Isham Randolph, Poet

I’ve written in the past about Isham’s 26 stanza poem, written for Admiral Dewey on his visit to the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal.  You can see the entire poem on page three of this album.  I’ve found plenty of examples of Isham’s technical writing, but no other examples of his poetry, until this gem showed up in a memorial, quoted in the Society of Western Engineers, no date is given for its creation, but it is attributed to Isham,

The memorial also had a more detailed record of Isham’s railroad career, which I’ll add to the Wikipedia entry soon.  It also gave the names of his three sons (I only knew one) and his wife.  I found the name of his wife in census records, but not his son’s beyond Col. Randolph (who the memorial says was a Major?)  It also says that Isham helped to organize a regiment of engineers during World War One, and quotes the conclusion of a speech he gave them before their departure for Europe.  Though not poetry, it speaks to the poetic character of the man,

One last quote from the piece, not from Isham, but from the memorial writer, suggesting that a volume of Randolph’s writing, including his poetry, should be published.

I haven’t collected enough of his writing to “gather and edit a volume,” but I have pulled a bit together over the course of the last year, so – I guess I’m the guy that’s doing what this author asked for, just a hundred years later than he expected.

  • RC Randolph

    Dear Chris,

    I am Isham Randolph’s, great-great nephew, and the great grand-son of one of his brothers, Thomas Hugh Burwell Randolph. Until a month ago, I owned Newmarket, the house where Isham was born. I am posting photos; it is little changed since 1848 when Isham was born.

    We were in Chicago over Easter weekend, and tried to find the location of Isham’s grave, without success. Do you know where in Chicago he might be buried?

    Thanks for all you have done to resurrect the memory of a remarkable American,

    Bob Randolph

  • Chris McAvoy

    I’m not sure where his grave is. I did a little bit of research, but wasn’t able to find it. Thanks so much for the pictures, hope you enjoyed the pieces I wrote about your great great uncle, he was a very interesting man.