Our Mission

The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation devoted to education and historic preservation. Established on October 27, 1944, the Foundation keeps the Spirit of the Voice of the American Revolution alive by inspiring a better understanding of American history through supporting scholarship, conducting educational programs, and continuing the stewardship of the Patrick Henry National Memorial at Red Hill. As part of that mission, the foundation maintains and interprets Red Hill, Patrick Henry’s last home and burial place, as a historic site and museum.

The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation was founded to care for Red Hill and establish it as a National Memorial to Patrick Henry. After acquiring Red Hill from Lucy Gray Henry Harrison, a great-granddaughter of Patrick Henry and the final descendant to live on the estate, the Foundation began restoring the property and constructing a museum to house the largest collection of Patrick Henry-related artifacts in the world.

In 1986, with Public Law 99-296, Red Hill was recognized by an Act of Congress as the official National Memorial to Patrick Henry.

Despite being an affiliated area of the National Park Service, Red Hill does not receive any federal funding to aid in its preservation or educational work. The foundation relies on grants and donations from patriots committed to the legacy of Patrick Henry, Voice of the Revolution.

Charitable donations to the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation are tax-deductible in conformity with the law. A copy of the Foundation’s most recent financial statement is available from the State Division of Consumer Affairs, P. O. Box 1163, Richmond, Virginia 23209.

Board of Directors

Chair: Mr. Dexter Gilliam

Bio coming soon!

Vice Chair: Mr. Michael J. Madden

Mike joined BB&T Scott & Stringfellow in 2002 after working with Wachovia Securities (formerly Wheat First Securities) for 25 years. While at Wachovia, he served as a financial advisor and branch manager. He was named a managing director in 1996 and received the firm’s Special Achievement Award in 1999.

Mike is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Catherine, have three children and three grandchildren.

Treasurer: Ms. Elsie Rose

Bio coming soon!

Secretary: Mr. Charles (Skip) D. Fox IV

“Skip” Fox is a partner in the Charlottesville, Virginia office of the law firm of McGuireWoods LLP and the former chair of its Tax and Employee Benefits Department and Private Wealth Services Group. Before joining McGuireWoods in 2005, Skip practiced for 25 years with Schiff Hardin LLP in Chicago.

Skip concentrates his practice on estate planning, estate administration, trust law, charitable organizations, and family business succession. He taught at the American Bankers Association National Trust School and National Graduate Trust School for 35 years. Skip was an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University School of Law, where he taught from 1983 to 2005, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a frequent lecturer across the country at seminars on trust and estate topics. In addition, he is a co-presenter of the long-running monthly teleconference series on tax and fiduciary law issues sponsored by the American Bankers Association.

Skip has contributed articles to numerous publications and was a regular columnist for Trust & Investments and ABA Trust Letter on tax matters from 2003 to 2018. He was a member of the editorial board of Trusts & Estates for several years and was Chair of the Editorial Board of Trust & Investments from 2003 until 2012.

Skip is an emeritus member of the CCH Estate Planning Advisory Board. He is the author or co-editor of seven books on estate planning subjects. Skip is a Fellow and a Past President of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. In 2008, Skip was elected to the NAEPC Estate Planning Hall of Fame. He is also Chair Emeritus of the Duke University Estate Planning Council and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. For Princeton, Skip currently serves as Class Agent of the Class of 1975 and on the Princeton University Planned Giving Advisory Council.

Skip was a member of the Executive Committee of the Aspire Campaign. Skip has provided advice and counsel to major charitable organizations and serves or has served on the boards of several charities, including Episcopal High School (from which he received its Distinguished Service Award in 2001), the University of Virginia Law School Foundation, and the Smithfield-Preston Foundation of which he was Chair from 2019 to 2021.

He received his AB from Princeton, his MA from Yale, and his JD from the University of Virginia. Skip is married to Beth, a retired trust officer, and has two sons, Quent and Elm.

Ms. Lisa Beal

Lisa Beal has over 30 years of experience as an energy, environmental, ESG, and natural gas infrastructure professional. She has held a variety of positions that focused on consensus building, regulatory strategy, and compliance, and strategic planning related to climate change, methane management, and corporate sustainability.

She has worked with a wide variety of organizations including, natural gas and energy companies, natural gas service providers, state and local industry groups, government and private research organizations, academia, NGOs, and international groups.

She is currently an Environmental Projects Advisor with BHE GT&S, an interstate pipeline operating company under the Berkshire Hathaway Energy group, where she focuses on emerging clean energy, environmental and sustainability initiatives, and legislation such as environmental justice, carbon management and climate change, and ESG reporting. She held a similar position with Dominion Energy and prior to that, led the Environment and Construction policy program for the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) in Washington, DC.

Lisa is a member of the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment, served as president of the DC Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, and served on the board of the Natural Gas Training Council.

