George Washington Henderson

George Washington Henderson

Clarke County, Virginia, USA
Death 3 Feb 1936 (aged 85)
Xenia, Greene County, Ohio, USA
Burial Xenia, Greene County, Ohio, USA
Memorial ID 18747789 · View Source
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George Washington Henderson
George Washington Henderson, son of Vincent and Harriet (Macy) Henderson, was born in Clarke County, Virginia, on November 11, 1850. Nothing is known of the first 14 or 15 years of his life, except that he was born a slave, was practically illiterate up to that time, became employed as a man-servant for a Vermont infantry officer sometime during the Civil War, and accompanied that officer to Vermont at the end of the war.

During the next 70 years he went on to be a long-serving and eminently respected minister and professor of Theology, Latin, Greek and Ancient Literature. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1877, first in his class.

He was also the first African American initiated into Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest collegiate academic honor society in the country. He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree from the UVM in 1880, a Bachelors of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 1883, and, as a recipient of a Hooker Fellowship for Excellence in Theological Studies, spent an additional year of study at Yale, and a further year at the University of Berlin, Germany. After 14 years in New Orleans, where he also served as pastor of the University Church, Rev. Henderson removed to Nashville, Tennessee. From 1904 to 1909 he was Dean of Theology at Fisk University in that city. In 1909 he moved to Xenia, Ohio, where he served as professor of Latin, Greek and Ancient Literature at Wilberforce University until his retirement in 1932.

Rev. Henderson was twice married. His first wife Hattie Eliza Gage, daughter of James and Julia (Nelson) Gage, was preceptress at Craftsbury Academy while he was principal there. They were married August 18, 1884, in Craftsbury, and Hattie accompanied him to Germany during his year of study there. Tragically, Hattie died of complications from childbirth on March 22, 1886, and the surviving child, Willard Atwood Henderson, succumbed to consumption on November 29. After moving to Louisiana, Rev. Henderson was married again, on April 2, 1889, to Mary Virginia Harris, of New Orleans.

Henderson died February 3, 1936, in his 86th year.


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  • Maintained by: James Ahaesy
  • Originally Created by: Bev
  • Added: 2 Apr 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 18747789
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George Washington Henderson (11 Nov 1850–3 Feb 1936), Find a Grave Memorial no. 18747789, citing Cherry Grove Cemetery, Xenia, Greene County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by James Ahaesy (contributor 49059682) .