Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JOHN E. HENSHAW. The success that has been attained by John E. Henshaw, general superintendent of the new Frisco shops in Springfield, in the mechanical world has been well deserved and his example is worthy of emulation by the ambitious youth who would rise to the top of that vocation, for it indicates that merit alone, after all, wins the prizes in this uncertain human existence, especially is this true in our great republic of the West, where positions of responsibility and adequate financial reward are open to all who are worthy to fill them, regardless of birth, rank, station or caste.
Mr. Henshaw is of English descent and has inherited many of the sterling traits of that noble race. He was born in Port Huron, Michigan, January 27, 1867. He is a son of John and Ann (Hilton) Henshaw, both natives of Manchester, England, the birth of the father having occurred in 1837, and the mother was born in 1839. There they grew to maturity, were educated in the common schools and were married in 1860. When only a little over nine years of age the father of our subject began working in the mines in his native land, helped to shoe horses, and finally became an expert blacksmith which trade he followed until he left England for America in 1861. He and his wife located first in New York, and he: secured employment in the Brooklyn navy yard, and worked on the old Alabama, which warship was brought there for repairs during the Civil war. In 1866 he left New York for Michigan, and went to work in a marine shop, but later worked for George F. Pullman in the first Pullman car shops built in that state. In 1870 he secured employment with the Chicago & Grand Trunk Railway in Port Huron, that state as hammer man and blacksmith. In 1881 he removed with his family to Detroit where he again secured employment with the Pullman company, with which he remained there for about ten years, then worked for the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Railroad in its shops at Detroit until 1891. In 1897 he moved to Topeka, Kansas, where he went to work for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company as blacksmith. In December, 1900, he came to Springfield and worked as spring maker in the Frisco shops, and remained in charge of that department in the north side shops until he retired from active life July 1, 1904, and is now living in quiet in his cozy home in this city. He gave eminent satisfaction, in all the positions he held, for he was regarded by his employers as an expert in his trade and a man that could always be relied upon implicitly, who was faithful and conscientious in all his work. He became a well-read man and still keeps well up with the times on current topics. He is one of the oldest members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Missouri, if not in the United States, having joined that order when twenty years old in 1857, in Manchester, England, the lodge being known as the Manchester Unity. Politically he is a Democrat and has long been active in political matters. His wife was called to her eternal rest on August 3,1902. To these parents three children were born, namely: Jane is deceased; Tilly is also deceased, and John E. of this review.
John E. Henshaw received a common school education in Port Huron and Detroit, Michigan, also attended a business school in Detroit, known as the Goldsmith, Bryant & Stratton University, later attended a school for drawing in that city. Following in the footsteps of his father he became a machinist by trade, and has worked in many different shops, and, being a keen observer, has gained many new ideas in each place he has worked until today he is one of the most highly skilled men in his line in the country and is a man of progressive and advanced ideas. He has worked his way up from the bottom rung of the ladder until today he stands at the top. He came to Springfield Missouri, in 1900 as pit foreman in the north side Frisco shops, later was gang foreman, also erecting foreman, and on June 25, 1909, was made general foreman of the Springfield shops. On October 7, 1910,he became superintendent of the new shops which position he still holds, and is discharging his duties in a manner that is reflecting much credit upon himself and to the eminent satisfaction of all concerned.
Our subject studied music a number of years and is a talented musician. Mr. Henshaw was married on January 11, 1894, in Detroit, Michigan, to Florence Breitemeyer, who was born in that city in June, 1877, and there reared and educated. She is a daughter of Charles and Mary (Aames) Breitemeyer. Her grandfather was the oldest German florist in Detroit at that time.
Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Henshaw, namely: Etta L., born on July 1, 1905; and John H., born on January 3, 1909.
Politically, he is a Democrat, and fraternally belongs to the Masonic Order, including the Chapter.
Springfield-Greene County Library