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Francis Henry

Birth: January 27, 1827, Galena, Il
Death: September 27, 1893, Olympia, WA
Spouse: Eliza B. Henry (Married Yam Hill, Oregon, May 14, 1857)


Francis HenryBorn in Galena, Illinois, January 27, 1827, Francis Henry was the first white child born in Galena. His parents, William and Rachel (McQuigg) Henry, were natives of New York and Connecticut respectively. His father took an active part in the War of 1812, being a Lieutenant of Artillery, and was one of the first settlers of Galena in 1825, where he engaged in the mercentile business. In 1836, William Henry moved with his family to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, where he passed the remainder of his days.

Francis Henry secured his education in the old proverbial “log school house,” walking several miles to improve the simple facilities then offered by the short winter terms. His early manhood was spent in (?) 1847. He received his appointment from General Cass as a Lieutenant of the U.S. Dragoons for the Mexican War serving at the City of Mexico under General Scott. Henry was one of General Scott’s aides all through the war.

After his discharge he joined his family in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and engaged in the study of law under Judge Dunn. In 1851 started for the gold fields of California via Panama; mined at Hangtown, California, (?) and Plaserville. In 1855 he crossed the mountains to Jacksonville, Or. where he found mining profitable for a time. The discovery of gold in Eastern Washington again setting him going, but the Indian War in 1855 saved him from further disappointment. He was a member of several legislatures and two constitutional conventions 1878-1889.

More Information

The following excerpt is from Pioneer Association of the State of Washington posted on the website as part of historylink.org.

Also at the 1886 meeting (Pioneer Association meeting at Yesler’s Hall in Seattle in 1886), Francis Henry suggested that the new association gather material pertinent to the region’s history. Henry, called Olympia’s “town wit, cartoonist and writer of satirical verse” by historian Gordon Newell, authored a poem titled “The Old Settler,” which was later used by restaurateur and Pioneer Association member Ivar Haglund. It included the famous line: “I laugh at the world and its shams, as I think of my happy condition, surrounded by Acres of Clams.”