HENRY, Patrick

1736–1799

Biography

HENRY, Patrick, (grandfather of William Henry Roane, cousin of Isaac Coles, and great–great–great–grandfather of Robert Lee Henry), a Delegate from Virginia; born in Studley, Hanover County, Va., May 29, 1736; pursued classical studies; engaged in mercantile pursuits; studied law; plantation owner; was admitted to the bar in 1760; lawyer, private practice; moved to Louisa County in 1764; served as a member of the colonial house of burgesses in 1765; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1775; colonel of militia, 1775-1776; delegate in the Williamsburg (Va.) convention of May 1776; Governor of Virginia 1776-1779 and 1784-1786; member of the State convention which ratified the Constitution in 1788; declined invitation to attend Federal Convention in Philadelphia in 1787; declined the appointment of delegate to Continental Congress, 1779; member, State house of delegates, 1780-1790; declined the appointment of United States Senator in 1794, the Cabinet portfolio of Secretary of State in 1795, the appointment of Chief Justice of the United States tendered by President Washington, and of Minister to France offered by President Adams; elected to the State senate in 1799, but did not take the seat; died in Red Hill, Va., June 6, 1799; interment on "Red Hill" estate near Brookneal, Va.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1776-1818, 250 items. The papers of Patrick Henry include general and family correspondence, business memoranda, history of the Henry family, and an account of Henry's "Gunpowder Expedition" in 1775.

College of William and Mary
Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, Swem Library

Williamsburg, VA
Papers: ca. 1778-1927, 30 items. Henry's papers include letters while he was a resident of Prince Edward County, Virginia. Correspondents include Richard Henry Lee, William Wirt, and George Wythe. An inventory is available in the repository.
Papers: In the Blair Family papers, 1741-1792, 6 items. Other authors include Henry.
Papers: In the William Dawson papers, 1721-1775, 96 items. Correspondents include Henry. The papers are photocopies of originals held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Columbia University
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New York, NY
Papers: In the Alfred C. Berol Collection of American Revolutionary Letters and Documents, 1650-1830, 1 microfilm reel. Persons represented include Henry.

Cornell University Library
Department of Rare Books

Ithaca, NY
Papers: In Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume II, Miscellany, 1755-1831, 74 items. Correspondents include Henry.
Papers: In Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume III, Miscellany, 1756-1807, 94 items. Correspondents include Henry.
Papers: In Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume 14, Miscellany, 1784-1860, 68 items. Correspondents include Patrick Henry.
Papers: In the Moses Coit Tyler collection, ca. 1779-1899, 9.5 linear feet. Henry included among correspondents.

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library

Durham, NC
Papers: 1777-1897, 11 items. Henry's papers include commissions; land grants; a letter from David Mason discussing the progress of his march to South Carolina and the men and supplies under his command; a circular letter to the members of the Pittsylvania County (Va.) county court concerning the administration of taxes and pensions in Virginia; a printed letter from Henry listing the duties of a lieutenant in raising and provisioning his troops; a clipping comparing Henry and Thomas Jefferson; and a clipping from 1897 describing Henry's burial place and relics of his that were owned by his grandson, William Wirt Henry.

The Filson Historical Society
Special Collections Department

Louisville, KY
Papers: 1778-1786, 11 items. This collection of Henry's papers includes a letter written to General Edward Hand on January 15, 1778 stating that Colonel David Rogers has Henry's instructions to proceed to New Orleans on important business and must have boats, provisions, men, ammunition, and arms to continue the journey. A commission written by Henry on December 17, 1785 names William Christian, John Cowan, Hugh Magary (McGary), Gabriel Madison, Alexander Robertson, Joseph Gray, Samuel Lapsley, Samuel Scott, Samuel McAfee, John Ervin, and Samuel McDowell justices of the peace for Mercer County. The papers also include land grants signed by Henry.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: In the Ferdinand Julius Dreer Literary and Scientific Autographs and Manuscripts collection, ca. 1703-1900. Correspondents include Henry.
Papers: In the Simon Gratz Alphabetical collection, 1677-1910, 100 linear feet. Henry included among correspondents.
Papers: In the Pemberton Family papers, 1641-1880, amount unknown. Correspondents include Henry.

