NOTED IN COLONIAL annals are the Byrds of Virginia, to whose proud red-headed daughters a number of Pike county citizens are able to trace an ancestry. Among descendants of these famous "red-heads" was Jane Ann Rogers, who married Isaac Newton Collard, son of our Pleasant Hill pioneers, Felix Alver and Damaris (Lewis) Collard.
Isaac Newton Collard's daughter, Evelyn Collard Fidelle of Portland, Oregon, who bears the name of one of the much-sung and much-limned beauties of the Byrd line (Evelyn, daughter of Colonel William Byrd), says that her mother inherited the famous red hair of those Scottish beauties who graced the lines of Byrd (Bird), Rogers and Clark and who were toasts of the chivalry of both Scotland and the early Virginia Colony.
The great great grandparents of Jane Ann Rogers Collard were John Rogers and Mary Byrd, they being also great great great grandparents of the children of William Riley Willsey of Maysville, through his mother, Melinda Rogers. The Clarks (of the George Rogers and General William Clark families) and the Birds were also inter- related and inter-married with each other. Says Mrs. Evelyn Fidelle, daughter of Jane Ann Rogers Collard:
"The first John Clark who came to Virginia (1620) had a son John who married Mary Bird, a famous red-headed Scotch beauty. We seem to be descended from John Clark I.
"My mother had red hair and when she started to school in Oregon the children made fun of her red hair and she wanted to quit school but Grandfather (James William Rogers) said ‘No Janey, that hair is something to be proud of, for you inherited it from a famous ancestress.' This was either Mary Bird Clark or Mary Byrd, whom John Rogers married in 1716 in Virginia; or possibly from Marys, as the Byrds and Birds were probably the same family. The name ‘William' in our family is from the father of Mary Byrd, William Byrd of Virginia. History speaks of the red-headed Rogerses and Clarks of Virginia.
"In the pioneer days of Oregon, red hair was almost unknown and that was the reason the children teased mother so about her hair. Three other children of Grandfather had red hair, but not a bright red like mother's. Grandfather said she alone had inherited the famous red hair."
The Virginia Byrds, of whom there are numerous fifth, sixth and seventh generation descendants in Pike county, were of noble birth, as shown by the coat of arms preserved by the family. Colonel William Byrd of Westover, prominent among the early colonists, came of royal lineage, being descended from the Emperor Charlemagne through Louis I, Charles II, Louis II, Charles III and Louis III, kings of France, on down through Sir George Neville, whose daughter, Ursula, married Sir Warham St. Leger, son of Sir Warham St. Leger of the Virginia Company of London, and his wife, Mary Hayward, niece of Sir Thomas Smith, manager of the founding of the Virginia Colony; son of Anthony St. Leger, and his wife, Mary Scott, first cousin of Sir Samuel Argall, who saved the colony from famine in 1609.
Ursula St. Leger, daughter of sir Warham and wife, Ursula Neville, of the great house of Bergavenny, married the Reverend Daniel Horsemanden, and had Colonel Warham Horsemanden, of the Virginia Council. Their daughter, Maria, married Colonel William Byrd of Westover, and had Colonel William Byrd II of Westover, who married, first, Lucy Park, and had Evelyn; married secondly, Maria Taylor of Kensington, England, and had Jane and Colonel William Byrd III, born 1728; married Mary, daughter of Charles and Anne Shippen Willing of Philadelphia, and had Abbie Byrd; married Judge Nelson, son of William Nelson, president of the Virginia Council, Marie Horsemanden Byrd married John Page of "Pagenbrook" — (from these families came Thomas Nelson Page, the author). Evelyn Taylor Byrd married Benjamin Harrison; her brother was Judge Charles Willing Byrd of Ohio, who married Sarah Meade, and had Evelyn Byrd, who married Judge Tucker Woodson of Kentucky (whose family is much intermarried with that of Lewis). — Browning's "Royal Genealogy."
Colonel William Byrd had great literary taste and ability, his writings still maintaining a place in the front rank. The original manuscripts are still preserved by the family descendants of Judge Tucker Woodson of Nicholasville, Kentucky, who married Evelyn, daughter of Judge Charles W. Byrd of Westover, Virginia. Colonel Byrd's beautiful daughter, Evelyn, has given her name to the daughters of succeeding generations, down to the present day. This noted Virginia beauty has often been the theme of story and the limner's art.
James William Rogers and his wife, Mary Ellen Henderson (parents of Isaac Newton Collard's wife and grandparents of Evelyn Collard Fidelle), were Oregon pioneers of 1845 from Missouri, whence they had come from Indiana, some of them locating in Pike county Missouri. Jesse Cloid Henderson was also an Oregon pioneer of 1845, along with some of the Benjamin Moore family of Lincoln county, Missouri, others of whom settled at Pleasant Hill, in Pike county, Illinois. Jesse Cloid Henderson settled near McMinnville, Oregon, named for McMinnville, Tennessee, original home of Tennesseeans who early peopled this Oregon settlement. Jesse C. Henderson was founder of the first Presbyterian church in Oregon. The church service was held in a log barn on Henderson's donation land claim near McMinnville, in 1846.
