Sunday, August 16, 2015

Patrick Henry's Red Hill 1794-1799...where an Edwardian Lady Waits for her Train

Today we finally got to visit Red Hill, final home and resting place of the fiery orator of the 18th century, Patrick Henry. My hero!

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We arrived early so we enjoyed a patriotic picnic lunch on the grounds.

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Patrick Henry's rhetoric inspired the birth of a nation...

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Others said of him...

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You can see some similarities in this home of Red Hill and Scotchtown, his home from 1771-1778 which we got to visit a few years ago. One of his many homes between the years he lived in Red Hill and Scotchtown was the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg when he served as governor of Virginia during the American Revolution. Of course the palace likely wasn't as stately during the war as it was during the royal governors, yet it was still of a grander style with grander gardens than these simpler homes. Patrick Henry was a family man. He did not possess great wealth. He served his constituents, but his fondness was for his children and grand children for whom he'd play the fiddle and tell elaborate stories he'd compose.

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We toured the inside of the house at our leisure. The original house sadly burned down in the 20th century, so this is reconstructed, and quite nicely too. The furnishings which are representative of the era were collected after the fire. The Osage Orange tree in the left portion of the photo above is original! At over 330 years old, it has been declared the largest and oldest of its species in America.  Thus it was already a grand 100 year old tree when Patrick Henry lived here!

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After touring the home we leisurely toured the grounds and eventually split up. After passing the giant boxwood maze I discovered a secret garden!
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It took some twisting and turning to enter it properly which amounted to seeing many fun things like a hollow tree! This probably wasn't here when Patrick Henry was here, but if it was I could imagine the grand children playing here.
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Descending into the secret garden...
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It was a lovely restful spot on the humid summer day. Definitely my type of garden niche!
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Eventually I came out to tour more of the property overlooking the Blue Ridge. This was described by Henry as, "one of the garden spots of Virginia."
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Nearby was the pumpkin patch...do you see it?
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Then a train came through. This is a great story! One of Patrick Henry's descendants, Lucy, inherited the plantation around 1900. By 1905 the Virginia Railway to go through the land. She agreed under the condition that if the engineer ever saw a lady standing alongside the railroad, dressed like her (in Edwardian attire) they would give her a free ride. They agreed.
Hmmm...I have an Edwardian gown, so I suppose if I donned that gown and stood alongside the tracks...after all the train still goes through the property!
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The graves of Patrick Henry and his wife Dorothea...
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His law office...
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After walking the grounds I told the family I had found a secret garden. We decided that I should go over there then they should try to find me. This photo is proof that they finally did!
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I love Patrick Henry's family tree. It is joked that he had so many descendants he should be called "the father of his country." If my counting is accurate, he had two wives (the first one sadly passed away at Scotchtown), 17 children, and 77 grandchildren (I think). I love the names! There were 7 named Patrick Henry, 1 named Fayette, 1 named Fayette Henry, 1 named Patrick Lafayette, and even one named Marie Antoinette!  You knew I had to mention Lafayette, right? ;)
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