Indiana Historical Society

Indianapolis, IN
Papers: In the Northwest Territory collection, 1721-1838, 4 boxes. Correspondents include Henry.

The Library of Virginia
Archives Branch

Richmond, VA
Papers: 1777-1778, 7 items. The papers are photocopies of letters written by Henry to the county militia lieutenants of Montgomery and Frederick counties, Willliam Preston and John Smith, to raise troops to defend Kentucky. One letter, erroneously attributed to Henry was written by Thomas Jefferson, January 1, 1779 [1780] to George Rogers Clark with instructions for military plans against the British at Detroit and the Indians in the Northwest Territory.
Papers: 1777-1786, 6 items. The papers are photocopies of letters written by Henry. In one letter, Governor Henry orders Col. Charles Lewis of Albemarle to march his men to join General Washington; in letters February 21 and March 15, 1777, Governor Henry reviews the plans for the Virginia militia to guard British troops, and notes that guns and flints will be sent to arm the guard at Albemarle barracks. To North Carolina Governor Richard Caswell, Governor Henry comments on possible actions by British forces. The 1786 April 18 land grant (under treasury warrant 18,159) for 2,000 acres in Harrison County (now West Virginia) to James Newport, William Kay, John Shields, John Redman, and Robert McNight, attorneys and trustees for Isaac Sidman is signed by Henry.
Papers: 1778, 1 page. A photocopy of a letter from Henry to Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark on January 2, 1778. Governor Henry orders Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark to raise seven companies of soldiers and attack the British post at Kaskaskia [Illinois]. He gives instructions for transportation, pay, treatment of British subjects and procurement of ammunition.
Papers: 1778, 1 page. A letter from Henry to Richard Henry Lee written on June 12, 1778. In the letter, Henry notes that Felix Lexier, the bearer of the letter, has recently arrived from France seeking employment as a surgeon. Henry recommends Felix Lexier to Richard Henry Lee because he believes the army needs Felix Lexier's services.
Papers: 1779, 3 pages. A photocopy of a letter from Henry to Thomas Johnson, Governor of Maryland February 19, 1779. In the letter, Henry regrets he cannot supply Colonel de Cambray with arms because of their scarcity in Virginia. He requests that Maryland assist Virginia in protecting the capes from British privateers who have damaged commerce.
Papers: 1779, 2 pages. A photocopy of a letter from Henry to Governor Johnstone written on May 12, 1779. In the letter, Henry informs Governor Johnson about the loss of Portsmouth to the British. The commanding officers of the fort were retreating toward the Great Bridge pursued by the enemy. He was uncertain if the British meant to establish a permanent fort in Virginia.
Papers: In the Ledger and Account Book, ca. 1764-1799, 2 volumes. These items consist of a volume of accounts of Henry and an index to another earlier ledger of his accounts. The first portion of the account book consists mainly of legal fees, while the second portion covers expenses of a more personal nature. There is some genealogical information on Henry's family, as well as giving the residence of the debtors in the account book.
Papers: 1790-1795, 21 pages. The papers of Henry include six items concerning his interest in the Yazoo Company of Virginia and North Carolina, a company which was associated with similar land speculation companies in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. One letter concerns the sale of 150 slaves sent from Virginia to Georgia; also, the sale of land as well as names of people interested in business ventures.
Papers: 1795, 1 item. A draft of a letter from Henry to President George Washington written on October 16, 1795. In the letter, Henry declines the position of Secretary of State. He cites the size of his family, his wife's condition, and the poor state of his finances as reasons for declining the position.
Papers: 1798, 2 pages. A letter from Henry to Mr. Driskill written on April 13, 1798. In the letter, Henry asks that Mr. Driskill , the bearer, be assisted in research of a land title in Halifax County, Virginia.
Papers: In the William Fleming papers, 1736-1824, 1755-1819, 1 microfilm reel. Other authors include Henry.
Papers: In the Francis Walker Gilmer Letters to William Wirt, 1812-1825, 36 items. Subjects include Henry.
Papers: In the Henry Family papers, 1794-1857, 58 items. The Henry Family papers consist mainly of Henry's correspondence (1736-1799) children and grandchildren. Included also are four letters written by John Syme, half brother of Patrick Henry. There is also a collection of verse written by Martha Catherine Henry, Henry's daughter.
Papers: In the Henry Lee papers, 1787, 4 pages. A letter from Henry Lee to Henry written on December 17, 1797. In the letter, Lee discusses business, primarily the sale of Wilson's property and a debt owed to Lee by Wilson. The title to land in the Dismal Swamp is also discussed.
Papers: In the John Marshall papers, 1790, 3 pages. A letter from John Marshall to Henry written on August 31, 1790. This is a legal letter regarding the estate of "Mr. Randolph." Several years before his death, suits had been filed against the estate by three British firms. Marshall appeared as the family lawyer. In this letter, he discusses the responsibilities of the devisees as being "as full as the heir to bond creditors in which the heir is expressly bound."
Papers: In the Roane Family papers, 1795-1841, 11 items. Correspondents include Henry.
Papers: In the Tazewell Family papers, 1785-1865, 19 items. Other authors include Henry.
Papers: In the Tucker-Ewell papers, ca. 1770-1893, 183 leaves. Other authors include Henry.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: In the Wells Autograph collection, ca. 1777-1919, 1 box. Correspondents include Henry.

