MICHAEL HENRY HENRIE
Chapter 1 of "Descendants of William Henrie"
Our ancestral emigrant to America was Michael Henry, of Readington Twsp., Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. He was b. about 1683, probably in Scotland. His parents at least were b. in Scotland, going from there to Newry, a seaport town in Counties Down and Armagh, Ireland. From Newry, Michael migrated to America, along with other Scotchmen who came in large numbers about the same time. He brought with him his wife, Jean or Jane, b. about 1694, also perhaps in Scotland, and certainly of Scotch parentage. Michael d. Dec. 1760 and was buried at Three Bridges Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. She d. June 1761 and was buried at Three Bridges.
While no date of their coming to America has been found, it was probably in 1716, or earlier, as on Oct. 19 of that year he purchased of John Harrison a lot in the town of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, for 20 pounds. This lot was sold by Michael and Jean on 29 Dec. 1729. It is probable that Michael lived upon this lot until his removal to Hunterdon Co. While at Perth Amboy in 1718 he was appointed as assistant alderman of that city.
Michael may have gone to Hunterdon Co. from Perth Amboy in 1732, or earlier. On 24 Dec. 1733 he purchased a farm of 137 acres in then Amwell, later Readington Twsp. Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, which became the Henry homestead and is where Michael lived until his death. It was near Three Bridges, on the northerly side of the south branch of the Raritan River. (This farm descended to his son Nathaniel, by Michael's will.) Subsequently he, Michael, purchased lands, probably adjoining. He also purchased on 13 Dec. 1743, 166 2/3 acres near Bloomsbury, which he sold Apr. 1752 to his son Michael. (Another reference spells the name of this son, Micha.) These deeds show his thrift and business success.
When he purchased the Emons farm in 1733, Michael was about 50 years of age, and, as he had been married since about 1714, or earlier (judging from his wife's date of birth) various of his children must have been born at Perth Amboy, and perhaps the eldest, William, in Ireland. Only the younger of his eight children were probably born in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey.
Michael signed his name to a deed as 'Michael Henarie.' In 1733-34 Michael's name was spelled 'Hendry,' but never so by himself.
That Michael was a man of influence and high character is shown not only by the fact that he was a chosen freeholder of the new township at and after its formation in 1734 and 1735, and then an overseer of the poor in 1735, but by the further fact that, about the time of the organization of the First Presbyterian Church of Amwell (near Rezville, Hunterdon Co.) a meeting of the Presbytery of New Brunswick was held at his house 11 Oct. 1739. At this time Michael was an elder of the Amwell church, his name appearing second on the roll of elders of that church. He probably remained an elder for life (as the custom then was), as in 1756 his name again appears as one of the elders of the church who attended a meeting of the Presbytery. In 1749 Michael was one of the members of a lottery to raise funds to finish the Presbyterian meeting house and to purchase a parsonage; he made a subscription to such personage.
Michael died Dec. 1760 at the age of 77 years. He was buried, as was his wife later, in a burial plot near Three Bridges, in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, on what we may believe to have been the farm on which he was living at the time of his decease. The plot lies between the New Jersey Central Railroad track and the South Branch River, and two elms still overshadow their graves. Other interments there are of persons belonging to a Rowe family. A relationship between the Henry and Rowe families has not been established; it is possible a Rowe was a subsequent owner of the land.
The inscription on Michael's tombstone is as follows:
Here lies the precious remains
who died Dec. 1760
aged 77 years
The truly pious, faithful, loving friend
Who persevered in every Christian virtue to the end
To all his virtues neighbors and relatives dear
Still loving them and serving God in fear
But now he's gone to praise his God above
Where sorrows cease and nothing dwells but love.
His consort, Jean, survived him only six months, and above her grave is a stone inscribed with the following:
Here lies the precious remains
Jean Henry, wife of
Michael Henry who died
June 1761, aged 67
The accomplished friend, the Christian mother, wife,
Shone with the brightest charms thro all her life.
While death has broken every tender tie
The friend and Christian will survive and
Brighter shine on high.
Michael's will of 17 Jan. 1760 was probated 7 Jan. 1761 (Trenton Wills, Book 10, p. 540). This will, which states he is "of Reading Township," names his wife Jean, and, so far as known, all his children, viz: William, Esther, Michael, Daniel, David, John, Nathaniel (now gone to sea), Margaret, and Sarah; his grandson John, son of his son Michael; his grandson Arthur, eldest son of his eldest son William; and his son-in-law William Bishop. By this will he devises to his wife Jean "the northeast upper room in the house where I now dwell" (a not unusual bequest in those days) with choice of furniture for it, and with provision that his son John shall pay her 15 lbs. yearly and sufficient meat, drink, and firewood, and with other provisions for her sustenance. To his son John he devises the tract he purchased of Abraham Delemater and the widow Bogart; Nathaniel, the tract he purchased of Nicholas Emons; to his daughter Margaret and Sarah, the tract he purchased of John Rupert; and his library books (which must have been numerous for that period), to his children, the Rev. James McCrea, of Lamington, to make the division of such books. The executors were his sons David and John, and Jacob Mattison.
An inventory of his personal estate, filed 5 Jan. 1761, amounted to 712.8.0 lbs. and included 22 horses and colts, 34 cattle, and 37 sheep, weave house and smoke house, spinning wheels, 2 guns, etc. On 19 Nov. 1766 a final account was rendered by his son John Henry.
The will of Jean (signed by mark) of 3 Mar. 1761, three months before her death, was not probated until 26 Nov. 1763 (Trenton Wills, Book ll, p. 445). In it she mentions only her grandson Arthur Henry, son-in-law William Bishop, and son John, the two latest being her executors. Her small estate was settled 22 Jan. 1768.
The true name of the wife of Michael Henry is not known. His will shows it as 'Jean,' and the foregoing reference of her will shows it as 'Jean.' In the references shown below her name is given as 'Jane':
1761, Mar. 5, Henry, Jane, of Reading Township, Hunterdon Co., Will of. Widow of Michael Henry. Grandson Arthur Henry 5 schillings. Son-in-law William Bishop. Witts. Nathaniel Henry, Sarah Henry. Proved Nov. 26 1763. Appraised property David Henry.
Reference: N.J. 1 Vol. 33, p. 188--Utah Genealogical Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. This same reference, on p. 187, gives a will of Michael Henry, Vol. 7, wherein Michael gives his wife's name as 'Jane.' Another reference shows her name was 'Jane Robertson,' but that too has not been proven to be correct.
A family tradition tells of Michael Henry bringing with him to America a fine large apple, or apple tree, which became known as the Michael Henry apple. Some descendants of this tree were long known in various parts of this state, Utah, and are said yet to be found in some sections.
There being no Bible or other records discovered giving the births or particulars of Michael Henry's children (except of David), it has been difficult to give dates of birth or the full names of the wives of many of his nine children.