Joseph M. Henderson (1841 – )

”JOSEPH M. HENDERSON has long been identified with the interests of  Tarrant county, Texas, is enthusiastic over its progress and development, and is found among the front ranks of its most enterprising citizens. He arrived in Tarrant county when this whole country was a sea of grass, without a mark of civilization anywhere. With his team he was the first to drag a log over the grass to mark the road for travelers to Dallas.

Mr. Henderson was born in Bradley county, Tennessee, March 21, 1841, and in 1845 moved with his parents from there to Cooper county, Missouri. His father died in Missouri, August 8, 1846, and his mother was afterward married, her second husband dying in 1849, while on his way to California. In 1851 she and her children emigrated with some friends to Texas, and located near where the subject of our sketch now lives, in the vicinity of Birdville. Here he grew to manhood. His education was limited to that received in the common schools. Mrs. Henderson bought 320 acres of prairie land, upon which she settled and where she passed

her remaining days and died, her death occurring September 3, 1880. She was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and was a woman in whose life was portrayed that amiability and courage which so characterized the pioneer mothers. After her death Mr. Henderson bought the interest of the other heirs to the old homestead, has also made other land purchased, and is now the owner of 1,715 acres of fine black soil, all under fence, and 300 acres in a high state of cultivation, the rest being used for stock purposes. He rents the most of his cultivated land and gives his personal attention to the stock business, making a specialty of grading both cattle and horses. He has some fine specimens of shorthorn cattle. He also fattens beef cattle for market.

For years Mr. Henderson has taken an active interest in political matters, and has filled some responsible and lucrative offices. In 1876 he was nominated by the Democratic party, of which he is an enthusiastic member, for Sheriff of Tarrant county, was duly elected, and served two terms, his second term expiring in 1880. He also served two terms, four years, as Tax Collector of the county, and his whole public service has been characterized by the strictest fidelity. Besides his valuable farm above aluded to, he has acquired other interests. He has rental property in Fort Worth, and is a stockholder in the Traders’ Bank.

Like most of the middle-aged men of this country, Mr. Henderson has a war record. He enlisted in July, 1862, in Green’s brigade and Waller’s battalion, which ‘was consigned to the Trans-Mississippi Department, in which he continued until the close of the war. He was in some hotly contested battles, and did a large amount of skirmishing; was on the Banks raid up Red river. In the last battle of Yellow Bayou he was wounded in the mouth by a minie ball, which knocked out five teeth and broke his jaw bone. He still has the minie ball. Thus disabled, he came home on furlough and remained two months, at the end of that time returning to his command. At the time of Lee’s surrender he was on the lower Brazos, his command was there disbanded, and from there he directed his course homeward.

Of Mr. Henderson’s parents, we further record that they were William and Serena (Ware) Henderson, and that they were natives, respectively, of Virginia and Tennessee. The father was a farmer and slave owner, and, as already stated, died in Missouri. Beyond this, little is known of the history of the Henderson family. The maternal grandfather, John Ware, was a native of Tennessee. He also died in Missouri. His widow and her family came to Texas in 1851, with the Henderson family and others, and settled in this county. She died in 1863, leaving a son and four daughters, viz.: Margaret, Samuel, Mary, Nancy, and Serena. Margaret and Mary are the only ones of this number now living, and

Margaret is eighty-six years of age; both have large families. Six children constituted the Henderson family, namely: John E., who was killed in the battle of Mansfield; Mary J., who died at the age of eighteen years; Joseph M., the subject of this article; Emily A., widow of John Acres; William C., a farmer and stock dealer of Tarrant county; and Sarah, wife of James Hardesty, of Fort Worth.

In April, 1888, Mr. Henderson married Miss Ishie Jewell, who was born in Parker county, Texas, in 1865, daughter of H. C. Jewell, a native of Tennessee. Mr. Jewell came to Texas in 1848, and first settled in Lamar county, from whence he successively moved to Grayson, Collin, Hill, Parker and Tarrant counties. He is now a resident of Fort Worth, and is engaged in the real-estate business. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson have two children; Modinia, born February 21, 1889; and Robert W., born December 9, 1891.

Mr. Henderson is a Royal Arch and Knight Templar Mason, and a member of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mrs. Henderson is a Methodist.”

Source:  History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Tarrant and Parker Counties, The Lewis Publishing Companies, Chicago, 1895, page 506-7


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