Charles LeRoy Henderson
Biography: Charles LeRoy Henderson
from Scott's files ...

(Henderson: Charles5, Charles4, Joseph3, Robert2, David1)


Charles LeRoy Henderson

Paw Paw, Van Buren MI
December 25, 1904 - October 19, 1976



His parents were Charles Orr Henderson of Sandusky, Ohio and Sophia Linsenmeyer of Keeler. They had four children born at home in Keeler Township: Orvill and Genevieve, deceased, Percy and Charles. Percy and his wife Helen reside in Lakeland, Florida.

Charles' schooling in Keeler and Hartford included class in "Military Training" for World War I.

Charles was proficient in all sports, later playing baseball with the House of David team of Benton Harbor. He attended the Keeler Methodist Church as a child. Later he gave a window there in honor of his parents.

Isabelle Alice Adams was born December 25, 1905 in her family home on Territorial Road in Keeler Township. Her parents were Oliver Martimer Adams and Nora Ann Sumill of Bainbridge. Oliver was born on the adjoining farm, the son of Oscar Adams, whose history is recorded in the earlier history of Van Buren County.

Isabelle, second of eight children, attended Baker rural school. She graduated from Dowagiac High School in 1923 and Cass County normal in 1924. She began teaching at the age of 18. She received a Life Certificate from Western State Normal School in 1927, and returned to her childhood home as teacher for Baker School. Among her students were her two younger sisters: Marjarie and Maxine.

Charles and Isabelle married on June 24, 1930 and they drove to Niagara Falls in their yellow Pontiac convertible with the rumble seat, for the honeymoon. They came to Paw Paw that fall after Charles completed the season as a fruit broker on the Benton Harbor Fruit Market.

By 1935 Charles (Chuck) and his brother Percy had a business place on Main St. dealing in Allis Chalmers farm implements, G.M.C. trucks and Oldsmobiles. In 1953 "Henderson Brothers" erected a new office and sales room on Red Arrow Highway, adding Studebaker to the sales. Later the business was sold to John Tapper.

Their first son, Charles Oliver, was delivered by Dr. T. Houten on June 4, 1933. He is Charles Henderson III. He worked with his father on the farm, in the store and in constuction. He also operated a radio and T.V. business in his home. Charles III resides in Decatur with his wife Joan, a police officer, and their sons Charles M. and Larry. He also had a daughter Patricia and son Roger, and two grandsons, by a previous marriage.

Chuck and Percy have forty acres of asparagus in Keeler Township. Thirty years later it was sold to Fobert Canfield.

On January 7, 1936, the second son, Bruce K., was born. On his fifth birthday the family moved into their life time home, the Briggs house on Michigan Avenue. Bruce also farmed with his father. Bruce worked for a time at Welches. He has a wife Sherry and they both have master's degrees in education. They live and teach in Holt, Michigan. Their children are Lizabeth and Ross and Mark and Todd.

In 1947 Chuck was named a village trustee. Thirty years later his grandson, Charles Martin Henderson of Decatur, also became a trustee. At age eighteen he is the youngest city father in the state.

In 1947 Chuck and Isabelle purchased the 260 acre Crippin farm, southeast of Decatur, from Alice and Frances Duncombe. Under Chuck's skilled management it became one of the finest fruit and vegetable farms in the Berrien and Van Buren County area. The forty acre woodlot produced fine maple syrup. Drilling for oil in 1960 was more exciting than successful.

The success of this farm would not have been possible without the competent help of the sons, Charles and Bruce, and their families.

After the fall work was finished, many happy winters were spent in Florida.

Among Chuck's many endeavors, farming was his favorite. After many fruitful years the farm was sold in 1972 and he retired to his home in Paw Paw.

Notes: I neglected to write down the title and author of the book that this article was photocopied from. The only error I know of in the biography is that Charles Jr. was actually one of eight children of Charles and Sophia (Linsenmeyer) Henderson - though just four of the eight survived to adulthood. Charles LeRoy Henderson is my maternal grandmother's brother.

Mini-biographies of Charles' great grandfather Hugh Long, great grandmother Martha (Montgomery) Henderson and his father's brother Port Henderson are also in these Biographies pages.

08 May 2001