Lisa is a graduate of Hampton University and the University of Phoenix and has professional certifications from the World Bank Group in emissions trading and corporate sustainability from the Harvard Extension School. Lisa lives in Washington DC but she spends her off hours sailing the seven seas and doing family history and genealogy research.

Mr. Ward Burton

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Guy B. Dixon

Bio coming soon!

Ms. Jean Elliott

Bio coming soon!

Ms. Nathalie Gilfoyle

Nathalie Gilfoyle is the retired General Counsel of the American Psychological Association, the leading publisher of scientific journals and books related to psychology. In addition to her legal duties regarding tax, publications, employment, governance, and real estate, Nathalie filed more than 100 amicus curiae briefs presenting social science research to the United States Supreme Court and state and federal appellate courts. Many of these briefs were cited in precedent-setting decisions on such topics as the death penalty, the reliability of eyewitness testimony, risk factors for false confessions, and minority rights.

Nathalie began her legal career in legal aid and state government in Boston, Massachusetts, followed by private practice in Washington, D.C. Before joining APA, she headed the 60-lawyer D.C. litigation department of McDermott, Will & Emery, an international law firm.

Nathalie was appointed as a Commissioner on the DC Court of Appeals Access to Justice Commission, where she chaired the Commission’s Courts Committee, working with judges on court reforms to improve access to the civil justice system for low-income residents. She served two terms on the D.C. Bar Board of Governors and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Nathalie has served on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations, including the DC Bar Foundation, the National Veterans Legal Services Program, the Aquinnah Gay Head Community Association, Saint Columba’s Nursery School, and the Wendt Center for Grief and Loss. She currently serves as a board member of the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, the Preston – Smithfield Foundation, and as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Human Resources Research Organization.

Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Nathalie received her B.A. in philosophy with high honors from Hollins University, worked toward a master’s degree in art history at the University of Virginia, and received her juris doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1974.

Nathalie enjoys travel, entertaining, playing games, trying to learn Italian and reading. She has been a member of as many as 5 book clubs at one time.

Mr. Sherman A. LaPrade

Sherman LaPrade grew up in Nathalie, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia State University with a BS in Social Studies Education and an MA in School Administration and Supervision from Lynchburg College, now University of Lynchburg.

He taught in the Amherst County school system for 10 years and worked in School Administration in Charlotte County, Danville City, and Halifax County for 26 years. As a board member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Sherman had the opportunity to train school Principals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He worked in the UAE as a trainer for the Ministry of Education for one year and returned home more culturally developed.

Sherman retired from Education after 37 years of service and started his own business, Party Tyme Rentals, which his wife, Kim, and he manage. He also works part-time at Jeffress Funeral Home in South Boston.

His mother, Bettie LaPrade, was an educator who started her career in education in a Rosenwald School, built to educate African American students during the early 20th century. She retired after 35 years in the school system of Halifax County. Sherman has one son, Sam LaPrade who is currently working at a special needs school in Petersburg, Virginia as a School Administrator.

Sherman believes in giving back to the community in which he was born and raised and has been a member of the Brookneal Lions Club for more than 30 years. He has been a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for 40 years and currently serves as Sargent At Arms.

He has coached Brookneal’s Dixie Youth baseball team in the past. Sherman is a lifetime member of Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church, Nathalie, Virginia where he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees and sings on the male chorus.

Ms. Dagen McDowell

Dagen McDowell, a native of Brookneal, Virginia, has worked at the Fox News Channel since 2003 and currently makes regular appearances across programs such as Outnumbered and The Five. She also appears daily on the Fox Business show, Mornings with Maria.

Before entering broadcast news, McDowell wrote a personal finance column for TheStreet.com called “Dear Dagen.” She also worked for SmartMoney magazine and SmartMoney.com. McDowell began her career as a financial journalist at the Institutional Investor’s newsletter division. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University.

Brig. Gen. James Moore

Brigadier General James S. Moore concluded over 32 years of military service with his final assignment as the Chief of Staff, Installation Management Command from July 2019–August 2021. He is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Virginia State University ROTC Program (commissioned in May 1989).

BG Moore has commanded at various levels. His commands include: Commanding General, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC), and Commander, 404th Army Field Support Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA; Commander, 1st Battalion, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade, Balad, Iraq (OIF); and Commander, 593rd Corps Support Group (CSG), Fort Lewis, WA.

BG Moore has a master’s degree in Joint Campaign Planning Strategy from the National Defense University Joint Forces Staff College, a master’s degree in Public Administration from Troy University (formerly Troy State), and a bachelor of science degree in Business Information Systems from Virginia State University.

BG Moore’s military education includes: the Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS), Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA (class of 2011); Command and General Staff College (CGSC) (class of 2002), Joint and Combined Warfighting School (JPME) Phase II course, and the Quartermaster Officers Basic and Advanced Course.

BG Moore’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal. Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters (OLC), Bronze Star with two OLC, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with OLC, Meritorious Service Medal with five OLC, Army Presidential Unit Citation, and the Army Meritorious Unit Commendation. BG Moore has been awarded the General Brehon B. Somervell Coin-Medallion of Excellence, the Honorable Order of Saint Martin, and the Ordnance Order Samuel Sharpe, amongst others.

