John Nathaniel Henderson papers, Inclusive: 1908-1961, undated, Bulk: undated
The John Nathaniel Henderson Papers contain correspondence and obituaries about John Henderson’s life as a student and teacher at Baylor University in Independence, his service in the American Civil War, and his work as a lawyer and judge in Texas.
John Nathaniel Henderson was born in Abbeville District, South Carolina, on 1843 February 26. His family moved to Texas in 1848, and John attended Baylor University in Independence starting in 1858. Henderson enlisted along with nearly all male Baylor students in Company E, the “Dixie Blues,” part of the 5th Texas Infantry Regiment. As part of the Texas Brigade in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, the 5th Texas Infantry fought in all the major eastern battles of the war, as some of the finest troops in the Confederate Army. Henderson, however, was wounded at the Battle of Antietam, and suffered the loss of his arm. He returned to Texas and began teaching at Baylor University starting in 1863. He also drilled the male students on campus and served on the staff of Washington County native General Jerome B. Robertson.
After the war, Henderson studied law with several other young men, including two of his brothers. One of these men who studied law with Henderson, J.S. Perry, wrote a eulogy that is in the John Nathaniel Henderson collection. Despite Reconstruction, Henderson’s law practice did quite well, and he was elected district attorney of Bryan in 1874. Henderson won a term as state senator
in 1880, and was elected as district judge in 1890. Perry credits him with removing many of the corrupt and lawless people who had come to Brazos County during Reconstruction. In 1894 John Henderson was made a justice on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He also had time to publish a legal book, The Lease System in Texas.
John Henderson married twice, the first time to Hester Hubert, and the second time to Kate Evans. John and Hester had one child, while John and Kate had three children. Neither date of his
marriages is known. John Nathaniel Henderson died on 1907 December 22.
The collection contains reminisces about Henderson from some of his friends about his service in the Confederate army and his time at Baylor University. His friend J.S. Perry especially provides many details about Baylor in Independence in these reminisces, though the stories do not relate to Henderson directly.
The John Nathaniel Henderson Papers were acquired in one gift from Pauline Foster Stephens at an unknown time, but prior to 1969.
The collection begins in 1908 with correspondence about Henderson, who had recently died. A letter from 1961 contained an enclosed eyewitness account about Henderson as well. The undated literary series also contains eulogies about Henderson and reminisces of working with him in the law field and the Civil War.
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The collection is open for research.
General condition: Good.
John Nathaniel Henderson Papers, Accession #0072, Box #, Folder #, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Accession No. 72.
Described by Paul T. Fisher. Released on 2013-06-17.
Archivist's Notes: This collection contains material on Baylor University in Independence, including several incidents about President Rufus Columbus Burleson interacting with students. Several stories about Burleson and student escapades that have been in Baylor and Independence publications and interpretive materials came from this collection.
Detailed Description of the Collection