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People Born in Studley
Studley in People's Lives
Patrick Henry: I was born here in 1736, into an upper middle-class plantation family. My father was a highly educated Irish immigrant, and my mother was a woman of wealthy English background. I grew up on my family's farm here, attending local schools as a boy and later being tutored by my father, who encouraged me to adopt a businesslike mindset. At the age of 18, in 1754, I married my childhood sweetheart, and her father gave us a 300 acre plantation here in this town, along with six slaves to work the land. My wife and I called it Pine Slash Farm. While also studying law, I worked backbreakingly hard on the land, most of the time alongside my slaves. The land had been exhausted and used up growing tobacco, and proved almost impossible to coax into life. To make matters worse, the main farmhouse burnt to the ground in 1757. We moved into a small cottage on our land, and after giving up on the desolate farm, moved into a tavern owned by Sarah's father. I concentrated on becoming a lawyer, and succeeded in 1760, beginning work at a local law firm. Within three years, in 1763, I began gaining both admiration and notoriety as a lawyer, taking on unpopular or dangerous political opinions and bravely vocalizing them. I sold Pine Slash Farm in 1764. In 1765, I was elected to represent Louisa County for the House of Burgesses, and moved to Williamsburg.