A Preservation Virginia historic property, Patrick Henry's Scotchtown , built in 1719, was the marital home of Patrick Henry and his childhood sweetheart Sarah Shelton of Rural Plains. Patrick Henry was living at Scotchtown when he delivered his famous 'Give me liberty or give me death!' speech that swung the Virginia House of Burgesses' vote in favor of Revolution. Unfortunately, Sarah developed severe mental illness after the birth of their sixth child. Henry would not send Sarah to the new mental hospital at Williamsburg. Instead, he kept her at home under the constant care of an enslaved woman. Henry's most famous speech may have been inspired in part by Sarah's tragic illness and early death.

Two years after Sarah's passing Patrick Henry married Dorothea Dandridge, and they had 11 children together. Patrick Henry was a public servant most of his life. He served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, as Governor of Virginia and as delegate to both Continental Congresses and organized the Virginia militia. In his later years, Patrick Henry retired to a plantation in Campbell County later known as Red Hill with Dorothea and their children. He was self-taught in law, a fiery radical, and a powerful orator. To this day his quotations remain famous ...

If this be treason, make the most of it!

This was Henry's retort to an accusation of treason after he declared that King George could suffer the same fate as Caesar for imposing the burdensome taxes of the Stamp Act upon the colonies.

I am not a Virginian, but an American!

With these words Henry championed a national identity among the colonies and their union against a common foe.

Give me liberty or give me death!

Members of the Virginia Convention sat speechless after these words, then passed a resolution declaring the colonies' independence from England.

When the people feel intolerably oppressed, my answser is ready - overturn the government!

Patrick Henry's comments on the Alien and Sedition Acts restricting freedom of speech speak for themselves.

In 1787 both Patrick Henry and George Mason refused to attend the Continental Congress because the proposed Constitution created a powerful central government yet lacked a Bill of Rights for its citizens. Four years later, the the first ten amendments were added as a Bill of Rights to the Constituion.

Preservation Virginia has faithfully restored the home to its 18th century appearance, and if you watch the AMC television series TURN, you'll recognize Scotchtown serving as George Washington's 'Morristown, New Jersey' headquarters, with many scenes having been filmed in the house and on the grounds.

Located about 27 miles northwest of Sarah Shelton's family home in Rural Plains at Totopotomoy Creek Battlefield, Scotchtown offers a tour of the house, a cell-phone audio tour of the grounds, recreated gardens and outbuildings, a picnic area, and gift shop.

Pictured at the top: Patrick Henry's Scotchtown.

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