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Famous Hendersons

Alexander Henderson

Alexander Henderson, a merchant, and politician in the British colony and the American state of Virginia, was born March 2, 1738, in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.  He immigrated in 1756 to Colchester, Virginia, and later moved in 1786 to Dumfries, Virginia, and built the house where he lived with his family; that house is part of the National Register of Historic Places. 


He was married to Sarah (Sally) Moore and they were the parents of six sons.  The four who lived to maturity included: Alexander Henderson, 1778 - 1838; Archibald Henderson, 1783 - 1859; James Linger Henderson, 1784 - 1858; and, Thomas Henderson, 1784 - 1854. 


Alexander Henderson was a Vestryman at Pohick Church, a Magistrate of both Fairfax County and Prince William County, a Member of the Virginia Assembly, and a Virginia Delegate to the Mt. Vernon Conference in 1785 which led to the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  Alexander Henderson died on November 22, 1815, and is buried beside his wife in the Henderson Cemetery at Montclair, Prince William County, Virginia.


One son, Archibald Henderson, born at Colchester, Fairfax County, Virginia on January 21, 1783, and raised at Henderson House in Dumfries, Virginia joined the US Marine Corps at the age of 18.  Five years later he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on June 4, 1806.  He soon became a First Lieutenant on March 6, 1807, and served aboard the famous vessel, USS Constitution, in naval forays against pirates and foreign enemies.  Archibald became a Captain on April 1, 1811, and served during the War of 1812 as a Marine officer.  He was named a Brevet Major in 1814 and held that rank until he became the Acting Commandant of the US Marine Corps at its headquarters in Washington, DC on September 16, 1818.  He became a Lieutenant Colonel as the Commandant of the Marine Corps on October 17, 1820.  He joined other Marines in warfare against the Indians in Florida while serving as Commandant.  He would serve as the Commandant through promotion to Brevet Brigadier General on June 27, 1837, until his death on January 6, 1859.  Archibald Henderson took on the nickname of “Grand Old Man of the Marine Corps” and he served nearly 40 years as Commandant of the Marine Corps.  He is buried at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC.


Another son, Alexander Henderson (Jr.), also was raised at Henderson House in Dumfries, Virginia.  He joined other family members homesteading the western part of Virginia to start plantation operations near what is now Williamstown, WV (closer to Marietta, OH than other urban areas of WV).  His son, George Washington Henderson, established Henderson Hall Plantation about 1798 and it remained in the Henderson family for six generations until 2007, Henderson Hall Plantation is recognized as a Historical District, and the mansion is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. 


The information about Alexander Henderson - an immigrant from Glasgow to VA - and two of his sons - Archibald Henderson - Commandant of the US Marine Corps for about forty years  - and Alexander Henderson (Jr.) and his son George Washington Henderson - founders of a plantation in present-day WV near Marietta, OH - is gleaned from facts offered on Wikipedia.  For additional information about the WV Hendersons, read the book about the Legacy of Henderson Hall, by Pamela Brust (a docent at Henderson Hall Plantation).

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