Edward—1 year old John—infant This meant that with Patrick and Dorothea, seekinh were 11 people in the house at the time the family moved to Red Hill. In the inventory taken at Red Hill ineight beds and one cradle were listed on the property.
Edward—1 year old John—infant This meant that with Patrick and Dorothea, there were 11 people in the house at the time the family moved to Red Hill. In the inventory taken at Red Hill ineight beds and one cradle were listed on the property. One was a canopy bed used by Patrick and Dorothea. The other seven feather beds used by the children were most likely located on the second floor and in the law office. The structure was built inand was used as a private study by Henry after his retirement from the strenuous public life he had been leading and his return to law.
Here he drew up legal opinions and briefs and planned arguments to be used in court on behalf of his clients. It was his retreat from the main house, which was filled with the daily comings and goings of 14 cohabitants. Henry also used this set of rooms to tutor his children in both moral and natural philosophy. His library, which revhill kept in this building, consisted of over volumes on a variety of subjects covering mathematics, geography, literature, language, and religion, along with numerous legal and political tomes.
According to his grandson, P. Redhll this sacred hour none of his family intruded upon his privacy.
It was common at that time for the older boys on a plantation to sleep in one of the outbuildings, as well as any tutors or visiting overnight guests. Johnny Christian likely slept here, as well as being tutored during the day by his uncle in the practice of law. Kitchen Most kitchens in the colonial south were not actually located in the main house, but rather occupied their own outbuilding to keep the heat and smell isolated.
It msn also a safety precaution which helped prevent fires in the main house, since most cooking was done on a brick hearth in front of the fire. The kitchen building would likely also have doubled as sleeping quarters for domestic slaves. Critty and her children Jack, Harrison, and Coleman slept in the loft on the second floor.
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Critty's job was one of the most difficult because it was a hour per day job. She would have to tend the fire throughout the day and night to ensure it would never go out. Her day would usually begin before sunrise in order to prepare the coals for cooking the midday dinner lunch. Preparation for dinner took up most of the morning hours, and then the cook's day would begin to slow after two 0'clock or so in the afternoon.
The menu at the Henry house would have been dictated partly by Dorothea Henry, partly by the seasonal availability of ingredients, and by the church calendar.
As a devout Episcopalian, Patrick Henry had his household follow strict guidelines around fast days, such as Fridays and the 40 days of Lent, during which meat would not be eaten. Patrick Henry himself was even known to fast prior to taking communion.
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During times of fasting, Critty would be directed to serve the family soups. During the rest of the time, most of the fruits, vegetables, and meats served at Red Hill were supplied by the plantation itself, or else bought at the market at Charlotte Court House, or caught on the occasional hunting trip. This meant that the table was heavily influenced by the growing seasons at and around Red Hill.
The herb garden was a major feature of any colonial household. Herbs at the time were used for a variety of purposes, including for cooking, medicine, and decoration. For example, lavender would have been used as a strewing herb to freshen the house. Feverfew and yarrow, among many others, may have been grown to use as medicines to treat various ailments. seeknig
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And the cooks would have made use of thyme, rosemary, and other herbs to flavor their meals. The Osage orange tree, which stands at redihll imposing 60 feet in height, is over years old.
Another garden at the time covered the eastern part of the Red Hill grounds. This garden supposedly covered close to four acres and provided the family with apples, pears, figs, and olives for their table. The gardens would generally have been the responsibility of Dorothea Henry, as the mistress of the house was expected to participate in the care of their gardens.
At Red Hill she might have directed the planting of carrots, beans, peas, and cauliflower for use in the kitchen.
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Patrick Henry was particularly fond of rhubarb, which he claimed helped clear his throat before a speech. Henry loved nature all his life, and Red Hill was his comfort and solace.
He would often stroll through the grounds among the trees, seeking the quiet of the woods and time to spend with his thoughts in seclusion. The isolated nature of Red Hill was one of its great attractions for Henry, and a feature that has helped it to stay so preserved and intact all these many decades since his death. Today you may walk the grounds and still be able to catch a glimpse of the same horizon Henry would have surveyed, listen to the sounds of the same rushing river, and hear the birds chirping in the same woods.
It is a silent but powerful reminder that Red Hill, like the homes of other Founding Fathers at Mount Vernon and Monticello, was a slave-operated plantation. Patrick Henry, like many of his compatriots in the pursuit of liberty for the colonies, had a deeply complicated relationship with slavery. As the Voice of the Revolution, Henry campaigned eloquently for liberty above all else—devotion to liberty is the legacy that we attribute to him even today.
And yet as a slave owner, he partook in a practice that to our 21st century eyes seems to be the height of hypocrisy.
