A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


Peyton Randolph

c. 1721 - 22 October 1775

Peyton Randolph was born in 1721 in Williamsburg, Virginia, to Sir John Randolph and Susanna Beverly. He was appointed attorney general of Virginia in 1744, and was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1748. During the Stamp Act Crisis of 1765, Randolph was appointed by the House of Burgesses to draft objections to the act, but his conservative approach was largely overruled by Patrick Henry's more radical proposals. Randolph was unanimously elected president of the First Continental Congress in 1774. When the second Congress convened in May 1775, Randolph was again elected president, returning to Virginia on urgent business just a few days later. Boston merchant John Hancock was elected in his place. Randolph returned to the Congress in the fall of 1775, but died suddenly just a few days after his return.