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Hanover in Hanover County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Hanover Courthouse

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

 

—Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775 —

 
Hanover Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 4, 2010
1. Hanover Courthouse Marker
Inscription. Hanover County was organized in 1720 and named for George I, King of England and former elector of Hanover in Germany. Seventeen years later (between 1737 and 1738), construction of the courthouse structure began and was completed in 1743. The design of its slate roof, flemish-bond brickwork, and arched porch, or loggia, echoed the Capitol and public buildings at Williamsburg. James Skelton, Hanover County sheriff in 1738, may have been the builder of the courthouse. He later served as contractor for the rebuilding of the Capitol in Williamsburg which had burned.

On July 20, 1774, the freeholders of Hanover County met at Hanover Courthouse and passed the Hanover Resolves, which were directed to Patrick Henry and John Syme, the county’s representatives to Virginia’s first revolutionary convention.

The Hanover Resolves declared: “We are Freemen. We have a Right to be so, and to enjoy all the privileges and Immunities of our Fellow Subjects in England; and while we retain a just sense of that freedom, and those rights and privileges necessary for its safety and security, we shall never give up the right of Taxation. Let it suffice to say, once for all, we will never be taxed but by our own Representatives.”

The Hanover Resolves also called for a meeting of a general congress of deputies from all
Hanover Courthouse, late 19th Century image. Click for full size.
July 4, 2010
2. Hanover Courthouse, late 19th Century
of the colonies. They also declared that “the African Trade for Slaves we consider as most dangerous to Virtue, and the Welfare of this country. We therefore most earnestly wish to see it totally discouraged”.

(sidebar)
Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was the leading Virginia statesman in defending the rights of Colonial America.

Following Henry's death, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson singing his praises: “In the Congress of 1774 there was not one member, except Patrick Henry, who appeared to me sensible of the Precipice or rather the Pinnacle on which he stood, and had the candour and courage enough to acknowledge it.”

Henry was the first elected governor of Virginia, a devoted father of 17 children, and the most famous orator of his day. Born in Hanover County, Henry made a name for himself as a young lawyer in the Parsons’ Cause at Hanover Courthouse in 1763. His 1765 resolutions against the Stamp Act articulated the basic principles of the American Revolution. Henry is perhaps best known for his immortal words “Give me liberty or give me death,” which he delivered during the Second Virginia Convention in a speech to fellow delegates George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at St. John’s Church in 1775. His impassioned words helped move colonists toward American independence
Hanover Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 4, 2010
3. Hanover Courthouse Marker
and they continue to inspire the cause of freedom around the world.

Known as the “Voice of the Revolution,” Henry’s political career included 26 years of service in the Virginia legislature and five terms as governor. He helped draft the Virginia Constitution of 1776 and its Declaration of Rights. A leading critic of the U.S. Constitution, Henry also strongly influenced the creation of the Bill of Rights. Following his death, Henry was buried at Red Hill Plantation, now the site of the Patrick Henry National Memorial.
 
Erected 2010 by The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail. (Marker Number 6.)
 
Location. 37° 45.793′ N, 77° 22.031′ W. Marker is in Hanover, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Hanover Courthouse Road (U.S. 301) and County Complex Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hanover VA 23069, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Hanover Courthouse (a few steps from this marker); Hanover Confederate Soldiers Monument (a few steps from this marker); Patrick Henry (within shouting distance of this marker); Hanover Tavern
A Timeline of Patrick Henry's Life image. Click for full size.
4. A Timeline of Patrick Henry's Life
1736 Henry was born at Studley Plantation
1748 Henry worshiped at Polegreen Church during Great Awakening period and was influenced by the oratory of the Rev. Samuel Davies until 1759
1754 Henry and Sarah Shelton were married at Rural Plains and moved into Pine Slash
1760 Henry passed bar examination in Williamsburg; opened law office at Hanover Tavern
1763 Henry argued Parsons’ Cause at Hanover Courthouse
1765 Henry elected to House of Burgesses and proposed Virginia’s bold Stamp Act Resolutions
1771 Henry made his home at Scotchtown
1774 Henry elected to First Continental Congress
1775 Henry delivered his “Liberty or Death” speech at St. Johns Church
1775 Henry elected to Second Continental Congress
1775 Henry, along with James Madison, elected as a founding trustee of Hampden-Sydney College
1776 Henry attended Fifth Revolutionary Convention and helped draft Virginia Constitution and Declaration of Rights
1776 Henry elected first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, served three one-year terms
1784 Henry re-elected governor, served two one-year terms
1787 Henry declined election to Philadelphia Constitutional Convention
1788 Virginia ratified U.S. Constitution by 89 to 79 vote, Henry’s opposition fueled movement for a Bill of Rights, which was ratified three years later
1794 Henry made his home at Red Hill, Charlotte County
1794 through 1796 Henry declined sixth term as governor of Virginia and appointments as U.S. senator, chief justice, secretary of state, and ambassador to Spain and France
1799 Henry elected to House of Burgesses but died at Red Hill before taking office
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Hanover Tavern (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Hanover Tavern (about 400 feet away); The Colonial River Road (approx. 0.9 miles away); John Henry Smyth (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hanover.
 
More about this marker. On the left is a photo of "Hanover Courthouse, late 19th Century". On the right is an "Article reporting “The Hanover Resolves” Digital History Center, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation".
 
Also see . . .
1. The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail. (Submitted on July 5, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Hanover County Courthouse (pdf file). National Register of Historic Places (Submitted on July 5, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Colonial EraPatriots & PatriotismWar, US Revolutionary
 
The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail image. Click for full size.
5. The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail
The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail links the historic sites and institutions in Virginia that interpret the life and legacy of Patrick Henry. Locations on the statewide trail are shown on the map.
1. Studley (Studley)
2. Historic Polegreen Church (Mechanicsville)
3. Rural Plains (Mechanicsville)
4. Pine Slash (Mechanicsville)
5. Hanover Tavern (Hanover)
6. Hanover County Courthouse (Hanover)
7. Scotchtown (Beaverdam)
8. St. John’s Church (Richmond)
9. Hampden-Sydney College (Hampden-Sydney)
10. Red Hill Plantation (Brookneal)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 5, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 910 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 5, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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