“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Gladys in Campbell County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Shady Grove

Photo Wanted for this Marker image. Click for full size.
1. Photo Wanted for this Marker
Inscription. Two miles east is Shady Grove, which was built in 1825 by Dr. George Cabell, of Point of Honor in Lynchburg, for his daughter Paulina and her husband Alexander Spotswood Henry, son of Patrick Henry. Shady Grove is a handsomely proportioned and detailed Federal farmhouse constructed on a raised basement. It contains highly sophisticated and academic architectural embellishments by country craftsmen. The interior features an elaborate carved mantel based on one at Point of Honor, Paulina Henry's childhood home. The family cemetery is across the road and contains the Henry family graves.
Erected 1997 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number L-12.)
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 37° 9.915′ N, 79° 4.473′ W. Marker was in Gladys, Virginia, in Campbell County. Marker was on Brookneal Highway (U.S. 501) near Pigeon Run Road (County Route 652), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. It was in Gladys, between the highway and the railroad tracks. Marker was in this post office area: Gladys VA 24554, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Old Rustburg (approx. 7.9 miles away); Col. Vincent W. “Squeek” Burnett
Missing Marker’s Post image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, March 30, 2013
2. Missing Marker’s Post
(approx. 9.8 miles away); Hat Creek Church (approx. 10.6 miles away); Patrick Henry’s Grave (approx. 10.8 miles away); Birthplace of General Pick (approx. 10.9 miles away); Origin of Lynch Law (approx. 11 miles away); a different marker also named Patrick Henry’s Grave (approx. 11 miles away); a different marker also named Patrick Henry’s Grave (approx. 11.4 miles away).
More about this marker. The 1941 fifth edition of the State Historical Markers of Virginia booklet is the first to list a marker with the same name but numbered R-12 at this location. Margaret Peter’s 1985 A Guidebook to Virginia’s Historical Markers book lists a marker numbered L-12 with the same name here. Both listings show the following text: “Two miles east is Shady Grove, built by Patrick Henry for his son, Spotswood Henry.” That text has been proven incorrect, hence the new marker listed in Scott Arnold’s 2007 guidebook, numbered L-12, with the longer text transcribed earlier.
Regarding Shady Grove. Shady Grove is on County Route 650, Mollies Creek Road, a right turn off Pigeon
Shady Grove image. Click for full size.
3. Shady Grove
Photo in the National Register of Historic Places nomination file.
Run Road. It is private property.
Also see . . .  1982 National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form. Shady Grove, a Campbell County landmark, was built in 1825 by Paulina Cabell Henry on land inherited from her father, Dr. George Cabell of Point of Honor, Lynchburg . The house derives its significance as an example of the interpretation of highly sophisticated and academic architectural embellishments by country craftsmen. It appears that Paulina Cabell Henry was attempting at Shady Grove to duplicate the richness of detailing found in her childhood home, Point of Honor. The resulting interior work, the product of an unidentified artisan, is naive in its execution, possessing a charm and vitality not found in more academic counterparts. Like the interior work, Shady Grove's exterior has an elegance and formality that transcend its provincialism.

The land on which Shady Grove stands was purchased by Dr. George Cabell of Point of Honor from Dudley Jones in 1823. Cabell died the same year, and according to the terms of his will recorded in December 1823, his estate was distributed equally among his children with his wife maintaining her residence at the Lynchburg homestead. His daughter, Paulina Cabell Henry, who in 1814 had married Alexander Spotswood Henry, son of Patrick Henry, received 820 acres “on Mollys Creek” in Campbell County. It would appear that the couple had been residing with the Cabells at Point of Honor. Thus, a change in the Mollys Creek property value in 1825 is not surprising, as it records for the first time a building valuation of $4,000. Moreover, Alexander Spotswood Henry's name appears for the first time in the Campbell County Personal Property Tax Book in 1825.

The couple's timing was prudent since George Cabell's widow, Sarah, died in 1826, and their youngest son, William J. Lewis Cabell, inherited Point of Honor, soon bringing his bride to the Lynchburg home. The residence William inherited was among the most fashionable in Lynchburg with most of its interior woodwork based on plates in Owen Biddle's The Young Carpenter's Assistant, published in Philadelphia in 1805 and subsequently sold in Richmond.

For her new home, Shady Grove, Paulina Cabell Henry attempted to copy the Biddle-inspired parlor mantel in Point of Honor. The resulting work, similar in the arrangement of its elements, appears as an almost folk interpretation. The compote in the center tablet of the Point of Honor mantel is rendered as a basket of fruit, whereas Shady Grove's is far more stylized, similar to decoration on Pennsylvania German frakturs. Likewise , the pineapples are exaggerated and stylized, as is the surrounding carving. Although the carving lacks the refinement of the Point of Honor mantel, it does possess a spirit and vitality unmatched in the area. Removed from his bookish source, the carver relied on his sense of composition and scale to achieve a most fitting mantel for Paulina's best parlor at Shady Grove.

In contrast to the parlor mantel, the rest of the house, interior and exterior, is rather restrained. It stands chiefly as an elegantly proportioned and detailed example of provincial Federal architecture, part of a body of works found from central Virginia through Kentucky and Tennessee.

Paulina's enjoyment of her new home and its architectural embellishments was short-lived; she died in 1833, survived by her husband and ten children. Throughout her life the title to Shady Grove had remained in her name, and upon her death the estate passed into a rather complicated division among her husband and children. One reason that the property never was formally transferred into Alexander Spotswood Henry's hand is suggested by his profligate life style. Ruth Early, in her Campbell Chronicles of 1927 describes Henry:

“He owned a fine library to which he devoted much time and attention and this caused him to be regarded as a gentleman of leisure, hence there originated, in his own community, the saying ‘clerking to Captain Henry,’ intended to convey the meaning that the person to whom it was applied was without apparent occupation. ”

Henry's rather careless life style ultimately took its toll, and by the late 1830s he found himself unable to pay his accumulated debts, resulting in the loss of Shady Grove by the Henry family in 1838. The deed of conveyance to Richard Morgan was officially recorded on November 10, 1841.

Richard Morgan owned the 820-acre Shady Grove tract until 1862 when it was sold to William C. Perrow for $7,536, at which time the tract was reduced to 628 acres. According to the United States Census of 1850, Alexander Spotswood Henry, aged 62, was residing, in Lynchburg, his occupation listed as "none" and with no property of value. Three children, aged 18 to 25, were living with him, the remaining seven children scattered throughout Southside and western Virginia. (Submitted on April 6, 2013.) 
Categories. Antebellum South, USNotable Buildings
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 401 times since then and 63 times this year. Last updated on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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