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MCHENRY, JOHN (1798–1878). John McHenry, sailor, settler, and soldier, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1798 and went to sea at the age of thirteen. In 1812 he landed in New Orleans, where he found work on coastal vessels. He enlisted as a seaman aboard an American gunboat and saw action in the battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815. Afterwards he joined the crew of Jean Laffite for a cruise of the West Indies under a commission from Venezuela. After returning to New Orleans in 1819, he served as pilot for James Longqv's expedition to Texas. He was part of the force that captured Goliad, but he and Long were both subsequently captured and sent to prison in Mexico. His Mexican jailers released him after ten months. By December 1821 he had returned to New Orleans, in time to join an expedition for the assistance of South American liberator Simón Bolívar. He was captured by Spanish officials at Santo Domingo but escaped and made his way back to New Orleans.

In 1822 McHenry purchased his own vessel and engaged in trade with Texas settlements on the Brazos River. In 1829 he married a daughter of John Douglass and settled in DeWitt's colony on the west bank of the Lavaca River. In October 1835 he fought in the battle of Gonzales and the next month participated in the Grass Fight. In 1836 McHenry served as chief justice of Victoria County. His land, however, became part of Jackson County when it was established in 1836. He was a member of the Texas Veterans Association. McHenry died in Jackson County in 1878.

DeBow's Review, December 1853. Ira T. Taylor, The Cavalcade of Jackson County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1938).
Stephen L. Hardin

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Stephen L. Hardin, "McHenry, John," accessed December 17, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.