Hillsborough County, Florida


1842 - 1914

William Marion Hendry was born December 12, 1842, Thomas County, Georgia. He was a son of James Edward and Lydia (Carlton) Hendry and a grandson of William and Nancy (McFail) Hendry & John and Nancy Ann (Alderman) Carlton. With his parents in 1851, he moved to Hillsborough County, Florida where they settled twenty-two miles east of Tampa.

During the Civil War, he enlisted in 1863 in Captain Francis A. Hendry's Company A, Col. Munnerlyn's Batallion until transferred to Captain John Parsons' Company, in which he was commissioned a first lieutenant. He also served in Captain W. W. Wall's Company. In February 1865, he participated in the unsuccessful attempt to capture Fort Myers, which was held by the Union Army. Lt. Hendry was honorably discharged on May 20, 1865.

In Polk County on December 2, 1865, he married Susan C. Wall, born May 16, 1843, daughter of Judge Perry Green and Nancy (Hunter) Wall of Tampa. They had the following children:

1. Samuel Hendry, born September 1866; died unmarried.

2. Edward Marion Hendry, born January 23, 1868; never married.

3. Mary Susan Hendry, born August 2, 1874; died June 6, 1933, Tampa, Florida; married on May 31, 1894, Henry T. Linebaugh.

4. Henry Asbury Hendry, born August 9, 1876; died July 28, 1941; married on August 6, 1899, Mrs. Edna Langford Henderson.

5. William Wall Hendry, born August 10, 1878; married Bessie Knight.

6. Julia A. Hendry, born May 17, 1880; married on April 28, 1897, R. Ingram O. Travers.

7. Lydia Cornelia Hendry, born July 10, 1881; married Joseph W. Frazier.

W. Marion Hendry made his home in Fort Meade where he was a cattleman. In 1871-72, he represented Polk County in the Florida Legislature. In the summer of 1873, he moved to Fort Myers where he lived at present day First and Hendry streets. With his brother-in-law, Major Aaron T. Frierson, as his partner, he in 1875 opened a general store on the northeast corner of First and Hendry streets. He also continued as a stockman.

He aided much in shaping the political complexion of Fort Myers and Lee County. On August 22, 1876, he was appointed the first postmaster of Myers. (Washington postal officials refused to accept the town as Fort Myers as there was already a Fort Myer, Virginia. On November 9, 1901, Washington finally accepted Fort Myers as the town's official postal name.) He served until August 2, 1879 and kept the postoffice in his store. Elected as a councilman on August 12, 1885 when Fort Myers was incorporated, he was one of ten men elected to the first town offices, and was thus one of the ten founding fathers of Fort Myers. In 1887, he was again elected to the Town Council. In 1894, he was appointed by Governor Mitchell as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Lee County to fill the unexpired term of incumbent who had died. He was elected in 1896 as Clerk and was re-elected subsequently for three four-year terms. Upon the expiration of his last term in January 1913, he retired and was succeeded in office by his son, Henry A. Hendry.

W. Marion Hendry was a Mason and a member of the Methodist Church, in which he served many years as a steward and as a member of the Board of Trustees. In 1882, he and his brother and sister-in-law, Francis A. and Ardeline Hendry, gave the property on First Street and Royal Palm Avenue upon which the sanctuary of the First Methodist Church of Fort Myers was built. When a new church was proposed, Marion, acting for the church, purchased a 132-foot lot, which adjoined the church. Construction was begun that winter, and on November 22, 1903, services were performed by Rev. S. W. Lawler.

Susan Wall Hendry died May 16, 1899 and was buried in the Frierson-Hendry Cemetery. Her brother-in-law, George W. Hendry, said of her: "She was of a jovial disposition, always viewing life from the bright side, a splendid companion, a true helpmate, a member of the church; she filled her station in life faithfully."

On May 22, 1905 in DeSoto County, Florida, W. Marion Hendry married Mrs. Laura V. Craig, born 1845.

On July 22, 1907, Wm. M. Hendry applied for a Confederate pension. Supporting his claim were Francis A. Hendry and Frank C. Alderman. His pension was approved with pay from August 8, 1907 at the rate of $100 per annum.

William Marion Hendry died December 23, 1914 at his home on First Street in Fort Myers and was buried in the Frierson-Hendry Cemetery. He was recognized as one of Lee County's most worthy citizens, esteemed for his temperate, moral, and religious walk in life, and square dealings with his fellow man.

On December 4, 1916, Mrs. Laura V. Hendry applied for a Confederate pension as the widow of W. M. Hendry. James E. Foxworthy and Jehu J. Blount attested to her application. Her claim was approved as pensioner no. 1935 on March 6, 1917 for $150 per annum with pay from December 5, 1916. Laura V. Hendry's date of death hasn't been learned.

SOURCES: George W. Hendry, Lydia Moody Nee Hendry Nee Carlton, 1900; Milton D. Wilson, Pioneer Families of Polk County and South Florida, 1944; C. S. A. pension applications of W. M. Hendry and Laura V. Hendry, Florida Archives, Tallahassee; Karl Grismer, The Story of Fort Myers, 1949; 1981 Captain Francis Asbury Hendry reunion program.

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