Jesse C. Henderson was born in Jefferson county, Tennessee, in 1803; his wife, Elizabeth Oden (or Musette), in Missouri, July 17, 1831. The Odens came from Tennessee to Missouri in 1825, as did the Hendersons. St. Joseph, Missouri, stands on the old Henderson homestead. One account suggests that Jesse Henderson's wife may have been Elizabeth Mussett (or Mussette) instead of Elizabeth Oden; another that Elizabeth Oden's mother was a Mussette; still another account suggests that Jesse Henderson's wife's mother was an Oden. It is certain that the Oden and Mussette families intermarried on the Missouri frontier and that both families came to Missouri from Tennessee. Jesse Henderson and his wife named their first son James Oden Henderson and their last son Alvin Mussette Henderson. Mrs. Fidelle says that her great grandmother Henderson was related to the Boones and Kit Carson.
Jesse Cloid Henderson ox-teamed his family across the plains when his daughter, Mary Ellen (who became the mother of Mrs. Isaac Newton Collard) was 14. Her mother had died in Missouri when she was about 13. Mary Ellen and her brother, James Oden Henderson, both died in 1869, she at McMinnville, Oregon, on February 25, he in Alamo, California. The wife of their first son, James Oden, was Martha Moore, the daughter of one of the Missouri Moores who crossed the plains with the Rogers and Henderson families, and whose widow later became the second wife of Jesse Cloid Henderson. Jesse Henderson was left with seven children when his first wife died in Missouri, shortly before the migration to Oregon Territory. The oldest child was either James Oden or Mary Ellen Henderson.
Martha Frances Henderson, another of the seven children who crossed the plains with their father in 1845, was born February 8, 1840, in Missouri, and was five years old when the family went to Oregon, in which state she married John Jasper Collard, first born of Felix Alver Collard's sons.
Jesse Henderson, on the way to a new location in Oregon Territory, took sick on reaching Vancouver in the fall of 1845 and the wagon train went on without him, leaving him and his seven children at Vancouver. Later, when Henderson became able to travel, George Nelson (father of Mary Ann Nelson who later married Green Clark Rogers, brother of James William) went with team and wagon to Vancouver and moved the Henderson family to his home in Chehalem Valley in Yamhill county, Oregon, where they remained until the spring of 1846.
In the winter of 1846, Jesse C. Henderson again married, his second wife being Nancy (Jackson) Moore, who with her husband and four children had traveled in the same wagon train with the Henderson and Rogers families from Missouri to Oregon. At The Dalles, Nancy's husband was drowned while crossing the river and she and her four children went on to the Oregon settlement, where she worked for her own and her children's keep. Jesse Henderson had helped rescue Mr. Moore's body from the Columbia river and in December of the following year he married his widow. Mr. Moore was a brother of William Moore of early Pleasant Hill and a son of Benjamin Moore of Missouri, whose father was at Yorktown at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis.
Jesse Henderson raised his own seven children and his second wife's four children, together, and by this second marriage had three more children, making a family of 14. Oregon history records that Jesse C. Henderson had seven children, a yoke of oxen and one silver quarter when he first arrived in Oregon. Henderson's children by his first wife were James Oden, Mary Ellen, Julia, Nancy Elizabeth, Margaret, Martha Frances and Alvin Musswtte Henderson. Of these, James Oden, son of Henderson by his first wife, married Martha Moore, daughter of his second wife. Two others of the first family, Mary Ellen and Martha Frances, married two Collard brothers, Isaac Newton and William Franklin, youngest sons of Felix Alver and Damaris (Lewis) Collard.
The Moore children (children of Jesse Henderson's second wife) were James, Jefferson, William and Martha (Patsy) Moore. Henderson's children by his second marriage were Sarah, born 1848, Thomas David, born in December, 1850, and Serena, born in 1852. All are dead. Thomas D. married Clara Jones in 1873, she being the first white child born in Del Norte county, California, February 27, 1856. She was hidden in a feather bed to protect her from the Indians. She died January 27, 1939, at Seattle, Washington, and was buried at McMinnville, Oregon. Her children were Flora Rowland, Jesse C. Henderson, Elsie Walker, Charles D. and Grace Henderson, the latter a teacher in Seattle.
Sarah Henderson lived and died in Willamina, Oregon, where she has a daughter and son still living.
Julia Henderson, child of Jesse C. Henderson's first marriage, married John Helm, and has one son, Charles Helm, a resident of Texas. Margaret (Julia's sister) married Riley Bean and had four children, Holly, William, Ann and Sarah.
James Oden Henderson married Martha (Patsy) Moore, and had four children, Ida, Oda, Frank and Wilbur Henderson.
Nancy Elizabeth Henderson (born February 10, 1838) married James Barber Foster and had five children, Jesse, Charles Alvin, John Guthrie, Cora and George H. Foster.
Alvin Mussette Henderson never married. Martha Frances Henderson married John Jasper Collard whose story has been related.
The Hendersons were of Scotch and English descent the American pioneers of the family having settled in Virginia in the early days of the colony. There is a tradition in the family that the first Henderson to depart from his native health eloped to America with a Scottish princess or some lady of the royal family, and that from this romantic pair sprang the Henderson family in America. This first Henderson in America is reputed to have been a hostler or waiting man in the royal household of Scotland.
Numerous members of the Henderson family came in early days from Missouri to Pike county, Illinois, where the family is still well represented.