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An Overview of the Henderson History

MacEanruig’s, proud sons of Henry…the HENDERSON’s, decendents of a King of the Picts. We are a noble collection of five family bloodlines that took hold in Caithness, Glencoe, Fordell, and Liddesdale–by way of the Shetlands and Ulster. Our ancestors are as old a family as any clan in the Highlands.

In the early 16th century young Henry Gunn decided to separate himself from the constant fighting between the Gunn and Keith clans and his descendents emerged as the Henderson’s of Caithness.

It was James Henderson, a former Lord Advocate of Scotland, for whom the lands of Fordell were erected into a barony in 1511. The Fordell Henderson’s are the line from which our current Chief of the Name and Arms of Henderson, Dr. Alistair D. Henderson, is descended.

In the Shetland’s, in 1582, the King of Denmark gave the patronymic Henryson to all subsequent generates of William Magnusson. By the 17th century, many of Shetland’s Henderson’s migrated to the border regions of Liddesdale and later, evidence suggests that large numbers went on to Ulster and then, beyond.

At the time of the Massacre of Glencoe, in 1692, our Gaelic-speaking ancestors served the MacDonald Chief  (Mac Ian) as the traditional pipers of his Clan.  Of 38 men, women and children killed that fateful morning, 22 were Henderson’s.

Notable people with MacEanruig (Henderson) in their blood include:

Note: MacEanruig is pronounced “Mac-IAN-Rick”

* Over 4300 members “gathered” into the Clan Henderson Society

* A key player in the Presbyterian Reformation in Scotland.

* Founders of two Scotch whiskey distilleries (Old Pulteney and Caol Ila).

* J.E.B Stuart, the Confederate Cavalryman.

* A Lord Advocate of Scotland.

* The longest serving Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

* The first Governor of Texas.

* Mark Twain.

* A Chief Justice of the United States.

* A Medal of Honor winner.

* The Reverend Billy Graham.

Henderson Society has members in almost all continents and many countries.  Our motto: Sola Veritas Nobilitat, “Virtue Alone Ennobles”, best describes us.