Alexander Rose Hendry: Epic Road (and River) Trips Bring New Yorker to Louisiana

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is Road Trip.  To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index


I love a good road trip. In fact, I’ve taken several family history road trips with my sons and father. But the trips we’ve taken cannot compare to the epic journey my 4x-great-grandfather Alexander Rose Hendry took between his native New York and Louisiana, where he settled in the 1830s.

Alexander Rose Hendry was born January 19, 1812, in Harpersfield, Delaware County, New York, to parents Thomas Hendry and Euphemia Graham.¹ He was the sixth of their nine known children.²

Alexander studied medicine at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and appears on a list of medical students in 1837.³ He must have graduated soon after this date and set out on his first epic road trip — all the way to the backwoods of northeastern Louisiana. He practiced medicine in the region, as documented in his medical daybook, now preserved in the special collections of Louisiana State University’s Hill Memorial Library.⁴ His daybook places him in Catahoula Parish between 1839 – 1841, and in Monroe, Ouachita Parish between 1841 – 1842.⁵

Although he seems to have traveled for his medical practice, Alexander obtained his first land patent for 79 acres in Catahoula Parish on April 10, 1843.⁶ His land was located south of Harrisonburg on the banks of the Ouachita River near what was then called Horse Shoe Lake (now named Mean Lake).

In 1844, Alexander made another epic trip — this time back north to Harpersfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio, to visit his Harper cousins. A letter to his cousin Ellen Harper dated January 17, 1845, details how he traveled from her home of Shandy Hall back to Boeuf Prairie, Franklin Parish, Louisiana.⁷ I’ve summarized it in the below map:

What a journey! Taking this 1,000-mile trip by car in the present day would take planning and patience — but doing it by wagon, stagecoach, and steamboat in 1844 is quite the feat. And Alexander made it a round-trip! It is possible Alexander’s original journey to Louisiana from his hometown of Harpersfield, New York, followed a similar route.

Alexander continued working as a physician and added a “side-gig” as a lawyer by 1850.⁸ He appears throughout the court records of Catahoula, and Franklin parishes as legal representation for various clients. He also amassed substantial real estate holdings during the 1850s, eventually owning over 2,000 acres in Catahoula, Franklin, Richland, and Grant parishes.⁹

On June 30, 1858, Alexander entered into court record in Catahoula Parish a “donation to future wife” to Miss Mary Minerva Manning. His donation was a 22 year-old slave named Cynthia valued at $1,050 he had purchased from Isaac Shlenker.¹⁰ The court filing also stipulated Mary would retain sole control of $500 worth of property she had inherited from her deceased parents’ estates.¹¹ Is this a 19-century pre-nup? Seems like it! Alexander and Mary, daughter of James Manning and Sarah Pritchard, married the following day, July 1, 1858, in Catahoula Parish.¹²

The newlyweds made their first home in Catahoula Parish, according to their recorded location in the 1860 census.¹³ It seems Alexander had also branched out into agriculture by this time, as his occupation listed as “planter” on this census.¹⁴ When the Civil War descended upon the country, Alexander — then approximately 50 years old — did not enlist in the Confederate army, but he did render aid to the Southern cause by renting fields to the Confederate army for grazing cattle.¹⁵

The war devastated the South financially, and Alexander was not immune even with his multiple occupations. On the 1860 census, Alexander reported the value of his real estate as $8000, and his personal property as $500.¹⁶ By 1870, that value had decreased to $1770, and $391, as he stated for the census.¹⁷ Alexander sold much of his land after the Civil War because he lacked cash to pay required taxes.¹⁸ Sometime between 1860 and 1870, Alexander moved his family to Franklin Parish.

As a well-educated doctor, lawyer, and farmer, Alexander served in leadership roles within parish government throughout his career. Some of the offices he held include:

  • Catahoula Parish District Attorney¹⁹
  • Member – Madison Parish Board of Registration²⁰
  • Franklin Parish Recorder²¹
  • Justice of the Peace – Ward 4, Franklin Parish²²
  • Franklin Parish Public Administrator²³
  • Franklin Parish Board of School Directors²⁴
  • Franklin Parish Clerk of Court²⁵

Alexander also served as a parish representative to the North Louisiana Bar Association.²⁶

Alexander and Mary had eight known children:²⁷

  • James Alexander Hendry
  • Thomas Graham Hendry
  • John Manning Hendry (from whom I descend)
  • Mary Rosella Hendry
  • William Hendry
  • David Benjamin Hendry
  • Levi P. Hendry
  • Laura Alice Hendry

Alexander supposedly died November 17, 1884, in Franklin Parish.²⁸ He is likely buried in Hendry-Carraway Cemetery in the New Zion community near Winnsboro, Franklin Parish, Louisiana.²⁹


¹Carolyn Yvonne White, et al., The Descendants of Alexander Rose Hendry and Mary Minerva Manning (self-published, 2000), 5.

