William Henshaw

 1. Thomas Henshaw (c1650-1700) m Hannah Cleveland (1653-1737)
 2.. Thomas Henshaw (1680-1726) m Mary Brooks (1688-?)
 3... William Henshaw (1715-1801) m Priscilla Reed (1715-1748)
 4.... William Henshaw (1742-1817)
       +Christian Bellinger 
 5.....  Priscilla Henshaw (1767-1835) 1,2
       +Mehitable Moffet (1746-1839)
 5.....  Mehitable Henshaw (1772->1851) 2,3,4
 5.....  Polly (Mary) Henshaw (1774-?) 2,4
 5.....  Sarah Henshaw (1776-1856) 2,3,4,5
 5.....  Chloe Henshaw (1778-<1851) 2,3,4
 5.....  William Henshaw (1780-1868) 2,3,4,6,7
 5.....  Persis Henshaw (1782-1863) 2,4,8,9
 5.....  Amy Henshaw (1784-<1851) 2,3,4,10,11
 5.....  Hannah Henshaw (1786-1877) 2,3,4,8,12
William Henshaw     [ID 02965] Click here to switch to Ancestror Tree view: Tree View

William Henshaw2 [William Hincher9,13,14,15, William Hencher3,16].

Born May 9 1742, Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts.7,8,15,17  

He married Christian Bellinger16 [Ruth Bollinger2,18], Sep 16 176616, Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts16.  

He then married Mehitable Moffet4 [Mehitabel Moffit8,13,18, Mehitable Moffatt2], May 9 17704.  Willm Hincher junior, of Brookfield, and Mehitabel Moffit had published their intentions of marriage in Sturbridge, Massachusetts on Mar 10 1770.19  Mehitable was born 1746.8,15  

During the Revolutionary War, William was a sergeant in Capt. Daniel Gilbert's company, Col. Job Cushing's regiment from Brookfield, Massachusetts.8  

On Jan 1 1788 William and family moved from Brookfield to Newtown Point, New York.20  In 1789 they moved 14 miles up the Chemung River and 6 miles below Painted Post (near today's Corning, Steuben County), on Hincher Flats.20  

In August of 1791, William and his son William went to the mouth of the Genesee River and built a small hut on the west side of the river.20  They cut wild grass for the stock which they intended to bring down, and then returned to Hincher Flats (Big Flats) for the family.  In the last week of March, 1792, they occupied the hut, becoming the first white settlers on the lakeshore between the Genesee River and the Niagara River.20  

They were among the first settlers of the area that is today Monroe County (then Genesee County), New York.14,21  At one time William owned 600 acres where the city of Rochester now stands.20  (for more see: http://www.geneseelighthouse.org/VillageHistory.htm and http://www.geneseelighthouse.org/History_%20Lighthouse.htm).  

William Henshaw died Jun 21 1817, probably Parma, Genesee (now Monroe) County, New York; age 75Y.15  

Mehitable died Apr 12 1839, age 93Y.15  

In 1851 a history of Monroe County, New York was written which included reminiscences of son William Jr. as well as a biography of William Sr. (the surname spelled Hencher throughout):3

William Hencher was a native of Brookfield, Mass., a soldier of the Revolution, he afterwards became a partizan of Shay, in the Massachusetts rebellion.  While transporting some provisions to the insurgents, he was overtaken by some of the opposing military, fled, leaving his teams, and sought refuge in the then wild regions of western New York.  He came first to Newtown Point, remained there one year, was joined by his family, and located in the neighborhood of Col. Sterrett, on Big Flats.  In August, 1791, he and his son William, then eleven years of age, went to the mouth of the Genesee river, where they found Walker, the Ranger, located in a log hut on the east side of the river, near its mouth, the solitary occupant, short of Irondequoit Bay. Orange Stones, and Peter Shaeffers.  Determining upon a settlement, Mr. Hencher, with the help of his son, went up to Long Pond, cut wild grass for the stock they intended to bring on, erected a hut on the west side of the river, and returned to Big Flats; carrying with them, however, a sufficient amount of the fever and ague to last them nearly through the winter.  

