Archiver > VA-SOUTHSIDE > 1999-01 > 0917731412

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Subject: [VA-SOUTHSIDE-L] Part One: "Lost and Found in Memphis TN"
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 16:23:32 EST

Due to several requests for this information, I am posting this "story" to
the List in two parts.

Lost and Found in Memphis, Tennessee:
Daughter of Patrick Henry--Dorothea Spotswood Henry Winston

Commodore Perry Chapter DAR Erected Monument in Historic Elmwood Cemetery

John Henry was born in Aberdeen Scotland. He arrived in Virginia in February
1727 to make his fortune. He lived with the Syme family, in Hanover. When
John Syme died, John Henry married Syme's widow, Sarah Winston Syme. They had
William (birth date unknown) and Patrick, who was born on May 29, 1736, on
his father's plantation, Studley, Hanover Co., Virginia. John and Sarah
acquired more land, and as the years passed their family grew -- with nine
more children, seven girls and two boys.

When Patrick was 15, he was sent out to work as a clerk to a small merchant
in Hanover County where he must have fared fairly well. Later, John Henry set
William and Patrick up in a mercantile business, but it was a flop. By the
time Patrick was 18, he decided to assume the responsibilities of marriage.
His wife, Sarah Shelton was only 16. Sarah's family contributed assistance to
the young couple, giving them 300 acres and six slaves.

Patrick and Sarah had six children in rapid succession, and after the birth
of the last one, she began to show signs of mental instability. She was kept
confined in a downstairs room, tended night and day by Negro housemaids. She
subsequently worsened, losing her sanity completely, and died in early 1775.
The oldest daughter, Martha (Patsy), took over caring for the younger
children, John, William, Anne, Elizabeth and Edward.
Patrick married Dorothea Dandridge in 1777, and had 10 (or 11, depending on
the reference source) children. Dorothea was the daughter of Col. Nathaniel
West Dandridge, whose ancestors in Virginia dated back to 1635, when Capt.
John West served on the Governor's council.1

Just before he left office as Governor of Virginia in 1786, Henry--now 50
years old -- had written to his sister, Anne Christian, that he and his wife
were "heartily tired of the bustle we live in here. I shall go to Hanover to
land I am like to get from Gen. Nelson; or if that fails, towards Leatherwood
again. My wife has five very fine and promising children" -- Dorothea
Spotswood, Sarah Butler, Martha Catherine, Patrick and Fayette. {The
biographer, George F. Willison, counts eleven children by second wife Dorothea
Dandridge, two of whom died in infancy or at an early age.}

After two sons, the Henrys had a succession of daughters who kept coming and
coming , until there were nine. In time, Patrick Henry himself would sire
seventeen children, and at his death in his early sixties, would have more
than sixty grandchildren.

Dorothea's grandfather, Alexander Spotswood had directed the building of the
Governor's mansion and her mother had been born there. Young Dorothea
Spotswood Dandridge Henry played her role as the first FIRST LADY of the
Commonwealth of Virginia with tact and grace, when her husband was Governor.
Also, she had to take over the care of five children by Henry's first
marriage, some of whom were almost as old as she. Dorothea appears to
have been accepted and well-liked as a stepmother. She and Henry had eleven
children together. When he resigned as Governor, the family moved to Prince
Edward County, and established their home and his law practice.2

With this impressive background, young Dorothea Spotswood Henry grew up in
Hanover County, Virginia, in the comfortable style of a plantation family.
She is described as a beautiful woman. Her hair was dark and combed in
typical clasic undulations of the day, and the features of her face were soft
and well-moulded. She was highly educated, was a fine harpist and a great
belle. She was one of those pioneer women of America, all of whom deserve
She married her cousin, George D. Winston, on June 3, 1795, in a ceremony at
Red Hill. Records show her visiting there at Christmas, 1797, with "a fine

Dorothea and George were the parents of nine children. Their descendants are
scattered throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and North

Not much is known of the interim years, but in the 1850s, census records show
that Dorothea, a widow, was living in Athens, Alabama, with the family of her
daughter Elvira and Elvira's husband, Major James W. Crenshaw. The Oct. 18,
1850 issue of the Memphis Weekly Appeal published a letter Mrs. Winston wrote
to the editor of the Athens Herald to clarify some errors in a biography of
her father.
In about 1852, the Crenshaw family, along with Mrs. Winston, moved to
Memphis, Tennessee, where she died two years later. The small
headstone that marked her grave was the best Crenshaw could afford at the
time. The words on the headstone faded with time, and it remained for the
D.A.R. to locate the grave and begin the drive to erect a better marker. That
monument was erected in October 1905.3

Knowledge about the existence of the grave in Elmwood Cemetery was acertained
about 12 years earlier when a Winston relative in Boston wrote to a Memphis
relative and mentioned that Mrs. Winston was buried in this city. A search
was begun, but the grave was not found.4

Mrs. Stephen C. Toof, regent of the Commodore Perry Chapter of the D.A.R.,
persisted in the search. She hired a stone "scourer" who cleaned and scraped
countless headstones before finally finding the grave.

The D.A.R. raised the funds, and the monument that stands today was erected.
The monument is unique, bearing Dorothea's likeness. A stonecutter copied it
from a portrait painted by the artist, James Sharples, when she was 18.5

The Commercial Appeal, Memphis TN, carried the following story on December
24, 1905:

( "Copyright, 1905, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis TN. Used with
-- Henry Stokes, Managing Editor, Feb. 24, 1998.)

"Monument to Be Erected in Memphis by the Daughters of the Revolution
by Susie M. Harrington

"It has been said, and truly, that people who never look backward to their
ancestry, will not look forward to posterity It is for the very purpose of
looking backward to ancestry that the D.A.Rs were founded, and right royally
has their labors of love, their pride in their country's honor, and their
success in seeking out the soldiers and sailors, as well as the officers who
resisted so bravely and so successfully England's tyranny.
"They did not forget the women of the Revolution -- those true-hearted wives,
mothers and daughters, who braved the dangers of the wilderness, the unknown
dangers that lurked in the lone Indian trail, which was the only road in the
great new country.
"In many parts of the United States monuments have been erected in memory of
the Revolutionary heroines. States have been searched, and it was thought
that the patriots and patriots' nearest kindred sleeping in Tennessee rested
'neath tall marble shafts. Yet it was left for a Memphis woman, Mrs. S. C.
Toof, regent of Commodore Perry chapter, to find that Memphis was honored by
the grave of Patrick Henry's daughter.

End of Part One.

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