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Henderson Family Genealogy

James and Peter Henderson
Peter Henderson & Company

Photograph identified as the old James Henderson Farm near the
Central Railroad of New Jersey Arlington Avenue Station.
Jersey Journal, 1930 

Photograph circa 1914 of some of the family of James Henry Henderson.
At top: cousin Mabel, visiting from England; middle row (l.-r.): James H. Jr., his mother, Annis Lawty Henderson; bottom row (l.-r.): James H. Jr.'s two sons: James Gordon, & Robert Fenton; Peter Gilchrist Henderson's two children: Peter Leland Henderson, and Marion Henderson (m. Kuederly)

Courtesy, Nancy Poole.

The history of the firm of Peter Henderson & Company is closely tied to the story of the families of James and Peter Henderson. The Henderson lineage was clearly important as male children were often named in honor of their fathers and uncles. The first names Peter, James, Alfred, and Charles occur frequently among their descendants. The following genealogical chart is included to clarify the family relationships of some of the Hendersons mentioned in the essay on Peter Henderson & Company founded in Jersey City.

James Henderson (1777-1854) of Pathhead, Scotland: he married Agnes Gilchrist; daughter of Scottish gardener Peter Gilchrist (1740-1810). They had children Ann, James and Peter. James and Peter emigrated to the United States during the 1840's and began a florist business in what was then Van Vorst Township, now part of Jersey City.

James Henderson: (c1818 - 1857). He was the older brother of Peter Henderson. He and his wife Emma (Barbara) Trapp lost several of their children prematurely, only James Henry Henderson (1847-1913) and his sister Maggie (1852-1890) survived to adulthood. Emma died in childbirth in 1852 and James' father who was living with them at the time, died in August of 1854. James re-married in November 1854; his new wife being Emma's sister Margaret (Maggie) Trapp. James himself passed away in 1857 and is buried in New York Bay Cemetery in Jersey City. According to his 1857 will, James Henderson owned two farms in today's Jersey City. The first was over a nine and one-half acre property on Bergen Point Plank Road (today Garfield Avenue), once the homestead of Abraham Vreeland. The second was over an eleven and one-half acre vegetable truck farm he had recently purchased from Benjamin Vandervoort for $7,000 on the Old Bergen Road. It was bounded approximately by the lines of the modern streets known as Bergen, Culver, Audubon, and West Side Avenues on Bergen Hill at Greenville. The Garfield Avenue property (most likely the farmstead depicticed above) passed into the control of James' widow, Maggie, while the Bergen Avenue property (later site of New Jersey City University) ultimately passed into the control of his son.

James Henry Henderson: (August 3, 1847 - January 1, 1913). He was the son of James Henderson (c1818 - 857), and a nephew of Peter Henderson (1822-1890). As his father died when he was just ten years old, his uncle Peter took James Henry under his wing and trained him in the market gardening and horticultural business. When he was old enough, James went into the business on his own. In 1876, he married Anna/Annis Lawty Henderson (1857-1947), who was born in Yorkshire, England in 1854; they had four sons: Peter Gilchrist Henderson (1878-1946), James H. Henderson, Jr. (1879-1913), Charles Henderson (1881-1883), and Alfred Reid Henderson (1882-1954). The family homestead at 187 Bergen Avenue is no longer standing but the site is close to the South District Precinct building of the Jersey City Police Department. Although he made his living as a market gardener, James Henry was active in as a volunteer fire fighter in the 1880's and later became one of the Commissioners on the Jersey City Fire Board from 1884-1893. On the occasion of his death all the fire stations throughout Jersey City were directed to fly their flags at half mast in his memory. James is buried at the New York Bay Cemetery in Jersey City. Shortly after James' death in 1913, Annis' cousin Mabel arrived to visit her recently bereaved American relations. The photo at the top right was taken on the occasion of her visit.