BG Moore is married to Brenda Moore, and they are the proud parents of three adult children.

Dr. Jack Schaffer

Bio coming soon!

Major Events in the History of the Foundation

Land given back to Red Hill plantation by PHFS

Union Star, Brookneal, VA

October 14, 2019

L to R: Bruce Olsen, Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill; Jeff Nitz, COO, Patrick Henry Family Services; Robert Day, CEO, Patrick Henry Family Services; Hope Marstin, CEO, Patrick Henry’s Red Hill; Jack Schaffer, President of the Patrick Henry Descendants’ Branch; Elsie Rose, Patrick Henry’s Red Hill Board of Directors; Gene Smith, Chairman of the Patrick Henry’s Red Hill Board of Directors


Gene Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Patrick Henry’s Red Hill On Monday morning, October 14, Patrick Henry Family Services officially returned the land that was given to them in 1968 by the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation. The land coming back to the Foundation was originally part of Patrick Henry’s estate. The Foundation gave Patrick Henry Family Services the land to support the creation of Patrick Henry’s Boys Home as a home for orphaned boys. The Foundation, now known as Patrick Henry’s Red Hill, is excited to have part of Henry’s original estate back and is looking forward to continuing its efforts to preserve the legacy of Patrick Henry and Henry’s “garden spot of the world.”

Letter from the White House Signed by President Ronald Reagan

March 18, 1987



I am proud to send greetings to everyone gathered to commemorate Patrick Henry’s unique role in the founding of our Nation, and to dedicate his beloved Red Hill home as the Red Hill National Patrick Henry Memorial.

Eyewitnesses thought Patrick Henry the most electrifying orator of his age. In March 1775, he struck the spark that set the South aflame with revolutionary fervor. Ever after, Americans and all who would be free have thrilled at the words that brought Virginia into the battle: “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it! Almighty God!” And then the cry that every schoolboy and schoolgirl once knew, and that should be burned into our hearts if we are to remain what Patrick Henry helped make us: “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

I take a moment to pause with you in memory of the brave legions of Americans through two centuries who have made Patrick Henry’s words their own and paid the supreme sacrifice for our Nation.

Everyone connected with this Memorial deserves his countrymen’s heartfelt gratitude for giving Patrick Henry, an immortal American, such an appropriate honor. Congratulations and God bless you — and God bless America.

U.S. Senate Joint Resolution 187

May 12, 1986

Ninety-ninth Congress of the United States of America at the Second Session Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the twenty-first day of January, one thousand nine hundred and eighty-six

Joint Resolution

Designating Patrick Henry’s last home and burial place, known as Red Hill in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as National Memorial to Patrick Henry.

Whereas Patrick Henry was a great orator and leader of the Revolutionary cause in the struggle for independence and in the establishment of a new Government of the United States of America; and Whereas, fifty years ago on August 16, 1935, the Congress authorized establishment of Red Hill, Patrick Henry’s last home and burial place, as a national monument in tribute and recognition of his service to his country, and the authorization was repealed in 1944 due to insufficient appropriations during distressful times; and Whereas the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation in 1944 acquired Red Hill, located in Charlotte County, Virginia, and has both reconstructed his home and restored his original cottage law office and grounds as a shrine and museum, in commemoration of the entire life of Patrick Henry; and

Whereas Red Hill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and

Whereas the Virginia General Assembly, in its 1986 legislative session, has enacted Senate Joint Resolution 82, calling for national recognition and stewardship of Red Hill by the Federal Government; and

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the last home and burial place of Patrick Henry in Charlotte County, Commonwealth of Virginia, known as Red Hill, is hereby designated as a National Memorial to Patrick Henry, and shall be known as: the Red Hill Patrick Henry National Memorial. The Secretary of the Interior is authorized and directed to take appropriate action to assure that this Memorial is announced in the Federal Register, and that official records and lists are amended, in due course, to reflect this addition as being included along with other national memorials established by Act of Congress.

Whereas Scotchtown, Saint John’s Church, and Hanover County Courthouse are designated National Historic Landmarks, due to their historical significance, integrity and representation of key moments of Patrick Henry’s revolutionary contributions; and

Whereas May 29, 1736, was the birthdate of Patrick Henry, and Scotchtown, Saint John’s Church, and Hanover County Courthouse and Red Hill are together planning commemorative activities for the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Patrick Henry’s birth during 1986; and

Whereas it would be appropriate for Congress, as part of the 1986 commemorative activities, to honor for the benefit of present and future generations the entire life of Patrick Henry by a national memorialization of this American Patriot’s burial place at Red Hill, where are also preserved his original cottage law office, his reconstructed home, and museum articles depicting his life and work: Now, therefore, be it

Sec. 2. The Secretary of the Interior, with the concurrence of the owner of the property, is authorized and directed to place at the gravesite on or by June 6, 1986, the anniversary of Patrick Henry’s death, an appropriate plaque or marker bearing an inscription commensurate with the contributions of Patrick Henry to the American Revolution and with the patriotism his words and deeds continue to inspire in all Americans: Provided, That the ownership of Red Hill remains non-Federal, and that the costs of such plaque or marker, and of its inscription and maintenance, as well as the costs of operations and maintenance for the estate shall be borne from non-Federal funds, services, or materials.

