This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by John Shaffer. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of William Henderson

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


WILLIAM HENDERSON. On section 19, in Homer Township, is located one of the best conducted farms in that locality, owned and occupied by the gentleman whose name stands at the head of this sketch. He is the descendant of an excellent family who were of strong and sturdy character, possessing the spirit of the pioneer days, and who worked hand in hand with the courageous colonists, who, from time to time, left their homes in the East, or the other side of the Atlantic, to found new associations and build up new homes in an untried country. The parents of our subject, Alexander and Isabella (CHAPMAN) HENDERSON, were natives respectively of North Carolina and Ohio, the former born Sept. 6, 1815, and the latter Dec. 31, 1819. Both are still living, and residents of Montgomery County, Ind., and the father is in a moderate way carrying on agriculture, with which he has been familiar through life.

Alexander HENDERSON and his wife were careful and conscientious in their lives, and trained up their children in those moral and religious principles which formed the basis of their own course in life. The were married on the 11th of November, 1838, and in early life identified themselves with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which the father has been Steward and otherwise prominently connected with it for many years. He was a man of much force of character, and great energy and industry, which qualities have become but little lessened by the flight of years, and he is now in the enjoyment of a competency. The ten children of the parental household are recorded as follows; Elizabeth, who became the wife of J. W. HENDRICK, died at the home of her husband in Indiana in 1874; William, of our sketch, was the second child; Amanda became the second wife of J. W. HENDRICK; James married Miss Amanda THOMAS; Milton married Miss Sarah MACOMB; Mary became the wife of Simon LYNCH; Alice is the wife of George MUNNS; Martha is Mrs. James MILLER, and John married Miss Jennie QUICK. One child died in infancy unnamed.

William Henderson, of our sketch, is a native of Parke County, Ind., and was born Feb. 17, 1841. He received thorough training in agricultural pursuits, and, considering his early education and associations, it is not to be wondered at that time he is more than ordinarily skillful in his tilling of the soil and the breeding of fine stock, to the latter of which he has given much attention, especially of late years. The youth and boyhood of our subject were passed mostly upon the farm and in attendance at the district schools. The pleasures of the young people of those days were simple and few, but it is probable that they reaped fully as much enjoyment as do the sons and daughters of the present age, with their more expensive tastes. He was employed as a teacher at intervals for a period of ten years, making an excellent tutor and instructor.

After the breaking out of the late war, and while in Indiana, resolving to become a Union soldier, Mr. H. enlisted in the 72d Indiana Infantry, and served three years in Company B. In the meantime he was promoted Corporal. He participated with his comrades in many important battles, including the fight at Chickamauga, and served with the Army of the Cumberland the greater portion of the time. Although experiencing many hairbreadth escapes, enduring wearisome marches and other hardships connected with a soldier's life, he escaped without serious injury, and received his honorable discharge on the 6th of July, 1865.

Our subject then came to Illinois, and after teaching school a part of one season returned to Indiana, where he was married. He had already become proprietor of 150 acres of land, upon which he now located, and occupied his time in improving his farm during the summer seasons, while in the winter he added to his income by teaching. His present homestead embraces 110 acres of land, which by constant and careful cultivation will now compare with the soil of any farm in its vicinity. All the farm stock is well cared for and in good condition, together with the machinery, fences, buildings, and everthing about the place.

In his various enterprises Mr. H. has been attended by his faithful wife and companion, who became the sharer of his home and fortunes on the 28th of March, 1867. This lady, formerly Miss Nancy J. HOFF, is also a native of Indiana, born Oct. 15, 1848, and the daughter of James and Hannah (BARNETT) HOFF, of Ohio. The ceremony which united her with William Henderson was preformed by Squire J. T. Miller, of Waynetown, Ind., the wedding taking place at the home of the bride's parents near that city. Her father, James Hoff, was born in Ohio, June 27, 1823, and is still living on his farm near Waynetown. His wife, Hannah, a native of the same State, was born Sept. 18, 1826, and died very suddenly of heart disease, on Sunday morning, July 11, 1886, on the old homestead. The four children of this household were, Nancy J., the wife of our subject; Jerusha A., who married Ambrose FRUITS; Mahala, who became the wife of Samuel NIXON, and Emma, who died of typhoid fever on the 25th of November, 1882.

The six children of Mr. and Mrs. William Henderson are recorded as follows; Minnie was born Feb. 24, 1868; Edgar, born Oct. 20, 1869, died Oct. 6, 1870; Alice, born Feb. 23, 1871, died Aug. 19, 1872; Oscar was born Sept. 1, 1872; Emma, Oct. 22, 1877, and Alma, Nov. 20, 1881. Mr. Henderson, with his wife and children, attends the Methodist Episcopal Church at Lost Grove, where our subject is Steward and Trustee, and for several years has been Superintendent of the Sunday School. He is especially active in all matters pertaining to religious work, and has been one of the first in organizing societies and encouraging the erection of church buildings. He was a member of the first committee appointed to undertake the erection of the Methodist Church in Lost Grove, and has contributed liberally toward the support of the society, keeping up the Sunday school and assisting in furnishing the house of worship with the conveniences necessary to make it an attractive resort for the young and a place of comfort for the old. Politically he affiliates with the Republican party, and has served as School Trustee in Homer Township for a period of fifteen years.

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