Peter Gilchrist Henderson (1879-1946)
Credit: Jersey Journal July 7, 1946
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

Peter Gilchrist Henderson: (August 1878 - July 5, 1946) He was the heir to the property on Bergen Avenue and took over his father's truck farm and greenhouse business; he was also a grand nephew of the founder of Peter Henderson & Co. He married Jennie L. Clynes in 1902 (d. Nov. 28, 1924) and had two children, Marion L. Kuederly (1903-of Jersey City and Peter L. Henderson Ed. D. of Haworth, NJ (1908-1994), who provides a recollection of the James Henderson branch of the family. In 1923, the family homestead at 187 Bergen Avenue was acquired by the city of Jersey City through eminent domain to make way for the construction of the new A. Harry Moore School. Peter G. Henderson married (2nd) Mae Charmoski [sic] Henderson in 1940; she took over the business and sold it after the death of her husband in 1946. Peter was remembered in Jersey City for distributing free plants to poor children as Mother's Day gifts.

James H. Henderson, Jr.

Source: The Story of New Jersey. New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc.1945.

James H. Henderson, Jr.: (September 23, 1879 - December 15, 1974). He attended Cooper Union in New York City and became a chief engineer in Jersey City in 1931; he married (first) Jennie Sloat in 1901 and had two sons James H. (1903-1982) and Robert Fenton (1907-1984); he married (second) Frances Glover in 1931. James was hired by the Engineering Department of Jersey City in 1898, rising through the ranks to become the city's Chief Engineer around 1920. During the next forty years on the job, James oversaw the planning and construction of a wide variety of important municipal improvements to the city's infrastructure including the construction of Journal Square in the mid-1920's. His son James (1903-1982) was also employed as an engineer for 32 years by the Jersey City Department of Public Works. Both are buried in Bay View Cemetery in Jersey City.

Alfred Reid Henderson: (1882 - December 1954), an executive for the Central Railroad of New Jersey and later bursar at the New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass College, Rutgers University. He married Aline of Chicago, IL and they had two sons, Reid Alfred (1940- ) and John (1942- ). They resided at 339 Arlington Avenue in Jersey City.

Portrait of Peter Henderson (1822-1890),
horticulturalist and founder of Peter Henderson & Co
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

Peter Henderson: (June 9, 1822 - January 17, 1890). He had three children Alfred (1853 - 1899), Isobel, and Charles (1860 - 1939). After his wife's death in 1868, he married Jean H. Reid, c. 1871. Peter Henderson owned substantial real estate mentioned in his will, probated April 29, 1890: a home at Arlington and Bramhall Avenues, numerous houses and lots in Jersey City on Ocean, Madison, and Jackson Avenue and elsewhere, plant and florist property in the vicinity of Arlington and Randolph Avenues, and Cortlandt Street property in New York City.





Descendents of Peter Henderson in order of their involvement with Peter Henderson & Co.

Alfred Henderson (1853-1899)
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library
Alfred Henderson: (1853 - d. September 5, 1899, at age 46 in Spring Lake, NJ; buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY). He married Mary Belle Henderson; they had had four children, Emily, Edith, Peter II, and Adele. He was the first son of Peter Henderson and succeeded him as president of Peter Henderson & Co. (1890 - 1899). He lived at present-day 718 Ocean Avenue in Jersey City until about 1895 before moving to 46 West 72 St., New York.
Charles Henderson (1860-1939)
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library
Charles Henderson: (May 23, 1860 - d. April 28, 1939, at age 79; buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Lot 26425, Sec. 145). He was the second son of Peter Henderson and became president of Peter Henderson & Co. (1899-1919). He attended the Hasbrouck Institute in Jersey City. Charles Henderson and his wife Sophie C. Henderson had a son Howard M. Henderson.
Peter Henderson II (1888-1944)
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library
Peter Henderson II: (1888 - d. January 14, 1944 in CT). The son of Alfred Henderson, a grandson of the founder Peter Henderson, and nephew of Charles Henderson, he was elected president of Peter Henderson & Company in July 1919. He graduated from Yale in 1912. He started to work at the seed farm while his uncle Charles Henderson was president. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War I, Henderson served as president of the company until 1939 when he became chairman of the board. He married Aline Manierre and had two sons William Henderson (Army) and Peter Henderson, Jr. (USN), who were in the military at the time of their father's death.
Howard M. Henderson
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library
Howard M. Henderson: (May 22, 1891 - d. August 18, 1930, in an automobile accident in CA). He was the son of Charles Henderson and became the General Manager and Vice President of Henderson & Company in 1920. He attended Manlius Military Academy and Cornell University where he studied horticulture and agriculture.




