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Notes for Alexander Henry, Colonist of Virginia


History of this notable family begins first in Scotland, and, although of Scotch extraction, they were originally Normans, and are numbered in the list of Conquerors under "William the Conqueror."

After the "Conquest" they settled in Scotland. From Scotland some went to Ireland, some to England, and many of them, like the Harwoods, are found there listed in "Doomsday Book." Their names also occur in the roll of the "Battle Abbey."

The names Alexander, Patrick, William and Hugh were common among them.

Some time, but not very long prior to 1730, John Henry came directly from Scotland to Virginia. In April, 1733, his brother, Rev. Patrick Henry, an Episcopalian minister, also came over.

The two brothers were very much attached to each other and ever afterwards lived not far apart. They were cousins of David Henry, who went from Scotland to London at the age of fourteen, and became a journeyman printer in the same office with Benjamin Franklin. He married a sister of Edward Cave, the found of the "Gentleman's Magazine," in London.

David was for more than fifty years associate editor of the Magazine, and in that publication describes his Henry kin as "more respected for their good sense and superior education than for their riches, as at every neighborhood meeting they were among the foremost."

John and Rev. Patrick were sons of Alexander Henry and Jean Robertson, of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Jean Robertson, their mother, was sister of Reverend William Robertson, the father of Dr. William Robertson, a very distinguished historian and divine, who was said to have the blood of John Knox in his veins.

John and Rev. Patrick were both men of classical education, of high moral character, intellectual capacity and irreproachable integrity.

On June 11th, 1736, the Rev. Patrick Henry was chosen Rector of St. Paul's Parish in Hanover County, after which there is but little said of him in history.

The date in not given, but in the year 1732 or 1733 John Henry was married to Mrs. Syme, nee Sarah Winston, the widow of Capt. John Syme. Her brother, William Winston, was said to be "the greatest orator ever heard, Patrick Henry excepted." This was spoken with reference to Patrick Henry, Jr. Patrick Henry was not a Jr. but used this term because his uncle was so well known at the time that Patrick used the Jr. to distinguish himself from the Rev. Patrick Henry.

The residence of John Henry was at Studley, in Hanover County, sixteen miles from Richmond, and there Patrick Henry, Jr., was born May 29, 1736, and lived to be the greatest orator known to history, a statesman, the peer of any that ever lived, and while it is said of Washington that he was the "Father of his Country," it may be as truly said of Patrick Henry that he was the "Father of the Revolution." He was named for his uncle, the Rev. Patrick Henry. His brother William was older. There were seven sisters all younger and said to be very talented.

In the Fall of 1754, and before he was 19 years of age, Patrick, Jr., was married to Sarah Shelton. She was a most estimable woman and of excellent parentage. A gift from her father at the time of her marriage was six negroes and 300 acres of land. His father gave him some property besides and this was their start in the world.

He at first engaged in mercantile business and soon failed, but it is written of him that he was of "a cheerful and self-reliant spirit that no misfortune could benumb." Evidence of such spirit is visible in a letter of advice to a young friend in which he said: "Adversity toughens manhood, and a characteristic of the good or the great man is not that he has been exempted from the evils and errors of life, but that he has surmounted them."

It is said that he was remarkably fond of fun, of hunting, fishing and playing on the violin. Some people accused him of being lazy, but at the age of 15 he had read Virgil and Livy in the original, which is evidence that he could not have been much lazy. A lazy man won't study.

Early in the year 1775 his wife died, leaving six children. He was then thirty-nine years old and Commander in Chief of the Virginia forces. Afterwards five times elected Governor of the State. Refused election to a sixth term.

October 9, 1777 he was married the second time to Dorothy Dandridge, daughter of Nathaniel West Dandridge and Dorothy Spotswood, daughter of Governor Spotswood. Dorothy Dandridge was a cousin of Martha Washington. She was much younger than her husband and survived him many years.

Of the second marriage there were ten children, making sixteen in all. Marriages at the age of 17 to 20 were common in those days, and a frequent occurrence to find comparative young men with grandchildren.

x x x x x x
After the "Conquest" they settled in Scotland. From Scotland some went to Ireland, some to England, and many of them, like the Harwoods, are found there listed in "Doomsday Book." Their names also occur in the roll of the "Battle Abbey."

Alexander1 Henry was born Abt. 1680 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and died WFT Est. 1685-1769. He married Jean (Jane) Robertson WFT Est. 1685-1726, daughter of William Robertson.

Jean (Jane) Robertson, born Abt. 1684 in Aberdeen, Scotland; died WFT Est. 1685-1775. She was the daughter of William Robertson.

Children of Alexander Henry and Jean Robertson are:

i. William Henry, born Abt. 1709 in Aberdeen, Scotland; died October 12, 1769. Married Martha Calhoun

ii. John Henry, born Abt. 1704 in Foveran Parish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; died February 1773 in Studley, Hanover Co., Virginia. Married Sarah Winston, Aft. October 07, 1732 in Hanover County, Virginia.

iii. Rev. Patrick Henry, born Abt. 1707 in Aberdeen, Scotland; died April 11, 1777 in Virginia. On June 11th, 1736, this Rev. Patrick Henry was chosen Rector of St. Paul's Parish in Hanover County, after which there is but little said of him in history. However, he was so well known in Virginia at the time his nephew the orator Patrick Henry was better known as Patrick Henry Jr.

iv. Hugh Henry, Sr., born Bet. 1715 - 1720 in Scotland or Virginia; died Bef. October 10, 1791 in Robertson County, Tennessee; married Mary Donelson Abt. 1744. born Abt. 1720 in Snow Hill, Somerset County, Maryland; died Bet. 1801 - 1810 in Robertson County, Tennessee.







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