Firmly planted here at Red Hill
In the quietness………
if you listen carefully you can hear the stories.
Would you lend me your ear for just a few minutes? There is so much to tell you…..
You see, I have been here for a while, just a few hundred years. I sit in a very peaceful, beautiful place. My roots run deep and wide. I am firmly planted in this place. My arms stretch out far and high.
I have seen the many thorns that life brings like death, sickness, sadness and fire. But I have also seen birth, growth, laughter and love.
Come, sit beside me, and reflect on the stories.
A man by the name of Patrick Henry lived here; they called him patriot, governor, orator, lawyer, friend, husband and father.
I have heard stories of Mr. Henry’s triumphant challenges to the authority of the British king and how he inspired his fellow Virginians and countrymen to declare independence. Mr. Henry had friends, acquaintances and neighbors who would come and sit with him right here, under my shade. They would talk for hours about the state of affairs in these new United States and of course, Virginia. I heard them talk about something called “liberty.” It is something I still hear people talk about today.
When Governor Henry was here, he didn’t seem to act famous or live famously; he lived a simple life, He was at peace here, and he called this place “the garden spot of the world.” He would play the fiddle and dance with his children and wife. Love and honor lived here.
In 1799, I watched through the window as Mr. Henry died in his chair. He was surrounded by his wife and children. It was a sad day.
I watched his youngest son, John, grow up. He was only three years old when his father died. But John and Winston, his brother, kept Red Hill thriving. Through the years I also watched Mr. Henry’s children and grandchildren grow up. Every now and again I could see glimpses of Mr. Henry in those children. It was really quite remarkable!
Mrs. Lucy Henry Harrison, Patrick Henry’s great granddaughter, added onto the house in 1911. It was a grand house compared to Mr. Henry’s two room house. On the morning of February 19, 1919 there was a fire that overtook that beautiful house. No one could do anything but watch it burn to the ground.
In 1944 Mrs. Harrison passed away, she was the last Henry to live here at Red Hill.
A very passionate man by the name of James Easely was determined to rebuild Red Hill in order to honor Patrick Henry. The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation was formed in 1944 and in 1956 with the help of Mr. Eugene B. Casey, Red Hill was rebuilt.
Just as my roots run deep, I think Patrick Henry’s run deep as well. Henry seems to have left a legacy to more than just his children.
There seems to be a sense of responsibility to tell each generation about Mr. Henry, his ideals and values that made him such an admirable man. There is an interconnection across time. I hear and see the passion that continues to live here.
I love Red Hill. I am firmly planted here, deeply rooted and I continue to grow because I am nurtured. My foundation is strong. Without nourishment there is only death and no growth. I do not want Mr. Henry to die again. I want his story to live on.
Here at Red Hill Patrick Henry’s legacy lives on. I hear that history is being forgotten and that children are not being taught about how this country was formed. But I see it being done here every day. I listen to the visitors. I see the children learning and experiencing history.
I have stood here for over 340 years, younger generations and future generations will never know where they came from if you neglect to tell them the stories of the past.
Mr. Henry once said, “I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.”
……Come, sit beside me, and reflect on the stories of the past.
The Osage Orange tree at Red Hill, the Patrick Henry National Memorial