Henry became a slave owner at the age of 18, as a part of his wife Sarah's dowry. His thoughts on the topic are an instructive glimpse into the debate that would continue to brew within the states for almost more years before finally coming to a breaking point in the Civil War. In the letter transcribed below, he s off with a chilling prediction that the issue of slavery gave a gloomy perspective to future times, something that would come true on the battlefields across the South a century later.
Below you will find the details of the juxtaposing reality of slavery and slave life at Red Hill with the troubled thoughts Henry expressed about his ownership of them. The rest of those listed would have been children or adults too old or infirm to work. Red Hill produced on average some 20, pounds of tobacco per year during his ownership.
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The process included preparation of the seedbeds, fertilizing, planting, transplanting, topping, suckering, priming, weeding, worming, cutting, bulking, curing, stripping, and prizing. The wheat and corn growing along the slope and lowlands below the plantation house also required attention. Other work done by the enslaved population, as indicated redhil the estate wiman, would have been caring for the livestock, which included cattle, hogs, 60 sheep, and 22 horses.
Livestock duties included fencing in fields, building and repairing pens, heaping and hauling manure, as well as castrating lambs, shearing sheep, milking cows, and fattening and slaughtering hogs. Who Were They? One was a man named Jessee, who was named as a skilled worker—possibly a blacksmith. Someone else who had been with Henry for most of his adult life was a man named Pedro, who worked as a trusted messenger and coachman, and who passed away shortly before Patrick Henry himself.
Another estate inventory taken three years later in gives a bit more detail into the names and work of several individuals.
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That position was later taken up by Harrison, who had lived with the family since his childhood when he had attended to Mrs. Henry—carrying her key basket and yarn for her. Harrison continued to live on the property after he was freed. He also gave her permission to free one or two of them if she desired.
Byshe had freed at least five. The other enslaved people at Red Hill were to be distributed among his children as part of their inheritance. His feelings and philosophy on the matter is more complicated. Below is reprinted a letter, written by Henry to Robert Pleasants in Pleasants was a prominent Quaker, and would eventually found the Abolition Society of Richmond, and had sent Henry a book about the slave trade.
He also supported legislation in that made it legal for the first time for Virginia slaveholders to actually free their enslaved workers. This granted slaveholders limited manumission. Henry had hoped that in allowing masters to free their enslaved people, and in ending importation, that the institution would eventually wither and die on its own in the following generation—another hope he expresses in the letter to Robert Pleasants.
Henry fell short of the aspirations he names in this letter regarding the end of the slave trade and his aversion to it. There are few contradictions in American history like the existence of slavery during the founding of womman new nation based on the ideals of Liberty—and as the mouthpiece for those ideals, it is jn to judge that contradiction, specifically in Henry, harshly.
He makes no pretense of justifying the practice, by himself or the nation, nor does he try to dismiss how it is at odds with the other values he held so dear. In that honest objectivity toward himself and the Founders, this letter remains as a testament to his conscience, his character, and his hope for the seeeking that, although unseen by himself or his contemporaries, would one day be realized by later generations.
I thank you for it. It is not a little surprising that the professors of Christianity, whose chief excellence consists in softening the human heart,and in cherishing and improving its finer feelings, should encourage a practice so totally repugnant to the first impressions of right and wrong. What adds to the wonder is that this practice has been introduced in the most enlightened ages.
Times, that seem to have pretensions to boast of improvements in the arts and sciences, and refined morality, have brought into general fro, and guarded by many laws, a species of violence and tyranny, which our rude and more barbarous, but more honest ancestors detested. Is it not amazing, that at a time, when the rights of humanity are stated and understood with precision, in a country, above all others, fond of liberty, iin in such an age, and in such a country, we find men professing a religion the most seeeking, mild, gentle, and generous, adopting a principle as repugnant to humanity, as it is inconsistent with the bible, and destructive to morality?
Every thinking, honest man rejects it in speculation, how few in practice from conscientious motives! Would anyone believe that I am the master of un of my own purchase? I am drawn along by reehill general inconvenience of living here without them. I will not, and cannot justify it. However culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to virtue, as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil.
Everything we can do is to improve it, if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our redjill, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence of slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthest advance we can make toward justice. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, seekking show that it is at variance with that law which warrants slavery.
I know not when to stop. I could say many things on the subject, a serious view of which gives a gloomy perspective to womxn times.
Then in Mrs. Lucy Harrison greatly enlarged what was there into a spacious, 18 room mansion. That remodel was undertaken by a prominent architect from Philadelphia, Mr. Charles Barton Keen, and his young assistant Stanhope Johnson.
The work required that Mr. Johnson make detailed sketches of the original Henry home and its ading kitchen with specifications for materials.