Joshua Henshaw

                                         ┌── Joshua Henshawe
                                         │    1643-1717 
                  ┌── Joshua Henshaw ────┤
                  │    1672-1747         │
                  │                      └── Elizabeth Sumner
                  │                              ?-1728 
Joshua Henshaw ───┤
B: 1703           │                      ┌── James Webster
D: 1777           │                      │
                  └── Mary Hay Webster ──┤
                       1672-1747         │
                                         └── Mary Hay
M: Elizabeth Bill
   ├── Sarah Henshaw (1736-1822) 1,2,3
   ├── Richard Bill Henshaw (1737-?) 1,2,3
   ├── Elizabeth Henshaw (1744-?) 2,3
   ├── Joshua Henshaw (1746-1823) 1,2,3
   ├── John Henshaw (1749-?) 2,3,4
   └── Andrew Henshaw (1752-1782) 1,2

Joshua Henshaw     [ID 00264] Click here to switch to Ahnentafel view: Ahnentafel View

Born Aug 2 1703, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.1,2,5,6  Joshua was born in the house owned by his parents in Boston on the corner of Hayward's Place and Washington (then Newberry) St.7  

He married Elizabeth Bill, Dec 27 1733, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.1,2,8,9  Marriage by Rev. Benjamin Colman.9  Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Bill & Sarah Davis, was born about 1712.1,2  

Joshua and Elizabeth were married by the Rev. Benjamin Colman, pastor of Brattle Street Church, Boston.1,7,8  

Richard Bill, an influential and opulent merchant of Boston, on Jan 16, 1741-2 conveyed to Joshua Henshaw and wife "the house and land in Sudbury street on the S.S.E., there measuring forty feet; ... on the south west on land of Thomas Cooper, late deceased, there measuring 99 feet; N.W. on Bartholomew, three needles nineteen and a half feet".1  

At a Boston town meeting held March 2, 1764, Joshua Henshaw was chosen first on the list of Selectmen, the then chief elective office of the town.  Appointed to several committees with John Hancock, assisted by John Adams as counsel, just before and after the "Boston Massacre".  Also a member of the (colonial pre-Revolution) House of Representatives.1  

In 1774, in consequence of the enforcement of the "Boston Port Bill" and the occupation of Boston by royal troops, Joshua was forced to move to Leicester in the county of Worcester, Mass., where his brother Daniel lived.  He boarded for a short time with Rev. Conklin, then moved to Dedham, near Boston, where he resided until his death in 1777, most of the time an invalid.1  

Joshua Henshaw died Aug 5 1777, at the house of Hon. Sam Dexter, Dedham, Massachusetts.1,2,6  

Elizabeth died Sep 28 1782, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts; "aged 70 years".1,2  

See also: William Henshaw #4483 who has sometimes been reported as an additional child of Joshua & Elizabeth.10  

A portrait of Joshua Henshaw was painted about 1770 by noted colonial artist John Singleton Copley.  This painting is currently (2000) in the collection of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco.  The museum's description of the work states:11

"This portrait belonged in 1873 to Dr. J. McLean Hayward of Boston, a great great nephew of the sitter, (Joshua Henshaw).  From the Hayward family it went to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor.  

"Joshua Henshaw (1703-1777) of Boston, a merchant and a magistrate, was a distinguished patriot and a member of the house of representatives.  Together with John Hancock, James Otin and Samuel Adams, he protested invasion of the rights of the colonies and was forced in the 1774 to flee from Boston and take refuge in Lelemer, Massachusetts.  

"This painting is condsidered to date from 1770-1774, that is it belongs to the last American period of Copley.  He left for Europe in June of 1774, setled in London and never returned to America."

Copley's painting can be seen on the web site of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor:


  1. The "New England Historical and Genealogical Register", vol 22, 1868, The New England Historical and Genealogical Society. This issue includes a complete copy of the recorded pedigree of Joshua Henshaw.
  2. Contribution from Tom Henshaw.
  3. "Boston Births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800", Boston Registry Dept.,
    Rockwell & Churchill, 1894, Boston, MA (
  4. The LDS IGI - Massachusetts.
  5. 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.
  6. Manuscripts relating to William Henshaw, archived at the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA, including a handwritten family lineage.
  7. RootsWeb WorldConnect data from James Sergent ().
  8. Boston, Massachusetts Marriages, 1700-1809;
  9. Boston, Massachusetts marriages; "Ray's Place" New England history:
  10. Henshaw history and genealogy manuscript, original by Holmes Hart Henshaw, 1930; updated in 1995 by Donald Craig Henshaw and others.
  11. Contribution from Melissa Kay Hinshaw Owens.

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