committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

HISTORY

OF

Louisiana Negro

Baptists

BIOGRAPHIES.

BISHOP JOHN HARRIS HENDERSON, B. D., TEACHER AND CHURCH BUILDER.

        Elder Henderson is the eighth child of Bishop Wyatt and Mrs. Alice Henderson. He was born about 1872, on a Christmas Day on the Old Independent Plantation near Bayou Sara, La.

        From infancy he has been blessed with much physical strength. When quite young he was able to split 400 rails per day. The devoutness of his parents, was instrumental in the conversion of him and the other eight children. One of the brothers (Bishop Thomas Fields Henderson) is at present pastor of their home church.

        When quite a boy the subject of our sketch gave evidence of a bright intellect and a dogged determination to educate. His father being unable to send him to school, he set out from home with $32 in his pocket with which to educate himself. He found a helpful and life-long friend in the person of the late Principal, Dr. E. N. Smith at Howe Institute, New Iberia, La. By hard work and "keeping at it," he graduated from Howe in 1893. This was not enough he pushed his way onward to Leland University, and there began the struggle of finishing another course of study, some time subsisting on 15 cents per day, but he "stuck to his bush" and graduated May, 1897.

        After his conversion in 1886, he was baptised into the membership of the church by his own brother. Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, New Iberia licensed him to preach in 1892. Conscious of his need of Ministerial preparation, he made his way to the Virginia Union University, Richmond, Va., and after enduring hardness like a good soldier he graduated B. D., under the late Dr. M. Mc Vicar, in 1902. Brother Henderson was ordained in 1901, and united in marriage December, 1902, to Miss Rainy Butler--one of Louisiana's best women. Their union has been blessed with four children--Leona Bee, Joseph Lee, H. A., and J. H. Henderson, Jr. After resigning the Deanship of the Theological Department, Coleman College, Gibsland, La., Bishop Henderson removed to Shreveport where he accepted a call to Trinity Baptist Church, 1903. Taking this congregation out of the Lone Star Hall, he placed them in a splendid church edifice valued at $8,000. After leaving here he organized the Henderson Chapel which he built up to a valuation of $2,700, with a good membership.

        This minister also did some splendid school work, succeeding the writer as Principal of 13th District Academy, Shreveport, La. He made the school self-supporting the first year, and succeeded in effecting a purchase of 121 acres of valuable land at a cost of $2,500. In 1910, a "Macedonian cry" came from Minden, La., to which he responded, and assumed the pastorate of the First Baptist Church. Here he erected one of the most modern structures in the state at a cost of $5,000.

        He has occupied with credit the following positions: Vice-President Louisiana Baptist State Convention; Vice President Louisiana Baptist State Sunday School Convention.

        At this writing he pastors the Roanoke Baptist Church, Hot Springs, Ark. Bishop Henderson has been here only a short while, but has made a splendid record.

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