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John McHenry Family Papers, MS 3076, 1764-1947
The John McHenry Family Papers, 1764-1947
James McHenry, 1753-1816
James Howard McHenry, 1820-1888
John McHenry, c. 1865-1939
1 ¼ linear feet (3 document boxes) - Approximately 60 items
Summary: The papers in the John McHenry Family Papers, spans 183 years, from 1764 to 1947. The materials consist of two letters from Dr. James McHenry (1753-1816), one to General Washington and the other to William Tilghman; numerous letters from Margaret Caldwell, sister-in-law of Mrs. James McHenry (also Margaret Caldwell); one real estate book of James Howard McHenry (1820-1888); and business records of John McHenry (c.1865-1939), regarding family property and Mercantile Trust Co. affairs. The bulk of the material centers on two family members, Margaret Caldwell McHenry (1762-1833), who corresponds with her sister-in-law, Margaret Caldwell (Mrs. John Caldwell), and discusses family visits, illnesses, and other family events; and John McHenry (c.1865-1939), whose business records reflect his management of the family properties, and whose typescript copies of his business letters while he was treasurer of the Mercantile Trust Co. reflect both family and business affairs. The Caldwell letters provide a glimpse into the family and religious life of 18th century-early 19th century privileged women. John McHenry’s business ledgers reflect the extent of family property, business practices, and income, while his typescript business letters (1904-1910) reveal both business and personal changes in the early 20th century.
H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
Access to this collection is unrestricted
Permission to quote must be received in writing from the Special Collections Librarian.
Given to the H. Furlong Baldwin Library of the Maryland Historical Society by Joan McHenry Hoblitzell in 2005.
Finding Aid completed by Damon Talbot in 2010.
Dr. James McHenry (1753-1816) and his wife,
Margaret Caldwell McHenry (1762-1833)
James McHenry was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland, November 16, 1753 and immigrated to the United States about 1771, settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Newark Academy in Delaware, and studied medicine under Dr. Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia. During the Revolution he was appointed assistant surgeon in 1776 and later surgeon in the Fifth Pennsylvania Battalion. He served as secretary to General Washington from 1778-1780 until being appointed to the staff of General Lafayette, serving in that capacity until the end of the war. McHenry was a member of the Maryland State Senate from 1781-1786, a member of the Continental Congress from 1783-1785, and a delegate from Maryland to the Federal Constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787. He served as Secretary of War under both Presidents Washington and Adams from January 29, 1796 to May 13, 1800. McHenry resided at “Fayetteville,” his country estate near Baltimore until his death on May 3, 1816. He is interred in Westminster (Presbyterian) Churchyard, Baltimore, MD
On January 8, 1784, James McHenry married Margaret Allison Caldwell (1762-1833), the only living daughter of Philadelphia merchant David Caldwell. Her only brother, John Caldwell (1759-1820), married his cousin, also a Margaret Caldwell. Most of the correspondence in the early years of this collection is between the two sisters-in-law.
James and Margaret McHenry had five children: Grace (1785-1789), Daniel William (1786-1814), Sophia (1794-1874), Anna, and John (1791-1822)
John McHenry married Juliana Elizabeth Howard (1796-1821), the daughter of John Eager Howard. They had one son, James Howard McHenry.
James Howard McHenry (1820-1888)
James Howard McHenry (1820-1888) was the only child of John and Juliana Howard
McHenry, daughter of Col. John Eager Howard. A graduate of Princeton, he studied law at Harvard. In 1855, he married Sara Nicholas Cary, daughter of Wilson Miles Cary, and lived on the family estate, Sudbrook, near Pikesville. He was survived by three daughters and two sons. He was active in business affairs and the management of the family properties.
John McHenry (c. 1865-1939)
A resident of Green Spring Valley, John McHenry was the son of James Howard McHenry (1820-1888) and Sarah Carey McHenry. He was educated at George Carey’s School in Baltimore and graduated from Yale in 1885. He married Priscilla P. Stewart of Baltimore. In addition to managing the family properties, he was for 40 years treasurer of the Mercantile Trust Company in Baltimore and was active in local social organizations. He had three children: James McHenry, Mrs. Robert Lee Randolph, and Mrs. Duncan Forbes Thayer. A second son, John, mentioned in his papers, died in World War I in 1918.
