An Illustrated History of Central Oregon, Western Historical Publishing Company, Spokane, WA. 1905, page 296-297.

* A portrait of Mr. Henderson appears between pages 296 and 297.

* A portrait has been posted on-line at

JOHN L. HENDERSON, who came to Hood River with a capital of two hundred and fifty dollars, has property now valued at over twenty-five thousand dollars. He is a prominent citizen, an attorney at law and also a practical surveyor. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 11, 1851. His father, John Henderson, was a native of Indiana and his father, also John Henderson, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Scotland and came to the United States when young, settling finally in Mississippi. The grandfather was admitted to the practice of law in Cincinnati. He was prominent in state and national affairs, being the only Whig ever elected to the United States senate from Mississippi, and was a colleague with Webster, Clay and Calhoun in the senate, receiving from Daniel Webster the commendation of being the best land lawyer in the United States. In 1850, he was impeached for assisting in a filibustering scheme, known as the "Lopez Expedition," connected with Cuba's struggles. The officers of that expedition had their headquarters in his office in New Orleans. He defended himself in the senatorial trial and was acquitted. At one time, he took several Spanish claims against the United States for a large tract of land, of over twenty miles frontage on the Gulf of Mexico and gained his case after seventeen years of fighting. He received as fee, a portion of the land, part of which he sold later for one hundred thousand dollars. His son, our subject's father, was also an attorney at law and one of the principal leaders of the Republican party in New Orleans right after the war. He was shot in a riot there, in July, 1866, and died soon after. Our subject's mother, Catherine Leland, was born in Boston and commenced teaching school when fifteen years of age and taught until seventy-five, thus spending sixty years in that worthy work. She is now eighty six, being born in 1818, and has traveled all over the civilized world and spent three years abroad, after being seventy years of age. She is a linguist of rare ability and speaks French, Spanish, Italian and German, besides her native tongue and is thoroughly educated. For many years, she fitted students for Cornell University and was known as one of the best educators of the day. Her home is at Hood River but she spends much time in the east. Our subject's father was conscripted in the confederate army, but deserted at the first opportunity and joined the union army, fighting under General Banks.

John L. first attended school at North Fork, Arkansas and when six years or age, went to Boston, with his mother, where he attended six months in a private institution. Later, he received instruction in a private school his mother conducted in Mississippi then studied in the Jesuit college, and high school in New Orleans. Afterward, he took a course in a military school at Brattleboro, Vermont and until 1869, in Cornell University. He came west during his sophomore year and finally, on August 4, 1870, arrived in Portland. For eight years he was teaching in the Willamette valley, holding the principalship of several schools. Later, he taught in a military academy in Oakland, California. Then he was principal of the public schools in Helsboro and Olympia, Washington for two and one years respectively, and was head of the Olympia collegiate institute in the same city for six years. Next we find him in charge of the Chehalis Indian reservation, after which he took up real estate and abstract business in Olympia and made considerable money. In January, 1891, Mr. Henderson went to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in the same line of business and was there admitted to the practice of law, which he has followed since. In February, 1898, he opened an office in Hood River and since that time has continued here in the practice of his profession. Up to the time of the Spanish war, Mr. Henderson was a stanch Democrat but is now a Republican, having imbibed the doctrines of expansion from his grandfather, Senator Henderson. He holds a prominent position in politics in his county and is a very active and influential man.

In 1873, Mr. Henderson married Miss Harriett E. Humphrey, at Harrisburg, Oregon, her native place. Her father, Alfred Humphrey, a native of Ohio and a graduate of Oberlin College, crossed the plains in 1851. Mr. Humphrey married Miss Polly Loomis, a native of New York, and descended from an old and respected family of noted ancestors. Mr. Henderson celebrated his second marriage, July 29, 1897. Marian I. Grimes, a native of Rapides Parish, Louisiana, then becoming his bride. The father, John C. Grimes, came from an old Scotch family, the name being originally called Graeme. He married Mary White, a native of Louisiana and of a very prominent southern family. Mr. Henderson has one brother, Louis F. Henderson, for ten years a professor in the state university at Moscow, Idaho. Mr. Henderson has the following named children: Leland, at New Orleans, Louisiana, in the real estate business; Louis A., a student at the state university at Eugene, Oregon; Edwin A., at Hood River, Oregon; Sidney E., in the high school at Olympia; and Mrs. Faith F. Lott. To the second marriage two children have been born, Lynn R. and William E., aged about six and two years, respectively.

Mr. Henderson is a member of the I.O.O.F., of the Encampment and the K.P. He has passed through nearly all the chairs in these orders and has frequently been a delegate to the grand lodge. Mrs. Henderson is a member of the Congregational church.

They are respected people, whose kindly and genial ways have won the admiration and esteem of all who have had the pleasure of their acquaintance. Mr. Henderson has won a splendid success during his interesting career and has fully merited the many encomiums which have been generously bestowed upon him.

We desire to state in this connection that Mr. Henderson is a man of great physical endurance and powers. Among other feats he has performed, we would mention that of swimming, in which art, he is very expert and skillful. He has made many long and difficult tests, and one was to swim from Cat Island lighthouse to Bay Saint Louis, in the Gulf of Mexico, and another was to swim from Hood River to Cascade Locks. The former was a distance of sixteen miles and the latter was a stretch of twenty-two miles.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in January 2005 by Jeffrey L. Elmer. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.

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