Proclamation Urging Support for the Preservation of The Patrick Henry Red Hill National Memorial


On behalf of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, we urge the national attention to be drawn to the public-spirited efforts of the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization, at the Patrick Henry Red Hill National Memorial, near Brookneal, Virginia.

The nation can take pride in this new National Memorial, which reflects a fresh approach to the administration and management of significant historic sites, for the Foundation is preserving this important property, the only National Memorial to Patrick Henry, entirely from non-Federal funds. This unique partnership between the National Park Service and the Foundation is a significant experiment that places reliance on citizen endeavor and support from the general public to an unprecedented extent.

We welcome the establishment of this National Memorial and congratulate its sponsors and supporters for undertaking this significant task. At the same time, we wish to encourage the public to consider the challenge that faces the Foundation in its efforts to preserve and enhance Red Hill. To carry out these efforts successfully, the Foundation will need to enlist support through donations, grants, and other private assistance.

It is particularly fitting to commend this endeavor by the Foundation on the eve of the Bicentennial of the Constitution and the Federal Government. Most people will recall that Patrick Henry’s clarion voice electrified the movement for national independence, in phrases that echo even today from the mouths of schoolchildren. His decisive influence in the debate over ratification of the Federal Constitution, however, is equally worthy of remembrance. Henry opposed the Constitution when it came to the States for ratification; it was his leadership in the Virginia convention, and that of like-minded individuals in his State and others, that led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

The Patrick Henry Red Hill National Memorial, unlike many national memorials, is not in the Nation’s Capital, but in the Virginia countryside, southwest of Richmond. it is intimately related to Henry, for it includes the property that was the last home of the renowned patriot — between 1794 and his death on June 6, 1799. Henry and his second wife, Dorothea Dandridge, are buried at Red Hill, where his last law office and his final home, the latter reconstructed on its original foundations, are also preserved. The visitor center at Red hill houses a large collection of books and literature pertaining to Henry’s life. The Foundation’s other programs include seminars, exhibits, and publications devoted to Henry’s career.

The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation’s charge, “to honor for the benefit of present and future generations the entire life of Patrick Henry,” has been endorsed by Congress in those words, drawn from the Act that established the National Memorial. We appeal for favorable consideration of the Foundation’s efforts to preserve the Patrick Henry Red Hill National Memorial. The Memorial worthily commemorates a great patriot, whose formal recognition has been long belated.

Shrine Dedication


Plans will be made in the immediate future to have a dedication of the shrine and this will probably take place April 29, 1957, the birthday anniversary of Patrick Henry to be in connection with the 350th Jamestown celebration.

After adjournment of the business session, the officials traveled the four miles to the shrine area. Mrs. Ralph Bellwood, manager, served as hostess for a group. her residence is on the shrine grounds in a portion which is the old law office.

Johnson acted as a guide for the tour of the two restored buildings. During this he called attention to the detailed work throughout the structures. Of special interest were the window panes which are reproductions of the handblown type.

Imported wallpaper in authentic patterns is used in the rooms and is reprinted from hand-colored prints of the period. Some of these were originally from Scotland, England, and France and date back to mid-1700s and the early 1800s. The oldest paper in the house is the rag doll pattern on the second floor which was John Henry’s nursery.

The timbers of the house are cross band sawed to imitate old pit sawed material. The outside walls are beaded, lap siding and the roofs are of cross sawed white oak shingles. The floors in the cottage are of select, best grade long leaf yellow pine. The nails for interior trim, such as door casings, window casing, etc. are imitation of original hand-forged nails made by a blacksmith. The kitchen out from the cottage a short distance has a brick floor and a large fireplace with crane and a warming oven.

One original hinge has been used on the door of the main entrance and all others over the cottage are reproduced from this one.

Architect Johnson expressed the desire that other original historic buildings around the shrine area would be restored and with special reference to the cemetery near the house.

Election of the board of directors is as follows: Maj. John D. Guthrie, and Page Morton, both of Charlotte Court House; Quinn Eggleston and R. S. Chamberlayne, both of Drakes Branch; Mrs. William Page Williams, Brookneal; Henry McWane, and Stanhope S. Johnson, both of Lynchburg; E. H. Eitel, Samuel Holmes and James S. Easley, all of Halifax, Mrs. Ormonde Smith, Petersburg, and Casey.

