Beaverdam in Hanover County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Welcome to Scotchtown
Scotchtown had been built sometime around 1725 by Charles Chiswell. Chiswell was a planter and iron industrialist. He was visited by William Byrd in 1732, who described Scotchtown as “very clean and [everything] very good.”
Originally, the house was less than half the size of the present-day Scotchtown, consisting of a four room frame structure over a brick foundation. The house was expanded to its current size in the 1740s or 1750s.
Scotchtown remained in the Chiswell family until the 1760s, when financial hardships forced the sale of the plantation. Afterwards it passed through a series of hands (including Henry’s) before being purchased by John Mosby Sheppard around 1801. The Sheppard family and their descendants lived at Scotchtown until 1958 when the house was purchased and restored by Preservation Virginia.
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 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
Erected 2011 by The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail. (Marker Number 7.)
Location. 37° 50.667′ N, 77° 35.191′ W. Marker is in Beaverdam, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker can be reached from Chiswell Lane (Virginia Route 740) 0.1 miles north of Scotchtown Road (Virginia Route 685). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 16120 Chiswell Lane, Beaverdam VA 23015, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Scotchtown (approx. 1.4 miles away); Cedar Creek Quaker Meeting House (approx. 2.7 miles away); Fork Church (approx. 3.1 miles away); Church Quarter (approx. 3.3 miles away); Attack at Ox Ford (approx. 5 miles away); Turning Lee’s Flank (approx. 5 miles away); The Fight for North Anna / The North Anna Battlefield (approx. 5.4 miles away); Dead of the North Anna Battlefield (approx. 5.4 miles away).
More about this marker.
J.D.G. Brown made this watercolor drawing of Scotchtown around 1820. It shows the plantation with some of its 19th century outbuildings, many of which have now been reconstructed on the site.
[left] Scotchtown as it appeared in the 1930s, prior to its restoration by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia). Historic American Buildings Survey Collection, Library of Congress
[right] Scotchtown was Patrick Henry’s home during the volatile years before the American Revolution. It was here that he formulated his ideas about “liberty and death.”
Also see . . .
1. The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail. (Submitted on September 22, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Scotchtown (pdf file). National Register of Historic Places (Submitted on September 22, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 22, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 543 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 22, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 5. submitted on August 25, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 6, 7. submitted on September 22, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.