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 to 1856 he was McDonough Count Circuit Clerk.
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.
In 1856 he established an eleven-acre tract north of Macomb for use as a public grave yard, which was later called Oakwood Cemetery.
A strong supporter of President Lincoln, Randolph, a Deputy Provost Marshal, was charged with enforcing the draft. He was shot and killed on November 1, 1864, while attempting to arrest John Bond of Blandinsville for failing to appear after he was drafted. Before the attempted arrest, Bond declared his refusal to serve in the army and “fight for n******.” The grand jury indicted John Bond and his brother Miles in absentia during the March, 1865, session for the murder. Miles Bond was captured three years later in Kentucky; John Bond and another accomplice surrendered in 1870. Despite two trials and the fact that all involved acknowledged their roles in the shooting, the accused were found not guilty on all counts.
William H. Randolph is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Macomb, Illinois.