Historian and Author Tom Perry's thoughts on history and anything that comes to mind.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Patrick Henry Trail Leaves Out Patrick and Henry Counties

Anyone reading a map of Virginia cannot help but notice the name Patrick Henry along the southern border of the Commonwealth of Virginia as two counties have the name of Virginia's first governor. Yet the people in Richmond, who apparently think Virginia ends somewhere just west of Charlottesville and south of Richmond do not seem to know that Patrick Henry lived in Henry County, which included Patrick County at that time during the latter stages of the American Revolution. All they have to do is read the Virginia Historical Highway Marker book to see there is indeed a marker along Highway 58 about Patrick Henry and there is a large stone marker on the land he once owned along Leatherwood Creek. I would like to know why counties that share his name are not included along the new trail about his life. I am sure those in Richmond will say this trail is for “Interpreted Sites,” but there are many Civil War Trail sites that have trail signs that are not interpreted. Here is a great opportunity for Patrick and Henry Counties to promote themselves using “Heritage Tourism” to bring people to the area. Having worked on the Virginia Civil War Trails sign at J. E. B. Stuart including writing the text and supplying the photos, I know something about this. I know there are efforts underway to bring one of these signs to Henry County and here is another opportunity to bring history tourism to the area through the man whose name is on both our local counties.

Stone marker near the site of Patrick Henry's Leatherwood home. My friend Elva Adams also commented about this on her blog www.myhenrycounty.com

Here is the Richmond Times Dispatch Article announcing the new Patrick Henry Trail

Information about Patrick Henry

After turning over the responsibilities as governor to Thomas Jefferson in 1779, Henry moved west to "Leatherwood" in Henry County, which had been created out of Pittsylvania County in 1776. By selling Scotchtown and some western lands (in Botetourt County and Kentucky), he had bought himself a fresh start on the frontier again... though this time he was no longer a failed storekeeper or a newly-famous young lawyer. Henry held on to his Bedford County land, hoping to find gold.
Cornwallis came near Leatherwood during his chase of the Continentals under Nathaniel Greene through the Carolinas. Greene retreated across the Dan River, then moved south again and defeated Cornwallis at Guilford Court House - 40 miles from Partrick Henry's new home. Henry came closer to the war when he attended the General Asembly in May, 1781. He went to Charlottesville rather than Richmond to attend the session, since it had been moved inland to avoid the marauding English. Banastre Tarleton's raid on Charlottesville chased the legislature further west to Staunton. [Reportedly on the flight four famous Virginia leaders had requested supper at a rural cabin. The woman of the cabin had rejected three requests for assistance, until she heard Patrick Henry was in the party - at which she decided it was appropriate to assist the travellers, rather than reject them as cowards...]
Henry was at Leatherwood when Cornwallis was cornered at Yorktown and surrendered on October 19, 1783.

Road To Revolution Heritage Trail http://www.roadtorevolution.com/
Red Hill Patrick Henry’s Home and Final Resting Place http://www.redhill.org/
Patrick Henry’s Virginia http://www.redhill.org/virginia.html

Virginia Historical Highway Marker along Highway 58 in Henry County. Below are the members of the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate to contact about putting Patrick and Henry Counties on the Patrick Henry Trail.

Ward Armstrong DelWArmstrong@house.virginia.gov
Roscoe Reynolds district20@senate.virginia.gov
Danny Marshall DelDMarshall@house.virginia.gov
Christopher Peace DelCPeace@house.virginia.gov (Delegate From Hanover County)

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