“Give me liberty or give me death!” Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775
After three decades of public service, Patrick Henry retired in 1794 to Red Hill plantation in Charlotte County, which he regarded as "one of the garden spots of the world." He purchased the 700-acre estate and simple story-and-half house in 1794 and over the next five years he expanded the modest plantation to 2,965 acres. The original house and subsequent additions burned in 1919 and was reconstructed in the 1950s. The original overseer's cottage that Henry used as his law office still stands.
While living at Red Hill, Henry declined numerous posts in the national government, including chief justice, secretary of state, U.S. senator, and ambassadorships to France and Spain. Persuaded by George Washington to stand for election to the Virginia legislature, Henry delivered his last public oration at Charlotte Courthouse on March 4, 1799. He died at 63 on June 6, 1799 from an intestinal blockage and was buried a few days later near his garden. The marble slab over Patrick Henry's grave bears the simple inscription, "His fame his best epitaph."
Ownership of Red Hill remained with the family until 1944 when Henry's great-granddaughter passed away. At that time, the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation was formed to purchase Red Hill and preserve the last home of the great patriot. In 1978, Red Hill was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. Congress declared Red Hill the Patrick Henry National Memorial in 1986.
Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 - June 6, 1799) was the leading Virginia statesman in defending the rights of Colonial Americans.
Following Henry's death, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson singing his praises: "In the Congress of 1774 there was not one member, except Patrick Henry, who appeared to me sensible of the Precipice or rather the Pinnacle on which he stood, and had the candour and courage enough to acknowledge it."
Henry was the first elected governor of Virginia, a devoted father of 17 children, and the most famous orator of his day. Born in Hanover County, Henry made a name for himself as a young lawyer in the Parsons' Cause at Hanover Courthouse in 1763. His 1765 resolutions against the Stamp Act articulated the basic principles of the American Revolution. Henry is perhaps best known for his immortal words "Give me liberty or give me death," which he delivered during the Second Virginia Convention in a speech to fellow delegates George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at St. John's Church in 1775. His impassioned words helped move colonists toward American independence and they continue to inspire the cause of freedom around the world.
Known as the "Voice of the Revolution,"
Henry's political career included 26 years of service in the Virginia legislature and five terms as governor. He helped draft the Virginia Constitution of 1776 and its Declaration of Rights. A leading critic of the U.S. Constitution, Henry also strongly influenced the creation of the Bill of Rights. Following his death, Henry was buried at Red Hill Plantation, now the site of the Patrick Henry National Memorial.
A Timeline of Patrick Henry's Life
1736 · Henry was born at Studley Plantation
1748 · Henry worshiped at Polegreen Church during Great Awakening period and was influenced by the oratory of the Rev. Samuel Davies until 1759
1754 · Henry and Sarah Shelton were married at Rural Plains and moved into Pine Slash
1760 · Henry passed bar examination in Williamsburg; opened law office at Hanover Tavern
1763 · Henry argued Parsons' Cause at Hanover Courthouse
1765 · Henry elected to House of Burgesses and proposed Virginia's bold Stamp Act Resolutions
1771 · Henry made his home at Scotchtown
1774 · Henry elected to First Continental Congress
1775 · Henry delivered his "Liberty or Death" speech at St. John's Church
1775 · Henry elected to Second Continental Congress
1775 · Henry, along with James Madison, elected as a founding trustee of Hampden-Sydney College
1776 · Henry
attended Fifth Revolutionary Convention and helped draft Virginia Constitution and Declaration of Rights
1776 · Henry elected first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, served three one-year terms
1784 · Henry re-elected governor, served two one-year terms
1787 · Henry declined election to Philadelphia Constitutional Convention
1788 · Virginia ratified U. S. Constitution by 89 to 79 vote, Henry's opposition fueled movement for a Bill of Rights, which was ratified three years later
1794 · Henry made his home at Red Hill, Charlotte County
1794 through 1796 · Henry declined sixth term as governor of Virginia and appointments as U. S. senator, chief justice, secretary of state, and ambassador to Spain and France
1799 · Henry elected to House of Burgesses but died at Red Hill before taking office
The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail
The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail links historic sites and institutions in Virginia that interpret the life and legacy of Patrick Henry. Locations on the statewide trail are shown on the map.
1. Studley (Studley)
2. Historic Polegreen Church (Mechanicsville)
3. Rural Plains (Mechanicsville)
4. Pine Slash (Mechanicsville)
5. Hanover Tavern (Hanover)
6. Hanover County Courthouse (Hanover)
7. Scotchtown (Beaverdam)
8. St. John's Church
9. Hampden-Sydney College (Hampden-Sydney)
You are here 10. Red Hill Plantation (Brookneal)