Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HENDERSON, Matthew, missionary, born in Fife-shire, Scotland, in 1736; died in Washington county, Pennsylvania, 2 October, 1795. He was educated at Glasgow university, studied theology under Reverend Alexander Moncrieff, was licensed to preach in 1756, and ordained in 1758. Immediately afterward he came to Pennsylvania as missionary to the British colonies, and settled in Oxford, Lancaster County, where he labored for twenty years. In 1782 he removed to Washington county, and became pastor of the Associate Reformed church of Chartiers and Buffalo, being the only clergyman of his denomination in that portion of Pennsylvania. He lived in a rude cabin, and preached in a tent in winter and in the open fields in summer, but his ministry was attended with success and he had a great influence over his parishioners. Henderson was large and powerful. On one occasion while travelling to a distant congregation he lodged at a tavern where he was treated with much rudeness by two men. He endured their insults with so much patience that they were encouraged finally to assault him, mistaking his mildness for timidity, when he threw off his black coat, and with the exclamation, "Lie there, Reverend Mr. Henderson! and now, Matthew, defend yourself," he Seized one of the men, dashed him through the open window, and was preparing' to send the other after him, when the second ruffian escaped. Mr. Henderson was killed by the fall of a tree, in the thirty-seventh year of his ministry.
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