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Leaves From My Family Tree

William Peyton Henderson

William Peyton Henderson was born 1 November 1866 in Moulton, Davis County, Iowa to Robert Alexander Henderson and Nancy Monorcas Wilcox Henderson. (I assume he was given his middle name in honor of his maternal grandfather, Peyton Wilcox.)

Family Tradition indicates that in 1885 William went from Iowa across Kansas to Denver while a railroad was being built, then continued to work for the railroad while he lived in Denver. photo    From there, he came out West with the Townsend family. When he arrived in the West, he went to work for D.M. Watson drillng Artesion wells. photo    (The saddle he used coming west was donated to the Cowlitz County Historical Museum in Kelso, Washington.)

His mother presented him with a Bible on his 21st Birthday, in 1887. The inscription she wrote in it was: "This book I present to you, and I hope you read it through. It's precepts study well. I hope it will guard you from the gates of Hell."

While in Cheney, Washington, William met a young woman named Minerva Bever. They met again while Minerva was working at the Post Office in Centralia, Washington.

On 13 October 1891, he married the girl from the Post Office, Minerva Elizabeth Bever, in Chehalis, Washington, at the home of her parents. They set up housekeeping in North Yakima, Washington. To read newspaper accounts of the wedding, please click here.

William and Minerva had two children, Ruth Monarcas Wilcox Henderson (born 7 July 1893), and Elizabeth Rae Henderson (born 8 April 1910). Both daughters were born in Portland, Oregon, but the family lived in Lewiston, Idaho between the two births.

In 1893, when daughter Ruth was just three months old, they left Portland for Lewiston, with Ruth placed within the safe confines of a pillow for the trip. While in Idaho, William worked for a time as a blacksmith, then did well drilling again, eventually becoming "heavily interested in farming lands".

The family moved back to Portland in 1910, just a few months before daughter Elizabeth was born. William became a successful businessman, dealing in real estate.

They lived at various addresses in Portland, including SE Main St. in the Hawthorne District, and on SE Belmont St. They also had a small farm near the Orchards area of Washington State. (It was while staying at the farm that their daughter Ruth met Ernest Trump, "the kindest, gentlest man there ever was". They were married in Escondido, California on 4 May 1920.)

William Henderson purchased a new car, an Interstate, in the summer of 1910. It was the first car on their block. The next car he bought was a used 1911 Pierce-Arrow. He and his family spent part of each year in San Diego and Escondido, California, and they drove the Pierce-Arrow to California and back many times. Sometimes, however, they shipped the car by rail rather than driving it. (The engines of both cars eventually ended up on tuna fishing boats owned by a friend-of-a-friend.)

It is sad that this sometimes happens: Minerva Bever Henderson was a detail-oriented person, and kept journals. When she died in 1961, her daughter Elizabeth came across the journals, thought "None of this pertains to me", and threw them out. I do have a spartan day-by-day, hour-by-hour, record of one of their drives home from California in May, 1924. To read Minerva's notes of that trip, click here. (By taking just a quick glance at the page, you'll appreciate the amount of data we've lost.)

To his grandchildren, William Henderson was "Daddy Bill", and they remember him as having sandy-colored hair and a red mustache.

William Peyton Henderson died in Portland, Oregon on 14 April 1936.

Some of the information on this site is Family Tradition;
some of it has been documented.
If you would like to know my sources, please e-mail me.

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