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Henderson, William Fenner (1817–1890)

Harry McCorry Henderson Biography Entry

William Fenner Henderson, early pioneer, soldier, lawyer, and district attorney, the son of Thomas Henderson, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 28, 1817. He lived at Mount Pinson, Tennessee, until he moved to Texas in 1836. He became a citizen of Coahuila and Texas at Nacogdoches on February 15, 1836. He served in the Texas army and after the Texas Revolution became a land surveyor and locator. William Fairfax Gray described Henderson in his diary From Virginia to Texas as a "little, conceited, and insignificant whippersnapper" after Henderson's men had stolen some of Gray's blankets for the night. In 1838 Henderson participated in the Battle Creek Fight. He was appointed district attorney of the Fifth Judicial District of the republic by President Mirabeau Lamar. He practiced law in Corsicana until the Civil War, when he enlisted in a scout company formed by his brother in Mississippi. Henderson married Mary McCorry of Jackson, Tennessee, and they had a son and a daughter. His second wife was Louisa Edwards of Christian County, Kentucky. They had a son and a daughter. After the war Henderson returned to Corsicana but gave up the practice of law and moved to Bolivar Point, where he engaged in farming. After eight years he returned to Corsicana, where he died in 1890.

John Henry Brown, History of Texas from 1685 to 1892 (2 vols., St. Louis: Daniell, 1893). James T. DeShields, Border Wars of Texas, ed. Matt Bradley (Tioga, Texas, 1912; rpt., Waco: Texian Press, 1976). Walter Paye Lane, Adventures and Recollections (Marshall, Texas, 1887; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1970). Annie Carpenter Love, History of Navarro County (Dallas: Southwestern, 1933).


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • Criminal Law and District Attorneys

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Harry McCorry Henderson, “Henderson, William Fenner,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 28, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.