RANDALL, James Ryder, poet and journalist, was born in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 1, 1839; son of John Killen and Ruth Maria (Hooper) Randall; grandson of John and Caroline Randall and of Robert and Margaret Hooper; great-grandson of the celebrated Robert Hooper, known as "King" Hooper of Marblehead, Mass., and a descendant maternally of the people of "Evangeline," the French of Acadie, who were driven from Nova Scotia by the British. He was educated by private tutors, and at Georgetown college, D.C., 1849-56 ; was employed as a clerk in a Baltimore book store; taught school in Florida, and removed to Louisiana, where he became clerk to a shipping merchant. He was professor of English and the classics in Poydras college, Pointe Coupee parish. La., 1859-61. and contributed poems to the New Orleans Sunday Delta. His most famous poem, "My Maryland" which he wrote after reading the news of the passage of the Massachusetts volunteers through the streets of Baltimore, became popular throughout the South and gained him an international reputation. It was set to music by Mrs. Hettie (Cary) Martin of Baltimore to the German air “Tannebaum." He was married in December, 1864, to Katherine, daughter of Marcus and Harriet Hammond, and removed to Augusta, Ga., where he became editor of the Constitutionalist and subsequently of the Chronicle, of both of which papers he was the Washington correspondent during the successive sessions of congress. The honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by the University of Notre Dame, Ind., in 1899. Among his other poems are: The Cameo Bracelet; The Lone Sentry; Arlington; There's Life in the Old Land Yet; The Battle Cry of the South; Stonewall Jackson; Eidolon; At Arlington; John Pelham and Why the Robin's Breast is Red. -- Biographical Dictionary of America, Vol. 9, (unnumbered) page 34.
“James Ryder Randall, author of “Maryland, My Maryland” born in Baltimore,January 1, 1839; died in Augusta, Ga., January. 14, 1908. Painted by Miss Katharine Kent Walton, of Annapolis.”
...He was one of the worst poets ever heard of—but he wrote Maryland, My Maryland. Is it as bad as “The Star Spangled Banner”? Probably not. But good or bad, it met a great situation superbly, and promises to live for many years. . . . there is no movement to erect a monument to Randall, or even, indeed, to mark his grave. Where he lies I don’t know. -- The Evening Sun, Feb. 25, 1929, Page 21.
Although Randall has not been widely memorialized in Maryland, there is a James Randall Ryder Elementary School in Clinton. Augusta Georgia hosts several monuments to James Randall Ryder.
A monument to James Ryder Randall stands in the middle of Greene Street in Augusta. The 2008 HMdb photo below was taken by Mike Stroud.
The monument was “Erected by the Randall Memorial Committee of Chapter 'A' United Daughters of the Confederacy Augusta Georgia May 28, 1936.”
The same verse from “Maryland, My Maryland“ appears on the Poets' Monument in Augusta also on Green Street. This HABS photo shows the sides of the monument honoring Paul Hayne and Father Ryan, James Randall Ryder and Sidney Lanier are on the other two sides.
But the most impressive monument to Randall is the huge southern live oak which commemorates Randall and "My Maryland." Shown here in an anonymous HMdb photo.