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Men of Mark in Maryland
- Bernard C. Steiner, PhD, 1907


James Barnes HENDERSON - James Barnes HENDERSON, Associate Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Maryland, was born in the village of Neelsville, Montgomery county, Maryland, March 23, 1845. His parents were James S. H. and Rosanna J. (NEEL) HENDERSON. His father was a Presbyterian clergyman, a man of impulsive nature but of fine mind, with firm convictions and pronounced opinions. The mother, who was a daughter of one of the founders of the village in which both she and the subject of this sketch were born, was a woman of excellent endowments of mind and heart. The earliest known ancestors of the family in America were of Scotch-Irish blood. They emigrated from the north of Ireland and settled in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, before the War of the Revolution. On the maternal side, his great-grandfather served in the Continental Army, in which he attained the rank of major.

The early years of the life of James Barnes HENDERSON were passed in the small village in which he was born. His health was good and, with the exception of a strong desire to read the lives of great men, especially the biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, his favorite book, his tastes and interests were those of the average village boy of his time and locatlity.

When they were in session, he was a constant attendant at the public schools; but, in order that he might be led to form habits of industry and economy, he was kept regualarly employed during his vacations. From the public schools, he went to an academy in Pennsylvania where he remained for about five years after which he completed his education, as far as public institutions are concerned, at a normal school in the same State.

He commenced the active work of life when only seventeen years of age, as teacher of a public school in Pennsylvania. Later he removed to Maryland, where he taught school for three years and, while engaged in teaching, also studied law.

In 1868, he was admitted to the bar and at once commenced active practice. Hard work and careful attention to the interests of his clients made him widely and favorably known to the public and gave him an honorable rank in his profession. In 1879, on the occurrence of a vacancy in that office, he was appointed State's Attorney for Maryland. Later in the year, he was elected to this office and he was reelected in 1883. In January 1895, he was appointed Associate Judge of the sixth judicial circuit of Maryland and, in the following November, he was elected to this high position for the full constitutional term of fifteen years. Among other positions of honor and influence which have been held by Judge Henderson, may be named those of director of the Mongomery County National Bank; trustee and treasurer of the Rockville Academy; and trustee of the Rockville Presbyterian Church.

Judge Henderson was married August 11, 1870, to Clara S. ANDERSON of Rockville, Maryland. They have had eight children of whom seven were living in 1905.

Believing that a judicial position should be a bar to political activity, either as regards parties or factions, Judge Henderson has not, in recent years, been active in politics; though from his earliest political life he has ben identified with the Democratic party. His religious affiliations are with the Presbyterian Church. He has never given special attention to athletics, or adopted any system of physical culture; but, he finds both pleasant relaxation and helthful exercise in walking.

In the choice of a profession, Judge Henderson followed his own inclination with which, however, his parents were in full sympathy. His esteem for his father and his deep and lasting affection for his mother, have exerted a strong influence upon his life and have helped him greatly in his efforts to win success.

He is a man of courteous manners, genial dispositon, and kindly heart. In the large circle of his acquaintances, he is universally respected as a citizen while, as a jurist, he is highly honored by the bar and the general public. By virtue of both character and accomplishment, he takes a high rank among the "Men of Mark in Maryland". To young men, and especially to those whose educational advantages are limited, his life should be an encouragement and inspiration.

Judge Henderson resides at Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland.


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