My 3rd great grandfather John Henderson has had me running round in circles for about five years. The 1851 census told me he was born about 1812 in Cullercoats. I traced and followed several John Hendersons from the Tynemouth area without making the correct connection. Initially I was not observant enough to pick up on the conflicting birth place of Haydon Bridge shown in the 1871 census. After purchasing his death certificate I set off on the trail of a John Henderson baptized about 1811 in Haydon Bridge. Since the family were non-conformist I assumed that my problems in finding him meant that he was baptized in a Presbyterian or Methodist chapel somewhere in that area. After several years of banging my head against this brick wall I tried a new tack and took a closer look at his siblings. There was slow process there too, but finally I decided that Archibald Henderson baptized in Haydon Bridge could be his brother. This gave parents Archibald and Jane, so I set off in pursuit of other children who might share these parents. This lead me to two baptisms in Kirkwhelpington in 1813 for Ruth and John. My immediate reaction was that this ruled out this family as belonging to my John due to the date discrepancy. No further information was forthcoming online so I was stuck again. On my next visit to the Northumberland Archives I dug out the Kirkwhelpington records to view these baptisms on 19 December 1813 and I struck gold. The minister had made an annotation in the margin of the register which told me: “John born 1811 Haydon Bridge. How lucky can you get?
John Henderson, known as Jack Henderson, was born on 22 June 1900 at Amble in Northumberland. Jack was the eldest son of Newton Henderson and Mary Phyllis Thornton. He was a double cousin to my granny Margaret Jane Webb, née Henderson. Their fathers were brothers and their mothers were sisters.
Jack emigrated to America and spent his adult life in California with wife Ruby. I don’t think I ever actually met Jack & Ruby, but I remember when I was about five their daughter Babs and her husband Chuck came to visit us.
On 29 April 1898 John Henderson, age 38, fell into Amble Harbour while trying to fix the tiller on a boat. An extensive search was carried out, but John was not found until several days later when the tide washed his body back into the harbour. The photo shows his grave in Amble East Cemetery.
John left behind his pregnant wife Mary and two children: David, age 4, who was later killed in WWI and baby Isabella. Their posthumous child, named John after his Dad, died in September 1899 age 10 months.