The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

New York, NY
Papers: 1776, 1 item. An address by Henry to Virginia convention, June 29, 1776. The address alludes to a "system of government which you have frames, and which is so wisely calculated to secure equal liberty and advance human happiness."
Papers: 1776, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Richard Caswell written on August 26, 1776.
Papers: 1776, 1 item. A letter from John Rutledge to Governor Henry written on September 3, 1776.
Papers: 1776, 1 item. A note from Henry written on October 30, 1776.
Papers: 1777, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Colonel Charles Lewis written on February 21, 1777.
Papers: 1777, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Colonel Charles Lewis written on March 15, 1777.
Papers: 1777, 1 item. A letter from Henry Laurens to Henry written on November 28, 1777.
Papers: 1778, 1 item. A letter from John Barrister to Henry written on February 15, 1778.
Papers: 1778, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Colonel Charles Lewis written on December 23, 1778.
Papers: 1779, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Colonel Charles Lewis written on January 22, 1779.
Papers: 1783, 1 item. A letter from George Mason to Henry written on May 6, 1783.
Papers: ca. 1785, 1 item. A letter from Henry to his son-in-law John Fontaine, written around November 29, 1785. Henry writes regarding the purchase of some land in Richmond.
Papers: 1786, 1 item. A letter from Marian Byrd to Henry written on February 17, 1786.
Papers: 1786, 1 item. A land grant signed by Henry on April 18, 1786.
Papers: 1792, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Colonel William Fleming written on August 14, 1792.

Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union
Library

Mount Vernon, VA
Papers: 1785, 2 items. The two items consist of a letter of introduction from Henry for Alexander Donald to visit George Washington at Mount Vernon. The reverse side of the letter includes field notes in Washington's hand. A circular letter from Richard Henry Lee to Henry, Governor of Virginia, concerns the precarious state of the United States's public credit abroad and the congressional request that governors confer with their legislatures about this matter.

The New York Public Library
Rare Books and Manuscripts Division

New York, NY
Papers: In the Thomas Jefferson papers, 1765-1826, 2 linear feet. Other authors include Henry. A finding aid is available in the repository.

