Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Herndons in:
 • Oak Ridge Cemetery
 • Springfield
 • Sangamon County
 • Illinois
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
William Henry Herndon
Birth: Dec. 25, 1819
Green County
Kentucky, USA
Death: Mar. 18, 1891
Sangamon County
Illinois, USA

Lawyer. He is remembered as the law partner of Abraham Lincoln when he practiced law in Springfield, Illinois, prior to Lincoln's election as the 16th US President. The oldest son of a businessman, his family moved to Macon County, Illinois in 1820 and the following year they relocated to Sangamon County, Illinois and eventually settled in German Prairie, near Springfield. His father built the first tavern in Springfield, served in the Illinois state senate, and was instrumental in having the state capital moved to Springfield from Vandalia, Illinois. From 1836 to 1837 he attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois and returned to Springfield and clerked at the Joshua Speed store where he often engaged in debates, discussions, and poetry readings with Abraham Lincoln. In 1840 he began studying law at the Logan and Lincoln law practice and in November 1844 he passed the bar examination and began practicing law with Lincoln. In 1854 he was elected mayor of Springfield, Illinois. In 1856 he was one of the organizing men of the fledgling Republican Party after the dissolution of the Whig Party. Through his partnership and friendship with Lincoln he was never invited to Lincoln's home for dinner due to his contentious relationship with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. He also admitted that his frustration with Lincoln's overly permissive parenting of his two younger sons, Willie and Tad, who he recalled as undisciplined and disruptive brats in the law offices caused some harsh words during their partnership. His final meeting with Lincoln occurred in 1862 when he visited Washington DC. Following Lincoln's assassination in April 1865 he began to collect stories of Lincoln's life from those who knew him. He was motivated to write a faithful portrait of his friend and law partner, based on his own observations and on hundreds of letters and interviews he had compiled for the purpose, and was determined to present Lincoln as a man, rather than a saint. In the 1880s he collaborated with Jesse W. Weik to put together a biography of Lincoln's life that resulted in a three volume edition called "Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life" (1889). He died from influenza two years later at the age of 72. In film, he was portrayed by Jason Robards, Sr. in "Abraham Lincoln" (1930), Alan Baxter in "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" (1940), Jeffrey DeMunn in the television mini-series "Lincoln" (1988), Keith Carradine in the 1992 movie "Lincoln," Michael Maize in "Saving Lincoln" (2012), and Bob Gunton in the upcoming documentary film The Gettysburg Address" (scheduled for release in Spring 2015). (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Family links: 
  Archer Gray Herndon (1795 - 1867)
  Rebecca Day Herndon (1790 - 1875)
  Mary Jane Maxcy Herndon (1822 - 1861)*
  Anna Miles Herndon (1836 - 1893)*
  James Nathaniel Herndon (1841 - 1915)*
  Anna Maria Herndon Fleury (1843 - 1931)*
  Beverly Powell Herndon (1845 - 1932)*
  Elizabeth R. Herndon-Cooper- Hall (1849 - 1932)*
  Leigh William Herndon (1852 - 1901)*
  Mary F. Herndon Ralston (1856 - 1956)*
  Nina Belle Herndon Cox (1865 - 1901)*
  William Miles Herndon (1870 - 1891)*
  Minnie Herndon Ballard (1875 - 1935)*
  William Henry Herndon (1819 - 1891)
  Elliot Bohannon Herndon (1820 - 1895)*
  Archer Gray Herndon (1825 - 1890)*
  Nathaniel Forquer Herndon (1829 - 1835)*
*Calculated relationship
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Sangamon County
Illinois, USA
Plot: Block 14, 41
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jun 02, 1998
Find A Grave Memorial# 3005
William Henry Herndon
Added by: Creative Commons
William Henry Herndon
Added by: EFB III
William Henry Herndon
Added by: Connie Nisinger
There are 2 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

1st Cousin 5 times removed
- Joe Whitfield
 Added: Jan. 31, 2016

- Charles Robin Rauch
 Added: Jan. 11, 2016

- Mary Alequin
 Added: Oct. 22, 2015
There are 35 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.2 after 21 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service