Each performance runs about 45 minutes.
Performances are free and open to the public.
Donations are, however, gladly accepted.
Tickets will be distributed on the date of the show on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of tickets distributed will be limited to the legal capacity of the courthouse.
We ask that patrons do not save seats in the courtroom.
13182 Hanover Courthouse Road, Hanover, Virginia 23069.
Billy Graham was the most iconic evangelist of the 20th century. Hear the story of his life, from his humble beginnings as the son of a North Carolina dairy farmer to his days of packing stadiums with his preaching and being the spiritual advisor to presidents.
Presenter: Steve Hawkins is a retired salesman. He portrays numerous characters at St. John’s Church for over 20 years and portrays Sheriff Tompkins in The Parsons’ Cause Trial. Steve has also portrayed George Washington for various audiences in Virginia and beyond.
Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was an influential Founding Father. In June 1776, he drafted the “Lee Resolution,” the motion in the Second Continental Congress that called for independence from Great Britain. He served as the sixth president of Congress under the Articles of Confederation. Once the Constitution was adopted, Lee served as a United States Senator.
Presenter: Marc Holma graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in history, and he holds a M.S. in Historic Preservation degree from Ball State University. After serving in the Army as an officer in a tank battalion, he taught United States and world history at St. John’s Military Academy in Wisconsin. Marc can often be seen portraying Thomas Jefferson at St. John’s Church and at other events and venues. He has also portrayed Benedict Arnold for The Parson’s Cause Foundation and elsewhere. Marc is an architectural historian with the Department of Historic Resources.
Each performance will be followed by a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Murphy was one of 12 children born to a poor family in Texas. He dropped out of the fifth grade to help support his family. He often hunted for food and became a superb rifleman. During World War II, he rose in the ranks to become a First Lieutenant. Although wounded three times, he participated in numerous European campaigns, earning 33 awards, including the Medal of Honor, making him the most decorated American soldier in the War. Murphy wrote a book about his experiences, titled “To Hell and Back.” Following the War, he became an actor, appearing in 44 feature films.
Presenter: Charles Wissinger is a well-known local actor. In addition to performing in Liberty or Death at St. John’s Church, Charles has made many appearances during the summer series of The Parsons’ Cause Foundation, portraying Lafayette, Edgar Allan Poe, James Madison, Francis Scott Key and Benjamin Stringfellow.
The two Founding Fathers meet to discuss issues of independence, church and state, the role of government, the Constitution, and more.
Presenters: Richard Schumann has been interpreting Patrick Henry for Colonial Williamsburg for over two decades. Richard has portrayed Henry in numerous venues and programs throughout Virginia.
Bill Barker has been interpreting Jefferson since 1984 and has portrayed him at Colonial Williamsburg and Monticello. Bill has appeared as Mr. Jefferson at the White House and the Palace of Versailles. He has also portrayed Mr. Jefferson on programs on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, The History Channel and C-SPAN.
Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, she served as a spy for the Union Army. In her later years, she advocated for women’s suffrage.
Presenter: Valerie Davis is no stranger to Hanover. A local actress, she has performed during the summer series of The Parsons’ Cause Foundation, portraying Martha Ann Fields, Nanny Prosser, and Anna Douglass.
Travis West and Mellen Minton will bring to life the music that was made popular during the Second World War. Join us as Travis and Mellen tell the stories behind the music that encouraged both our boys over there and the families that made sacrifices to supply the War effort.
Join Mrs. Jefferson in the summer of 1780 as she adjusts to her new role as wife of the second elected Governor of Virginia. Converse with her as she discusses the challenges and triumphs of helping support the American Revolution while also navigating the balance between her personal and public duties.
Presenter: Nicole Brown is a character interpreter of women in Virginia spanning from 1750 to 1800. Her work as a professional character interpreter over the past seven years has centered on interpreting the legal rights of women in Virginia during the 18th century and women's political involvement in the American Revolution. Nicole has performed as Mrs. Jefferson at Monticello. Mrs. Jefferson’s life, history, and unique relationship with the Third President of the United States continues to be a main focus of her current research.
Martha Ann Fields was enslaved in Hanover until her escape in 1862. Hear her harrowing tales of slavery – how her 10-year-old daughter was sold to enable her owners to buy a horse, how two of her sons were sold, how another son ran away after being brutally beaten for taking a log for the fireplace, and how Martha herself was severely beaten for “ruining” dinner. Also hear her stories of triumph – her escape with her children, her encounter with a Union General, and her reunion with her children who had been sold.
Presenter: Valerie Davis is no stranger to Hanover. A local actress, she has performed during the summer series of The Parsons’ Cause Foundation, portraying Harriet Tubman, Nanny Prosser, and Anna Douglass.
Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe was the wife of Edgar Allan Poe. The couple were first cousins and were publicly married when Virginia Clemm was 13 and Poe was 27. Her life with Edgar involved suspense, scandal, and a young death – at age 24 due to tuberculosis.
Presenter: Debbie Phillips is a well-known local actor and historical guide. She has portrayed Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton, Captain Sally Tompkins and Patsey Henry Fontaine for previous summer sessions of The Parsons’ Cause Foundation.
On December 1, 1763, a country lawyer from Hanover stepped from obscurity into the forefront of legal and political circles in Virginia. His name was Patrick Henry. The event that shaped his destiny was the trial of The Parsons’ Cause. Henry challenged the two most potent entities of colonial Virginia—the King and the clergy. The case proved to be one of the opening salvos of the revolution, and started Henry on the path of becoming the “Voice of the Revolution.”