Thomas Jefferson Randolph
The charter designated a board and officers for the first year. B. C. Flannagan became president, W. W. Flannagan was secretary and treasurer, and Marchant acted as superintendent. After three years Thomas Jefferson Randolph, grandson of Thomas Jefferson and an original stockholder, succeeded B. C. Flannagan.
Eighty years old, and a prominent Jacksonian Democrat, Randolph was experienced in banking and commerce. He brought to the office a winsome personality and the prestige of a famous family. Whether his choice reflected his ability or the financial value of an honorable ancestry is not clear. The latter was an asset frequently used to advantage among young industries in the postwar South, and one may assume that it was not overlooked in this case. During his presidency the company experienced the grave shock of the 1873 panic. When he died two years later in the midst of the crisis, the need for a virile successor was pointed up.