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William Hendry

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William Hendry

Posted: 1033586979000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Hendry, Barrett, Bagby, Spencer
From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 632-634

With but few of the advantages which usually attend the early years of the majority of successful men, and no assistance from any source except that which was inherent to his own force of character, no man in Jackson township has met with greater success in various lines of endeavor than the gentleman whose brief biography is herewith presented.

William Hendry was born September 9, 1820, in Belmont county, Ohio, and at the age of nine was taken by his parents to the county of Monroe. Born and reared on a farm, his youthful years were marked by arduous toil, and he early learned the lessons of industry and thrift by which his after life was characterized. In the common schools, indifferent ones at that, he laid the foundation for intellectual development which served well the purpose of winning him an honored and conspicuous place among his fellow men. When nineteen he severed the ties that bound him to the old home, and, starting out in the world to achieve a fortune, did his first work as a farm hand at ten dollars per month.

In 1847, in company with Isaac Barrett, he came on foot to Allen county, Indiana, where he took up one hundred and twenty acres of government land. After erecting thereon a small log cabin of a single room he began clearing a farm, but after a few years of such labor he abandoned the enterprise and engaged in general merchandising in the village of Zanesville. There he did a fairly remunerative business for two years, when he disposed of his stock, and, removing to Roanoke, effected a co-partnership in a general store with G. W. Chapman. The firm thus established lasted several years and proved reasonably successful in a financial way. Subsequently Mr. Hendry retired from merchandising, purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, and for several years thereafter devoted his time and attention to agricultural pursuits and stock raising. Seeing an opportunity to dispose of his land to advantage, he sold out, and for one summer thereafter lived in Illinois, where he was variously employed.

The following fall he returned to Roanoke, and for some years thereafter carried on a successful business as a hardware merchant. Again becoming dissatisfied with mercantile life, he sold his stock to other parties and once more became a farmer, continuing the vocation for a limited period, disposed of his interests and for the third time came back to the town of Roanoke.

Mr. Hendry's next venture was in the line of boots and shoes. He opened a large store and continued to supply the demand for foot wear uninterruptedly until 1888, doing a large and lucrative business and amassing a competency.

For a period of twelve years he served as justice of the peace in Roanoke, and in 1871 was elected on the Democratic ticket as representative from Huntington county to the lower house of the state legislature. Mr. Hendry's record while a member of that body was eminently satisfactory to his constituents. He served on a number of important committees and was instrumental in bringing about much needed legislation, beneficial alike to Huntington and other counties of northern Indiana. He was always public spirited, and few movements for the general welfare of the county were ever projected without his leadership or assistance. As a business man he possessed abilities of a high order, while his judgment and foresight, together with his tact in reading men, won for him a conspicuous place in the ranks of Huntington county's most successful and progressive citizens.

Mr. Hendry was three times married, first to Miss Isabelle Barrett, who bore him one child, Emory C., at this time a well-known business man of Kansas City. By the second wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Bagby, he had four sons, John, Monroe, George and Rufus. The third marriage, solemnized with Sarah Spencer, was without issue.

The life of Mr. Hendry was one of continuous activity. He was one of the men who preferred the wear and tear incident to a busy life, and as he was known to say, "I shall not die from the effects of rust." His mental faculties were strong and acute, though long past the age at which most men have lost their usefulness. He died April 25, 1891, in the eighty-second year of his age, respected and honored by numerous friends, and sincerely mourned by those who knew his worth as a man and his devotion as a husband and father.

Mr. Hendry was one of the Democratic leaders in Huntington county, and as such was of great service in many campaigns. He was popular, however, with the party of the opposition, and numbered his friends by the hundreds, irrespective of political ties. He was a Mason of high standing, and an active worker in the fraternity for over a quarter of a century. By his kindness, frankness and genial nature Mr. Hendry won an enduring place in the hearts of his fellow men. He took much pleasure in informing himself about the events of the day, and was one of the intelligent, broadminded men of the community. He was companionable, but unassuming and emphatically a gentleman, and made it a rule to attend to all duties devolving upon him in his relation to his fellows. He did not live for himself only, but for society and the public as well, and by so doing merited the respect and esteem which so universally and appropriately reposed in him.
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