There aren’t many places you can go that are so closely associated with Patrick Henry, patriot, revolutionary, first governor of Virginia, and noted orator, but Scotchtown is one of them. He lived there with his wife Sarah, and their children.
Located in rural Hanover County, VA, Scotchtown was built around 1720 by Charlies Chiswell, and is considered to be unique, architecturally. A center hall colonial mansion, it features eight large rooms below a single, undivided attic.
Scotchtown stayed in Chiswell’s possession until the 1760s, when Chiswell experienced financial difficulty, forcing him to sell the plantation. The place went through a series of owners, including Henry, until finally John Mosby Shepherd purchased it in 1801. It stayed within the Shepherd family until 1958.
He ruled out an insane asylum before building her comfortable apartments in Scotchtown’s basement — a sitting room and a bedroom. The English basement stood partially above ground level and he enlarged the windows to provide her more natural light. She was attended by an enslaved individual and was well cared for.
While touring the house and having the original flooring pointed out to you (always pointed out when it exists), you’ll learn about the life and legacy of Patrick Henry. Like many of the house museums I’ve recently toured lately, this one also is more interactive, asking visitors to engage with the other visitors on the tour to discuss Henry’s ideals of liberty, human rights and revolution, and the ways those ideas influence us today.
|The original construction is still in place — and easily observed — in the attic.|
Getting there: 16120 Chiswell Ln, Beaverdam, VA 23015
Hours: March 1 through December 29, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.