JOHN WILSON HENDERSON, of Brookville, is one of the oldest business men still maintaining active connection with the commercial affairs of that borough, where he began business fifty years ago. The millinery and notion house which he carries on is the oldest establishment of the kind in the town. John Wilson Henderson, eldest son of Joseph Washington and Nancy (Wilson) Henderson, was born at Brookville Dec. 18, 1840, and acquired his education in the home schools. He gained his early business experience as clerk for his uncle, David Wilson, at Corsica, this county. On June 17, 1857, he went to the town of Clarion to learn the trade of tinsmith, and during his apprenticeship received twenty-five dollars a year “and found.” He was still working there when the Civil war broke out, and he entered the Union service almost immediately, enlisting April 30th in the Clarion Guards, who went to Pittsburgh and became part of the 8th Pennsylvania Reserves. Under this enlistment Mr. Henderson remained in the army twenty-two months, during which time he took part in a number of important engagements, including the seven days’ fight at Richmond, second Bull Run, South Mountain (Md.) and Antietam. On Sept. 17, 1862, he was wounded in the left leg, and he was honorably discharged Feb. 7, 1863. After more than a year at home Mr. Henderson re-enlisted, May 6, 1864, joining the 191st Pennsylvania Regiment and he was with the Army of the Potomac until the close of the war, receiving his discharge in Virginia June 28, 1865, as sergeant. Among the actions in which he was engaged during his second term was that of Bethesda Church, Va., and he was doing duty on the skirmishing line at Appomattox when General Lee surrendered. His war experiences were very interesting.
Upon his return to Brookville after his service in the army Mr. Henderson engaged in the tinning business with his father, and continued to be so occupied until 1876. Meantime he had started dealing in millinery and notions at Brookville, and this business he has conducted to the present time, being ably assisted by Mrs. Henderson, who is highly capable and thoroughly experienced in meeting the demands of the local trade. Mr. Henderson married, Oct. 14, 1874, Amelia Fredericka Melchior, and they have one child, Wade M., who lives with his family in Brookville. He married Florence Campbell, and their children are John R., Florence F. and George E. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson are Presbyterians in religious doctrine. Socially he unites with several local organizations, the I.O.O.F., Knights of Pythias and Union Veteran Legion. William Melchior, Mrs. Henderson’s father, was a native of Stuttgart, Germany, and when his daughter Amelia was eight and a half years old left that country with his wife and three children for America, journeying down the Rhine and making the ocean voyage by sailing vessel, the passage to New York taking thirty-seven days. This was in 1852. For two months they were in Philadelphia, Pa., thence coming to Brookville, Jefferson Co., Pa., and Mr. Melchior followed his trade of millwright in this section throughout his active years. he died in Brookville when eighty-eight years old. His wife, whose maiden name was Christina M. Boeringer, was also born in Germany, and died at Brookville when fifty-nine years old. they were the parents of the following children: Catherine F., Mrs. William Lanzendorfer; Amelia F., Mrs. Henderson; John William, of Michigan; Frederick Anthony, of Kittaning, Pa.; Annie, Mrs. Albert Carlisle; and Barbara, Mrs. James Jackson.
Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.