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Beaverdam, Virginia, USA

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Beaverdam is a small town in central-northern Virginia, established sometime in the early 18th Century. It grew after being incorporated as a stopping pointonn the Virginia Central Railroad. It is located 32 miles northwest of Richmond.

Today, it is known for its historic buildings - including a restored mill, a 19th Century mercantile store, a plantation that once belonged to Patrick Henry, and a historic church.

People Born in Beaverdam

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Beaverdam in People's Lives

Patrick Henry: I moved here with my wife and our six children in 1771, to a plantation called Scotchtown. Shortly afterward, my wife Sarah began doing and saying strange things, and exhibiting hysteric and frightening behavior. I asked my friend Thomas Hinde, a physician, to come and look at her, and he affirmed that she had a mental illness, termed at the time "hysteria." Most people of the time took this hand in hand with being possessed by the devil. A straight jacket was put on her. Hinde recommended moving her to a mental institution in Williamsburg when Sarah became more violent, but a few days later withdrew this recommendation, saying that he had visited the place, and it was little better than a prison. I then built, with Hinde's help, a two room, cozy apartment for her on our plantation, with a comfortable bed, fireplace, and plenty of light from barred windows. For years, I diligently tended to her, which included watching over her, feeding and bathing her, dressing her, and preventing her from harming herself. It was a heartbreaking ordeal. I continued this until she died in the spring of 1775. Because she had supposedly been "possessed" by Satan, she was refused a proper burial or a religious funeral service. It was a tragic end to a tragic four year ordeal, and I was deeply, painfully saddened. I buried Sarah by our plantation house, and planted a lilac tree on her grave, which still stands today. I moved to Richmond later in the year, throwing myself into the politics of the Revolutionary War to distract me from my grief.

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