Joseph Henderson (pilot)
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Captain Joseph Henderson ca. 1880
September 9, 1826
Charleston, South Carolina
|Died||October 7, 1890|
|Residence||Brooklyn, New York|
|Occupation||American harbor pilot|
|Spouse(s)||Angelina Annetta Weaver|
Early life 
Joseph Henderson was born in Charleston, South Carolina. According to the 1880 Federal Census, Henderson's father and mother were also born in South Carolina. At sixteen (1842), Henderson left Charleston to find passage to New York as a cabin boy on a ship traveling to New York City. It was written in the New York Herald newspaper that "some men on South street remember him in 1845 as a pilot of some standing even then." When Joseph was twenty (1846), he took out his first pilot papers and became adept in all branches of piloting. He was listed in the 1848 Doggett's New York City directory as a seaman at 325 Front Street, New York City.
Henderson married Angelina Annetta Weaver in New York City on February 11, 1849 at the Baptist Tabernacle Church in New York City. The marriage announcement appeared in the New York Herald Newspaper. They had six children: Sarah R., Maurice D., Joseph Jr., Mary Ann, Angelina A., and Alexander D. Henderson (businessman).
Sandy Hook pilot 
Henderson was a notable Sandy Hook pilot in the New York Harbor and along the Atlantic Coast during the Civil War. When Henderson was twenty, he took out his first pilot papers with the Board of Commissioners of Pilots of the state of New York. By the age of twenty-one, he was captain of his own Schooner and a New York and Sandy Hook pilot.
On September 13, 1853, Henderson was listed as one of the pilots and owners of the pilot boat Elwood Walter, No. 7, belonging to the Merchant Pilot Association. The pilot boat was named after the president of the Mercantile Insurance Company, and was built by Mr. Edward T. Williams, of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
On December 17, 1856, Henderson was listed a being a captain for the pilot boat, the USS G. W. Blunt (1861). It was on this ship that he was said to have fallen from the masthead. On January 21, 1857, Henderson was listed as being on the George W. Blunt, No. 11 anchored at Coney Island, hemmed in by the ice. A snowstorm was reported in Brooklyn and there were reports of shipwrecks on the cost and loss of life due to a winter storm.
On March 7, 1867, the pilot boat William Bell No. 24 lay full of water, a mile inside of the outer bar at Amagansett, Long Island. She was part owned by Henderson (5/16th). The vessel was reported as a total loss.
Civil War 
The author, Charles Edward Russell, wrote about Henderson and the Sandy Hook men during the Civil War. Russell said: “In 1862 he was snapped up by the Federal Government to do pilot work on the southern sounds, with which, it is said, he had some yourthful acqaintance. His work for the Government was so valuable, ingenious, and efficient that he received not only thanks but unusual reward in bankable funds. Among the valuable services performed by the Sandy Hook men in that contest was the guiding of naval vessels through the intricate channels of southern waters, conspicuously Albemarle, North Carolina and Pamlico Sound.”
Post-Civil War 
On October 28, 1872, Henderson of the New York pilot boat "Pet, No. 9", sighted the brig Emily. The crew came on board the pilot boat, which lay by the brig until 7 PM, at witch time the Emily capsized. It was not until the next day that the crewmembers were transferred to the steamship Italy and brought to the New York port. On November 5, 1872, Henderson spoke at a meeting of the Board of Commissioners of Pilots about how he and his pilot boat Pet, No. 9, rescued the crew of the brig Emily. In 1883, Henderson was called upon as an expert seaman to determine the height of the water span of the Brooklyn Bridge.
On June 20, 1885, Henderson was selected to escort the French steamer Isère, which carried the Statue of Liberty into the New York Harbor to Bedloe's Island. People lined the docks and boats went to sea to welcome the Isère.
On May 8, 1887, Henderson was mentioned as a pilot in the United States Supreme Court case regarding a collision between the American barkentine Freda A. Willey and the British steamship Martello. The suit said "The Martello was in fault for at an excessive rate of speed in a fog solely responsible for the collision." It went on to say that "Henderson has been a New York and Sandy Hook pilot for nearly forty-two years."
In 1888, Henderson was on board the pilot boat America, No. 21 during the Great Blizzard of 1888, when the vessel rode out the storm off Shinnecock Light. On November 20, 1889, Henderson was commander of the pilot boat Pet, No. 9, which was lost in the Newport, Rhode Island harbor. "She dragged her anchor near Mackerel Cove, Rhode Island and drove ashore, proving a total loss. The agile Henderson escaped with his life."
On August 13, 1890, Henderson took the White Line steamer SS Teutonic (1889) to sea on her first westward race across the Atlantic with the steamship SS City of New York. The race ended in victory for the Teutonic. The race from Queenstown harbor to Sanddy Hook, took 5 days and nineteen hours. On August 21, 1890, Henderson was listed again as the pilot on the liner Teutonic, which was reported as racing against the steamship City of New York. On August 23, 1890, Henderson piloted the USS Baltimore (C-3) to the ocean with the remains of John Ericsson for the funeral in Stockholm, Sweden on September 14, 1890.
On October 4, 1890, Henderson left home in good health and sailed to Sandy Hook on board his pilot boat America, No. 21. He became ill and was brought home to New York. On October 8, Joseph Henderson died (64) at his family home in Brooklyn, New York. The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper carried a front-page article titled: "Captain Joseph Henderson Dead – An Old Pilot and a Long Resident of Brooklyn Passes Away". Henderson was buried in the Green-Wood Cemetery. The Evening World newspaper said, “He was one of the oldest and best known of the Sandy Hook crew. The flag on the New York Sandy Hook pilots’ building, at 20 State Street, hung at half-mast this morning in respect to the memory of Capt. Joseph Henderson, one of the oldest pilots in the service, who died at his home, 633 Willoughby avenue, Brooklyn, yesterday of peritonitis.”
- "Death of an Old Pilot". The New York Evening Post. October 8, 1890. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- 1865 New York State Census and 1878 U.S. Passport Applications.
- "Half a Century of Piloting", October 12, 1890, New York Herald
- Charles Edward Russell, "From Sandy Hook to 62°", 1929, page 148.
- The New York Herald, Feb 13, 1849, page 4.
- Board of Commissioners of Pilots of the State of New York.
- The New York Times, May 16, 1853, pg. 3.
- New York Herald (New York, NY) Page: 1
- New York Herald, page: 7 and the New York Evening Express, page 1.
- "Pilot Henderson Dead". The Evening World, Image provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden. 8-Oct-1890. Retrieved 2013-4-18.
- Charles Edward Russell, "From Sandy Hook to 62°", Page 149, The Century Co., 1929
- Nov 5, 1872; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times, pg. 2.
- The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 9, 1890, pg 1.
- "Old Pilot Henderson, who jumped from the skylight down on the quarter deck of the Isère".ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times, pg. 1.
- THE MARTELLO v. THE WILLEY, 153 U.S. 64 (1894).
- The New York Times, page 3
- The New York Evening Post
- The New York Herald
- The New York Evening Post, 1890.
- "Captain Joseph Henderson Dead". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. October 9, 1890. Retrieved 2013-3-14.
- From Sandy Hook to 62°, Charles Edward Russell, published by Century Co., New York, pg. 148-153.