Hillsborough County, Florida


1838 - 1914

George Washington Hendry was born December 3, 1838 in Thomas County, Georgia. He was the son of James Edward and Lydia (Carlton) Hendry and a stepson of Benjamin Moody. With his parents in 1851, he moved to a site on the Alafia River, twenty—two miles east of Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida. His father died on January 3, 1852, and his mother married on November 5, 1854, Benjamin Moody of Homeland.

On January 3, 1856 he enrolled in Captain William B. Hooker's Independent Company, Florida Mounted Volunteers and was musteered out of state service and into federal service of Hooker's Company (2nd service, Seminole War) on February 18, 1856 and was mustered out August 20, 1856. He held the rank of sergeant in the volunteer service. On August 20, 1856, he enlisted as a private in Captain Leroy G. Lesley's Independent Company, Florida Mounted Volunteers and was mustered out February 22, 1857. He also served in Lesley's Company as a private from August 24, 1857 to February 23, 1858 and March 11, 1858 to May 17, 1858. At the time of his first enlistment he later described himself as being: 5 feet 10 inches, with hazel eyes, black hair, light complexion, and by occupation a farmer.

He married on November 17, 1859 in Polk County, Florida, Frances S. Varn, born March 24, 1841, daughter of Frederick and Sarah (Heirs) Varn. They had four children:

1. Frederick F. "Tobe" Hendry, born July 14, 1861; died December 12, 1900; married Tacie M. Cook.

2. John Morton Hendry, born June 10, 1864; died in childhood.

3. Adelaide Victoria Hendry, born April 13, 1866; died February 21, 1894; married on December 17, 1884, Francis Marion Wilson.

4. Lavinia H. Hendry, born April 30, 1869; died July 23, 1953; married on June 24, 1888, Frank B. Harless.

George settled in Fort Meade where he farmed and raised stock. On June 15, 1854 he had in Hillsborough County registered the following mark and brand: swallowfork, upper & underbit in one, uppersquare in the other, brand 89. The 1862 Polk County Tax Roll listed George W. and Albert J. Hendry with 590 head of cattle (Albert was his brother).

During the Civil War, he enlisted on or about March 15, 1862 in Company E, 7th Florida, CSA. He also served as a lieutenant in Captain Francis A. Hendry's Company to which he had transferred and served until the end of the war. Captain Hendry reported of his brother's part in the attack on Fort Myers, which was held by the United States Army, in February 1865:

The night preceding the attack on Fort Myers the battalion was marching leisurely along the trail between Fort Thompson and Fort Myers and came to a halt about twelve miles from Fort Myers. It was dark and raining, and Major Footman called for me. He said, "Captain, I want ten men who can stop on eggs and not break them. Make a detail from your company, dismount them, and place them in command of one of your best lieutenants and have him report to me at once." This order was quickly complied with when Lt. George W. Hendry, in command of ten men of his choosing, reported to Major Footman.

The Major said to him in substance that there was a picket post one mile from Fort Myers on a little creek (Billy's Creek) and to capture the pickets without firing a gun, if possible. The Lieutenant had a hard difficult, and perilous job before him, and he came as near to accomplish as was possible for him to do. The country was so covered with water, the night so dark, and the pickets without campfires, that it was impossible to locate them. He passed within yards of the guard and did not know it. The picket guard heard the wading in the water but thought it was a herd of cattle passing by. When the day dawned, Lt. Hendry returned to the batallion, meeting a few miles from Fort Myers.

In 1883 George advertised as a real estate agent. He also had groves and a citrus nursery, which the devastating freezes of the winter of 1894 - 1895 cleaned out.

Frances Varn Hendry died October 6, 1889. George said of her, "She looked on the bright side of life, was a member of the Methodist Church, and lived a Christian."

After Frances' death, he lived three or four years in Fort Myers where he married on April 30, 1891, Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth Kantz Knight Titus. Rev. W. J. J. Whidden officiated. (Sarah and her brother, Dan C. Kantz, in 1883 had built the Keystone Hotel in Fort Myers. The name was changed several times and was eventually sold to Dr. W. S. Turner, who enlarged it & renamed it the Riverview Hotel.) Sarah Kantz Hendry's date of death is not known.

While in Lee County, George W. Hendry served from 1893 - 1894 as Judge of Probate of Lee County. On returning to Fort Meade, he was elected to the Legislature of 1899 from Polk County.

In 1900 he published a family history Lydia Moody Nee Hendry Nee Carlton, in which he chronicled descendants of his mother and sketched his early ancestry.

On July 28, 1902, George W. Hendry applied for a pension based on his service during the Third Seminole War. He gave Fort Meade as his address. William L. Stephens of Fort Meade and William W. Clark of Bartow declared they had known him 30 and 14 years respectively. On November 29, 1902, John W. Whidden of Arcadia stated that he had known George for 46 years and had served with him in Captain Hooker's Company. Under certificate no. 4879 his claim was approved at the rate of $8 per month commencing June 27, 1902, which was increased to $20 per month from February 19, 1913.

On July 20, 1904 at Fort Meade, he was married by Rev. Hardee to Mrs. Annie Hughes, born ca. 1842, widow of David Hughes who died January 18, 1889. (A merchant, Captain Hughes was chairman of the meeting held on May 3, 1882 which decided to incorporate Bartow.)

Incomplete records from the Florida Archives show that on January 22, 1908 a state pension certificate #6100 was issued to George W. Hendry for his Confederate service. George Washington Hendry died March 2, 1914, Fort Meade.

On April 6, 1914 Annie E. Hendry applied for a widow's pension based upon George's service in Hooker's and Lesley's companies. She gave her age as 72 and Fort Meade as her address. Fred W. Varn and L. Singleton, both of Fort Meade, stated they had known her 39 and 18 years respectively . In June 1914 B. F. Blount gave an affidavit concerning the death of David Hughes. Her claim under certificate no. 8171 was approved, and she was last paid at $12 to December 4, 1917.

On August 1, 1914 she applied for a pension based on George's service in the Confederate Army. Francis A. Hendry, late Captain of Company A, Munnerlyn's Batallion, gave an affidavit that George had served in Company A. Ann E. Hendry (She did not give her given name as Annie in the application) listed her property to consist of: real estate located four miles south of Bartow, 10 acres, $100; dividends only on 10 shares of the Bank of Fort Meade est. 10%, $100. Her claim was approved as pensioner no. 1644 on August 28, 1914 with pay from August 6, 1914 at the rate of $150 per annum. According to pension records, Annie Hendry died December 15, 1917.

SOURCES: Spessard Stone, John and William, Sons of Robert Hendry, Genie Plus, 1984; military and pension record of George W. Hendry in Third Seminole War and Civil War, National Archives & Florida Archives; Milton D. Wilson, Pioneer Families of Polk County and South Florida, Bartow; George W. Hendry, Lydia Moody Nee Hendry Nee Carlton, 1900; "Early Hillsborough County Marks & Brands" in South Florida Pioneers, #9; 1862 Polk County Tax Roll; 1860 Hillsborough County census; Francis A. Hendry, History of the Early Days of Fort Myers; Karl Grismer, History of Fort Myers, 1949; M. F. Hetherington, History of Polk County, 1928.

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