Maryland Man's Gift Restored Last Home Of Patrick Henry

Lynchburg News, Lynchburg, VA

June 2, 1955

Annual Foundation Meeting 1955

BROOKNEAL, Oct. 31–Red Hill, last home of Patrick Henry, has been restored through the generosity of Eugene B. Casey of Rockville, Md., a man who gave $50,000 to the project because of his admiration for the Revolutionary War hero and a wish to see the home restored as a shrine to his memory.

Architect Stanhope S. Johnson of Lynchburg formally presented the completed job and the keys were turned over to James S. Easley, president of Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, during the annual meeting of the foundation held here today at Hotel Brookneal.

After receiving many expressions of appreciation from board members, Casey said he was extremely gratified to have a part in establishing a shrine to one who did so much for the freedom of the American people.

“I hope this will help to create a greater interest in the wonderful character, Patrick Henry, and that people may learn that he did much of importance and said many more things of importance than ‘give me liberty, or give me death,'” he added.

Johnson had illustrations and pictures of the original home of Patrick Henry and in each addition to the original he had taken accurate measurements and samples of wood removed from each addition so as to have the restoration an authentic reproduction.

More than $50,000 has gone into this building as an outright gift from Casey. Today, Easley, the president, asked the board of directors and trustees to cooperate in the fund-raising campaign for the upkeep and necessary expenses of the shrine. An endowment will be set up as the result of a gift from the will of the late Miss Ella Miller plus gifts received as memorials at the time of her death.

A motion was passed to change the charter of the foundation which calls for Richmond as the meeting place and change will be to Brookneal.

Trustees Meeting

Trustees of the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation will meet in Richmond March 22 to work out details of the undertaking, the president said. Other officials are Henry E. McWane, Lynchburg, and Major John D. Guthrie, Charlotte County, vice presidents; Mrs. William Page Williams, Brookneal, secretary; and James R. Gilliam Jr., Lynchburg, treasurer. In addition to 35 Virginians on the board of trustees, representatives from nine other states are among the men and women of distinction forming the governing body of the Foundation. Robert C. Atherholt and Susan Dabney, the latter a great-great-granddaughter of Patrick Henry, are other Lynchburg members of the board of trustees. Miss Dabney’s sister, Mrs. Barksdale Penick of Montclair, N. J., also is a member.

Stanhope S. Johnson, Lynchburg architect already busy on plans for the reconstruction, Easley said yesterday, by good fortune has in his possession the exact measurements of the original Henry mansion. In the 155 years since Patrick Henry’s death, the houses and grounds have changed considerably. Mrs. Matthew Bland Harrison, a great-granddaughter of the statesman, in the early years of this century, had erected a colonial-style residence in which the original simple home of Patrick Henry was incorporated. In 1918, this building was destroyed by fire, as were nearby cottages. After that the garden was obliterated by neglect, and the place left desolate until, in 1945, the property was acquired by the Foundation and step-by-step improvements were started.

Associated with the firm which built the home of Mrs. Harrison, who is no longer living, Stanhope Johnson came into ownership of the house-plans, with descriptions of the out-door appearance. These will enable the restoration to be exact, it was said yesterday. Plans to restore the place in such manner that its original atmosphere will be preserved are in compliance with the objectives of the Foundation, Easley indicated.

Attempts to establish a national shrine at “Red Hill” have been made for the last quarter-century. The late United States Senator Carter Glass was among those who led an attempt in 1935 and for the next few years. Senator Harry F. Byrd, former President Herbert Hoover, Mrs. Alfred I. du Pont, David K. E. Bruce, former Governor William M. Tuck, J. Edgar Hoover–these and other national figures make up the more than fifty trustees of the Foundation.

"Red Hill" Restoration Made Possible By Contribution From Anonymous Donor

The News, Lynchburg, VA

March 2, 1954

By Martha Rivers Adams

Complete restoration of “Red Hill,” Charlotte County estate, last home and the burial place of Patrick Henry, a founder of American liberty, is in immediate prospect due to the voluntary offer of an anonymous benefactor.

James S. Easley of Halifax, president of the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, making known yesterday the promised benefaction, said that the donor is motivated by admiration of the patriot and the principles for which he stood in making possible the completion of the historic shrine.

Stipulating that Stanhope S. Johnson, Lynchburg architect, be retained for the restoration work, the patron of the project is to make possible the landscaping of the grounds and the rebuilding of the manor house, the office and the various out-buildings, President Easley said. An approximate amount of $50,000 is estimated as necessary.

New Officers

Officers for next year are president, James S. Easley; Quinn Eggleston, executive vice president; Maj. John D. Guthrie and Henry E. McWane, vice presidents; Mrs. Williams, secretary, and James R. Gilliam Jr., treasurer.

Buildings in the shrine are now open to the public and plans are now in process to furnish the buildings throughout. Mrs. Bellwood is serving as hostess for visitors.

Red Hill, consisting of about 1,000 acres, was bought from the estate of the late Mrs. M. B. Harrison, great-granddaughter of Patrick Henry. The foundation was organized in 1944 with Easley as president. The restoration has been underway for about two and a half years, since Casey’s anonymous bequest.

