TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the James Pinckney Henderson Family Papers, 1837-1881
James Pinckney Henderson (1808-1858) was a statesman, soldier, and first governor of the state of Texas. He was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, to Lawson and Elizabeth (Carruth) Henderson. After serving 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 President Houston ordered Henderson, over his protest, home.
Henderson was a member of the Convention of 1845, was elected governor of Texas in November 1845, and took office in February 1846. The Mexican War was declared, and Henderson 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.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "James Pinckney Henderson," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/fhe14.html (accessed May 17, 2010).
Correspondence, diary, cards, petitions, and sermons relate to aspects of the career of Henderson, including military activities while a soldier in Mexican war and Commander of 2nd Texas Regiment at Battle of Monterrey; and include a receipt of petitions from settlers in Texas seeking protection from hostile Indians while Henderson was governor. Other material deals with estate settlement, with the social, religious, and other interests and activities of Henderson’s wife, Frances Cox Henderson, in Europe, and with the life of Henderson’s grandfather, John Carruth.
The 1982 addition to the James Pinckney Henderson Family Papers consists of one letter, dated April 29, 1844, concerning the annexation of Texas.
James Pinckney Henderson Family Papers, 1837-1881, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Portions of this collection are unprocessed.