"Long Island was Patrick Henry's Home Before Red Hill".
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LONG ISLAND WAS PATRICK HENRY'S HOME BEFORE RED HILL Long Island was the earliest of Patrick Henry's homes on Staunton River. Eighteen miles upstream from Red Hill, the patriot's last home and resting place, Henry owned a 3,522 acre plantation. Campbell Chronicles says Henry purchased Long Island in 1794 and lived there before settling at Red Hill; George Morgan's "Patrick Henry" says that Henry's letters show that he was living at Long Island in Campbell County as early as October 26, 1793. The Valley of the Staunton River was a "wild and desolate wilderness" when the patriot and orator came here seeking peace and solitude in his last years. Henry had fame, friends, property and a large family. His health, however, was failing, and it is thought that he sought the quiet life in the wilderness as a possible means of restoring his health. his daughters did not share their father's craving for solitude, and it was partly for their sake that he gave up his residence at Long Island, settling at Red Hill. In 1794 he wrote to his daughter Betsy: "I wish you were here to enjoy the agree-able society of your sisters at this place, which is very retired; indeed, so much so as to disgust Sally and Dolly. But as we go to Red Hill in August for five weeks, they will be relieved from this solitude, as that is a more public place......." It is known that in his younger days Henry was a devotee of rod and gun, but that as he grew older and his law practice grew wider, it is said that he lost his liking for the chase. Morgan intimates, however, that in his rustic retirement the patriot may have once again taken up woodland sports. At any rate, it is known that game and fish abounded in the Staunton River valley in those days. Morgan relates: "Henry turned his back upon the world, and entered this beautiful wilderness that stretched eastward from the peaks of Otter. A few Indians were still there, and many bears...."By the Staunton there still dwells a half-breed Indian woman who remembers tales told by her father of the days when he hunted with Patrick Henry. Long Island is in foot-touch with Red Hill, and the plantation hands frequently passed to and fro between them. One of these, "Uncle Big Solomon", while walking to Long Island by night, met a bear at a fence near the ford. Mistaking the bear for a man, "Uncle Big Solomon" proceeded to scuffle with him; and, says tradition, 'the best man got over the fence last.'"