Berkeley County, West Virginia Henshaw Biographies


         The HENSHAW family originally came from Gloucester, England, and has been traced back in an unbroken time before the coming of William the Conqueror. The family eventually emigrated to America.

    Biography of Joshua HENSHAW

         Joshua HENSHAW – The founder of the American branch of the family was born in England, probably about 1670. He was one of two boys placed under the care of Rev. Richard Mather, one of the eminent Puritan divines of Dorcester, Massachusetts. This was done by a dishonest executor of the Henshaw estate, after which he announced to the friends of the family that the boys were at school in London, thus trying to defraud them of their property left them by their father.

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    Biography of John HENSHAW

         John HENSHAW was born in 1680; engaged in business in Dorcester, Massachusetts; later moved to Philadelphia and raised a large family there. With his son, Nicholas, he emigrated to the Colony of Virginia, purchased an estate from Lord Fairfax, and built the house which became the old Henshaw homestead on Mill Creek in Berkeley County. Nicolas Henshaw was born in Philadelphia, and his will, one of the few probated in 1772, the year Berkeley County was formed, is one of the first on record in the Clerk of the Berkeley County Court in Martinsburg.

    NOTE: The above information on Joshua Henshaw and John Henshaw, taken from the 1928 "History of Berkeley County, West Virginia" has been depricated and is no longer considered correct, according to a Henshaw descendant. Please see the following for a dissertation on this subject. There is much more information on this family at the Hinshaw Family Association.

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    Biography of William HENSHAW

         William HENSHAW was born and raised on the old Henshaw homestead on Mill Creek in Berkeley County. In 1775, when Captain Hugh Stephenson raised a company of volunteers for one year’s service in the Continental Army, William Henshaw volunteered his services and was commissioned a Lieutenant in the company. He served throughout the Revolution and his name is connected with much of the history of that war. Tradition has it that he never accepted any pay for his services.

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    Biography of Levi HENSHAW

         Levi HENSHAW was born on Mill Creek in Berkeley County at the Henshaw ancestral home, on July 22, 1769. He was elected Justice of the Peace, 1810; elected a member of the Virginia Assembly 1821-31; Sheriff of Berkeley County in 1840; vestryman of the Protestant Episcopal Church at Bunker Hill for many years. Levi Henshaw II, born at the Henshaw homestead July 15, 1815, was engaged in the milling business at the Henshaw Mill on Mill Creek near the Henshaw homestead; moved to Berkeley County and lived there until he died February 21, 1879. Levi Henshaw II married Sarah Ann Snodgrass of Tomahawk Springs, Berkeley County, and they had two daughters: Lily Snodgrass Henshaw, married Dr. M.S. Butler, a physician of Hedgesville, Berkeley County; and Annie Laurie Henshaw, married Edward Cleggett Williams, pharmacist and druggist of Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia.

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    Biography of Edgar C. HENSHAW

         Edgar C. HENSHAW was postmaster of Martinsburg and of Hedgesville, both Berkeley County, West Virginia; collector of Internal Revenue, Martinsburg; horticulturist; owner of several large commercial orchards; vice-president of Peoples Trust Company Bank; and state food distributor for Berkeley County during World War I. Edgar Henshaw organized and became president of the Henshaw, Hollis & Company, a firm dealing in orchard supplies at Martinsburg; his son, Edgar L. Henshaw was general manager; and his son-in-law, M. Trammell Hollis, was a large stockholder. Edgar L. Henshaw married Miss Florence Langford.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928

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