In February, '92, he moved in by the way of Seneca Lake and Catherine's Town, upon ox-sleds.  At Irondequoit, was the end of any road.  Mr. Hencher cut his road before his teams, striking the river above the Falls, and then down on the east side to Walker's, where the family remained until the last of March, when they crossed the river and occupied the hut they had erected in the fall, the roof of which was dry wild grass.  This was the first hut of a white man erected on the shores of Lake Ontario, between the Genesee river and Fort Niagara.  The family consisted of the father, mother, one son, and seven daughters.  Clearing a few acres the first season, and planting a few acres that Walker had cleared, they got some summer crops; and also erected a comfortable log house.  The place was much frequented by emigrants and boatmen, who came to camp on shore.  Mr. Hencher soon commenced traffic with boatmen, emigrants and Indians, to which business he soon added a brisk trade in fish.  He and his son, having procured a boat, would cross Lake Ontario to the river Credit and purchase fresh salmon, and sometimes catch them in the Oak Orchard and the Irondequoit.  These he would carry back into the settlements, and exchange for butter and cheese, which he would market in Canada, making large profits.  Purchasing six hundred acres of land, he supported a large family, and paid for the land twice, the first title proving defective.  The old gentleman died soon after the war of 1812, his wife surviving until 1843 [sic], when she died at the age of 93 years.  The eldest daughter married Thomas Lee; she survives, and is a resident of Pittsford.  Hers was the first marriage that took place upon the west side of the river, except that of Peter Shaeffer.  Another sister married Bartholomew Maybee, and is yet living in Ohio; another, Stephen Lusk, of Pittsford, and is yet living; another, Donald M'Kenzie, of Caledonia, and is yet living.  Two others, Mrs. Clement, of Cleveland, and Mrs. Abel Rowe, of Parma, are dead.  Seven Pioneer wives and mothers came from under one roof!  Of the eight children, six are living; and yet they have passed through the most rugged scenes of pioneer life, and their location was, in early years, deemed the most unhealthy of all the new settlements!  The eldest is 80, and the youngest 65.  The old gentleman lived to see all of his children married and settled.  The only son, William Hencher, is 71 years of age; resides in Andover, Allegany county, with faculties unimpaired, his memory enabling him to relate early events with minuteness and accuracy.

See also: Son William for further reminiscences.  

Another biography of William Hencher appeared in the 1877 book "History of Monroe County New York":4

William Hencher was born at Brookfield, MA, served as a soldier during the Revolution, was a partisan of Shay in the State rebellion, a pioneer of Monroe County, NY, and the father of a family of pioneers.  He was married May 9, 1771 to Mehitable Moffet, the grand-daughter of a Scottish clergyman.  The family resided for seventeen years upon a farm in Brookfield, Worcester County, MA, then removed to Gates, NY, then a portion of Ontario County.  The first settlement was made at Newtown Point, where a year was passed.  He then moved up the Chemung River, and, joined by his family, located on Big Flats.  He contracted for one-eighth of the second township, short range, west of the Genesee, at the mouth of the river.  A payment of seventy dollars had been made when Jackson, the supposed owner, was found to have no claim.  A purchase was now made from Joseph Annin of six hundred and twenty-seven acres, at two shillings and six-pence per acre, and in August, 1791, Mr. Hencher, accompanied by his only son William, then a youth of eleven, came to his land and, selecting a site, erected a hut on the west side of the river.  Father and son then went to Long Pond and cut wild grass, in anticipation of bringing on the stock and making a settlement.  Returning for his family, he moved in during February, 1792, upon ox-sleds, coming by way of Seneca Lake and Catherine's Town to Irondequoit, where all semblance of a road ceased.  A road was cut to the Genesee above the Falls, thence down the east side of the river to the hut of a renegade named Walker, where the family made a temporary sojourn and, about March 31, crossed the river to occupy the hut above noted.  This hut, now inhabited by ten persons, and roofed with wild grass, was the first rude dwelling of the European race on the shore of Lake Ontario between the Genesee River and Fort Niagara.  A few acres were cleared, a comfortable log house was built, and here the family lived till 1802, when they moved lower down the river to where the United States light-house now stands.  Emigrants, boatmen, and Indians frequented the place, camped near by, and with them Hencher opened a traffic to which was added a trade in fish, purchased across the lake or caught by himself in the creeks.  Buying butter and cheese in the settlements, he sold at large profit in Canada, and not only supported a large family, but paid for his extensive tract of land.  When the family moved west of the Genesee River, and for several years thereafter, Peter Shaffer and Christopher Dugan were sole neighbors, and these twenty miles distant.  The family consisted of the parents and eight children, seven of whom were daughters.  The oldest, Mehitable, born February 22, 1772, married Thomas Lee, and her marriage with him was the second to take place on the west side of the river.  Polly was born March 10, 1774; Sarah, August 25, 1776; Chloe, June 11, 1778; William, April 17, 1780; Persis, May 3, 1782; Amy, April 16, 1784; and Hannah, September 20, 1786.  The youngest child was fifteen months old when the Hencher family sold their eastern farm and moved to Western New York.  William Hencher lived to see all his children married and comfortable settled, and died on June 21, 1817, in Charlotte, Gates Township (now Greece), NY.  Seven daughters, inured to frontier life, became wives of as many pioneers, and despite unhealthful climate, unmitigated hardship, and early privation, survived many years and witnessed the changes from rude to refined, from semi-savage to enlightened life.  It is noted of William Hencher that he wrote of others, and thereby contributed to pioneer history, but of himself said nothing.  From the incidents of his life we idealize a man determined and active, one who shrank from no danger when found in the pathway of duty or self-interest, and who with ready appreciation embraced opportunity to advantage his family, and rejoiced in having secured for each a competence before his departure.  In his renewed effort to secure a farm when the first had proved a failure, his voyages across the lake with produce and for fish to obtain means of payment, and his rapid improvement of his lands in the face of the dreaded fevers which brooded along the coast, we have a genuine pioneer, one worthy of honorable mention in history, one to whom the present and future owe a debt for self-denial and signal service.