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections

Albany, NY
Papers: In the John Jay papers, 1779, 1 page. A letter from John Jay to Governor Henry of Virginia written on March 31, 1779. In the letter, John Jay encloses a copy of an Act of Congress concerning measures for the defense of the South [copy not included].

The Rosenbach Museum and Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1777, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Richard Henry Lee written on December 18, 1777. Henry writes concerning how Maryland and Virginia have sent ships against the enemy in the Potomac. Henry also urges Richard Henry Lee to return to Virginia, where his wisdom and energy are needed.
Papers: 1785, 1 item. A letter from the Marquis de Lafayette to Henry written on June 7, 1785. In the letter, the Marquis de Lafayette Lafayette assists in the purchase of arms for the Virginia Militia.
Papers: 1795, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Thomas Reade written on May 26, 1795. In the letter, Henry writes concerning a difficulty over the survey and title to lands Henry had purchased from Thomas Reade.

Rutgers University Libraries
Special Collections and University Archives

New Brunswick, NJ
Papers: In the Allinson Family papers, ca. 1761-1909, approximately 0.75 cubic foot. Correspondents include Henry.

University of California
The Bancroft Library

Berkeley, CA
Papers: 1777, 6 pages. A letter from Henry to George Wythe written on October 22, 1777. In the letter, Communicating to the Assembly the current status of the Revolution and other matters relating to government. A typed transcript of the letter is also included.

University of Texas at Arlington Libraries
Special Collections

Arlington, TX
Papers: In the Hoxey Family collection, ca. 1788-1930, 33 items. Correspondents include Henry. An unpublished finding aid is available in the repository.

University of Virginia
The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Charlottesville, VA
Papers: 1776, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Edmund Pendleton written on October 21, 1776. In the letter, Henry asks Pendleton to notify the General Assembly to elect a councillor in place of Fielding Lewis who is unable to serve because of ill health.
Papers: 1776, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Messrs. Van Bibber and Harrison written on November 22, 1776. In the letter, Henry writes concerning the establishment of a Board of Commissioners for the management of Virginia naval affairs.
Papers: 1776-1795, 1 page. A ledger belonging to Henry which contains entries on tobacco and lawyer's fees.
Papers: 1785, 1 item. The document is an appointment of Henry Tazewell as judge by Henry on April 25, 1785.
Papers: In the Henry Family papers, 1766-1866, 19 items. Persons represented include Henry.
Papers: In the Thomas Jefferson papers, 1805-1816, 11 items. The papers include correspondence between William Wirt and Thomas Jefferson. William Wirt requests information from Thomas Jefferson on Henry for a proposed biography. Thomas Jefferson responds with his Recollections of Patrick Henry, 1812-1814, and then criticizes the completed manuscript, 1816.
Papers: In the Land Papers of Patrick Henry and James Monroe, 1784-1786, 2 items. Persons represented include Henry.
Papers: In the Louisa County, Virginia, papers, 1751-1821, 9 items. The papers include two broadsides from February 20, 1786, signed by Henry, regarding military pensions.
Papers: In the Tracy W. McGregor Library Autograph collection, 1794, 1 item. A letter from Henry to Henry Lee written on February 2, 1794. In the letter, Henry discusses Colonel George Hairston and his uncanny ability to collect revenue for the public treasury through taxes.
Papers: In the Letters of John Page and James Monroe, 1775-1785, 2 items. Correspondents include Henry.
Papers: In the Virginia Political papers, 1778-1872, 26 items. Correspondents include Henry.
Microfilm: In the Virginia Revolutionary War correspondence, 1778-1779, 1 microfilm reel. Correspondents include Henry.
Papers: In the Washington and Lee University Library Manuscript collection, 1777-1869, 94 leaves. Other authors include Henry.

