Harris, Public Information Officer, 804-365-6402
Scotchtown - A Place Of Celebration, Grief
as the home of Patrick Henry when he became the "Orator
of the American Revolution", Scotchtown was once part of an
even grander vision.
Charles Chiswell obtained 9,976 acres on what was then the western
part of New Kent County in 1717. He named his country home Scotchtown
and imported a colony of Scots to build the house and outbuildings,
including a mill.
However, an outbreak of yellow fever killed many of the Scots and
caused the remainder to flee, leaving behind only traces of the
Scottish castle Chiswell had hoped to construct.
Hanover native Patrick Henry brought Scotchtown and 960 acres at
auction in 1771. Already a leader in the pre-Revolutionary Virginia
politics of the time, Henry moved there with his wife, Sarah, and
six children. It is believed that he saw clients in the main house,
which has changed little over the centuries. Scotchtown today contains
three pieces of furniture - a map table, tea caddy and baby cradle
- that belonged to Henry.
Henry's time at Scotchtown was eventful, coinciding with his role
in helping to instigate the American Revolution, but also sad. His
wife had been melancholy since the birth of their sixth child and
slipped into a condition so serious - and still unknown - that she
was confined to the basement for her own protection and that of
others. She died in 1775 and is said to be buried on the property,
though no one knows for sure.
Distraught, Henry sold Scotchtown in 1777 and left Hanover County,
never to return. He died in 1799 in Charlotte County, leaving behind
a grateful state and a new nation.