Home of Patrick Henry
Bust of Patrick Henry
Bust of Patrick Henry

Scotchtown is best known as the site from which Patrick Henry rode to Richmond in March of 1775 to deliver his infamous "Liberty or Death" speech. Some have even suggested that the house, where he had been forced to confine his wife Sarah due to her increasingly poor mental health, inspired his greatest speech. But the Henry family lived here only briefly, from about 1771 until 1776 when Henry was appointed Governor of Virginia and relocated to Williamsburg.

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.

16120 Chiswell Lane
Beaverdam, VA 23015
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