Sunday, December 7, 2008
Onady Randolph Mills' father was Henry Randolph. Pictured at left is his tombstone at Gilmore Chapel Cemetery in Itawamba County. This little Methodist church and cemetery is located just south of Marietta along the Prentiss County border, on land formerly owned by the Randolphs and not too far from where the Randolph family settled when they arrived from Georgia around 1855.
Henry was a veteran of the Civil War, serving in Company G of the 26th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, one of the first Mississippi regiments to engage in battle. Company G, also known as the Marietta Rifles, was formed in August, 1861 at Iuka. Henry's mother, Nancy Sanders Randolph, had four sons and a son-in-law who marched off that summer day in August to join the war. One was dead within a year. William Randolph died in March 1862 at Camp Morton in Indianapolis after being captured at Fort Donelson in February.
Although most of the men of the 26th Mississippi were captured at Fort Donelson, some were able to escape back home to Mississippi. It is not known in which group Henry found himself. The original muster roll for this regiment is held by the Mississippi Archives in Jackson, and I was recently able to examine it. The muster roll indicated that Henry Randolph was discharged in November 1864. This means that Henry rejoined his regiment following the defeat at Fort Donelson either as an escapee or as a parolee from the prison camp.
According to Dunbar Rowland's history, the 26th Mississippi regrouped at Holly Springs in December 1862, joining other troops to halt Grant's advances in the state. Later, the regiment fought at Grand Gulf and into Louisiana before circling back to take part in the defense of Jackson in their home state. In early 1865, the regiment was ordered to join the Army of Northern Virginia where they participated in several battles in Virginia. Although the regiment fought until the end of the war in April 1865, Henry mustered out a few months early in November 1864.
Out of the original 159 members of Company G, only 42 remained active till the end of the war.
Henry was married five times, the first time around 1861. This marriage produced a son, Jefferson Davis Randolph. His wife, whose name is not known, must have died during the war because Henry remarried upon his return from service, this time to Elizabeth King who produced three daughters before her death before 1875. The third wife was Onady's mother, Lucinda Rachel Fowler, daughter of Posey and Mary Fowler. Rachel and Henry had seven children together before her death sometime between 1890 and 1895. As far as can be determined, Henry did not have any children with his last two wives, Mary Rogers and Tennie Collum. Henry's daughter, Onady Randolph Mills, kept a family Bible but unfortunately this Bible was burned during a housefire and only scraps remain of it. Family members have preserved what was left, however, and this Bible record has the following hand-written information:
"Pappy married the 4 time March the 9 1895"
In the 1910 census, we find Henry and Tennie living next door to Henry's daughter Onady and her husband, Jesse Thomas Mills, and their children Millard, Rachel and William Henry. Also next door was Jim M. Randolph and his wife Frankie; and Jeff Randolplh and his wife Katie. Next to Onady and Jesse were William Orville Mills and his wife Telitha. Just a tight wad of Randolphs and Millses at Kirkville in Itawamba County.
Henry Randolph was born October 12, 1836 in Georgia and died March 17, 1914 in Itawamba County.
Posted by Mona Robinson Mills at 9:19 PM