Patrick Henry (1736 - 1799)

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was a prominent Virginia statesman who was best known as a fiery orator. Henry was a force in Virginia politics during the events leading up to the American Revolution and in Virginia’s first decades as a commonwealth. He was born in Hanover County to John and Sarah Syme Henry. Henry belonged to the Anglican Church and his uncle was an Anglican minister. Members of his mother’s family, however, were religious dissenters. Following failed attempts at running a store, Henry decided to study law and within a few months obtained his law license in Williamsburg. Henry began his career in the House of Burgesses nine days before the Stamp Act crisis. He became one of the great orators in the colony during the events leading to the American Revolution. His most famous speech occurred in the church during the Second Virginia Convention. For over thirty years, Henry was one of Virginia’s foremost leaders, becoming one of the most influential defenders of the colonials’ rights as Englishmen. Henry was elected the first governor of Virginia and served four additional one-year terms. Henry died on June 6, 1799, and is buried at Red Hill his last home, located in Charlotte County, Virginia.