Writing one's family history can be a daunting task with so many family branches to choose from and so much information available. After much thought on the problem, I chose to take one character above all others and make him the anchor of my story, a point of departure from which I could tell stories of other family members.
Choosing this one character was not a light decision. I could have closed my eyes and divined my finger into the old Henderson Family Bible, letting my finger rest on the chosen one. Instead, I returned to one of the characters in my family who I felt held a level of interest above the others. I chose my Great Grandfather, John A. Henderson, who was born in 1835 in Blount County, Tennessee, the youngest of six children. His Father, Thomas Henderson, a lawyer and speculator in the frontier town of Maryville, died in 1839 leaving his wife, Cristiana, with a modest 62 acre farm, two teenage daughters four younger children and six slaves.
Prior to the death of John's father, there developed a close relationship between the Hendersons and a neighbor farming family, the Tiptons. In fact, the two oldest Tipton boys married the two oldest Henderson daughters. Shortly after the death of Thomas Henderson, James Tipton Sr, a widower, and the widow Christiana Henderson agreed to merge their families possibly without the benefit of formal marriage as no marriage document has been found. Perhaps it was by common necessity or convenience that James Tipton Sr. assumed responsibility for his new daughters-in-law, their mother plus the younger, Henderson children. When Mr. Tipton decided to leave Tennessee in 1843 and move west, he packed up the entire Henderson household and children, less slaves, (the Tiptons had no slave property) and moved first to Washington County, Illinois and then to rich farmland in Benton County, Missouri.
In Benton County, John grew up under the care of his Mother and "Father Tipton" as he was called. John was the youngest of the Henderson children so he saw his sisters and their husbands move to their own farms in Benton County as did his oldest brother Samuel Anderson and his next older brother, William Henry.
At the age of nineteen years, John married seventeen year old Martha Linson Scoggins, a Tennessee girl who came to Benton County at a young age with her parents, suggesting that friendship and familiarity grew into love and matrimony.
A few short years after they married, just before the start of the Civil War, John and Martha moved to Texas with their young sons, David and James William, looking for new land and opportunity. They acquired some farm land in the county of Tarrant near Cedar Hill, a dusty, remote outpost southeast of Fort Worth. When the war broke out, John along with other men in the county joined the Texas Confederate army and endured the hardships of a soldier.
After the war, John and Martha had little to show for their investment of five years in Texas dirt. Calculating their loses, they decided to move back north, to Missouri, where John farmed for near ten years with his brothers and then on his own in Benton County. Around 1874, John caught Texas fever for the second time. He collected Martha and the children, and again they all went south, following the Sedalia cattle trail, crossing the Red River by wagon, traveling into the wild territory of Hamilton County. They claimed land and built a farm in an early settlement known as Pleasant Grove. Their oldest son, David, remained in Missouri where he continued to farm near the town of Warsaw just a few miles south of Sedalia.
Today, John and Martha are at rest under a live oak tree in a cattle pasture in Hamilton County, Texas waiting for me and other family kin to do the research necessary to bring them back to life, at least in our hearts and in spirit. If you have information or questions about this family, please contact me.
- Letter From a Confederate Soldier 1865 - Page 1 (143 KB)
John writes to Martha, from his post near Houston, about the prospects of an honorable peace. This is Page 1 of a 2 page letter. These are replicated letters in script that include spaces where text was not legible and parenthetical words added where needed
- Letter From a Confederate Soldier 1865 - Page 2 (95 KB)
Continuation of letter written in 1865 from Houston. These are replicated letters in script that include spaces where text was not legible and parenthetical words added where needed
- Mary Ann Henderson Letter 1860 (195 KB)
This letter was written around 1860 by Mary Ann Henderson to her sister-in-law, Martha, in Texas. Some reference to pending secession of Missouri. These are replicated letters in script that include spaces where text was not legible and parenthetical words added where needed.
- William Henderson Letter of 1861 (190 KB)
This is page 1 of a letter written by William Henderson in Missouri to his brother, John, in Texas. These are replicated letters in script that include spaces where text was not legible and parenthetical words added where needed.
- William Henderson Letter of 1861 (Page 2) (142 KB)
This is page 2 of a letter written by William Henderson in Missouri to his brother, John, in Texas. These are replicated letters in script that include spaces where text was not legible and parenthetical words added where needed.
- Letter from Confederate Soldier, John A. Henderson (193 KB)
John writes to his wife, Martha, about the conditions of his unit and the place in Jefferson County where he is posted. This is Page 1 of a 2 page letter. These are replicated letters in script that include spaces where text was not legible and parenthetical words added where needed.
- Letter From Confederate Soldier - Page 2 (153 KB)
Continuation of letter written in 1863. These are replicated letters in script that include spaces where text was not legible and parenthetical words added where needed.
- The Story of John & Cordelia Neal (13 KB)
There are many branches of the Henderson Family Tree that are worth investigating. The Neal Family provides an important link to the Henderson Family. For both Neal and Henderson descendents, the story of John Allen and Cordelia Neal is presented here.
- The Story of John & Martha Henderson (19 KB)
John and Martha Henderson were driven by a malady common to their ancestors, the Scots-Irish. They believed the grass would be greener over the next hill, and they could improve their circumstances, both for themselves and their children, by moving west.
- Life in an Ulster Village in the 18th Century (10 KB)
Time travel allows me to release my imagination and go places where I have never gone before. I have always wondered what it would be like to drop in on my great great grandfather's family going about their daily lives in 18th century Ireland.
- The Story of Thomas & Christiana Henderson (28 KB)
Rarely does a family find a branch in their family tree as interesting as Thomas and Christiana Henderson. They were pioneers of early east Tennessee who were not typical of those families who farmed the land and tamed the frontier. This story includes everyday occurrences in their lives punctuated by tragedy and mystery.
- Henderson Cousin Reunion of 2005 (4 KB)
In February 2005, Henderson Cousins linked by the spirit of their Grandparents, John Frank and Eva Lee Henderson, gathered in Kerrville, Texas to reconnect and learn to be a family again.
- In Search of Our Grandparents (3 KB)
In February 2005, two great grandchildren of John and Martha Henderson went on a quest to find the old couple's final resting place.
- Buried Treasure- A Family Story (3 KB)
This story was written by Will White about his Mom (Jewell Henderson White) and his Dad when the family made a life transition. It's a wonderful story about family and our inward desire to go back in time to visit old memories.
- Our Ancient Family History (4 KB)
While much remains to be learned about our particular line of the Scottish Henderson family, we have evidence that tells us something about our early days. Read this letter written by Jim Henderson about the results of his DNA test.
- A Letter to Our Younger Generations (6 KB)
This is a letter of appeal written by Pat Henderson Anderson to her younger kinfolk. It is a call to action, a call to remember, a call to preserve the heritage that our forebearers gave us.