Sending regrets and congratulations were Mrs. Alfred I. duPont, Montclair, N. J.; Dr. Theodore Adams, Richmond; Gen. George C. Marshall, Michael Francis Doyle, Philadelphia; Col. Frank McCarthy, Beverly Hills, Calif., and Mrs. S. B. Penick, Montclair, N. J., niece of the late Miss Miller. Miss Susan Dabney, Lynchburg, a niece, also attended.

Nearest Living Kin

Patrick Henry’s nearest living relative is Miss Elvira Henry Miller–Lynchburg’s “Miss Ella”–of 314 Harrison St. She has kept the reconstruction of their great-grandfather’s estate in constant remembrance, missing no opportunity to work for its success.

Patrick Henry’s stormy career in the cause of liberty ended after 10 years of plantation living at his Staunton River estate. Born in Hanover county in 1736, he died in 1799. He and his second wife, who was Dorothea Dandridge, are buried at “Red Hill.”

The restoration of the house is not to be as easy as it sounds, with measurements at hand and the building notable chiefly for its simplicity. Materials of the period will be sought, and nothing not in harmony will be used by the architect, the official of the Foundation state. Throughout the long-distance interview from the Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, where he is staying, Mr. Easley repeatedly referred to the great happiness and satisfaction the donor of the funds has brought to those who have labored for the last decade and prior to the land’s purchase, to set up a permanent memorial to the apostle of American Liberty.

Organized in 1944

Organized in 1944, with James S. Easley of Halifax, well-known attorney, as president, the Foundation acquired the site of the mansion and something less than 900 acres of land from their heirs. The law office of the patriot still stands, with an attached studio built later by William Wirt Henry Jr. According to restoration plans, the office will be returned to its original state.

Funds have been raised through the years fro various phases of improvements, and with the establishment there of the Patrick Henry Boys’ Plantation, gifts have been made for erection of homes for the boys who will be accepted there. Already two of the ten proposed cottages are assured. Rebuilding of the house and out-houses will benefit the plantation project, Mr. Easley said yesterday, adding that it is highly probable that the Rev. Ralph Bellwood, founder of the “Youth Community” will occupy the main structure until his home, one of the several envisioned for the plantation, is constructed.

Nation to Purchase Estate

About 18 months ago a bill was passed by the Congress, and duly signed by President Roosevelt, empowering the Government to purchase Red Hill for the nation. Now, according to Mrs. Harrison, another bill is soon to be presented by Senator Carter Glass, asking for an appropriation for the reconstruction of the mansion, destroyed by fire about 16 years ago. This second bill also will ask an appropriation for maintenance of the entire estate.

Although the place is still the property of Mrs. Harrison, the National Park Service has sent workmen to Red Hill ever since the President signed the bill for its purchase. They care for the trees and look after the marvelous boxwood, and are heartily welcomed by the owner.

Since the house was burned with most of its contents, Mrs. Harrison has been living in what was Patrick Henry’s office, just across the yard and close to the graveyard. Notwithstanding the fact that furniture and other valuables went up in the flames, she regrets most of all the loss of a very large package of her illustrious ancestor’s papers. She feels that these, probably, were a veritable treasure-house of information regarding affairs of State, as well as relating to his personal life.

This great Virginian traveled far, financially speaking, from those days of his dreamy and dilatory youth in Hanover County when he was the husband of Sarah Shelton. That period was so vividly and dramatically portrayed by T. Beverly Champbell in his pageant, “Liberty or Death,” presented last July at Hanover Courthouse. Mrs. Harrison told me that although there were 16 children, the majority of whom survived their famous father or left heirs, his estate was sufficient to make all of them rich.

Henry had land in various sections of the State and counted his acres in the tens of thousands. To give an idea of the comfortable little legacies that his vast progeny inherited, 10,000 acres in Henry County went to his daughter, Martha who was the wife of John Fontaine.

Red Hill was left to Patrick Henry’s two youngest sons, Winston and John. When Winston reached his majority the larger part was cut off for him. John received the house and the remainder of the land, which was then a far more extensive property than it is today. Much has bee taken from it since that time. John Henry died in 1868 and the place went to his son, William Wirt Henry, who passed away at the beginning of the present century.

The house built by Patrick Henry was only a little more than half the size of what it destined to become, for additions were made by the grandson-owner. Where it once stood is now merely a hole in the ground, well covered with periwinkle and other vines–an excellent place for snakes. But the broad steps may yet be seen and the box-bordered walks must be far lovelier than when the great Patrick and his Dorothea dwelt there. As they strolled together up and down the paths he pondered, doubtless, on the grave problems then confronting the infant republic. . .she, also doubtless, on those of the infants in the house. The imposing front gate still stands, as does that at the other end of the garden, looking out toward the river in the distance.