"Alfred Henderson." The Evening Journal (Jersey City), 6 September 1899.
"Alfred Henderson." New York Times 6 September 1899.
"Charles Henderson." New York Times 30 April 1939.
"Fire House Flags at Half-mast; Tribute to J.H. Henderson." Jersey Journal 3 January 1913.
"Fire in a Seed Store." New York Times 20 August 1899.
"Firm Sells Seed 100 Years Here." New York Times 16 January 1947.
From Peter L. Henderson, ed. (Haworth, NJ) to J. Owen Grundy (Jersey City historian), September 10, 1975. Joan Lovero Collection, New Jersey Room. Jersey City Public Library. Henderson is the great grandson of James Henderson and great, great nephew of Peter Henderson founder of Peter Henderson & Company.
_____. September 19,1975.
Henderson, Alfred. Peter Henderson Gardener, Author, Merchant: A Memoir. New York: Press of McIlroy & Emmet, 1890.
"James Henderson, Set State Record." Jersey Journal 16 December 1974.
"James H. Henderson Jr., was Chief Jersey City Engineer." Jersey Journal 13 December 1982.
"Peter Henderson," in Walter G. Muirhead, Jersey City of To-Day: Hudson County, New Jersey; America, Its History, People, Trades, Commerce, Institutions & Industries. Jersey City, NJ: Jersey City Printing Co., 1910: 49.
"Peter Henderson," Jersey Journal 17 January 1890.
"Peter Henderson." New York Times 18 January 1890.
"Peter Henderson." New York Times 15 Jan. 1944.
"Peter Henderson." New York Times 6 July 1946.
"Peter Henderson 2d Dies at 56; Ex-President of Seed Company." NY Herald Tribune 14 January 1944.
"Peter Henderson II." New York Times 15 January 1944.
"Peter Henderson and Stumpp & Walter Co., Jersey Seed Concerns, Propose a Merger." New York Times 1 June 1951.
"Peter Henderson Buried." New York Times 21 January 1890.
"Peter Henderson Dead." Jersey Observer 17 January 1890.
"Peter Henderson Co., Hit by Strike, Will Quit City." Jersey Journal 28 September 1917.
"Peter Henderson Dies; Nephew of Founder." Jersey Journal 6 July 1946.
"Ten Decades of Progress, 1847-1947." New York: Peter Henderson & Co., 1947.
"Twelve Firemen Overcome." New York Times 21 August 1899.
Waldman, Charles S. "Historic Jersey City Gardening & Landscaping: The Contribution of Peter Henderson." August 1997. Typescript, Joan Lovero Collection, New Jersey Room, Jersey City Public Library .

Will of James Henderson, 1857. Docket 915, Book 2, pp. 591-594. Hudson County Court House, Jersey City, NJ.
Will of Peter Henderson, July 12, 1889. Docket 11463, Book 25, pp. 584-591. Hudson County Court House, Jersey City, NJ.

Acknowledgment: Staff of the Guarini Library of NJCU, particularly Michele Hoban and James Brown of the Inter-Library Loan Department; resources of the Joan D. Lovero Collection, New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library and assistance of Department Head Cynthia Harris and John Beekman; also, resources of the New York Historical Society, and assistance of Katherine Powis of New York Horticultural Society.

By: Carmela Karnoutsos
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub