John Henshaw

                                       ┌── William Henshawec1608-1644 
                ┌── Joshua Henshawe ───┤
                │    1643-1717         │
                │                      └── Katherine Houghton
                │                           1615-1651 
John Henshaw ───┤
B: 1679         │
D: c1736        │
                └── Elizabeth Sumner
John Henshaw     [ID 00209] Click here to switch to Ahnentafel view: Ahnentafel View

Born May 29 1679.1,2,3  

Some researchers have claimed this John married in 1704 to Mary Stedman or Steedman of Cambridge, MA.  But the marriage records of the city of Cambridge clearly show the marriage of John's nephew John to Mary Stedman in 1730.  

John and family worshipped at "Church Green" (presumably this was in either Boston or Cambridge).  John's great great nephew John, in his Henshaw genealogical history, commented:4

"I will here remark that all the families of Joshua Henshaw who worked in Boston worshipped in this church.  The Rev. Samuel Checkley was then the pastor.  There are many records in this church of the Henshaw families."

John prepared his will on Jan 9 1732/33 in Boston.  In his will he gives his possessions to his sister Katherine, his brother Joshua, his brother Samuel, his sister Elizabeth and to his deceased sister Thankful.  There is no mention of a wife or any children:5

In the Name of God, Amen.  This ninth day of January Anno Domi One Thousand Seven hundred and thirty two, I John Henshaw of Boston in the County of Suffolk, England being sick and weak of body but of sound disposing mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner following --

Item: My will is that my just debts and Funeral Charges shall be first paid by my Executor hereafter named -

Item: I give to my Sister Katherine Three Hundred pounds to be paid to her One Hundred pounds in one year after my decease and the other two hundred to be paid yearly till a total three hundred pounds is paid.  

Item: I give to my Brother Joshua Henshaw Two Hundred pounds to be paid him in Two years after my decease.  

Item: I give my Brother Samuel what he is indebted to me.  

Item: I give to my Sister Elizabeth Barber Five pounds to be paid her three months after my Decease.  

Item: I give to my Deceased Sister Thankfulls Daughter Ten pounds.  Her name is Elizabeth Johnson.  

Item: I give to my Sister Mary Wife to Brother Joshua - Fifty pounds, to buy her a trust of Mourning.  

Lastly: All the rest of my Estate both real and personal whensoever and wheresoever the same shall or may be found I give and bequeath unto my Nephew Joshua Henshaw, Son of my Brother Joshua aforesaid and I hereby constitute and appoint my Nephew Joshua aforesaid to be sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament hereby Revoking all Former Wills and Bequeaths by me heretofore made.  

Signed, Sealed, Published, and Declared by John Henshaw, Esq. to be his last will and testament in presence of William Covell, William Cunninghan, and ___ Lang.  

Signed John Henshaw

John Henshaw died about 1736.  John's will was proved Aug 7 1736 in Boston:5
Suffolk __: By the Hon. Ioprah Willard Esq. Judge of Probate __

The within _____ Will being presented for Probate by the Executor therein named. William Cunningham & Andrew Lane made Oath__ that they saw John Henshaw Esq. the Subscriber to this Instrument Sign Seal & heard him publish & declare the same to be his last Will & Testamt and that when he so did he was of a sound disposing mind and memory ____ to the dep___ but ____ and that they together with William Covell _______ set to their hand as witnesses thereof in ___ ___ presence

Boston Augt. 7th 1736

Signed I. Willard

Valley Virginia Henshaw attributed the following to this John Henshaw:

John moved from Dorchester, Mass., to Philadelphia, where he lived a number of years, but did not prosper as he wished.  Hearing of the great fertility of the valley between the Blue Ridge and Great North Mountain, he and his son Nicholas decided to move to Virginia.6,7
But John's will seems to indicate that he probably never married, and he apparently died in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, making it unlikely that he ever moved to Virginia.  

Valley Virginia also claimed it was this John Henshaw who purchased land in Virginia from Lord Fairfax, but it seems almost certain that it could not have been this John, and was more likely John Henshaw [son of Nicholas] who made the land purchase.  

Note that Nicholas Henshaw, who is often shown in Henshaw genealogies as John's son, is not mentioned in John's will, nor is any wife mentioned, so it is doubtful if Nicholas was actually the child of this John.  

For more on this, see: Report on Nicholas


  1. An article appearing in the magazine "Hobbies", February 1967, titled "At the Sign of the Crest - Henshaw Coat-of-Arms", by Hazel Karft Eilers copy supplied by Fontella Hinshaw.
  2. "Genealogical Dictionary of First Settlers of New England", volume 2
    James Savage, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1965.
  3. Contribution from Kristen Wagner-Henshaw.
  4. "History of Henshaws in Scotland, in England and in America to the Present Time", Edith Henshaw Kuntz, 1956; contributed by Don Henshaw.
  5. Contribution from Ed Arntzen () citing:
    Will of John Henshaw recorded in Suffolk County, Massachusetts.
  6. "The West Virginia Historical Magazine Quarterly", Vol. 4, No. 2, April 1904. The West Virginia Historical and Antiquarian Society, Charleston, W.VA. Article "The Henshaw Family" by Valley Virginia Henshaw. Contributed by David H. Henshaw ().
  7. "Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County Pennsylvania", Volume II. John W. Jordan & James Hadden, editors. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, 1912. Contributed by David H. Henshaw ().

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