In the spirit of the pre-Revolutionary War group The Sons of Liberty, a new group was born over the weekend, appropriately enough at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill. The Friends of Liberty (Patrick Henry Chapter) debuted under the leadership and impetus of Patrick Henry Jolly, a fifth-great-grandson descendant of Patrick Henry.
A small portion of the group (which, it should be noted, is in no way official or a chapter of any organization, but is, instead, an informal collection of like-minded friends) gathered at Red Hill on Saturday afternoon for a special tour of the grounds, presented by Jolly. They – as well as other members who couldn’t make it to the inaugural event – provided donations to Red Hill via The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that has been hurt financially by the closures decreed by the governor.
“We’re here because we love liberty, and we love Patrick Henry,” Jolly explained. “No matter which side of the COVID-19 issue you’re on, there’s no doubt that our liberties have been infringed upon,” he observed.
“Get out and live life as much as you can. Go to the parks, the grocery store. You can be cautious but not afraid,” he exhorted, encouraging members to engage in the business of life. And so the group came out to Red Hill to tour the grounds of the estate (the buildings are still closed, as per the governor’s orders) and show support for this national treasure.
On Monday morning, Jolly presented Hope Marstin, CEO of the Foundation, with $780 which the group had raised. “We’re here to support Red Hill,” he had stated on Saturday. “We can’t go in the buildings, and it’s a shame. But there’s more to Red Hill than the buildings. Patrick Henry described it as ‘The garden spot of the world.”
Jolly—who lives in Ohio but frequently visits Red Hill and performs reenactments of his ancestor’s famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech—was in town for the Patrick Henry birthday observances and U.S. citizen naturalization celebration which were to take place Friday. Unfortunately, these events were cancelled because of the governor’s restrictions (see related article, page 3). The plan to gather came about on Friday and wasn’t finalized until Saturday morning.
“Red Hill has been hurt badly by this shutdown,” he observed. “Not just Red Hill, but all the historical sites in Virginia and in other states that have taken similar measures. I want to thank you for answering the call to help out Red Hill.”
The special tour focused on Henry’s role in helping secure the nation’s independence and in ensuring the liberties protected in the Bill of Rights. It concluded with Jolly providing an impromptu delivery of a portion of the famous “Give me liberty” speech at his ancestor’s grave.
The Friends of Liberty hope to meet again in the near future and hold other events to support Red Hill and the cause of freedom.
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