Patrick Henry

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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Patrick Henry was born on May 29, 1736, in Hanover County, Virginia. He was the son of John Henry, a highly educated Scotsman who served in the colony as a surveyor, colonel, and justice of the Hanover County Court. While John Henry had the utmost respect for education, Patrick had a hard time in school and stopped attending when he was just 10 years old. The remainder of his education took place at home from his father and in many subjects he was self-taught.

When Patrick was 15 years old, he and his brother started a general store. They tried to make it successful, but the boys couldn't resist the outdoors. When the weather was nice they would put a "closed" sign on the door and go hunting. On stormy days when they would be there to tend the store there weren't many customers. In a few months the store failed, but young Patrick wasn't concerned.

He had met and fallen in love with Sarah Shelton.

When Patrick was 18 years old, he and Sarah were married. As a wedding gift, Sarah bought Patrick a three hundred acre farm. Although Patrick worked very hard, the land was poor and the crops failed. Then one day Patrick and Sarah's house burned down and they lost most of their possessions. They moved in with Sarah's parents who owned and operated an inn across from the Hanover Courthouse. Patrick worked for his father-in-law and eventually decided to start another general store. Unfortunately, it failed like the first one.

By now, Sarah and Patrick had several small children. Patrick needed a way to provide for his growing family. Each day while working for his father-in-law across from the courthouse, he would often listen to the lawyers as they discussed cases and decisions. It...