James Henderson, first Governor of Texas, US Senator

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James Pinckney Henderson

Birthplace: Lincolnton, Lincoln, North Carolina, United States
Death: June 04, 1858 (50)
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Place of Burial: Austin, Travis, Texas, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Major Lawson H Henderson and Elizabeth Henderson
Husband of Frances Henderson
Father of Frances Hus; Julia Biddle Adams and Martha Henderson
Brother of Louisa Margaret Thompson; Lawson F. Henderson; Charles Coteworth Henderson; George Henderson; Walter C. Henderson and 2 others

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About James Henderson, first Governor of Texas, US Senator

He was the first Gov. of Texas


James Pinckney Henderson (March 31, 1808 – June 4, 1858) was a United States and Republic of Texas lawyer, politician, soldier, and the first Governor of the State of Texas.

James P. Henderson was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, on March 31, 1808. He was the son of Lawson and Elizabeth (Carruth) Henderson. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1829. In 1835 he removed to Canton, Mississippi. Due to his growing interest in the Texas Revolution, Henderson began enlistments for service in Texas. He arrived in Texas in June 1836 (after independence had been won) and was commissioned as a brigadier general by David G. Burnet. He was sent back to the United States to recruit for the Republic of Texas army. He organized a company in his native North Carolina and sent it to Texas at his own expense.

After he returned to Texas, Henderson served as attorney general under Sam Houston, and became secretary of state after Stephen F. Austin's death in December 1836. In 1837 he was appointed as a minister from the Republic of Texas to England and France. James P. Henderson married Frances Cox of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (whom he met in France) in October 1839. Upon his return from overseas, Henderson set up a private law practice in San Augustine. In November 1845, he was elected governor of the new state of Texas, and took office on February 19, 1846. While still serving as governor he was granted permission from the state legislature to personally assume command of a division of Texas Rangers being sent to fight in the Mexican-American War. Appointed Major General of Texas Volunteers he assumed command of the so called Texas Division which was composed of two regiments led by colonels John C. Hays and future governor George T. Wood. He served under Zachary Taylor in northern Mexico and fought at the Battle of Monterrey. After the battle the division was disbanded and most of the Texans returned home. Henderson did not run for a second term as governor but later served in the United States Senate from November 9, 1857 until his death on June 4, 1858. He was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D. C., but in 1930 was re-interred in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.

Henderson County, which was established in 1846, and the city of Henderson, founded in 1843 in Rusk County, are named in his honor. James Pickney Henderson Elementary School in Houston, Texas, is named for him.

HENDERSON, JAMES PINCKNEY (1808–1858). James Pinckney Henderson, statesman, soldier, and first governor of the state of Texas, the son of Lawson and Elizabeth (Carruth) Henderson, was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, on March 31, 1808. He attended Lincoln Academy and the University of North Carolina, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1829. After serving as aide-de-camp and major in the North Carolina militia in 1830, he was elected colonel of a regiment. He moved to Canton, Mississippi, in 1835, became interested in news of the Texas Revolution, and began enlistments for the Texas service. He arrived at Velasco, Texas, on June 3, 1836, and was commissioned by David G. Burnet as brigadier general and sent to the United States to recruit for the Texas army. Henderson organized a company in North Carolina and sent it to Texas, reputedly at his own expense. Upon his return to Texas in November 1836, he was appointed attorney general of the republic under Sam Houston and in December 1836 succeeded Stephen F. Austin as secretary of state.

Early in 1837 Henderson was appointed Texas minister to England and France and was commissioned particularly to secure recognition and treaties of amity and commerce. Largely through his efforts both England and France entered into trade agreements with the republic and ultimately recognized Texas independence. While in France, Henderson met Frances Cox of Philadelphia, whom he married in London in October 1839. He returned to Texas in 1840 and set up a law office at San Augustine. In 1844 he was sent to Washington, D.C., to work with Isaac Van Zandt in negotiating a treaty of annexation with the United States. The treaty was signed on April 12, 1844, but was rejected by the United States Senate on June 8, 1844, and Henderson, over his protest, was ordered home by President Houston.

Henderson was a member of the Convention of 1845, was elected governor of Texas in November 1845, and took office in February 1846. With the declaration of the Mexican War and the organization of Texas volunteers, the governor asked permission of the legislature to take personal command of the troops in the field. He led the Second Texas Regiment at the battle of Monterrey and was appointed a commissioner to negotiate for the surrender of that city. Later he served with the temporary rank of major general of Texas volunteers in United States service from July 1846 to October 1846. After the war he resumed his duties as governor but refused to run for a second term. He returned to his private law practice in 1847. After election by the Texas legislature to the United States Senate to succeed Thomas J. Rusk, Henderson served in the Senate from November 9, 1857, until his death, on June 4, 1858. He was buried in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington. In 1930 his remains were reinterred in the State Cemetery in Austin. Henderson County, established in 1846, was named in his honor.


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James Henderson, first Governor of Texas, US Senator's Timeline

March 31, 1808
Lincolnton, Lincoln, North Carolina, United States
December 16, 1843
December 16, 1846
June 4, 1858
Age 50
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Austin, Travis, Texas, United States