Biography of John T. Henderson
North Central Ohio Biographies

John T. Henderson. Few men engaged in business education have had a longer or more useful teaching experience than Mr. Henderson, president of the Oberlin School of Commerce, who will complete his 47th year with that institution on Aug. 31, 1931. He combines in a very unusual way a wide business experience and a long teaching career. As a young man he kept books in a national bank, and has for a quarter of a century been president of the Peoples Banking Company of Oberlin. He has always been intensely interested in the religious and social side of life. He was one of fourteen men who founded the American Anti Saloon League 38 years ago, only three of whom survive. His greatest success, however, has been as a teacher, and it has been his good fortune to start thousands of young men and women on the road to successful lives. Mr. Henderson was born on a farm near McConnelsville, Morgan County, Ohio, May 18, 1862, the son of John and Cecelia (Richardson) Henderson.

John Henderson was born in Virginia in 1822 and came to Ohio with his parents when he was three years old. They settled in Morgan County where he became a prosperous farmer. He died in 1884 and his wife, born in Morgan County in 1831, died in 1921. Both are buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery, Morgan County. He was a Republican, and held membership in the Methodist Church, and Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Henderson: J. Harvey, lives in Morgan County; Emma, deceased, was the wife of George Hildred; Charles R., lives in Morgan County; John T., the subject of this sketch; William, who was assistant county superintendent of schools, Wooster, Ohio; Jennie, and Walter, who live on the old Henderson homestead in Morgan County; Goodsel, lives in Ashland County; and Frank, deceased.

John T. Henderson obtained his education in the district schools of Morgan County. He became a teacher and during the summer months attended the Morgan County Normal College. Later he studied at Baldwin Wallace College, and in 1884 came to Oberlin as a student in professional penmanship under the late Uriah McKee. He subsequently purchased a half interest in the Oberlin Business Institute, and in 1892 became sole owner. It was incorporated in 1895 as the Oberlin Business College, with Mr. Henderson as president, and in April, 1928, the name of the institution was changed to that of Oberlin School of Commerce, Inc.

In 1885 Mr. Henderson was united in marriage with Miss Ada Lawrence, the daughter of Webster Lawrence, a native of Ohio, now deceased. He and his wife are buried in Mt. Zion Church Cemetery, Morgan County. To Mr. and Mrs. Henderson were born five children: 1. Fred, who is deceased. 2. Elmer C., who is football coach at Tulsa (Okla) University. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, and for a time was football coach at the University of Southern California. He served throughout the World War with the rank of lieutenant, U. S. Navy. He is the owner of a summer camp for boys in the Catalina Islands, and has an annual enrollment of 100 students. 3. Harold L., who is director of the State Bureau of Government Research at Madison, Wis. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and Columbia University, having specialized in the study of city government. For ten years he was director of the Citizens Bureau of Milwaukee, Wis., and went to Madison, Wis., in 1928 as assistant to Governor Kohier. He married Miss Hazel Clark of Wakeman, Ohio, and they have two children: Lawrence, and Shirley. 4. Alice, who is a graduate of Oberlin College. She is the widow of George Close, who was an instructor in the Oberlin School of Commerce. She has two sons: William and James. 5. Herbert R., who is a graduate of Ohio State University, now identified with the Kargis Furniture Manufacturing Company of Evansville, Ind. He married Miss Mary Hedges, of Reading, Mass., and they have three sons: Bancroft, John, and Charles.

Mr. Henderson is a Republican. He is a prominent member of the Methodist Church and for 35 years was a teacher of the Young Peoples Class, as well as the assistant Sunday School superintendent. He is also identified with the Ohio Business School Association, and the National Association of Accredited Commercial Schools.

History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

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