Scope and Content
The papers in the John McHenry Family Papers, span 183 years, from 1764 to 1947. The materials consist of two letters from Dr. James McHenry (1753-1816), one to General Washington and the other to William Tilghman; numerous letters from Margaret Caldwell, sister-in-law of Mrs. James McHenry (also Margaret Caldwell); one real estate book of James Howard McHenry (1820-1888); and business records of John McHenry (c.1865-1939), regarding family property and Mercantile Trust Co. affairs.
The bulk of the material centers on two family members, Margaret Caldwell McHenry (1762-1833), who corresponds with her sister-in-law, Margaret Caldwell (Mrs. John Caldwell), and discusses family visits, illnesses, and other family events; and John McHenry (c. 1865-1939), whose business records reflect his management of the family properties, and whose typescript copies of his business letters while he was treasurer of the Mercantile Trust Co. reflect both family and business affairs.
The Caldwell letters provide a glimpse into the family and religious life of 18th century-early 19th century privileged women. John McHenry’s business ledgers reflect the extent of family property, business practices, and income, while his typescript business letters (1904-1910) reveal both business and personal changes in the early 20th century.
There are numerous materials at the Maryland Historical Society that relate to the McHenry and allied families. The primary McHenry family collections are listed below. McHenry family documents may also be found in collections related primarily to the Howard and Cary families. In addition, the Manuscript Vertical File contains several letters to or from James McHenry.
McHenry, James Howard, 1820-1888
McHenry, James Howard, 1820-1888
McHenry, James Howard, 1820-1888
Account Books, 1843-1901
McHenry, James, 1753-1816
McHenry Family Papers, 1774-1876
McHenry, James, 1753-1816
Boyd, James McHenry, 1838-1847
The papers are arranged in three series:
Series I: James McHenry Papers; Correspondence, 1764-1826, (Box 1, 5 folders)
This series contains two letters from James Howard McHenry; correspondence, largely between Margaret Caldwell McHenry and her sister-in-law, Margaret Caldwell (Mrs. John Caldwell), and two sermons.
The Caldwell-McHenry letters and two letters from James Howard McHenry are arranged chronologically, followed by undated letters and sermons.
This series includes letter from James McHenry to Gen. George Washington on the disposition of British prisoners of war, 1777 and a letter from McHenry to William Tilghman, transmitting a letter from Tilghman to the President of the United States and discussing political news, 1792: (The original letters have been removed for safekeeping and replaced with a photocopy). (Folder 1)
Two folders contains correspondence, largely between the sisters-in-law Margaret Caldwell McHenry and Margaret Caldwell (Mrs. John Caldwell), discussing religious and family matters. Other correspondents or third parties are John Caldwell, Thomas Masters, Martha Caldwell, Anna and John McHenry, son James McHenry, and James Boyd, undated and 1812-1826, found in the miscellaneous correspondence folder. (Folders 2-4)
Folder Five contains three sermons or meditations, one copied from Hervey’s Meditations. The remaining are unsigned. (Folder 5)
Series II: “Real Estate Holdings in Baltimore City of James Howard McHenry, 1822-1888”. (Box 1, 1 folder)
Two signatures appear in this book, that of Juliana Kayser Clark on frontispiece and
James Howard McHenry. The book consists of sketches of city blocks, with their street
names, in downtown Baltimore, with numbered plates showing McHenry holdings. Street
names include Monument, Eager, North, Charles, Centre, Pratt, Cross, Light, et al. One
notation indicates payments made, another notes a Dispute with W.I. Gittings on
boundaries. 30 pp. (Folder 6)
Series III: John McHenry Business Records, (?-1939); 1904-1951, (Boxes 2 and 3)
The John McHenry records, all bound, are arranged randomly in the two remaining boxes.
The Series contains three cash books of the McHenry Estate Co., showing income and disbursements for these years: 1905-1921, 1914-1947, and 1922-1947; McHenry Estate ledger, showing rents and sales of property, 1905-1908; two ledgers: one for Goose Green Farm, the other for Dunlora Farm (labeled Goose Green on cover), showing purchases and sales of crops, animals, and equipment. (Box 2, 3)
It also contains two books of typescript business letters written by John McHenry from 1904-1907 and 1907-1910. These books consist of some 84 letters discussing Mercantile Trust Co. affairs and family minutes, including rentals and leases on family properties; McHenry’s wife, Priscilla; two sons, James and John; Yale Alumni Association affairs; Green Spring Valley Hunt Club; Pikesville Improvement Association; and other personal maters, including the sale of a cow to provide milk for “my baby” and the purchase of the first family car. (Box 3)