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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
William Henderson


William Henderson was for a long period a foremost figure among the hotel men in the province of Alberta, and the Lethbridge Hotel, of which he was proprietor, is still considered the best in the city of Lethbridge. The life labors of Mr. Henderson, however, were terminated in 1909, when he was called to his final rest. He was then fifty-two years of age, his birth having occurred in Edinburgh, Scotland, April 29, 1857, his parents being John and Martha (Pennycuck) Henderson, who spent their lives in the land of hills and heather. The father was a carpenter by trade and thus provided for the support of his family, which numbered four children.


William Henderson

William Henderson, who was the second in order of birth in the family, was educated in Scotland and learned the carpenter's trade in that country. He afterward crossed the Atlantic, settling at Kingston, Ontario and there followed construction work in connection with the building of the Canadian Pacific westward. He was a, young man when he arrived and he devoted some time to railway construction, after which he worked for the railroad company in other capacities until 1885. He then took up contracting on his own account and also worked for the government in bridge inspection. He was truly a self-made man and one who deserved much credit for what he accomplished. He came to Canada with little capital but he possessed energy and diligence and his indefatigable industry carried him steadily forward. He was very progressive and his personal qualities won him the friendship and kindly regard of all with whom he came into contact. He constructed the Lethbridge Hotel and it still stands as a monument to his progressive spirit and business ability, being yet the leading hotel of the city. In Lethbridge he engaged in the hotel business with Fred Downer and at one time they were the owners of five hotels.

On the 8th of March, 1887, Mr. Henderson was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Thomson, who was born at Leith, Scotland, and was there educated, a daughter of John and Margaret (Dixon) Thomson. The father was born in Scotland and was a blacksmith by trade, following that business for many years, or until his death. His family numbered six children, two of whom are living. Both he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church. To Mr. and Mrs. Henderson six children were born, five of whom survive, Harrold Thomson, the eldest, having been killed in action on the 22d of February, 1917, after being in military service for about a year during the World war. He was a member of the Yukon battery. Margaret Etta is the wife of Albert Ives, a ranch- man, living at Lethbridge; Edna is the wife of Dr. G. D. Atkinson of Boston, Massachusetts; Adelina is the wife of John Kane, who is in the garage business in Lethbridge; W. S. is conducting business as a dealer in oxide batteries at Lethbridge; and F. W. is in business with his elder brother.

Mr. Henderson was a consistent member of the Presbyterian church, to which Mrs. Henderson belonged while in Scotland. He was a Mason and had membership with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. In politics he was a Conservative. He served on the city council and was mayor of Lethbridge at the time of his death. His sympathy was always with the one who seemed unfortunate, for he possessed a most charitable and benevolent spirit, and he was ever ready to help those who needed assistance. Mrs. Henderson has one of the nice homes in Lethbridge, which she occupies with her son, W. S. She is a lady of liberal culture, taking an active part in the work of the church and its societies, and by reason of her many sterling traits of character her friends in Lethbridge are many. When Mr. Henderson passed away he left behind him an extensive circle of friends who appreciated his sterling worth, who honored him for what he had accomplished and who felt that his example is indeed worthy of emulation.


 


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