HISTORY On June 14, 1980, twelve direct descendants of Patrick Henry met under the historic Osage orange tree at Red Hill and formed a family association. The organization was temporarily called the "Patrick Henry Descendants' Foundation" but one year later was permanently changed to the "Descendants' Branch - Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation." Today, of the 250 dues-paying members, 24 are Charter Members.
OBJECTIVE The Descendants' Branch was formed to honor the name of Patrick Henry and to serve as a support group for the Patrick Henry National Memorial, known as Red Hill.
PROGRAMS Regular programs include: (1) service to the public as a genealogical clearinghouse for Patrick Henry family data, (2) location and acquisition of Patrick Henry furnishings, heirlooms, memorabilia, or accoutrements, (3) financing and undertaking special projects for the benefit of Red Hill, and (4) organizing an annual reunion.
From 1980 to 2000 the Descendants' Branch met once a year with the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation. In 2000, Mrs. Margaret Nuttle started having a two day Patrick Henry Family Reunion, meeting in a different location each year, with each location being connected with some phase of Patrick Henry's life. Part of the expenses of the first reunions were donated by a "secret donor." In 2001, an executive Board was established to meet regularly each year.
Meetings have been held at Red Hill, in Williamsburg, Richmond, Hanover County, Winton, Hampden-Sydney, Abingdon, Martinsville, Long Island, Halifax, and Eden, N.C. All of these places have connections to Patrick Henry or his immediate family. Bus tours to places of interest were usually arranged for one day of the reunion each year, with business meetings and other activities on other days. Five years ago, another day was added to give more time for Henry cousins to get to know one another and for genealogy research.
ORGANIZATION Authority is vested in a quorum of active members and in a council composed of a Secretary-Treasurer and two at-large representatives. The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation's Executive Vice-President currently serves as acting Administrator and manages the affairs of the Descendants' Branch. Officers serve a two-year term.
SCOPE The Descendants' Branch is composed of individuals from all walks of life and all areas of the country, including residents of thirty-two states from Massachusetts to Florida, to California. MEMBERSHIP Membership is open to all direct descendants of Patrick Henry who subscribe to the purposes of the organization. Annual Dues are $25.00 per individual and $35.00 per family. Individual dues for persons under 25 years of age not under a family plan are $15.00. Dues are used to support programs. A Screening Committee reviews all applications to determine eligibility.
BENEFITS Benefits include a quarterly newsletter, special mailings and news related to Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation activities, discounts on museum gift shop items, and an opportunity to become directly involved in a community dedicated to the preservation of Patrick Henry's memory.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION Write or call the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation.
ANCESTRY The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation researches the line of direct descent from Patrick Henry. We often receive inquiries about Henry's ancestry and would like to refer interested individuals to the research page of Karen Lucas Lawless found beginning here. Or check out Robert Douthat Meade's Patrick Henry, Patriot in the Making from your local library. Copies of this book, no longer in print, are carried from time to time at the Red Hill Museum Shop and can be ordered online or over the phone.