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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HENRY, William, inventor, born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, 19 May, 1729; died in Lancaster. Pa., 15 December, 1786. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his grandparents settled in Pennsylvania in 1722. While yet a young man, he began the manufacture of fire-arms at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and was afterward appointed armorer to the troops that were collected for Braddock's expedition, and ordered to Virginia. In 1758 he was commissioned justice of the peace, and in 1760 visited England. In 1771 he was appointed one of the commissioners to examine whether the opening of communication between the Delaware and Ohio rivers for the par-poses of navigation or land-carriage were practicable. He was chosen to the assembly in 1776, and the following year was elected treasurer of Lancaster county, which office he held until his death. During the Revolution he held the rank of commissary. He was a member of the Continental congress in 1784-'5, and during the former year was commissioned president judge of the courts of common pleas and quarter sessions of Lancaster county. He was a member of the American philosophical society, and was favorably known as an inventor. In 1768 he invented the "self-moving or sentinel register," which was followed in 1771 by the "screw-auger." He was among those antecedent to Fitch and Fulton in the application of steam as a motive power to propel boats. His original draw-lugs, made in 1779, were found among his papers after his death. In 1785 he exhibited the "model of a wheel-carriage, which rolls close in against the wind by wind-force."--His son, William, manufacturer, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 12 March, 1757; died in Philadelphia, 21 April, 1827, removed in 1778 to Northampton county, where he engaged in the manufacture of fire-arms, and in 1808 erected a forge on the Bushkill, where the first iron that was manufactured in the country was drawn, 9 March, 1809. [te was commissioned, 14 January, 1788, justice of the peace and associate judge of the courts for Northampton county, but resigned in 1814. In 1792 he was elected one of the presidential electors of the state, and voted for Washington.--Another son, John Joseph, jurist, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 4 November, 1758, died there, 15 April, 1811, enlisted in Captain Matthew Smith's company of riflemen at the beginning of the Revolution, and took part in Arnold's expedition to Canada, where he was taken prisoner and confined for nine months. He subsequently studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1785. In 1793 he was commissioned by Governor Mifflin president judge of the 2d judicial district of Pennsylvania, consisting of the counties of Chester, Lancaster. York, and Dauphin, but he resigned in 1810. He was the author of "Accurate and Interesting Account of Arnold's Campaign against Quebec, and of the Hardships and Sufferings of that Band of Heroes who traversed the Wilderness of Maine from Cambridge to the St. Lawrence in the Autumn of 1775" (Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1812).
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