Patrick Henry - Marriage and Family

Marriage and Family

In 1754 Henry married Sarah Shelton, reportedly in the parlor of her family house, Rural Plains. (It also became known as Shelton House.)

As a wedding gift, her father gave the couple six slaves and the 300-acre (1.2 km2) Pine Slash Farm near Mechanicsville. With his marriage, he became a slaveholder and landowner. Henry worked with his slaves on the land because it was a small property; it was exhausted from tobacco cultivation and he could not gain profitable yields. After the main house burned, the couple moved for a short time with their two children into the 20 by 60 foot Honeymoon Cottage, a one-story building with attic. They later moved to the Hanover Tavern, owned by Sarah's father. They sold Pine Slash Plantation in 1764, after Henry started working as a lawyer.

The Henrys had six children together, one of whom married a brother of the poet Thomas Campbell. In 1771 the family moved to Scotchtown Plantation, also in Hanover County. Sarah became mentally ill and died there in 1775. (See below.)

On October 25, 1777, Henry at age 41 married his second wife, the 22-year-old Dorothea Dandridge (1755–1831). The next year they moved to Williamsburg after his election as governor and stayed through his two terms. They had eleven children together. In 1779 they moved to the 10,000-acre (40 km2) Leatherwood Plantation, which he bought with his cousin and her husband in Henry County, Virginia.

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