My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Lewis County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

Elder D. P. Henderson, eldest son of James and Margaret (White) Henderson, was born in Fayette County, within three miles of Lexington, Ky., on May 18, 1810. His grandparents emigrated from the State of Virginia to Fayette County in 1782 or 1783, and the father of the subject of this brief sketch was among the first male children born in Lexington; probably the first. His ancestors on all sides were Scotch, some of whom settled in the North of Ireland. He was placed in school at the age of six years, and at the age of seventeen his teacher gave him a certificate of qualification in all the branches of an English education, including geometry, trigonometry, engineering, surveying, navigation, etc. In January, 1829, he adopted the profession of a teacher, and continued teaching until failing health caused him to abandon the schoolroom. In company with his father and uncle, Archibald, he left Kentucky May 1, 1831, and arrived in Jacksonville, Ill., May 12. In the fall of 1831, with his father and family, he settled in Morgan County, near Jacksonville. Ill health caused him to return to Kentucky in June, 1832. In July he was baptized by Elder Barton W. Stone, near Georgetown, Scott County, and took membership in the Christian Church, in Georgetown, Ky. In September he returned to Illinois, in company with Elder B. W. Stone, and Dr. M. A. Feris. In October, 1832, the Church of Christ in Jacksonville, was organized with eighty-seven charter members. He was one of the number, and commenced public speaking in November of that year, and from that day until the present his life has been devoted to the cause of Christianity, the salvation of sinners, and the up-building of the church. Having studied the elementary principles of jurisprudence, he entered the clerk’s office under Dennis Rockwell, then clerk of all the offices in Morgan County, and for many years attended to the business. His fellow citizens, without his solicitation, presented him the office of judge of probate, which he accepted and filled for four years. He was united in marriage to Miss Eliza Smedley, in Jacksonville, by Elder Barton W. Stone, on January 19, 1837. In 1841 he became partner and associate editor of the Christian Messenger, a religious monthly, with Elder Stone, whose death in November, 1844, left him alone, to fill out the remaining time to their subscribers. In the month of May, 1848, he visited Missouri with his wife and adopted daughter, Mary Ellen Johnson, and preached almost daily in the counties of Marion, Monroe, Howard and Boone. During this visit he was invited to take the pastoral charge of the Christian Church, in Columbia, Boone Co., Mo. He accepted the invitation, and entered upon the work in February, 1849, remaining until the spring of 1853. He was the projector and chief laborer in obtaining from the Legislature of the State a most liberal charter for the Christian Female College, to be located in Columbia, Mo., to place females upon an equal footing with the males, so far as a liberal education was offered to the youth of the Nation. The subject of this sketch traveled extensively through the northern portion of the State, delivering lectures on female education, and succeeded in raising funds to start the college on a firm basis. That institution is an ornament to the State, and a blessing to the females, hundreds of whom have received, meritoriously, their diplomas. Before leaving Columbia, in conjunction with able scholars and philanthropists, he determined to erect a substantial building for the co-ordinate instruction of the sexes, in which both male and female students could pursue the same course of studies, recite in the same classes, and be free from political and religious partyism and changes, which too often occur under legislative administrations. Canton, Lewis Co., Mo., was selected as the site for such an institution, and the building was completed in 1856. James Shannon, LL. D. the distinguished scholar, was elected president of the university, with an able corps of professors. The Legislature of the State having granted a very liberal charter for Christian University, located near Canton, Lewis Co., Mo., the subject of this sketch traveled and labored to build up the institution on a firm basis. For his labors and marvelous success he has never received a cent. “Pro bono publico” is his motto, and he looks for a heavenly reward. In 1853 he removed his family to Canton, and devoted himself to raising funds for the university, traveling, lecturing and preaching. As the president of the board of trustees, he chose Elder Jacob Creath, of Palmyra, to travel with him, and their success, both in Illinois and Missouri, was most gratifying. In 1855 he was called to be pastor of the Christian Church, corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets, in Louisville, Ky. During his pastorate, without solicitation, or his knowledge, he was nominated, and his name sent to the Senate of the United States, by the President, and confirmed consul to Carrara, Italy. He declined the honor, and remained at his post until the year 1868. He resigned his charge in Louisville, and was appointed corresponding editor of the Christian Standard, published in Cleveland, Ohio. On this mission he visited Washington City, D. C. The struggling band of Christians in that city was reorganized during the winter, and he remained there until June, the church having obtained his release from the Christian Standard. He left Washington City, met his family in Jacksonville, Ill., and accepted an invitation to become the pastor of the Christian Church in Chicago. He removed his family from Louisville, in October of the same year, and entered upon his pastoral labors. He remained in Chicago until July, 1870, when he returned home to Canton, Mo. While in Chicago he organized the Central Christian Church, and, soon after his removal to Canton, he was called to St. Louis, where he organized the Central Church, and preached for that church nearly two years. He was unwilling to remove his family from Canton, and resigned his pastorate in St. Louis. Since then he has preached for many churches, holding protracted meetings, and spending nearly six months in Oakland and San Francisco, Cal. He was president of the board of trustees of Christian University for fifteen years, and resigned, having succeeded in raising in lands, bonds, notes and money, more than a million of dollars. But the civil war swept away the prospects of the endowment, and left only the building, apparatus, and campus. During the war he was secretary of the United States Sanitary Commission, one of the hospital inspectors, and labored day and night for the relief of the afflicted. His wife died January 7, 1875, in Canton. Her remains are interred in Diamond Grove Cemetery, near Jacksonville, Ill., where in youth she and her husband were married, and held their church membership.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 293 biographies included in the Lewis County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Lewis, Clark, Knox and Scotland Counties, Missouri published in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: Lewis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Lewis County, Missouri family biographies here: Lewis County, Missouri Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.