Biographical / Historical
James Ryder Randall was born on January 1, 1839 in Baltimore, Maryland. He is remembered for writing the poem "Maryland, My Maryland," which became the war hymn of the Confederacy and the state song of Maryland. The poem was set to the tune "Lauriger Horatius" during the Civil War by Jennie Cary, a member of a prominent Baltimore family.
Randall was a student at Georgetown College from 1848 until 1855 when he was forced to withdraw due to pneumonia. He was a member of the Class of 1856, but did not complete a degree.
After college, Randall traveled to South America and the West Indies. He returned to teach English at Poydras College in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. It was during this time that he penned "Maryland, My Maryland". Tuberculosis prevented him from enlisting in the Confederate army. However, he was able to serve with the Confederate States Navy in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Although he was a Marylander by birth, he wrote his famous poem while residing in Augusta, Georgia. After the Civil War, Randall became a newspaper editor and a correspondent for the “Augusta Chronicle” in Washington, D.C. He continued to write poems, although none achieved the popularity of "Maryland, My Maryland".
Randall died on January 15, 1908, in Augusta, Georgia, where he is buried in Magnolia Cemetery.