My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  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.

* * * *

ROBERT MILLER HENDERSON, lawyer, soldier, judge, was born in the vicinity of Carlisle, Cumberland county, Pa., March 11, 1827, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, comprising on both paternal and maternal side, men prominent in the history of the county and State. The Henderson and Parker families emigrated from the Province of Ulster, Ireland, in the early part of the Eighteenth century; Richard Parker, and Janet, his wife, settled three miles west of Carlisle in 1724, acquiring lands by patent near the Presbyterian Glebe Meeting House (now Meeting House Springs), on which he had resided, as recited in his application “ye ten years past.” His grandson, Major Alexander Parker, was a distinguished officer in the Revolution; an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati; and the founder of Parkersburg, W. Va., at the mouth of the Little Kanawha. His remains rest in the Parker-Henderson plot in the “old Meeting House Springs graveyard.” Thomas Henderson settled about the same date in the Pequea Valley, then within the confines of Chester, now Lancaster county. His grandson, Mathew Henderson, in 1790, became a citizen of Cumberland county, and resided in Middleton township, near Carlisle, and married Margaret Wilson (nee Miller), daughter of Robert Miller, and widow of Major James Armstrong Wilson, who was the son of Thomas Wilson, one of the earlier provincial judges. Major Wilson was educated at Princeton and read law with Richard Stockton. He was admitted to the Bar of Cumberland county on motion of James Wilson, in 1774, and died in Carlisle March 17, 1788, at the early age of thirty-six years, a victim of mob violence. Robert Miller was a man of prominence in the affairs of the Province, and a member of the Committee on Correspondence for Cumberland county during the period of the Revolution.

William Miller Henderson, son of Mathew and Margaret (Miller) Henderson, was born May 28, 1795, in Cumberland county, and died at his residence, “Oakland” farm, a short distance east of Carlisle, Oct. 16, 1886. He spent the early part of his life in Perry county, and with other Perry county men, under the command of Capt. John Creigh, served for a short time in the war of 1812. He subsequently returned to Cumberland county, married Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew and Margaret (Williams) Parker, and soon attained a position of influence and prominence in the community. In connection with his brother-in-law, the late Richard Parker, under the firm name of Henderson & Parker, he established a successful milling and distilling business. He was one of the original subscribers to the Cumberland Valley Railroad, and for a number of years a member of the Board of Directors. He died at the advanced age of almost ninety-two years, — quoting from an obituary notice in the Carlisle Herald — “running back to the days of Washington his life increased and declined through the stormy scenes and great conflicts which attended the ‘Building of the Nation.’ Through them all he was a representative man and an American citizen in the broadest meaning of the term.”

Robert Miller Henderson, his son, was educated in the public schools of Carlisle and at Dickinson College, graduating from the former in 1838, and from the latter in 1845. He pursued the study of law with the Hon. John Reed, and on Aug. 25, 1847, was admitted to the Bar of Cumberland county. He at once entered upon the practice of his profession at Carlisle. His interest and activity in the politics of that period gave him the Whig nomination for the Legislature in 1851, and although the party in his district was in the minority, he was elected, and also re-elected in 1852. At the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion, he raised a company at Carlisle, of which he was elected captain, and was duly commissioned April 21, 1861. The company proceeded to Camp Wayne at West Chester, and formed Company A, 7th Pennsylvania Reserves, 36th P. V. I. This regiment was attached to the 2d Brigade, McCall’s Division, of the Army of the Potomac. Capt. Henderson, served as judge advocate, court martial of the division from December, 1861 to June, 1862. The 7th Pennsylvania Reserves was sent to the front on July 25, 1861, two days after the first battle of Bull Run and saw the hardest kind of service. In the summer of 1862 it went into the memorable seven days fight before Richmond, with full ranks, and when the fighting was over scarcely 200 of the brave men were left to answer the roll call. While leading his company at Charles City Cross Roads, on June 30, 1862, in this series of battles — the color guard having fallen — Capt. Henderson (quoting from the Official Records) “seized the standard and bore it off the field.” receiving at the same time a wound in the left shoulder. Although wounded he refused to leave his command, and on July 4th, upon recommendation of Brig. Gen. Seymore, was promoted for “brilliant gallantry” to Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment. Soon afterward the Reserves were transferred from the Peninsula to the Army of Northern Virginia, then under command of Gen. Pope, and on the 29th and 30th of August, 1862, participated in the second battle of Bull Run. Here the Seventh was led by Lieutenant Colonel Henderson, and on the evening of the second day, while engaged in a desperate struggle for a vitally important position, he was shot from his horse, a minie ball passing through his body. He was borne from the field by four of his soldiers, all of whom feared and believed that he had received a mortal wound. He, however, recovered, and on the 2d of January following, rejoined his regiment at Belle Plain, and was detailed by Gen. Doubleday, Inspector General of the Division. He served in that capacity until April 18, 1863, when President Lincoln appointed him Provost Marshal of the Fifteenth District of Pennsylvania, in which position he served until the close of the war and was honorably discharged Nov. 10, 1865. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted colonel and brigadier general for gallantry in the seven days fight before Richmond, and in the second battle of Bull Run.

After the war Gen. Henderson resumed the practice of his profession at Carlisle. In April, 1874, he was appointed by Gov. Hartranft, additional law judge of the Harrisburg district (12th), composed of the counties of Dauphin and Lebanon. In November of that year he was elected to the position by the people without opposition, and in January, 1882, became the President Judge of the District. He subsequently resigned from the Bench, and resumed practice at Carlisle, associating with him his former partner, John Hays, Esq., and his son, J. Webster Henderson, under the firm name of Henderson & Hays. A few years later Mr. Hays withdrew from the firm, and Judge Henderson & Son continue in practice. The degree of Doctor of Laws (LL. D.) was conferred upon him some years ago by Dickinson College, his alma mater. He is one of the original members and officers of the Pennsylvania State Bar Association, and was the first president of the Cumberland County Bar Association. He is president of the Carlisle Deposit Bank; also of the Board of Trustees of Metzger College; a trustee of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School; a director of the Carlisle Gas & Water Company; and of the Manufacturing Company. He is a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; the Grand Army of the Republic; and president of the “Pennsylvania Reserves Association.” He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Scotch-Irish Society; Phi Beta Kappa; and other learned and patriotic societies. For many years Judge Henderson has been a trustee of the First Presbyterian Church, of Carlisle, and a ruling elder of the congregation since 1871. He married June 7, 1833, Margaret Ann Webster, daughter of John Skinner and Elizabeth (Thornburgh) Webster, of “Mt. Repose,” Baltimore county, Maryland.

* * * *

This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

View additional Cumberland County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Biographies

View a historic 1911 map of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

View family biographies for other states and counties

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