Jacob Henderson

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Jacob Henderson was an Irish clergyman and philologist who emigrated to the colonial Provinces of Pennsylvania, then Maryland, where he became a prominent land owner and church leader.

Life before Maryland[edit]

Very little is known about Henderson before 1710. On June 5, 1710, he was admitted to the Holy Orders by the Bishop of London, Henry Compton and appointed to the Mission at Dover then part of the Province of Pennsylvania and known as Dover Hundred.[1]

In 1711, he traveled to New York and was apparently disturbed by what he observed in the churches there. In June 1712, he returned to England and described the state of the Church of England in New York and New Jersey as unacceptable, and implicating Governor Robert Hunter. While Hunter wrote a written rebuttal to this assessment, it served to raise Henderson's stature.[1]

Gathering wealth in Maryland[edit]

In December 1712, Henderson returned to the new world after being appointed to a Mission at Patuxent Hundreds (without a parish).

Mary Stanton[edit]

Mary Stanton was the third and final wife of Mareen Duvall who died in 1684 and she administered his substantial estate.[2][3] Duvall had purchased sizeable tracts of land, including Catton, later known as Belair as well as owning Middle Plantation in Davidsonville, Maryland.[4]

In 1696, she married Henry Ridgely.[5] In 1700, Ridgely purchased an additional 100 acres (0.40 km2) adjacent to Catton called Enfield Chase Upon Ridgely's death in 1699, his third wife, now twice widowed,[3] was executrix of the will and inherited the properties. Mary had previously inherited Middle Plantation in Davidsonville, Maryland when her first husband, Mareen Duvall died in 1699.[4]

Mary married Henderson in 1713, quickly establishing the man as a wealthy landowner.[1]

First Parish[edit]

In 1713, St. Anne's Parish in Annapolis, Maryland had become vacant and Henderson was asked to serve there as well, despite living about 20 miles (32 km) away. He served there for a year.[1]

That same year, he and his wife built a small chapel near their residence at Belair, which was known as Henderson's Chapel or Forest Chapel.[1][4]

Queen Anne Parish and St Barnabas[edit]

It is not clear if Rev. Johnathan White died in 1717 or was removed from the position as Rector of Queen Anne Parish.[1] On December 17, 1717, Reverend Jacob Henderson was appointed as rector of Queen Anne Parish.[3]

End of in Mission at Patuxent[edit]

In 1723, the Bishop of London, Dr. John Robinson died, and his successor, Dr. Edmund Gibson chose not to renew Henderson's appointment to the Mission. Henderson then focused exclusively on the Parish.[1]

Mission of the Colony[edit]

In 1729, Henderson traveled to England for 18 months to discuss the difficulties he found in the Colonies. When he returned, he had been appointed to the overall Mission of the Colony. The clergy welcomed his return, but the Laity were bitterly opposed.[1]

He then convened the Conventions of the Clergy on both the western and eastern shores of the Province. Over the next several years, he focused on the issue of discipline and profligacy among the clergy. This met with a great deal of resistance and by 1734, he resigned his appointment, being the last representative of the Bishop in the Colony.[1]

Death of Mary and Holy Trinity Church[edit]

On 19 January 1735, Henderson's wife Mary died. She was buried in Henderson's Chapel.[1] In 1737, Henderson gave the chapel and 4 acres (16,000 m2) of land for the use of Queen Anne's Parish called "the Glebe whereon there is a Chapple now standing." Almost 100 years later, in 1836 Henderson's Chapel became an independent congregation, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.[1][4][6]

Later voyages to England[edit]

By this time, Henderson had become good friends with Provincial Governor Samuel Ogle.[1] On March 30, 1737 for the sum of £500, Henderson sold three parcels of land to Ogle for him to build his Governor's estate.[7]

On July 6, 1737, Ogle granted Henderson leave of absence from the Province for 18 months to return to England. During this leave, Henderson was elected to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and returned to Maryland in May 1739. Nine years later, in August 1748, Ogle granted Henderson another leave of 18 months for England. Henderson returned for the final time in April 1750.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

Henderson died on August 27, 1751 after 34 years of service at St. Barnabas and Queen Anne. Having no heirs, he bequeathed all of his holdings estimated to be valued at the time at least $5,000, to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Sprague, William Buell (1859). Annals of the American Pulpit; or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty Five, Volume V. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers. pp. 34–38. 
  2. ^ Williams, T. J. C.; Folger McKinsey (1979) [1910]. History of Frederick County, Maryland, Vol 2. L.R. Titsworth & Co./Clearfield Co. p. 948. ISBN 0-8063-8012-8. 
  3. ^ a b c Warfield, Joshua Dorsey (July 1905). The Founders of Anne Arundel And Howard Counties, Maryland. Baltimore, Maryland: Kohn & Pollock. p. 106. ISBN 0-8063-7971-5. 
  4. ^ a b c d Baltz, Shirley Vlasak (1984). A Chronicle of Belair. Bowie, Maryland: Bowie Heritage Committee. pp. 1–9. LCCN 85165028.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "baltz" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ Barnes, Robert William (October 31, 2005). Maryland Marriage Evidences, 1634-1718. Genealogical Publishing Company. p. 277. ISBN 0-8063-1760-4. 
  6. ^ "A History of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church". Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  7. ^ Baltz, Shirley Vlasak (1984). A Chronicle of Belair. Bowie, Maryland: Bowie Heritage Committee. p. 9. LCCN 85165028.