Biography of Francis M. Henson
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FRANCIS M. HENSON, who lives on the old homestead of the Henson family on Flat Creek, about a mile from the Barry County line, is a native of Stone County, Missouri, and the seventh in order of birth of twelve children born to Zachariah and Armala (Williams) Henson, both natives of Tennessee.
Grandfather Thomas Henson and family came to Stone County, Missouri, in 1835, when there were very few settlers, and located on land now owned by our subject. The Williams family came here at the same time and on the way the father of our subject, who was then twenty-one years of age, was married to Miss Williams. The journey to this State was made in a two-wheeled cart drawn by oxen, and on arriving here Zachariah built a rude log cabin in which he and his bride began housekeeping. They had very little to start with, but they were ambitious and enterprising and soon decided improvements were made. They resided in the log cabin for a number of years, but Mr. Henson, who had cut pine logs up the creek, rafted them down and had them sawed with the old-fashioned sash saw. With this lumber he built a house which still stands and which has the date of 1850 on the old stone chimney. When they first settled in this county it was almost a wilderness, inhabited principally by Indians and wild animals, and here the father became prominently identified with every enterprise of importance. He was judge of Stone County for eight years and held other local positions of note. During the Civil War he was captain of the Home Guards, and he was kept busy protecting the homes and fighting bushwhackers. He built a water mill on his place and was engaged in milling for a number of years, or up to 1877, and also had a large carding machine in the mill. In connection with the milling business he carried on his farming operations, but was a prominent stockman. He died in 1877, as did also his worthy companion. Both were esteemed and respected throughout the county.
The original of this notice grew to manhood on the old home place, attended the schools of the county and obtained a good common-school education. After leaving school he branched out for himself as a farmer and stockman, and has always lived on the old home place. After the death of the parents he bought part of the old home, and is now living on one of the oldest settled farms in the county. He is the owner of eighty-two acres, but at the present time is giving much of his attention to stockraising. He is one of the prominent young farmers of the county, and has held a number of local offices, among them assessor, which position he filled in a very creditable manner. He is a strict adherent of Democratic principles, and has ever been active in politics.
His birth occurred on the 28th of March, 1854, and in 1874, when twenty years of age, he married Miss Alice J. Baker, a native of this county, born on the James River, near Galena, May 27, 1857. She was the daughter of Enos and Martha (Stone) Baker, both natives of Stone County. Her maternal grandfather, William Stone, was one of the original settlers of the county which was named after him. Mr. Enos Baker while a soldier in the Rebellion was taken sick at Springfield, and lived only a few hours after reaching his home in Stone County. His father, William Baker, was an early pioneer here. Mrs. Henson’s mother is still living, and is the wife of Price Summers, of this county.
Our subject and wife have reared a family of six children: Seigle F., Eddie C., Rose Ella, Claude, Cuma and Bessie. Like every member of the Henson family, our subject is a public-spirited man, and one who extends a helping hand toward all worthy enterprises.