Updated 10/17/13

In Podcast #64 the Trekkers take you on a tour of Patrick Henry’s life from beginning to end.  First we visit the 4th grade students at Beaver Dam Elementary School in Hanover County, and we’ll find out what happened at the nearby Beaver Dam Depot during the Civil War.  Then hop on a train with us and see where Patrick Henry was born in Studley; discover Scotchtown where he lived with his wife and children in Hanover County; visit St. John’s Church in Richmond where he gave his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech on March 23, 1775; finally, explore the beautiful grounds of Red Hill where Patrick Henry retired and is buried in Charlotte County. Come on, let’s go trekking!

The osage orange tree at Red Hill no longer holds the record for being the largest osage orange tree in America. In 2011, another osage orange tree in Alexandria, Virginia beat it’s record!  Osage orange trees have held a special place in American history for a long time.   Before the European settlers arrived, American Indians valued its wood for making bows because it was strong and flexible. Its native habitat was out west in Texas and Oklahoma, and the Indians who lived nearby were called Osage Indians, giving the tree its first name. But what about the “orange” part?  The fruits are definitely not orange.  You can see in the picture that they are green and bumpy with yellow flesh.  Early settlers may have mistaken it for an orange tree when viewed from afar, but also the fruit has a kind of “orangey” smell and the wood has an “orangish” color.  Louis and Clark introduced the tree to the pioneer settlers who used it for making hedges (fences) around their property to keep their animals from escaping.  For this reason the fruits of osage orange trees are called “hedge apples.” The settlers also used the wood for making wagon wheels because of its strength and flexibility.  An interesting fact about the osage orange tree is that there are boy trees and girl tress.  Only the girl trees make fruit. The osage orange tree at Red Hill is a boy, and it is believed to be over 300 years old.  It was probably around 100 years old when Patrick Henry lived there.  Read more about Red Hill’s Osage Orange Tree.

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Piedmont Region

SOL Correlation:

2.3 The student will identify and compare changes in community life over time in terms of buildings, jobs, transportation, and population.


VS.2b The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by locating and describing Virginia’s Coastal Plain (Tidewater), Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau.


VS.4c The student will demonstrate knowledge of life in the Virginia colony by

  1. c)explaining the reasons for the relocation of Virginia’s capital from Jamestown to Williamsburg to Richmond.

  2. d)describing everyday life in colonial Virginia.


VS.5 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of Virginia in the American Revolution by

  1. b)identifying the various roles played by whites, enslaved African Americans, free African Americans, and American Indians in the Revolutionary War era, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Lafayette, and Patrick Henry;


VS.6 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of Virginia in the establishment of the new American nation by c) explaining the influence of geography on the migration of Virginians into western territories.