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The 19th century was a defining period for the melting pot culture of America. In the year 1800, American independence was only 25-years-old. The capital was moved from Philadelphia to Washington. Money from many countries circulated throughout America. Approximately 80% of Americans worked on a farm.

The number of immigrants arriving in U. S. ports prior to 1819 was estimated at 250,000. The most numerous were the Scots-Irish, including some of our own Hendersons who originally came from Scotland but spent a generation or more in the Ulster province of Northern Ireland. Hard times in Scotland and Ireland and the promise of new land and new status lured these immigrants to their new farms and homes.

The number of people coming to the United States in the 1830s was 599,000, four times the number that came in the 1820’s. The largest groups continued to be the Germans the Irish, the Scots and Scots-Irish and the English escaping the political and economic conditions in the Old World. Understandably, it was a time when Americans from different states could barely understand each other because they spoke with such different accents and even different languages. Americans in Vermont spoke French, New Yorkers spoke Dutch, and the settlers in Pennsylvania spoke German.

Cotton, the crop that dominated southern agriculture, relied heavily on slave labor. Southern society stratified around land and slave ownership, and the wealth derived from cotton plantations. Some claim it was slavery that caused the Civil War which cast a pall over the 1860’s with many of our Hendersons serving in the ranks on both sides. It was a cruel conflict and it affected every aspect of society.

By the end of the century, the United States went from fledging democracy to the status of an emerging world power. The rapid transition seen in the 19th century inevitably and forever changed the psyche of the people who lived through this tumultuous period. Our Henderson ancestors lost some of their peculiarities of accent, custom and behavior, marks of the old Scottish culture. They were becoming different when compared with their parents and grandparents. They were becoming New Yorkers, Virginians, Carolinians, and Tennesseans. Among all the new labels attached to our ancestors, one remained the same. They continued to be pioneers as they moved further and further west into Texas, the Great Plains of the mid west and California, all the while, their Scottish identity fading slowly away.

During the 19th century, our Hendersons made their mark on America. According to some sources, there were approximately 23,000 Hendersons in the United States during the 1880 US Census. The Henderson name was attached to numerous places on the map like Henderson, PA; Hendersonville, NC; Henderson Ford; Henderson Branch; Henderson Ridge; Henderson Creek; and other such locations. We were a part of the tide of immigrants who came to this country and over the period of 100 years changed it mostly for the better, sometimes for the worse.

Listed below are the names of some of our 19th Century First Hendersons in America. We invite you to review our information in detail by entering the table full screen.

There are a number of ways Henderson genealogists can use this unique genealogy tool offered by Clan Henderson Society. You can look in the table for someone you know. You can compare the family tree of the First Henderson in our table with your own family tree. If you do not find your First Henderson, you can add his name and family tree to our database. Contact the project administrator for instructions on how to join our project at FirstHenderson-Admin@clanhendersonusa.org

Points of Contact

To learn more about the Clan Henderson DNA Project contact the DNA Project Administrator:

David Henderson

To get personal assistance with DNA or Genealogy related issues, contact the Clan Henderson Society DNA and Genealogy Coordinator. She can answer simple questions and suggest one of over 30 volunteers who might provide assistance. Note: this is a free service, managed by volunteers. First, priority is given to members of the Society. Second, we ask that you have patience--we are not a "for profit" company.

Tracy Rowan DNA and Genealogy Coordinator