Richard D. McHenry

Source: Biographical Record of Bartholomew County, Indiana - 1904 - B. F. Bowen, Publisher, pages 330 - 332
Submitter: Sheila Kell

RICHARD H. McHENRY - Among the well-to-do and substantial citizens of Bartholomew county is Richard H. McHenry, of Sand creek township. In his life work he has met with reverses and discouraging situations, but with resolute spirit and unfaltering determination he has overcome the difficulties and obstales in his path and has perservered until he is now classed among the substantial citizens of his community.

Mr. McHenry is a native of Ohio, his birth having occured in Adams county, on the 5th of September, 1822. His parents were Alexander and Elizabeth (Hayslip) McHenry. The father was also a native of Adams county, Ohio, but the ancestry of the family can be traced back to Ireland. The grandfather, John, was a native of the Emerald isle and was a man of considerable wealth, gaining prosperity through his well directed efforts at farming in Ohio. He resided in Adams county for many years and was one of the leading early settlers of that part of the state. Alexander McHenry was there born and reared. He was also married in that state and there reared his own family, but later removed to Missouri. Not liking that state, however he retraced his steps in 1845 as far as Indiana, establishing his home near Mt. Sterling, in Switzerland County, where he spent his remaining days upon a farm, and there died at the advanced age of eighty-four years. Unto him and his wife were born ten children, nine of whom reached maturity, while four of the number are still living: R. H., whose name introduces this review; Andrew J., of Nordaway county, Missouri; Wesley, a resident of Vevay, Indiana, and Amanda, the wife of Henry Waldon, of Switzerland county.

Richard H. McHenry was reared to farm life upon the old family homestead, and although the conditions of life have changed somewhat since that time his youth was passed much as is that of the farm boys of this period. He worked in the fields and gained practical experience in the best methods of raising crops, so that he was well qualified to carry on business on his own account when he attained his majority. His school privileges were limited, but he gained many valuable lessons from experience and learned much from observation and reading. When about twenty-one years of age he began chopping wood and used the money which he thus earned to pay his tuition in school, for he was anxious to advance along intellectual line. He soon qualified himself for teaching and followed that profession for several terms.

In the year 1844 Mr. McHenry was united in marriage to Miss Maria Britton, of Adams county, Ohio. In order to provide for himself and wife, he worked in a sawmill for a time, but about 1847 he removed to Switzerland county, Indiana, where his parents were living, where he remained for three years and then came to Bartholomew county. He had at that time a horse and cow and one hundred and fifty dollars in money. He rented land and began dealing in hogs and other stock, continuing in this line until he had realized about eight hundred dollars. He then invested his capital, his wife dying during this time. He then engaged in the stock business, in which he prospered, and in which he continued for twenty-five years.

Three years after the loss of his wife he married Mrs. Outland, a widow, whose maiden name was Isabel Peele. There was one daughter by the first marriage, Indiana, who is now the wife of James P. Hubbard, of Kansas. By the second marriage there were born six children, three of whom are living: Frank, a resident of Azalie; Ollie, who is the wife of Joseph H. Parker then a trustee of Sand Creek township, and Willis J., of Indianapolis. The mother of these children died in 1870, and in 1878 Mr. McHenry was joined in wedlock to Miss Anna Parker, a daughter of Thomas and Margaret Parker. She was born in Randolph county, Indiana, February 24, 1843, attended the common schools and later persued a high school course. She is a lady of culture and possesses many excellent traits of heart and mind. There are two daughters by this marriage. Maggie, the wife of Frank Peel, of Sand Creek township, and Catherine, a graduate of the hight school and now a student in Earlham College.

For some twenty-five years Mr. McHenry continued to deal in cattle and hogs, sometimes meeting with success, while at other times his sales were not profitable, but altogether he has prospered and is now the possessor of a handsome competence. He owns about three hundred and twenty acres of rich and arable land, which is well cultivated. Mr. McHenry still visits the farm, although he is now well advanced in years, having almost reached the eighty-second milestone on life's journey. He and his family are all members of the Society of Friends, his wife being a birthright member of the denomination. He was reared in the faith of the Democratic party, but has been regarded as one of the leading Republicans of his community since Abraham Lincoln became a candidate for the presidency. He is much respected in Sand Creek township and Bartholomew county, wher he has lived for more that half, a century, and where he receives the veneration and esteem which should ever be accorded those who advance far on the journey of life.