While few things were saved when the mansion was destroyed, Mrs. Harrison showed me a pair of quaintly designed salt-cellars, the containers which fitted into the silver frames being of a rich royal blue glass. They are dated “1777.” She also called my attention to a pair of money scales on the mantel in the livingroom which were used constantly by the master of the plantation.

Several years ago Mrs. Harrison gave to the Valentine Museum in this city a number of Henry relics, including here great-grandfather’s law books and his fee book. The latter gives proof, she declared, that he had a good may very profitable cases long before that of the famous “Parson’s Cause, ” tried in Hanover Courthouse. This book convinces his descendant that there is no truth in the theory that he was a failure in his profession prior to that time.

Home of Patrick Henry To Become National Shrine

Sunday Magazine


By Vera Palmer

Federal Government Will Preserve Historic Mansion and Grounds Which Have Been in Possession of the Henry Descendants Since 1800

All those who love the Old Dominion and know something of its great estates are more or less familiar with this vast plantation where Patrick Henry lived, and where he breathed his last. It is there in the little graveyard that he rests. It is there, too, that his descendants carry on the tradition of friendliness and hospitality that has come down from his day.

Although it is pleasing to know that the old place remains in the Henry family, for few old homes have been so fortunate, yet it’s even more satisfying to the country as a whole to realize that within a very few years it will probably be taken over by the Federal Government and become a national shrine. Under private ownership, it is impossible to forecast what the future might hold for the home of the immortal orator of Virginia. But with the guardianship of Uncle Sam, all his nephews and nieces for generations to come will be able to visit the shrine. Then they will see where and how one of the very greatest of that mighty group of eighteenth-century statesmen lived and worked and entertained his friends.

Red Hill is now owned by Lucy Gray Henry Harrison, widow of Matthew Bland Harrison, and great-granddaughter of Patrick Henry.

When Patrick Henry secured it in 1791, after his retirement as Governor of Virginia, it contained no fewer than 15,000 acres. Only 1,000 are now included in the plantation. But there is still the same alluring view looking out over the flats to the Staunton River as attracted to this secluded spot in Charlotte County the Hanover-born lawyer and orator.

He was not permitted to enjoy it long, for in 1799 his earthly career terminated and he was taken to the nearby burial ground where his second wife, Dorothea Dandridge, has slept beside him through the years. There is a marker at his grave, placed by the Massachusetts Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.

It is generally believed that there was more open land during the residence of Patrick Henry than there is today. When the place belonged to his grandson, William Wirt Henry, father of Mrs. Harrison, it was yet more open. Now there are woods on every side. They form a kind of verdant frame for the grounds and for the surrounding fields.

Searing Flames Ruin Patrick Henry Home

Richmond Times Dispatch, Richmond, VA

February 19, 1919

Many Relics Left by Historic Orator of Revolutionary Days Are Rescued by Quick Work of Neighbors Aroused by Boy

In the destruction last week of “Red Hill,” the home of Patrick Henry, one more of the old Colonial homesteads around which clusters so much tradition of all that was high and noble in the early history of the State has fallen prey to the ravages of time. Fire, with licking tongue and searing flame, has taken its toll. Now only charred timbers and ruin mark the spot where once stood the beautiful home restored by the loving hands of Mrs. Matthew Bland Harrison, great-granddaughter of Patrick Henry.

It was at “Red Hill” that the famous orator of Revolutionary days spent the last years of his life. It was in his big chair in the living room there that he died, and his grave is in the garden adjoining the house. When Mrs. Harrison bought the old home place and 1,000 acres surrounding it, from the other heirs, she had extensive improvements made under the direction of Charles Barton Keen, of Philadelphia, famous for his restoration of Southern homes, but the room in which her grandfather died was left unaltered out of respect to his memory.

The fire which destroyed the house was discovered about 8 o’clock last Thursday morning by a colored boy who was driving cows to the lowlands at the time. He gave the alarm. Neighbors and tenants were unable to save anything but the furniture on the first floor and articles of clothing on the second floor. Among the many portraits destroyed was one of Governor Spottswood and one of his wife.

Had not the wind been low at the time, the outbuildings would undoubtedly have caught from burning embers. One of the outbuildings is the historic law office of Patrick Henry. Years ago the office of his grandson, William Wirt Henry, which was in the front yard, was moved and joined with Patrick Henry’s old office. In the five rooms of the two small buildings is now gathered all the rescued furniture from the house. The precious paintings and the relics around which so much sentiment gathers are now temporarily stored until rebuilding is completed or other arrangements are made.

Probably the most valuable of the works of art saved from the fire was Valentine’s bust of William Wirt Henry. It is generally considered the best bust Valentine ever made.

With the exception of Mount Vernon, the location of “Red Hill” is the best in the state. It is at the junction of Halifax, Campbell, and Charlotte Counties, looking out over the broad, rolling slopes leading down to the Staunton River. In the distance are rugged uplands on which thousands of head of cattle graze. Lynchburg is the nearest city, thirty miles distant. This isolation accounts for the fact that “Red Hill” has been so little visited in spite of its historical appeal.

