Dorothea Spotswood (Dandridge) Henry

Dorothea Spotswood (Dandridge) Henry (1757 - 1831)

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Dorothea Spotswood Henry formerly Dandridge
Born in Hanover County, Virginiamap
Wife of — married [location unknown]
Wife of — married in Charlotte, Virginia, United Statesmap
Died in Red Hill, Charlotte County, Virginia, United States of Americamap
Dandridge-9 created 11 Jun 2010 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 5,194 times.

In her obituary, DOROTHEA SPOTSWOOD DANDRIDGE HENRY WINSTON was acclaimed to be “of the ancient Dandridge family.” Yes, she was of this “ancient family,” but more than that, she lived in one of the most important eras of United States history and was “up to the task” as the expression goes!

Dorothea “Dolly” was born, 25 September 1757 [1], to Nathaniel West Dandridge (b 7 Sept 1729) and his wife, Dorothea Spotswood (b1733) in Hanover County, Virginia, and the grand-daughter of colonial Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood (c. 1676 – 6 June 1740). [2]Dandridge[3] Spending her early life on a thriving plantation, she had frequent contact with “movers and shakers” of the growing rebellion against English tyranny. Indeed, she and George Washington’s wife, Martha Dandridge Custis were cousins.

On 09 Oct 1777, soon after her twentieth birthday, she married Patrick Henry, whose first wife had died in 1775. After he was elected to his second term as first governor of the newly independent commonwealth of Virginia, Young Dorothea Spotswood Dandridge Henry played her role as the first FIRST LADY of the Commonwealth of Virginia with tact and grace. Also, she took over the role of mother of the 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:

  1. Sarah Butler b. 1780 who married Alexander Scott;
  2. Martha Catherina b. 1781 who married Edward Henry;
  3. Patrick Jr. b. 1783 who married Elvira Cabell;
  4. Fayette b. 1785 who married Anne Elcan;
  5. Alexander Spotswood b. 1788 who married Pauline Cabell;
  6. Dorothea Spotswood b. 1788 who married George Winston;
  7. Nathaniel West b. 1790 who married Virginia Woodson;
  8. Richard b. 1792 d. 1793;
  9. Edward Winston b. 1794 who married Jane Yuille;
  10. John b. 1796 who married Elvira McClelland (both buried at this cem.); and
  11. Jane Robertson Henry b. 1798 d. 1798 (buried at this cem).

Henry had already purchased Leatherwood plantation, where he grew tobacco and practiced law in what was to become Henry County. After completing his second term as governor in 1779 he and Dorothea moved there. [4]

Red Hill plantation

In 1794, they retired to Red Hill Plantation, comprising 520 acres (2.1 km2) in Charlotte County, which was also a functioning tobacco plantation.

After Patrick Henry's death (6 June 1799), twenty-two years after they were married, Dorothea, with 17 children (6 from Patrick's first marriage to Sarah Shelton), married Judge Edmund Winston who was Patrick Henry's executor and first cousin; they lived in "Huntingtour" in Nelson County, Virginia. She may have married the executor since Patrick Henry's will stated that if Dorothea remarried, all the land and slaves would be inherited by his surviving children.

She died 14 Feb 1831 at age 73 at “Seven Islands” in Halifax County, Virginia. Because of inclement weather, she was initially buried at “Seven Islands”; she was subsequently re-interred at “Red Hill” beside Patrick Henry, in Henry Cemetery. [5][6]


Parents and Siblings

Husband: Capt Nathaniel West Dandridge
Wife: Dorothea Spotswood
Child: Martha Dandridge
Child: William Alexander Dandridge
Child: Alexander Spotswood Dandridge
Child: Dorothea Spottswood Dandridge
Child: Nathaniel West Dandridge
Child: Elizabeth Dandridge
Child: Anna Catharina Dandridge
Child: Agnes Dandridge
Child: Mary Claiborne Dandridge
Marriage of parents:
Date: 18 Jun 1747
Place: Hanover, Virginia, United States[7]

Miscellaneous Events

Event: First met future husband at "Gold Mine".
Event: Romantically involved with John Paul [Jones]; her father ended it.
Event: Per court clerk, marriage date is 8 Oct 1777.
Event: Buried at "Red Hill" with her first husband, Patrick Henry.


  1. Entered by Arik Russell, Nov 26, 2012
  2. They had been married on 18 June 1747 in Hanover County, Virginia. link
  3. Source: #S-1641229296 Page: Source number: 1255.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: JDM. link APID: 1,7836::310180
  4. Dorothea Dandridge, in Rootsweb, per Anne D. Babin (Mrs. Alan Babin) DAR Nat'l #488252, 30 Jan 1999
  5. Anon., “Dorothea Dandridge Henry”, Find A, Record added 27 Jan 2000. URL:
  6. Memorial17826837
  7. Source: #S-1641229296


  • Dandridge-9 was created through the import of Morris_gedcom.ged on 11 June 2010; adopted by Bairfield-1 23:22, 12 February 2014 (EST)


  • Source: S-1871065740 Repository: #R-1871065741 Title: Ancestry Family Trees Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry
  • S4356
  • Dandridge.ftw Source S4423
  • Source: S-1871065740 Repository: #R-1871065741 Title: Ancestry Family Trees Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Dorothea by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Dorothea:

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Images: 3
Dorothea Henry Image 1
Dorothea Henry Image 1

Dorothea Spotswood Dandridge Image 2
Dorothea Spotswood Dandridge Image 2

Red Hill plantation
Red Hill plantation

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On 13 Feb 2014 at 04:29 GMT Michelle (Bairfield) Brooks wrote:

working from phone / will clean up text tomorrow

Dorothea is 18 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 11 degrees from Abraham Lincoln, 24 degrees from Ayn Rand, 17 degrees from Peter Roberts and 13 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth Realms on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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