Biography of Dr. J. F. Henderson
Howard County, IN Biographies





DR. J. F. HENDERSON, a native of Pennsylvania, was born near Lancaster November 23, 1820, of English Irish parents. He was the second of a family of seven children, and passed his early life on a farm. In 1833, the family moved to Indiana, coming through in wagons, and camping one night near the site of the old State house. They located in Tippecanoe County, and for many years his father kept a wayside inn; he paid some attention to farming, and successfully conducted a cooper shop, in which all his sons worked. Dr. Henderson worked in the shop, and attended the common schools. As soon as he was able, he began teaching, and, through economy, he was soon enabled to pursue the higher branches in the academy at Jeffersonville. At the age of twenty two, he was married to Cynthia Ann Whitson. They had seven children, five of whom are living. He began the study of medicine at the age of nineteen, and in 1847 he began to practice in New London, where he also conducted a dry goods and drug store. In 1855, he graduated from the Ohio Medical College with the honors of his class. His thesis on that occasion was subsequently largely quoted in "King's Work on Obstetrics." He helped to found the Pioneer, the first newspaper established in the county. He was a Democrat, and in slavery days a Free Soiler. His influence and labors are thought to have elected Hon. J. E. McDonald to the Lower House over Hon. H. S. Lane, the Whig candidate. In 1860, Dr. Henderson was sent by the Democracy to the National Convention at Baltimore, when Stephen A. Douglas was nominated for the Presidency. In 1861, he removed his family to Kokomo, and when the war broke out, he volunteered his services. He was elected Surgeon of the Eighty ninth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantr, and for several years was Acting Brigade Surgeon of Fort Pickering, Memphis, Tenn. On his return from the war, he founded the City Book and Drug Store, which he conducted until 1868, when he sold out to begin the erection of the Clinton Hotel, in which Jay, Russell & Dolman took a half interest. Dr. Henderson was the founder and for a few years the editor of the Kokomo Dispatch, and, in 1872, ambitious to build a permanent home for the newspaper, conceived the idea of erecting the Opera House. In conjunction with M. Bell and H. H. Winslow, the building was completed and opened to the public in September, 1873. Dr. Henderson now lives on his farm in Monroe Township, having retired from politics and active business. He has made many improvements in the city of Kokomo. He was Postmaster at New London under President Polk, and for two terms served as a member of the Common Council of the city of Kokomo from the First Ward. Dr. Henderson is truly a self made man, and his monument is the improvements he has made to the community in which he was for nearly half a century so active a factor.

From:
Counties of Howard and Tipton, Indiana
Historical and Biographical
Charles Blanchard, Editor
F. A. Bettey & Co.
Chicago 1883.


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