|Birth: ||Jun., 1755|
|Death: ||Oct., 1818|
Martha "Patsy" Henry Fontaine was the oldest child of Patrick Henry (1736-1799) and his first wife, Sarah Shelton (1738-1775).
Martha was born in 1755 at "Pine Slash" in Hanover County, Virginia. Patrick Henry had been given 300 acres at "Piney Slash" and six slaves as the dowry for his bride, Sarah, from her father, John Shelton a wealthy landowner and owner of Hanover Tavern.
In the spring of 1771, the Henrys move to "Scotchtown" the former home of the Chiswell family, located near the Newfound River in Hanover County, in what is present day Beaverdam. In October of 1771, Sarah Henry gives birth to her sixth and last child. The baby is a little boy, and is named Edward. Sometime after Edward's birth, Sarah will develop mental illness. It is believed that she was suffering from severe post-partum depression that had entered into the manic-psychosis stage. No firm information has ever been established about Sarah's illness, the only information known is a letter written by the son of Sarah Henry's doctor who states that after the birth of Edward, she is confined to the basement at Scotchtown and has to wear a "Quaker dress" which is an early term for a straight jacket. Patrick Henry makes the choice to keep his ill wife at Scotchtown, in the large English basement of the house. He has two large rooms renovated for her care and comfort. She was given constant round the clock care. In February of 1775, Sarah dies at Scotchtown.
It is Martha Henry who oversees the care of her ill mother and her five siblings while the family live at Scotchtown.
In the early 1770s Martha meets a local young man, John Fontaine who was born at Beaverdam, Hanover County, Virginia in 1750. His family were French Huguenots who fled France after the St. Barthomew's Day Massacre of 1572.
Martha Henry and John Fontaine marry on October 2, 1773 at Scotchtown.
Martha and her husband will have seven children - following information from Red Hill:
Patrick Henry Fontaine married Nancy Miller, they have children, moved to Mississippi died 1852, age 77, Patrick and Nancy buried in Pontotoc City Cemetery, MS.
Edward Winston Fontaine died 1792, age 16, at Hampden Sydney College.
Dr. Charles Fontaine married Ann Mayo Carrington, died 1818, age 39, in Halifax Co., no children.
Martha Fontaine married Nathaniel W. Dandridge II, they have children, moved to Mississippi, died 1845, age 64, Martha buried in Pontotoc City Cemetery, MS.
William Winston Fontaine, married Martha Dandridge, they have children, he died in 1816, age 30, en route home from Alabama, and is buried in an unmarked grave near Abingdon.
Rev. John James Fontaine, married Mary Carr Redd, children, died 1852, age 64, in Henry Co., buried in "Bellview" cemetery, Henry Co.
Dorothea Spotswood Fontaine, died 1793, age 2 years.
Martha and John Fontaine will live at "Leatherwood" Plantation, a portion of which John Fontaine bought from his father-in-law in 1779.
John Fontaine served as a Captain in the Henry County Militia and fought during the Siege of Yorktown, where he contracted Malaria. He died from the disease in 1792. Martha continued to live at "Leatherwood" for 26 more years. She died at the age of 63 in 1818, and is buried beside her husband.
Sadly, the Leatherwood property will pass from the Fontaine/Henry family; in modern day it will be developed into a shopping mall- the graves of Martha and John Fontaine lie in what was once Leatherwood Plantation, now an asphalt covered parking lot, near Martinsville, Va. Their burial sites are unmarked.
The letters between Martha Fontaine and her father are very tender and show a special bond between them.
It is easy to see how the great patriot came to rely on his oldest child- in the care of his ill wife in particular, while he was helping to lead the Colonies towards freedom from Great Britain. There also appears to have been a close and affectionate relationship between Martha and Dorothea Dandridge Henry, second wife of Patrick Henry. Martha and Dorothea were both the same age, each born in 1755. Martha Fontaine will name her last child, Dorothea in honor of her stepmother. (bio by: deegraver)
Patrick Henry (1736 - 1799)
Sarah Shelton Henry (1738 - 1775)
John Smith Fontaine (1750 - 1792)
Patrick Henry Fontaine (1775 - 1852)*
Charles de La Boulay Fontaine (1779 - 1818)*
Martha Henry Fontaine Dandridge (1781 - 1845)*
William Winston Fontaine (1786 - 1816)*
John James Fontaine (1788 - 1852)*
Martha Henry Fontaine (1755 - 1818)
John Henry (1757 - 1791)*
William Henry (1763 - 1798)*
Anne Henry Roane (1767 - 1799)*
Elizabeth Henry Aylett (1769 - 1842)*
Edward Patrick Henry (1771 - 1794)*
Dorothea Spotswood Henry Winston (1778 - 1854)**
Sarah Butler Henry Campbell Scott (1780 - 1856)**
Martha Catharina Henry Henry (1781 - 1801)**
Patrick Henry (1783 - 1804)**
Fayette Henry (1785 - 1813)**
Alexander Spotswood Henry (1788 - 1854)**
Nathaniel West Henry (1790 - 1851)**
Richard Henry (1792 - 1793)**
Edward Winston Henry (1794 - 1872)**
John Henry (1796 - 1868)**
Jane Robertson Henry (1798 - 1798)**
Maintained by: deegraver
Originally Created by: P Fazzini
Record added: Jun 04, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 53222386