²William Henry Eldridge, Henry Genealogy: The Descendants of Samuel Henry of Hadley and Amherst, Mass., 1734 – 1790, and Lurana (Cady) Henry, His Wife (Boston: T. R. Marvin & Son, 1915), 57.

³Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, “Catalogus, Collegii Gulielimi, MDCCCXXXVIII”; image, “U.S., College Student Lists, 1763-1924.” Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2207/32217_622204_0523-00030 : accessed 4 May 2019); citing “College Student Lists,” American Antiquarian Society.

⁴Alexander R. Hendry, 1839-1844, Medical Daybook. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, Louisiana State University Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Ibid.

⁶Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” database, General Land Office Records (https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=LA0970__.376&docClass=STA&sid=3ms53i30.os1  : accessed 4 May 2019), entry for Alexander R Hendry, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, no. 6528.

⁷Alexander R. Hendry (Boeuff Prairie, Louisiana) to “Dear Cousin” [Ellen Harper], letter, 17 Jan 1845; privately held by Elwyn and Anne Doubleday, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Rindge, New Hampshire, 2018. [Letter was transcribed from scans included on owners’ eBay.com listing.]

⁸1850 U.S. census, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Harrisonburg, p. 181 (penned), dwelling 634, family 658, Alexander R Hendry in the household of Mary Ann Markham; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4193964-00503 : accessed 4 May 2019), citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 230.

⁹White, et al., The Descendants of Alexander Rose Hendry and Mary Minerva Manning, 6.

¹⁰“Conveyance Records, 1807-1887,” database with images; FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/215565 : accessed 4 May 2019); citing Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, “Conveyance records v. L-M 1857-1863,” for “A. R. Hendry Donation to Future Wife,” Catahoula Parish Clerk of Court, Harrisonburg.

¹¹Ibid.

¹²Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, marriage certificate (1858), Hendry-Manning; Catahoula Parish Clerk of Court, Harrisonburg.

¹³1860 U.S. census, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Pine Woods, p. 136 (penned), dwelling 1003, family 979, A. R. Handry household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4231221_00135 : accessed 4 May 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M643, roll 410.

¹⁴Ibid.

¹⁵A. R. Hendry entry, “Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-65,” Record Group 109; digital image, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/image/31399647 : accessed 4 May 2019), citing NARA microfilm publication M346, roll 433.

¹⁶1860 U.S. census, Catahoula Parish, LA, pop. sch., Pine Woods, p. 136, A. R. Handry.

¹⁷1870 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, p. 4 (penned), dwelling 29, family 29, A R Hendry; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4269414_00068 : accessed 4 May 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 513.

¹⁸White, et al., The Descendants of Alexander Rose Hendry and Mary Minerva Manning, 6.

¹⁹”Appointments,” The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, 7 Mar 1841, p. 2, col. 4; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=31196171 : accessed 4 May 2019).

²⁰”Military Items,”
The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, 16 Mar 1868, p. 2, col. 5; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31196423 : accessed 4 May 2019).

²¹”The Late Election – Official Promulcation of the Result – List of State and Parish Officers Elected,” The New Orleans Republican, 3 Jun 1868, p. 1, col. 3; image copy, Chronicling America (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016555/1868-06-03/ed-1/seq-1/ : accessed 4 May 2019).

²²Ibid.

²³”Journal of the Senate of the State of Louisiana: Executive Session,”
The New Orleans Republican, 1 Apr 1875, p. 1, col. 3; image copy, Chronicling America (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016555/1875-04-01/ed-1/seq-3/ : accessed 4 May 2019).

²⁴”State Board of Education,” The New Orleans Republican, 7 Mar 1874, p. 1, col. 4; image copy, Chronicling America (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016555/1874-03-07/ed-1/seq-1/ : accessed 4 May 2019).

²⁵”Registration,” The New Orleans Republican, 27 Aug 1876, p. 1, col. 5; image copy, Chronicling America (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016555/1876-08-27/ed-1/seq-1/ : accessed 4 May 2019).

²⁶”Meeting of the Members of the Bar,” The (Shreveport, Louisiana) South-Western, 11 Oct 1854, p. 2, col. 4; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31197224 : accessed 4 May 2019).

²⁷White, et al., The Descendants of Alexander Rose Hendry and Mary Minerva Manning, 13.

²⁸White, et al., The Descendants of Alexander Rose Hendry and Mary Minerva Manning, 7.

²⁹Ibid.

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