus Hammond Randall (1870 - 1929)*
  Ruth Marie Randall (1875 - 1952)*
  Maryland Randall (1879 - 1948)*
  H. C. Randall (1884 - 1884)*
  Lizette Randall Robinson (1885 - 1906)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Magnolia Cemetery
Augusta
Richmond County
Georgia, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Laurie
Record added: May 19, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7462271
James Ryder Randall
Added by: Anthony S
 
James Ryder Randall
Added by: Sara Newman
 
James Ryder Randall
Added by: Stonewall
 
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May you rest in Heavenly peace.
- Carolyn Womack
 Added: Mar. 19, 2013

- sniksnak
 Added: Jan. 15, 2013

- Annie H Darracott 791, UDC - Lakeland, FL
 Added: Oct. 3, 2012
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