Valentine Richmond History Center
Archives

Richmond, VA
Papers: In the Henry Family papers, 1767-1889, 29 items. This collection pertains to the life of Henry and includes copies of his will and the wills of his mother, Sarah Winston Henry, and uncle, the Reverend Patrick Henry. The collection also contains other legal documents, receipts, memoranda, and letters collected by Henry's grandson, William Wirt Henry, for use in writing his biography, Patrick Henry, and for William Wirt's biography, Life and Character of Patrick Henry.

Washington and Lee University
Special Collections, Leyburn Library

Lexington, VA
Papers: In the William Fleming papers, 1755-1833, approximately 435 items. Correspondents include Henry.

Wisconsin Historical Society
Archives Division

Madison, WI
Papers: In the George Rogers Clark papers, 1776-1788, 0.2 cubic foot. Correspondents include Henry.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Arnold, Samuel Greene. The Life of Patrick Henry, of Virginia. Auburn and Buffalo: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1854.

Axelrad, Jacob. Patrick Henry, The Voice of Freedom. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1975.

Beeman, Richard R. Patrick Henry: A Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974.

Blunt, Charles P. Patrick Henry: The Henry County Years, 1779-1784. Danville, Va.: Blunt, 1976.

Briggs, Lilian Marie, ed. Noted Speeches of George Washington, John Adams and Patrick Henry, Including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1912.

Campbell, Norine Dickson. Patrick Henry: Patriot and Statesman. New York: Devin-Adair Co., 1969.

Carson, Jane, and Edward M. Riley, ed. Patrick Henry, Prophet of the Revolution. Williamsburg, Va.: Virginia Independence Bicentennial Commission, 1979.

Carson, Julia Margaret Hicks. Son of Thunder, Patrick Henry. New York, Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., Inc., 1945.

Daily, Patrick. Patrick Henry: The Last Years, 1789-1799. Bedford, Va.: Descendants Branch Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, 1987.

Frantz, Mabel Goode. The Voice: Patrick Henry of Virginia. Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1954.

Henry, Patrick. I Am Not A Virginian But An American. N.p.: Americanization Department, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, 1926.

___. The Secret Orders & "...great things have been done by a few men..."" Letters of Patrick Henry and George Rogers Clark. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1974.

Henry, William Wirt. Character and Public Carrer [sic] of Patrick Henry. Richmond?: N.p., 1867.

___. Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches. New York: B. Franklin, 1969.

Jefferson, Thomas. Reminiscences of Patrick Henry in the Letters of Thomas Jefferson to William Wirt. Philadelphia: Privately printed by J. Gribbel, 1911.

Judson, L. Carroll. A Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and of Washington and Patrick Henry. With an appendix, containing the Constitution of the United States and other documents. Philadelphia: J. Dobson, and Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1839.

Mayer, Henry. A Son of Thunder: Patrick Henry and the American Republic. 1st Grove Press ed. New York: Grove Press; [Emeryville, Calif.]: distributed by Publisher's Group West, 2001.

Mayo, Bernard. Myths and Men: Patrick Henry, George Washington [and] Thomas Jefferson. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1959.

Meade, Robert Douthat. Patrick Henry. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1957-1969.

Morgan, George. Patrick Henry. Philadelphia, London: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1929.

Tyler, Moses Coit. Patrick Henry. 1898. Repritnt Edition, New York: Chelsea House, 1980.

Umbreit, Kenneth B. "Patrick Henry," in Founding Fathers: Men Who Shaped Our Tradition, 200-234. 1941. Reprint edition, Port Washington, N. Y.: Kennikat Press, Co., 1969.

Vaughan, David J. Give Me Liberty: The Uncompromising Statesmanship of Patrick Henry. Nashville, Tenn.: Cumberland House Pub.; Kansas City, Mo.: Distributed to the trade by Andrews and McMeel, 1997.

Willison, George F. Patrick Henry and His World. [1st ed.]. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969.

Wirt, William. The Life of Patrick Henry. Edited with notes by Henry Ketcham. New York: A.L. Burt Company, 1903.

___. Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry. Birmingham, Ala.: Palladium Press, 2002.

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