An American Family History


William Hendry

  also spelled Henry, Hendrey  
Frederick County, Virginia was formed in 1743 from Orange County. Old Frederick County included all or part of four counties in present-day Virginia: Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, and Frederick, as well as five in present-day West Virginia: Hardy, Hampshire, Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan.
Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.

William Hendry was born about 1760 in Frederick County, Virginia. He was the son of George Hendry and Debora Borden.

William's children with his first wife or wives included:

Mary Ann Hendry (1775, married John Beagles),
Eli Hendry (1780, married Sarah Howard),

Nancy Hendry (1788, married John McEfee/McAfee), and
Sarah (Sally) Hendry (1792, married William McCray).

He also had children with Rachel Grubb.

Joseph Hendry (1793, married Massy Jane Dodd) and
Thornton Hendry (1796, married Rachel Dyer).

[1819] A petition of William Hendry, praying that his two illegitimate children, Thornton and Joseph Grubs may be changed to Thornton and Joseph Hendry, and make them his legitimate heirs. (from Senate Journal Tennessee General Assembly)

In 1794, William and Chloe sold Zaddock Conner of Shenandoah County, Virginia a tract of land on Flint Run containing 150 acres and joining the side of a mountain.

In 1799, William and Chloe, sold their share of his brother, George's estate in Frederick County, Virginia.

On October 2, 1805, William Hendry bought 100 acres from Abram Williams on Lick Creek in Greene County, Tennessee.

In 1806, William bought 45 acres in Washington County on Reedy Branch from Rachel Grubb and then sold it to David Brown.

About 1806, he abandoned his wife for Rose (an enslaved woman) as descrbed in Chloe's divorce petition:

some better than seven years ago, the said William Hendry abandoned your petitioner and removed himself from Washington County his former residence and the present residence of your petitioner into Greene County in the said state of Tennessee-where he has taken another wife...

He had children with Rose

Delfey Hendry (1808, married Charles Robinson), and
John Hendry (1811, married Ester).

William and Chloe Hendry divorced on September 2, 1813 in Washington County, Tennessee.

On April 26, 1816, William married Sarah (Sally) Palmer (Parmer) in Greene County, Tennessee.

In 1818, Joseph McNinn sold William Hendry 57 1/2 acres near the head of Lick Creek joining the lands the land William already owned.

Greene County Tennessee Petition 11483304 read: 

Twenty-five residents of Greene County represent that William Hendrey gave John McFee, his son-in-law, "a Cartin Calored Gal by the name of Delfe" in 1827 and that said McFee "Sold hur to hur mother a black woman for the Sum of thre hundred Dollars;" McFee “gave hur mother a firm bil of Sail for Delfy and She was to Set hur free."

The mother could not emancipate her daughter owing "to an act of the General assembly prohibiting the amancipation of Slaves."The petitioners therefore pray "your Honourable body to pass a law authorising the County Court of Green to emancipate the sd Delfey." They further avow that Delfy "is a garl of good Charactor."

At the time of the 1830 census his son-in-law, John McEfee was in Washington County, Tennessee. The household consisted of:

a man between 50 & 59
a woman between 40 & 49
2 men between 20 & 29
a girl between 15 & 19
a girl and a boy between 10 & 14
2 girls between 5 & 9
2 girls under 5
an enslaved boy and girl between 10 & 23

William died wrote his will in 1838 in Greene County, Tennessee.

At the time of the 1840 census, his son John was in Greene County, Tennessee. They were designated "free colored." The household consisted of:

a man and a woman between 24 & 35
2 boys and 2 girls under 10

In 1840, his son Thornton was in Greene County. The household consisted of:

a woman between 50 & 59 (Sally?)
a man between 40 & 49
2 boys between 15 & 19
a girl between 10 & 14

At the time of the 1850 census, Joseph and Massey Thornton, and Rachel were still in Greene County. Eli and Sarah were in Washington County.

At the time of the 1860 census John B. Hendry was living in Greenville, Greene County, Tennessee with his wife, Esther, and daughter, Susan and John was a stone mason. In 1870 he was still in Greenville and was a well digger.


Greene County, Tennessee developed from the Nolichucky settlement. It was formed in 1783 from part of the original Washington County, North Carolina.

Washington County, Tennessee,was established in 1777 as Washington County, North Carolina. From 1784 to 1788,it was part of the State of Franklin.

East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.
Memphis Daily Appeal 
Memphis, Tennessee
25 May 1870, Wed  •  Page 1

The East Tennessee Union Flag has the following:

"Eli Henry, who resided on Boon's creek in this county, died a few days ago at the advanced age of ninety years. [1870-90= 1780] Mr. Henry was a remarkable man in many respects. He retained almost tbe vigor of youth up to his death.

He was a soldier under Old Hickory, and during General Jackson's memorable Indian campaign it became necessary to run a "flatboat" to Natchez., Miss., laden with supplies for the suffering troops. The banks of the Tennessee and Mississippi were at that time lined with murderous, hostile savages, and not a man could be found who would attempt the hazardous feat of taking tbe boat-load of supplies through, until Mr. Henry volunteered his services.