Mrs. Harrison will continue to live at “Red Hill.” She will have the building used as the law office of Patrick Henry fitted up as her residence. At present she is at the home of a neighbor. It is understood that the loss on the residence is covered by insurance.

Likeness Thought To Be From Life

Probably the most cherished possession relative to Patrick Henry now owned by this vivacious great-granddaughter is a photograph of the miniature which is thought to be the only likeness of the famous orator made from life. It is included in a picture of three mementos. The other two are a bracelet made of his hair and a plate etched with a picture of the Red Hill house. This miniature came to light only about 20 years ago and was unknown to William Wirt Henry when he wrote his biography of his grandmother.

The news of its existence came to Mrs. Harrison through the Anderson Galleries in New York, the curator of which asked her if she could guarantee the authenticity of a miniature of Henry which had been sent there by a Mrs. Johnson of Lexington, Ky.

Mrs. Harrison immediately wrote to Mrs. Johnson, asking its history. She replied by sending the photograph of the three mementoes, and said that she had inherited these three relics from her great-grandfather, Samuel Meredith II, son of Samuel Meredith I, who had married a sister of Patrick Henry, to whom they had been sent at Henry’s death.

This miniature was the model used by Keck for his beautiful head of Patrick Henry in the Hall of Fame. Mrs. Harrison asserts that it is without doubt an authentic picture. She has no idea what has become of the original, but thinks it probable that the Anderson Galleries have a record of it. Close by is a photograph of the portrait by Sully done about 1810 from a miniature given by Mr. Henry to his half-brother, Syme. It is understood that the famous painter was aided by suggestions from contemporaries, especially in regard to coloring and dress. He never saw Patrick Henry.

“A few years ago a copy of this miniature was brought out in one of the Richmond papers,” Mrs. Harrison said in commenting on it. “That is the only copy which I have ever seen, and I was horribly disappointed in it. It showed the kind of man that in Virginia is called a Ôclodhopper.’ It lacked all grace and had no dramatic force nor fire of eloquence. I wondered how Sully could have made his fine portrait from such a model. This is the miniature which was supposed to have been painted by a French artist, who heard Henry debate the British war debt case. But I could see no trace of French art in it.”

The proportions of the estate and of the grounds surrounding the old house indicate that life must have been easy and servants many at Red Hill when its distinguished master held away over the vast land. There is an old tale which declares that as the kitchen was a little farther from the house than customary with old Virginia places, a young Negro was put on a horse to carry, shuttle fashion, all the food to and from the table. Don’t let the practical thought that he must have been something of an acrobat spoil a good story.

Whether or not the horse and shuttle yarn is true, it is safe to say that those waffles and that fried chicken and batter-bread were hot when they reached Marse Patrick’s table. And how many chickens and how much hot bread must have been consumed by all those young Henrys, not to mention the guests!

Mrs. Harrison says that it is not an unmixed blessing to own a famous estate and live there. Tourists appear at all times and in all seasons from every side of the house. They come determined to see, and many just will not withdraw until that doubtful ambition has been realized. Not long ago a gentleman appeared, and not at the front door. When he was courteously informed that the house was not open to the public, he replied that general rules did not apply to him as he was a member of the Legislature in a distant State. Mrs. Harrison told her uninvited visitor that solons were shown no preference. So the would-be sightseer departed reluctantly and not very happily.

How long it will be before the Government takes over Red Hill is not known. But whenever that day comes, Mrs. Harrison will experience a keen feeling of regret in seeing the old place go out of the Henry family. But the certain knowledge that it will be kept in perfect condition for all time, and that it will become accessible to the entire nation will, of course, largely compensate for the loss. It will always be a quiet spot, undisturbed by the rush of modern traffic, for it is several miles off the highway and the birds and the whip-poor-wills will ever find a refuge there.

Red Hill: Efforts to Combat Racism & Discrimination

Patrick Henry’s Red Hill is committed to proactively combating prejudice, systemic racism, and oppression of all people. We seek to dismantle the disparities which continue to differentiate groups and people in the historic narrative we tell. We believe it is our responsibility to change this narrative. We believe in promoting equality and opportunity for all people. We acknowledge and understand the true story of Patrick Henry and Red Hill is complicated and difficult for some.

We commit to taking action to fight against any discriminatory behavior at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill. All conscious efforts and intentional actions in promoting diversity and inclusion for the common good are important to us. We encourage and welcome engaging in difficult dialogue and having crucial conversations to empower and advocate for inclusion and change of all biases. We strive to deliver the whole story of Red Hill as we know it in truth and in grace through transparency.

In a collaborative effort we innovate change through our staff, board members, volunteers, visitors, social media platforms, podcasts, online inquiries, newsletters, and community events. Our board members, staff, and volunteers are committed to extensive on-going training to better serve our community. We will continue to expand our community by going above and beyond to ensure all persons and groups are welcome at Red Hill. Any of our friendly staff members are here to serve you and make your visit a pleasant experience.