Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


DAVID C. HENSHEY. The man from Pennsylvania has always been a potential element in the civilization and development of Missouri, and in earlier days along the woodman's trail came men of all avocations and in every degree of social life. No better blood ever infused pioneer life; no sturdier arm set about the task of subduing the wilderness, and no less vigorous mental activity could have raised a great commonwealth amid the broken elements of nature within the limits of half a century. The distinctive Americanism which Missouri has maintained almost co-equally with the older Eastern States, against an unparalleled tide of immigration from every nation upon the globe, is due to the virility of the pioneer stock in which the Keystone State was so strongly represented. He whose name heads this sketch was born in Blair County, Penn., five miles north of the city of Altoona, and is a descendant of sterling Pennsylvania Dutch stock, his ancestors being of an old Colonial American family. The first one of the family of whom we have any record is John Henshey, the great-grandfather of our subject. He was a farmer of Lancaster County, Penn., and died in that State when seventy-seven years of age. His son, John Henshey, the grandfather of our subject, was born in the same county of Pennsylvania, July 1, 1776, and in the year 1811 moved to what is now Blair County, Penn., where he was one of the original settlers of that region. He became a prosperous farmer, owning large tracts of land, and was a man of prominence in his community in early days, holding a number of county offices. In religious views he was a United Brethren. The marriage of this worthy pioneer to Mary Detwiler occurred in Blair County, and he reared a family of six children: David, Samuel, Mary, Elizabeth, Barbara and Jane. The oldest son, David, the father of our subject, was born January 25, 1813, in Blair County, Penn., on his father's farm, and in 1834 married Miss Catherine Miller, daughter of Andrew and Margaret Miller. After marriage this young couple settled five miles north of Altoona and Mr. Henshey began for himself as a tiller of the soil, meeting with unusual success in this occupation. His record as an honorable man is untarnished and as a citizen he is always public-spirited and law abiding. For three terms he held the office of county commissioner and later was appointed, by the governor of Pennsylvania, State commissioner for the examination of insane institutions. In politics he is an ardent Republican and in religious belief a Baptist, being a prominent church member and clerk of his church many years. During the Civil War he was a strong Union man and had three sons fighting for the old flag, Thomas, Botsford and David C. Thomas was killed in the battle of Spottsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864, and was one of the bravest of soldiers. He was promoted from private to a corporal of the color guard, for which position only the bravest soldiers were elected. He was a soldier of Company M, Sixty-second Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and prior to his death had been a participant of eighteen engagements, being wounded at Gettysburg. Botsford enlisted as a private in the two years' service, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and at the battle of Antietam was transferred from the ranks to the hospital on account of his knowledge of drugs and medicine which he had gained as a clerk in that business. The father of these boys is still living and is a highly respected citizen in his community. He has lived a quiet life, looking after the possessions which a life of industry has secured him, and is in the enjoyment of a comfortable, refined and pleasant home. He and wife were the parents of twelve children, nine of whom lived to mature years: John, Andrew, Botsford, Thomas, Blair, Harry M., Ellsworth E., Alice C. and David C., all of whom are now settled near Altoona, Penn., except Thomas, who was killed in the war, and Andrew, who died in 1859, and our subject. John married Miss Matilda Meadwell and they have six children; he resides on the old. homestead and is a substantial farmer. Botsford, after serving his country as a soldier, became a clergyman in the Baptist Church and is now settled at Indiana, Penn; he is the father of four children. Blair is a single man and is clerk in the office of the Pennsylvania Central R. R., at Altoona, Alice C. married George Lackey and they have two children; Mr. Lackey is a queensware merchant at Altoona. Harry M. is head clerk of a large foundry and machine manufactory at Hollidaysburg, Penn; he is single. Ellsworth E. married and is in business at Punxsutawney, Penn. Catharine Henshey, the mother, died September 22, 1886, in her sixty-ninth year. For fifty-two years she was a member of the Logan's Valley Baptist Church, and was loved and respected by her church associates and noted for her acts of charity. David C. Henshey, the original of this notice, became familiar with agricultural pursuits when but a boy, and early imbibed the ideas of independence and industry which are essential to a successful career in any calling. Born on a farm, he involuntarily grew up with a knowledge of agricultural affairs, and at an early period he was made to feel that he was as equally responsible for harmony, justice and equity in governmental affairs as in social relations. The quiet home life of the farm, the absence from temptation and the moral teachings of a Christian family, have a decided tendency to firmly establish lifelong principles in the minds of those who are so fortunate as to come under these influences in early life. Under such circumstances our subject was reared and his primary education was received in the common schools. Later he attended Logan Academy. His father possessed a good library and took several of the leading daily and weekly papers, so that young Henshey acquired habits of reading valuable and instructive books, a habit which he has continued up to the present time. By means of this he has gained a fund of knowledge and added to the cultivation of his mind. At the early age of sixteen years, July 4, 1863, he enlisted in Capt. McKeage's Independent Battalion of Pennsylvania Militia, and was on guard service in the State for three months. After this he attended the Iron City Commercial College, Pittsburgh, Penn., in 1865, and graduated the same year, after which he began his commercial career in Altoona, remaining there for four years. On the 3d of April, 1869, he came to Springfield, Mo., and engaged as clerk for McElhaney & Jaggard, and after a year's time bought out the interest of Mr. Jaggard. For a year and a half after this the firm was McElhaney & Henshey, and then Mr. D. M. Woodbury was admitted to the firm and the name was changed to McElhaney, Henshey & Co. In August, 1873, Henshey and Woodbury purchased Mr. McElhaney's interest in the business and the firm name was changed to Henshey & Woodbury. This firm did a successful business in Springfield for five years. In 1878 the firm removed to Lincoln, Neb., where business was conducted for three years, after which Mr. Henshey returned to Springfield and engaged in business on the east side of the square. Later he became manager for J. A. Dittrick & Co., dry-goods merchant, and continued with them for four years. He was then elected treasurer of Greene County by the Republicans and led his ticket by a plurality of 1,204 over his Democratic opponent, and ran ahead of Harrison 414. Nothing could better illustrate his popularity and the confidence the people of Greene County have in his integrity and character. For many years Mr. Henshey has been known to the people as a man of excellent business ability and personal honor, and was supported by the leading mercantile houses of Springfield. He is a gentleman worthy in every particular and stands very high, not only in political, but also in business and social circles. He has always been a Republican, and while he has ever taken a deep interest in political affairs, he has never been a professional politician, and this was his first effort for a county office. Socially Mr. Henshey is a member of the Blue Lodge of Masons. In 1873 he married Miss Mary E. Estes, daughter of David and Mary Estes, whose father was a prominent contractor of Knoxville, Tenn., and died there. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Henshey: Alice E., Ora B. and Harry C. Our subject is a member of the Baptist Church and was treasurer of the same for nine consecutive years. Mrs. Henshey holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church. As a public official Mr. Henshey stands deservedly high in the estimation of the people of Greene County, not only on account of the prompt and honorable manner in which he fulfills his duties, but on account of his genial and gentlemanly bearing toward everyone. His long experience as a merchant, his skill and accuracy as an accountant enables him to fill the office of county treasurer in a capable and efficient manner. His daughter, Ora B., graduated from the Springfield High School in the class of 1893. The family name was originally Henshaw, but many generations ago was changed to Henshey.

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