Randal, John Leonard (1800–1874)

By: Tom Jones

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

John Leonard Randal, Republic of Texas senator and physician, was born on February 11, 1800, in Stokes County, North Carolina, the son of John and Hannah (Harvey) Bull, who petitioned the state of North Carolina to change their name and that of their four children to Randal. The General Assembly at Raleigh ratified the name change on December 22, 1803. Randal received his medical training at Cincinnati Medical College. He and his family were living in McNairy County, Tennessee, when, in the late fall of 1838, they moved to Texas and settled about a mile and a half south of San Augustine. Randal received his conditional certificate for land on June 7, 1839, and his unconditional certificate on May 6, 1844. He constructed a large two-story house that functioned as his residence and as a hospital for his patients. He succeeded James Gaines in the called session of the Sixth Congress in 1842, as a representative of the Shelby, Sabine, and Harrison districts in the Senate. He was reelected to the same office in the Seventh Congress, 1842–43. He joined the United States Army during the Mexican War and was appointed assistant surgeon on March 3, 1847. He was assigned to the Twelfth Infantry on April 9 and resigned on August 3, 1847. In 1858 he sold his property in San Augustine County and moved to Smith County, where, on September 27, 1859, he purchased 640 acres a few miles northeast of Tyler. On May 10, 1862, Randal enlisted in the Army of the Confederate States of America, Twenty-eighth Texas Cavalry, as regimental surgeon; he was recruited by his son, regimental commander Col. Horace Randal. He was later appointed surgeon of the Second Brigade of Gen. John G. Walker's division. His service, primarily in Arkansas, was cut short by his failing health. On March 22, 1863, he submitted his resignation, which was accepted on June 9, 1863. He sold his farm in Smith County on August 22, 1863. In 1867 he was paying taxes on a section of land in Grimes County. In 1868 he disposed of that property and purchased a 130-acre farm in Brazos County a few miles from Bryan. Randal, an Englishman by descent, reputedly inherited a considerable estate in England but preferred to remain a citizen of Texas and refused to claim his inheritance. He was married to Sarah McNeil Kyle, a descendant of Lord Stanhope, and they were the parents of eight children. Randal died on his Brazos County farm in April 1874 and is said to be buried in the old Boonville Cemetery, although his grave is unmarked.

George L. Crocket, Two Centuries in East Texas (Dallas: Southwest, 1932; facsimile reprod., 1962). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). E. W. Winkler, ed., Secret Journals of the Senate, Republic of Texas (Austin, 1911).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Tom Jones, “Randal, John Leonard,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/randal-john-leonard.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995