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Rev. Thomas Henderson
Baptist Minister & Teacher
By Jim Duvall
Portrait from Audubon

     Thomas Henderson was a member of Bullittsburg Baptist Church, Boone County, Kentucky, in the early 1800s. He preached for them, was an occasional moderator at business meetings and was active in the Northbend Association. John Uri Lloyd reported that he had the first piano brought into Boone County and it was transported from Philadelphia.

      Rev. John Goss and Rev. Thomas Henderson conducted a school from 1806 to about 1810 near the Bullittsburg Baptist Church Meetinghouse.

     In 1810 Henderson wrote a Circular Letter for the local Association. The records tell it this way:
     "1810 - John Beal of Mouth of Licking Baptist Church was the appointed writer. This letter was read and disapproved; then Thomas Henderson of Bullittsburg Baptist Church was appointed to write it; this was read and approved by the association." The extant Northbend Baptist Association Circulars are available from the year 1812, so we do not know his subject.

     Thomas Henderson had some important connections before and after he arrived on the frontier. John Uri Lloyd, deceased local Boone County historian, asks, "Would you perchance be interested in General La Fayette and his journey by coach from classical Lexington to struggling young Cincinnati, being entertained en route at the home of Mr. Henderson. . . . Would you care to give a thought to Colonel Richard M. Johnson and his scholarly friend, Thomas Henderson, who was appointed by Johnson to superintend the second school under government supervision in the United States? Would you listen to a record of this school, Choctaw Academy, at Blue Springs, near Georgetown, Kentucky?"
[John Uri Lloyd, Felix Moses, 1930, pp. xxi-xxii.]

      Thomas Henderson was long a minister among the churches of Elkhorn Association, and appears to have been a man of good standing and fair preaching talent. It is regretted that materials for a more extended sketch of his life have not been obtained. He was a preacher in Great Crossing church, occupying the pulpit on the third Sunday in each month, while James Suggett preached on the first Sundays, not long after 1812. This position he continued to fill till 1827. In 1829 he went into the constitution of Pleasant Green church in Scott county. About this time, he had an epistolary correspondence with John Smith, commonly known as Raccoon John Smith, touching the tenets of Alexander Campbell. Pleasant Green church seems to have been dissolved after a few years. After this, Mr. Henderson was a minister in Center Ridge church, in Grant county, as late as 1842.
[From J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists]

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Choctow Indian Academy

      Reverend Thomas Henderson, minister of the local Great Crossings Baptist Church, (Scott County) served as superintendent for the Choctow Indian Academy more than 15 years.

      Reverend Henderson was known for his kindness, patience, and good intentions towards the students. He singlehandedly ran and taught a variety of subjects at the school for years until further teaching staff was hired. He also served as the middle man between Richard Johnson and the students. As the superintendent, Henderson advocated for educational quality and opportunities for the boys while Johnson pressured to save the school’s funding so that he could pay off personal debts.

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[This information is from various sources. The picture is from John Uri Lloyd's Felix Moses, p xx. Essay and format by Jim Duvall.]

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