William H. Randolph – Politician / Hotelier

William H. Randolph was born in Ohio in 1813. At the age of 21 he moved to Rushville and then Macomb where he opened a grocery store in 1834.

He was a talented and popular young man who was elected sheriff in 1838 and was twice re-elected. In 1844 he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and served two terms. From 1848 – 1856 he was McDonough County Circuit Clerk.

In 1856 he established an eleven-acre tract north of Macomb for use as a public grave yard, which was later called Oakwood Cemetery.

Randolph was a strong support of Abraham Lincoln, both before and after his presidency. He hosted Lincoln at The Randolph House, the luxury hotel he built on Macomb’s Courthouse Square, on two separate occasions during Lincoln’s state senate campaign against Stephen Douglas in the fall of 1858.

Randolph invested in real estate and helped found Bardolph with Charles Chandler. He also invested in the Macomb’s first bank. Despite his talent for business, the bank made a bad investment and he spent the remaining years of his life paying his creditors.

While serving as a Deputy United States Provost Marshal, Randolph was responsible for apprehending men drafted for military service who failed to report for duty.

November 1, 1864, when he was attempting to arrest one John Bond of Hire Township, Randolph was shot and killed.

The Randolph House Hotel building is one of 10 sites that gave McDonough County Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area status and can be visited as part of  Macomb‘s Looking For Lincoln Self-Guided Tour.

Just one more thing that makes Forgottonia so Unforgettable.