St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

First African American in Georgia to be Inducted into National Society Sons of the American Revolution

Last winter, some 200 Americans gathered for the first Sons of the American Revolution Grave Marking for a black man in Georgia.  Black men and women did provide service to the colonies during the time of the colonies' quest for freedom from England.  If I recall correctly, some 20,000 black men served during that time.  Some were slaves who served in the place of their owners.  Others were slaves who were promised their freedom if they fought.  Still, others were free black men who chose to fight. 

Click here to read more of the grave marking for Austin Dabney.

It is more of a task for the descendants of black patriots to prove the early lineage lines due to a lack of documentation.  Michael Henderson's patriot was a French National who had a relationship with a former slave in Louisiana.

Ahh, Creole genealogy.  Now there's a fun look into different bloodlines. 

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at 

The following announcement was written by the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution:

Atlanta, GA (June 15, 2010) -- On Tuesday, June 29th at 11:30 a.m., history will be made as the first African American in the state of Georgia will be inducted into the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR). In a ceremony at the Georgia State Capitol, Lieutenant Commander Michael Nolden Henderson, a retired U.S. Naval Officer and graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, will be acknowledged by induction into the Button Gwinnett Chapter, the Georgia Society SAR for his efforts in tracing his Louisiana Creole ancestry to an American Revolutionary War patriot.

Michael N. Henderson, USN Retired

Henderson, a native of New Orleans, La. who currently lives in metro-Atlanta, discovered his unique lineage while researching his French ancestry. His fourth generation great-grandfather, Mathieu Devaux, a French National, served as a militiaman under the command of the Spanish Governor General Bernardo de Galvez, who led troops in several major battles in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast. Devaux had a relationship with his former slave, Agnes Mathieu, in Spanish Colonial Louisiana. Henderson is descendent from one of their seven children, all of whom were born free prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Henderson first learned of the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution in 2006 when Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, discovered his own ancestral link to the Revolutionary War and one year later was himself inducted into the national lineage organization.

"I'm the first in my family to pursue membership in the NSSAR, so the process was especially detailed for me," says Henderson, who had to compile birth, marriage and death certificates, as well as other documents from the 1700s and 1800s to prove his connection to Devaux. "It was truly a labor of love and it's an honor to have my family tied to an American Revolutionary War patriot. I'm proud to be an example to others that they too can be a part of the narrative of America's history."

The story of Henderson's fourth generation great-grandparents and their connection to General Galvez is the subject of an upcoming segment on the PBS series "The History Detectives."

1 comment:

Michael N. Henderson said...


Thought your readers might find this story interesting as a following up to the post mentioned above.

Hopefully it will also be inspiring too. Thanks for your earlier posting.