1736 - 1799 (63 years)
Has more than 100 ancestors but no descendants in this family tree.
||Patrick Henry |
||29 May 1736
||Studley, Hanover Co., VA.
||6 Jun 1799
||Charlotte Co., VA.
||This person is also Patrick Henry at Wikipedia |
||12 Aug 2009 |
- Patrick Henry embodied the spirit of American courage and patriotism. He is recognized today, as he was among his contemporaries, as the "Orator of Liberty". His compelling speeches kindled the fires of the Revolution and fueled the effort to secure freedom.
During his early life, Patrick Henry made several unsuccessful attempts to find the career that would best utilize his unique talents. He was unsuccessful in the mercantile business before taking up the study of law.
At the age of 27, his genius as an orator burst forward in a brilliant display of eloquence in the case of the Parson's Cause (below). In this case, he was fighting against taxation without representation in which the parsons of the Church of England tried to tax colonists who believed in other religions. Although many doubted his ability to succeed at law, he stunned the spectators and jury by the fire and eloquence of his words. The people carried him out of the courtroom in triumph. Following this case, he rose to the head of his profession.
Henry's was the first voice raised against England in her attempt to raise taxation without representation. He rose to his full
stature in attacking the infamous Stamp Act, which was hotly debated at the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg in 1765. The other delegates quailed when Henry hurled defiance at George III with the challenge, "If this be treason, make the most of it."
During the Second Virginia Convention, his most famous speech was delivered on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church in Richmond. His words became the clarion call that led the colonies into Revolution. With courage and eloquence, he cried, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.".
Henry's leadership did not end once the revolution was won. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the nation was in working toward the adoption of the Bill of Rights. While desiring a more effective government, he was adamant in demanding protection of basic civil liberties.
The first governor of Virginia, Henry served five exhausting terms. In 1794, he retired to Red Hill and resumed his private legal practice.
While living at Red Hill he was among the 100 wealthiest landowners in Virginia. Henry first purchased 700 acres at Red Hill; additional acquisitions brought the total acreage of the plantation to 2920. Tobacco was the chief crop at Red Hill, and corn and wheat were also grown. He owned 66 plantation slaves, 21 horses, 167 cattle, 155 hogs, and 60 sheep.
Patrick Henry was a family man, having 17 children in all. Two of these children were born at Red Hill. At least six sons attended Hampden-Sydney College near Farmville, Virginia.
Patrick Henry continued his successful law practice while at Red Hill. Traveling to courthouses such as Prince Edward, Charlotte, and New London, he tried both civil and criminal cases.
George Washington persuaded Patrick Henry to become a candidate for the state legislature in 1799. The foundations of the young republic were endangered by the rumblings of men who argued that any state has the power to nullify acts of the Federal Government. Bowed with age and his health deteriorating, Henry delivered his last public oration. It was an inspirational, non-partisan, patriotic appeal for unity to preserve the nation. Historian Henry Adams declared that nothing in Henry's life was more noble than his last public act.
Three months later, on June 6, 1799, death came to Patrick Henry. The "Voice of the Revolution" was silenced forever.
Highlights of Patrick Henry's Life
1760 - Admitted to the bar and started his practice.
1763 - Gave the famous "Parson's Cause" speech.
1765 - May 20 - First seated in the House of Burgesses. Continued to serve until 1774.
1765 - May 29 - Famous "Stamp Act" speech in the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg.
1774 - 1775 - Virginia's representative to Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
1775 - March 23 - "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" speech at St. John's Church in Richmond.
1776 - 1779 - First governor of Virginia for 3 one year terms.
1780 - 1784 - Member of the House of Delegates representing Hanover County.
1784 - 1786 - Governor of Virginia for two one year terms.
1794 - Moved to Red Hill in Charlotte County.
1795 - Refused offer from President Washington to serve as Secretary of State.
1796 - Refused an offer from President Washington to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
1796 - Refused an offer from the General Assembly to serve as Governor.
1799 - Refused an offer from President Adams to serve on the Misson to France.
1799 - March 4 - Patrick Henry's last public appearance.
1799 - Elected to the House of Delegates.