Mrs. Sarah E. Henshaw, the subject of this sketch, was born in Connecticut, a descendant in the fourth generation of President Jonathan Edwards, and is a grandaughter [sic] of Colonel Daniel Tyler, and Adjutant of Colonel Israel Putnam of Bunker Hill. Her grandmother was the daughter of Timothy Edwards, the eldest son of Jonathan and the uncle of Aaron Burr. General Daniel Tyler, a son of the Revolutionary Colonel Daniel and the uncle of Mrs. Henshaw, is well known in the history of the country.
He was in the regular army during most of his mature life, and served with distinction throughout the civil war. After the war he was entrusted by the United States Government with important commissions abroad, and finally retiring from active service discovered important iron deposits in Alabama, founded the town of Anniston, established iron foundries and became largely interested in railroad enterprises. His home was at Red Bank, New Jersey, where he died a few years since, aged over eighty. His nephew, General Robert O. Tyler, was on General Sheridan’s staff throughout the civil war, and earned a name scarcely less distinguished. He died from effect of wounds received in battle, about the end of the strife. Mrs. Henshaw also rendered valuable service to the cause of the Union during that memorable period as Secretary of the Northwestern Sanitary Commission in Chicago. She contributed to the literature of that valuable succursal department of the great strife for national existence,—a work entitled “Our Branch and its Tributaries.” She has occasionally written for the Century and Lippincott Magazines. Since her arrival in Oakland in 1873, she has been actively interested in the benevolent societies of the city, being for many years Secretary of the Ladies’ Relief Society, and retiring therefrom only to devote herself to charities needing greater efforts for their success. She was also the first secretary of the Fabiola Hospital.
Mrs. Henshaw married early in life, Edward C. Henshaw, who was born in Vermont in 1825, a relative of Bishop Henshaw, of Rhode Island, and of David R. Henshaw, at one time Secretary of the Navy. The first American Henshaws were two orphan lads sent out from England by their guardian with the view of thus more easily diverting their inheritance for his own use. They grew to manhood in Boston, where David died without issue. Joshua there married and lived to an advanced age, and from him are descended the Henshaws of this country. A branch of the family settled in Middletown, Connecticut, before the Revolution, and rendered valuable aid to the Continental army, be securing stores, provisions, etc., for the troops without compensation. For this service he was after the war honored by a visit from General Washington at his home near Middletown, and the mementos of that visit are still preserved by the family. It was from this branch that Edward C. Henshaw descended. He became midshipman in the United States navy, serving under Captain Tatnall, who afterward became a Commodore in the Confederate service. Withdrawing from the navy, Mr. Henshaw went West with his wife, and was engaged in business for some twelve or fifteen years, chiefly in Ottawa, Illinois. There were born to them the children hereafter named. At the outbreak of the Rebellion, Mr. Henshaw organized and equipped an artillery company, largely at his own private cost, and offered it to the State. He was commissioned its Captain by Governor Yates, and served throughout the war. After the war he entered the regular army, and served seven years more, dying finally in service at Fort McKavitt, Texas, in 1872. One of his brothers, Major John Cory Henshaw, served through the Seminole war, and later through the Rebellion.
The living children of Mrs. Sarah E. Henshaw are four sons, all now of mature years:
Edwin T. Henshaw, who came to California before the other members of the family. He is now a member of the firm of Taylor, Henshaw & Taylor, prosperous lumber merchants of this city. His wife, by birth, May Ranlett, a native of Maine, was reared in California from childhood. They have two children.
Frederick W. Henshaw graduated from the University of California, and early entered the profession of the law, was elected Police Judge of the city for three terms, and from that office was elected to one of the Judgeships of the Superior Court of the county, a position he yet fills. He married Grace S. Tubbs, a daughter of Hiram Tubbs, and has two children.
William F. is vice-President of the Union Savings Bank, of Oakland, and is largely interested in real estate. He married Kitty Tubbs, also a daughter of Hiram Tubbs, and has two children.
Tyler Henshaw, the youngest son, as yet unmarried, is secretary of the H. C. Gregory Company, manufacturers and agents of mining and milling machinery in San Francisco.
Transcribed by Donna L. Becker
Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 2, pages 82-83, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.
© 2005 Donna L. Becker.