Biography of Dr. Lafayette Henson
DR. LAFAYETTE HENSON. Dr. Henson is still in the dawn of the success which has attended his efforts in a professional way, but has already given abundant evidence of the ability which qualifies him for a high place in the medical profession. He is a true son of Missouri and of Stone County, his birth occurring in the western part of this county October 6, 1858.
The progenitor of this family in America was Peter Henson, who settled in Tennessee at an early date, and where his ancestors resided for a number of generations. Thomas Henson, the grandfather of our subject, was born in that State and was there married. Later he moved to Illinois and made his home there until 1835, when he moved to the wilds of Stone County, Missouri He followed farming to some extent, but was a minister of the Hard Shell Baptist Church for many years, and was well known all over southwest Missouri. He and wife reared a large family and some members are still living in Barry County, Mo, and are quite aged people. The grandparents settled on Flat Creek, within a mile of the Barry County line, and took up Government land. Zachariah Henson, the father of our subject, was born in Tennessee in 1814, and was but a child when his parents moved to Illinois. When he was twenty-one years of age they came to Stone County, Missouri, and he assisted his father in clearing and improving the home place on Flat Creek. He received but a limited education, but was a man of unusually bright intellect, and became one of the prominent men of Stone County, holding the office of county judge from 1858 to 1866, and also held the office of justice of the peace. In politics he was a Democrat, and took a deep interest in the issues of the day. During the Civil War he was captain in a Home Guard company in Stone County, and was kept busy fighting bushwhackers. Mr. Henson always took a decided interest in all public improvements, was well and favorably known all over the county, and extended a helping hand to all laudable enterprises. He married Miss Armala Williams, a native of Kentucky, born in 1819, and the daughter of John B. Williams, who was a native of the Blue Grass State also, and of Irish descent. The Williams family came to Stone County about 1835, and settled at Cape Fair, where they were among the earliest settlers. They came in an ox wagon, took up Government land, and John B. Williams became prominent in public affairs, holding important offices in the county. In politics he was a Republican. The mother of our subject was a young woman when the family settled in this county, before which time she was married to our subject’s father. Twelve children were the fruits of this union, eight of whom are now living: Wiley, a married man, died while in the army; Mary, wife of Judge A. Carney of Barry County; Sarah J., wife of Judge M. A. Galloway; Telitha married Berton Carney; Melvina, wife of F. M. Galloway; Marion married and resides on Flat Creek, in Stone County; Susan, deceased, was the wife of A. J. Morris; Lafayette, subject; Siegel, see sketch; and the remainder died young. The parents of these children were well respected by all acquainted with them, and on the farm where they had resided so many years, their last days were passed, the father dying in June, 1877, and the mother in August of the same year.
The early life of Dr. Lafayette Henson was spent on the home farm and in a mill on this farm. He received a fair education in the common school, and early in life showed a marked liking for the study of medicine, which liking he cultivated by attending lectures in the Missouri Medical College, St. Louis. He entered that institution October 1, 1881, and graduated March 6, 1883, after which he started to practice at Flat Creek, Barry County. One year later he moved to Marionville, where he practiced a number of months and then came to Galena August 13, 1884. Here he has since made his home and built up a flattering practice. While a resident of Barry County he was a member of the County Board of Health, appointed by the County Court. At present he is a member of the Southwest Missouri District Medical Association and the Lawrence County Medical Association. He is also a medical examiner of the Northwest Masonic Association of Chicago, the Equitable Life Insurance Society of New York City, and the Mutual Life Insurance Company, also of New York City. Socially the Doctor is a member of Galena Lodge No. 515, A. F. & A. M., of which he has been secretary for the past two years. He is a Democrat in politics, and is active in all public matters. In this county he was married to Miss Sarah Frances Melton, a native of Stone County and the daughter of E. J. and Susan (Overstreet) Melton, a prominent family of Stone County for many years. The Doctor and wife are the parents of five children, as follows: Charles L., a teacher; John E., a painter; Florence, Nellie and Myrtle. Dr. Henson owns his home in Galena, has been unusually successful in his practice, and is a thorough student. He was appointed secretary of the Board of United States Examining Surgeons at Galena, in 1889, and holds that position at the present time. Mrs. Henson is a member of the Christian Church. The Doctor is proud of the fact that he has com-plied with all the laws governing practice in Missouri. He believes that they are necessary, and that every practitioner should be made observe them. His name is the first on the record of registered physicians in this county, and he is the first native-born citizen of the county to graduate in medicine.