Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Parsons Cause

It has been a long time since I've posted here, but I thought an excursion I made yesterday was worth mentioning.

Yesterday I drove to Hanover Courthouse (about 20 miles north of Richmond) to attend a trial reenactment. The courthouse was built between 1737 and 1745 (date uncertain). The trial took place in 1763 and is called The Parsons Cause. It had to do with how clergymen were to be compensated. If you are interested in the details of the trial, here is a link. The reason for doing the reenactment is this was the event that gave Patrick Henry his start as an orator of renown. It was a lot of fun, and it made history come alive for me in a way I have never known before. The clergyman plaintiff was the Reverend James Maury, who was the great grandfather of Betty Herndon Maury, the woman whose diary I transcribed. As chance would have it, I was asked by the "sheriff" to sit in the plaintiff's chair as the Rev. Maury, which I thought was great! Other members of the audience were the jury and other clergymen with an interest in the suit. None of the audience participants had any lines. It was a very good performance, well worth seeing for anyone with an interest in history. There was no admission charge. Hanover Tavern, where Patrick Henry stayed when he had to make court appearances, is right across the street. I toured it. There is also a restaurant and gift shop.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog. I lived on Caroline Street as a boy in the early 60's.

We lived just 3 houses up from the house of the rising sun. The Library there was an elementary school back then and we went to school there. It was called "Lafayette Elementary" back then. It was a great town to live in as a boy.

Thanks for all the great photos to look at.

Carolyn said...

How nice to hear from someone who lived on Caroline Street! I knew the library at 1201 Caroline Street had been an elementary school, which explains why the door handles are so low. That would have been an easy walk to school for you.

I would enjoy hearing more about what life was like on Caroline Street when you were growing up there. Do you have any photos from that time? You can reply by email: