James and Peter
Peter Henderson & Company
identified as the old James Henderson Farm near the
Central Railroad of New Jersey Arlington Avenue Station.
Source: Jersey Journal, 1930
1914 of some of the family of James Henry Henderson.
The history of the firm of Peter Henderson & Company is closely tied to the story of the families of James and Peter Henderson. The Henderson lineage was clearly important as male children were often named in honor of their fathers and uncles. The first names Peter, James, Alfred, and Charles occur frequently among their descendants. The following genealogical chart is included to clarify the family relationships of some of the Hendersons mentioned in the essay on Peter Henderson & Company founded in Jersey City.
James Henderson (1777-1854) of Pathhead, Scotland: he married Agnes Gilchrist; daughter of Scottish gardener Peter Gilchrist (1740-1810). They had children Ann, James and Peter. James and Peter emigrated to the United States during the 1840's and began a florist business in what was then Van Vorst Township, now part of Jersey City.
James Henderson: (c1818 - 1857). He was the older brother of Peter Henderson. He and his wife Emma (Barbara) Trapp lost several of their children prematurely, only James Henry Henderson (1847-1913) and his sister Maggie (1852-1890) survived to adulthood. Emma died in childbirth in 1852 and James' father who was living with them at the time, died in August of 1854. James re-married in November 1854; his new wife being Emma's sister Margaret (Maggie) Trapp. James himself passed away in 1857 and is buried in New York Bay Cemetery in Jersey City. According to his 1857 will, James Henderson owned two farms in today's Jersey City. The first was over a nine and one-half acre property on Bergen Point Plank Road (today Garfield Avenue), once the homestead of Abraham Vreeland. The second was over an eleven and one-half acre vegetable truck farm he had recently purchased from Benjamin Vandervoort for $7,000 on the Old Bergen Road. It was bounded approximately by the lines of the modern streets known as Bergen, Culver, Audubon, and West Side Avenues on Bergen Hill at Greenville. The Garfield Avenue property (most likely the farmstead depicticed above) passed into the control of James' widow, Maggie, while the Bergen Avenue property (later site of New Jersey City University) ultimately passed into the control of his son.
James Henry Henderson: (August 3, 1847 - January 1, 1913). He was the son of James Henderson (c1818 - 857), and a nephew of Peter Henderson (1822-1890). As his father died when he was just ten years old, his uncle Peter took James Henry under his wing and trained him in the market gardening and horticultural business. When he was old enough, James went into the business on his own. In 1876, he married Anna/Annis Lawty Henderson (1857-1947), who was born in Yorkshire, England in 1854; they had four sons: Peter Gilchrist Henderson (1878-1946), James H. Henderson, Jr. (1879-1913), Charles Henderson (1881-1883), and Alfred Reid Henderson (1882-1954). The family homestead at 187 Bergen Avenue is no longer standing but the site is close to the South District Precinct building of the Jersey City Police Department. Although he made his living as a market gardener, James Henry was active in as a volunteer fire fighter in the 1880's and later became one of the Commissioners on the Jersey City Fire Board from 1884-1893. On the occasion of his death all the fire stations throughout Jersey City were directed to fly their flags at half mast in his memory. James is buried at the New York Bay Cemetery in Jersey City. Shortly after James' death in 1913, Annis' cousin Mabel arrived to visit her recently bereaved American relations. The photo at the top right was taken on the occasion of her visit.
Peter Gilchrist Henderson: (August 1878 - July 5, 1946) He was the heir to the property on Bergen Avenue and took over his father's truck farm and greenhouse business; he was also a grand nephew of the founder of Peter Henderson & Co. He married Jennie L. Clynes in 1902 (d. Nov. 28, 1924) and had two children, Marion L. Kuederly (1903-of Jersey City and Peter L. Henderson Ed. D. of Haworth, NJ (1908-1994), who provides a recollection of the James Henderson branch of the family. In 1923, the family homestead at 187 Bergen Avenue was acquired by the city of Jersey City through eminent domain to make way for the construction of the new A. Harry Moore School. Peter G. Henderson married (2nd) Mae Charmoski [sic] Henderson in 1940; she took over the business and sold it after the death of her husband in 1946. Peter was remembered in Jersey City for distributing free plants to poor children as Mother's Day gifts.
James H. Henderson, Jr.: (September 23, 1879 - December 15, 1974). He attended Cooper Union in New York City and became a chief engineer in Jersey City in 1931; he married (first) Jennie Sloat in 1901 and had two sons James H. (1903-1982) and Robert Fenton (1907-1984); he married (second) Frances Glover in 1931. James was hired by the Engineering Department of Jersey City in 1898, rising through the ranks to become the city's Chief Engineer around 1920. During the next forty years on the job, James oversaw the planning and construction of a wide variety of important municipal improvements to the city's infrastructure including the construction of Journal Square in the mid-1920's. His son James (1903-1982) was also employed as an engineer for 32 years by the Jersey City Department of Public Works. Both are buried in Bay View Cemetery in Jersey City.
Alfred Reid Henderson: (1882 - December 1954), an executive for the Central Railroad of New Jersey and later bursar at the New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass College, Rutgers University. He married Aline of Chicago, IL and they had two sons, Reid Alfred (1940- ) and John (1942- ). They resided at 339 Arlington Avenue in Jersey City.
Peter Henderson: (June 9, 1822 - January 17, 1890). He had three children Alfred (1853 - 1899), Isobel, and Charles (1860 - 1939). After his wife's death in 1868, he married Jean H. Reid, c. 1871. Peter Henderson owned substantial real estate mentioned in his will, probated April 29, 1890: a home at Arlington and Bramhall Avenues, numerous houses and lots in Jersey City on Ocean, Madison, and Jackson Avenue and elsewhere, plant and florist property in the vicinity of Arlington and Randolph Avenues, and Cortlandt Street property in New York City.
Descendents of Peter Henderson in order of their involvement with Peter Henderson & Co.
Acknowledgment: Staff of the Guarini Library of NJCU, particularly Michele Hoban and James Brown of the Inter-Library Loan Department; resources of the Joan D. Lovero Collection, New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library and assistance of Department Head Cynthia Harris and John Beekman; also, resources of the New York Historical Society, and assistance of Katherine Powis of New York Horticultural Society.
| By: Carmela Karnoutsos
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub