Monday, November 25, 2013

The Suit of Alexander Henderson

Alexander Henderson must have had a rude awakening that day when he was served papers from the Sheriff of Onslow County, North Carolina, stating that he and his known family, brother Solomon Henderson, the three surving children of brother Thomas Henderson, Jr (Solomon, Richard and Hosea. and sister Rebecca Henderson Williams and husband Hosea Williams, were being sued by seven unknown siblings with the surname "Solomon", claiming to be the legitimate heirs of father Jonas Solomon, "otherwise known" as Thomas Henderson.

Alexander and his family grew up in Onslow County, North Carolina, far from the small community of Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey, which had been  a hotbed of activity during the American Revolution. Hannah Applegate Solomon, innkeep, and her children were subject to the terrors of invading British forces, while her husband Jonas was no where to be found and assumed to be dead. So certain was his passing that in 1778, 38 year old Hannah had married neighbor and fellow businessman John Benham and delivered her last child, Joseph Benham the next year.

Alexander Henderson

Alexander Henderson joined the military in 1809 and may have recieved payment in the form of property. He eventually migrated to Monroe County, Alabama where he married Rebecca Catherine Ezell and together they became the parents of nine children: Margaret Fannie, Mary, Nancy, Elizabeth, William, Catherine, Rebecca, John and Epsy. Alexander died on December 3, 1853 and is buried in Eliska, Monroe County, Alabama. Below is his Petition, Courtesy of the Genweb Archives.:

To the worshipful the Justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for 
the County of Onslow - 

The petition of Alexander Henderson shewith that sometime about the month of 
May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen Thomas 
Henderson of the County of Onslow died intestate & possessed of a large 
personal Estate such amounting to more than twelve thousand dollars in value - 
At the July Term ensuing of Onslow County Court, Administration in the Estate 
of the said Thomas Henderson was granted to one Lott Ballard of the County of 
Onslow who took unto his possession the personal Estate of his intestate 
amounting to more than $12,000 - The next of Kin of the said Thomas Henderson 
entitled to distributive shares are Richard Solomon & Hosia Henderson (minors) 
the children of his son Thomas dec'd - his son Solomon Henderson Lott Humphrey 
the Administrator of Rebecca Williams daughter of the said intestate and your 
petitioner son of the said Intestate Your Petetioner further shewith that a 
certain Catharine Mount, John Solomons, Rebecca McKnight, Levi Solomons, Jonas 
Solomons, set up a claim, real or pretended as the next of Kin as legitimate 
Children to the said intestate, and as such to be the distributees of the said 
personal Estate but the said Catharine, John, Rebecca, Levi & Jonas have 
released and assigned to your petitioner all their interest to the one fourth 
part of the said personal Estate of all which proceedings the said Lott 
Ballard had due notice approved of & was party to the same - that your 
petitioner has frequently called upon the said Lott Ballard in a friendly 
manner to come to a fair settlement with your petitioner & pay over to him his 
share of the Intestates Estate to which your petitioner is entitled as 
aforesaid but now so it if that the said Lott Ballard under various pretexts & 
sundry practices has refused to do so - to the End therefore that the said 
Lott Ballard may come to a fair and full settlement with your petitioner that 
he may on oath exhibit the amount of the personal Estate of his Intestate the 
said Thomas Henderson dec'd and the nature thereof. That he may render a full 
account of the distribution and disposition thereof as it has been disposed of 
& that he may be dec___d to account with your petitioner & pay over to him his 
share & proportion of the Estate of the said Thomas Henderson dec'd to which 
he is Entitled -

May it please your worship to grant ______ to the said Lott Ballard, Solomon 
Henderson and the children of Thomas Henderson dec'd commanding them to appear 
in the next term of this Court & abide the sentence thereof - And your 
petitioner as is duty bound shall _______.

Edw'd Graham atty

for Petitioner 

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  1. This is very interesting and a little confusing too. Do you know what happened with this court case? Why is Alexander's father listed as Archibald McKendrick Henderson on Ancestry?

    He had a brother named James who is listed in his family Bible. Do you know why James is not listed on the court case as one of Thomas/Jonas's heirs? I think, but haven't been able to prove with absolute certainty that James is my ancestor.

    One last question. Where is the building that is pictured at the very bottom? I've been to Monroe County so it looks familiar.


    1. Debra,

      Henderson is a fairly common name, so I am sure this is not the same Alexander Henderson you have been researching. This Alexander was the son of Thomas Henderson, Sr. of Onslow County, NC. There were only three "Henderson" children mentioned in all of the records concerning Thomas Henderson aka Jonas Solomon and that was Thomas Henderson, Jr., Solomon Henderson, Rebecca Henderson Williams and Alexander. And the building is in Onslow County, NC. I don't know where Monroe County is.