History of the Descendants’ Branch
The Patrick Henry Descendants’ Branch (PHDB) 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.
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 more than 250 dues-paying members, 24 are Charter Members.
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.
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 accouterments, (3) financing and undertaking special projects for the benefit of Red Hill, and (4) organizing an annual reunion.
Reunions 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.
Membership & Benefits
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. Lifetime individual memberships are available for $200.00. Dues are used to support programs. A Screening Committee reviews all applications to determine eligibility.
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.
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.
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 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.
Contact the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation for ancestry inquiries.
Officers serve a two-year term. Officers of the Descendants’ Branch of the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation for 2022-2023 are:
- President: Mark Holman
- Vice-President: Clifford Van Voorhees
- Secretary: Patricia Schultz