They laughed at hiin for his recklessness, as they thought. But all undaunted, he manned his frail bark alone, after setting up a number of sticks about his boat, and clothing them with United States soldier habilments, with wool hats to match. Then, with his trusty rifle and bowie-knife in belt, be pushed off and floated leisurely to his destination. The Indians scarcely knew what to make of such a craft, and kept at at a proper distance, allowing him to make the dangerous voyage safe and in good lime."




To the honorable the General assembly of the State of Tennessee the Petition of Chloe Hendry humbly showeth:
That your petitioner having in early life entermarried with William Hendry with whom she lived in peace and mutual friendship and affection as she supposed for many years and until she had the highest evidence of her said husbands incourtancy and attachment to another woman by whom he has not denied having issue.

On this discovery your pettioner foever afterwards refused the embraces of her said husband William Hendry on the grounds that she could not be reconciled to him after the notorious commisssion of such a demoralizing action-consequently

some better than seven years ago, the said William Hendry abandoned your petitioner and removed himself from Washington County his former residence and the present residence of your petitioner into Greene County in the said state of Tennessee-where he has taken another wife with whom I wish him hapiness as far as his situation will admit as from his past conduct.

Your petitioner can no longer indulge conjugal affection towards him-Your petitioner does not complain that she is left indigent but acknowledges sufficient allimony allowed her by the said William Hendry-but complaining of his immoral conducts prays your honorable body for the reasons above suggested and all of which can be well supported to dissolve the bonds of matrimony existing between the said William Hendry and your petitioner and your petitioner as in duty bound will even pray.

Sept. 02-1813 Chloe Hendry (signature)


William Hendry's will as transcribed by Renaee Marotte.

In the name of God, Amen. I, William Hendry of the County of Greene and the State of Tennessee, considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound and perfect mind and memory, blessed be Almight God for the same, I do make this my last will and testament in manner and form, this is to say,

1st-it is my will that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.

2nd-I give and bequeath unto my wife Sally Hendry one third of all my real and personal estate as long as she remains my widdow, and if she marries or dies, then and in such case, it is my will and desire that her third is to be sold at public venue to the highest bidder and equally divided between

Mary Anne Beagles and
Eli Hendry and
Sally McCray's heirs to be paid to Sally McCray's heirs as they come of age.

3rd-It is my will and desire that her third be laid off so as to include the dwelling house and orchard and convenience of the water.

4th-It is my will and desire that Sally McCray's heirs have one-hundred fifty dollars equally divided between them and to them as they come of age as there was that coming to her out of the plantatioin that the rest of my heirs have got their parts. I want it also to be remembered that Marshall McCray and Eli McCray, two of my grandsons have recieved fifty dollars-twenty five dollars each their parts of the above named one-hundred and fifty dollars.

5th-And it is my will and desire that Nancy McEfee have three hundred dollars in place of a mallato girl named Delfey [his daughter] I once gave her as a Legatee and McEfee gave her back and gave her mother [Rose] a bill of sale for the girl that she might have chance to free her for which above named three hundred dollars McEfee holds some obligation on me to be paid at my death.

6th-It is my will and desire that Thorton Hendry have fifty dollars and Joseph Hendry fifty dollars and also John McEfee fifty dollars, it being the amount I intended for them as I have given them their shares heretofore.

7th-It is my will and desire that all the rest of my estate after Sally McCray's heirs have one hundred and fifty dollars as above named

and Nancy McEfee gets her above named three hundred dollars which I promised McEfee to leave her at my death in place of Delfey the mallato girl and for selling Delfey to Rose as she might have a chance to free her

and Thornton Hendry and Joseph Hendry and John McEfee all have their within named fiifty dollars

and Mary Anne Beagles have one hundred and fifty dollars

and Sally Hendry, my wife, have her third as within named,

then it is my will and desire that all the rest of my estate real and personal when sold to be equally divided between Mary Anne Beagles and Eli Hendry and Sally McCray's heirs to be paid to said Sally McCray's heirs as they come of age.

Given under my hand and seal this 28th day of June 1838.
I acknowledge this to be my last will and testament and revoking all former wills, and

I do also ordain and appoint Charles Bright to be my executor to this my last will and testament.

Signed and acknowledged in presence of :
Jacob Starns
Thornton (x) Hendry -his mark
Joseph Hendry

William Hendry (his seal)


This indenture made this tenth day of October in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight [1800] hundred between Baltis Hammer of Washington County and State of Tennessee of the one hand and William Hendry of the county and state aforesaid of the other part

witnesseth said Baltis Hammer for and in consideration of one (donkey) to him in hand paid (?) on before the sealing and delivering then presents the receipt such that the said B. Hammer hath given granted bargained and sold and (released) conveyed and by them presents doth give grant bargain and sell convey unto William Hendry all and that parcel of land

beginning at a small black oak on the south west side of a steep hill supposed to be in the dividing line between the said Hendry and Hammer running there north sixty degrees west eleven poles

to a stake then south twenty seven poles degrees west fifteen and one half poles to a stake in the north side of a hill crossing a spring branch thence south sixty degrees east eleven poles to a small dogwood on the side of said hill then

to the place of the beginning containing one and a half square poles to gather

with all apprutenances and all whatsoever in and hinderments and app thereunto belonging on the said lot of land hereby granted or intended to be granted with (?) and (?) of the appurtinnance

to said William Hendry his heirs and forever ...

William Malone (his mark)
Baltis Hammer (seal)
Jones Melone (his mark)
Margaret Milone



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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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