Yet another biography of William Hincher appeared in "From Northern Waters To Grecian Shores", an early history of the Lake Ontario shoreline in the present town of Greece, New York:22

January 1, 1788, he moved his family to New Town Point.  At that time he changed his name from the original Henshaw to Hencher.  Through illiteracy or carelessness the e by being dotted became an i which explains the present spelling, Hincher, which appears upon his tombstone, now in the possession of The Rochester Historical Society.  

While Mr. Hincher lived at New Town Point, Jemima Wilkinson, inspired by the spirit of prophecy, traveled from place to place with a party of Friends, in early parlance, "proclaiming the gospel" ....  William Hincher moved the prophetess and her followers through the woods to Catherine's Town.  

The following year, 1789, Mr. Hincher moved 14 miles up the Chemung River to Hackett's Falls, six miles below Painted Post.  During the summer of 1790 he explored the Phelps and Gorham Purchase and a year later, in mid summer with his eleven year old son, William Jr., he made his way westward to the mouth of the Genesee River where he erected a log hut thatched with coarse marsh grass cut from the Long Pond bogs.  This was the first house erected by a white man between the Genesee and Niagara Rivers.  It occupied the site of the old stone lighthouse, which Mr. Hincher's widow deeded to the government.

See also: http://www.rudyalicelighthouse.net/OntLts/CharGen/CharGen.htm

(photo)Photo: Gravestone - William Hincher 23


  1. Contribution from Tom Henshaw citing:
    Births, Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts; page 127.
  2. Contribution from Tom Henshaw.
  3. "History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase and
    Morris Reserve". O. Turner; published by William Alling, Rochester; 1851;
    Cornell University Library "Making of America" Collection:
  4. Contribution from Mark Hoy Henshaw citing:
    "History of Monroe County New York"; Everts, Ensign, and Everts Publishers, Philadelphia, 1877.
  5. Ancestry World Tree, data submitted by Tom Henshaw.
  6. Granger, John: "History of the Granger Family"; 1893.
  7. The LDS IGI - Massachusetts.
  8. Lineage Books of the Charter Members of the National Society of the
    Daughters of the American Revolution (www.ancestry.com).
  9. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution,
    Lineage Books, Volume 84.
  10. GEDCOM file AW10.GED in the GEDDEX archives:
  11. GEDCOM file g1631 in the Ancestry collection: http://www.ancestry,com.
  12. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution,
    Lineage Books, Volume 88.
  13. Massachusetts Marriages 1750-1799: CyberTree Genealogy Database:
  14. "Descriptions and Memorandums of the County of Monroe and Its Environs":
  15. Inscriptions from Charlotte Cemetery, Rochester, New York:
  16. Contribution from Tom Henshaw citing:
    Vital Records, Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts; page 339.
  17. Contribution from Tom Henshaw citing:
    Vital Records, Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts; page 127.
  18. Cleveland/Graham database: http://www.familytreemaker.com/users/c/l/e/richard-w-cleveland/index.html.
  19. "Vital Records of Sturbridge, Massachussetts To the Year 1850",
    "Sturbridge Marriages to the Year 1850", New England Historic Genealogical Society,
    Boston, MA, 1923.
  20. "Hincher family genealogical notes", a short manuscript on the ancestry
    of Howard Franklin Hincher; LDS microfilm #1307583, item 5.
  21. "Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of New York State", by J. H. French, 1860;
    Monroe County, New York, GenWeb: http://home.eznet.net/~halsey/monroe/french.htm#gre.
  22. Contribution from Mark Hoy Henshaw citing:
    Vol. IX of the Rochester (NY) Historical Society Publication Series.
  23. Photo courtesy of Mark Hoy Henshaw.

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