Biography of William Henry

The last born of his parents’ fourteen children, and losing his father by death when he was but eleven years of age, William Henry, of Mesa county, a prosperous and progressive ranchman living at Collbran, came into the world with a destiny of toil and privation before him, and entered on his portion early in life. He is a native of Pennsylvania, where his life began in 1845, and is the son of John and Sarah (Brobst) Henry, also native in that state, where the father was an industrious farmer. He died in 1856, at the age of forty-one, leaving his excellent wife to do the best she could in rearing her large family and preparing them for the duties of active existence in a struggling world. She met her duty bravely and performed it faithfully; and she lived to the age of seventy-one, dying in 1895, after seeing her children all making their way with credit and exemplifying in their daily lives the lessons learned from her teachings and her good example. Her son William passed his boyhood in his native state, receiving a limited education at the district schools and helping to earn his own livelihood as soon as he was able. When the Civil war broke out he was sixteen years of age, and full of zeal for the union and among the early volunteers he enlisted in the Nineteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry for three years or during the war if it should not last that long. Although in active service during the greater part of his term of enlistment, he escaped without injury or capture, and returned to his home with the consciousness of having faithfully performed his duty and laid upon the altar of his country three years of the best efforts of his vigorous and aspiring youth. After the contest he was engaged in various occupations for a few years, and acquired some facility as a carpenter. In 1870 he came to Colorado and located at Denver, then a straggling town of some two thousand inhabitants. Making this his headquarters he was employed as a range rider and cowboy in the neighborhood for four years. He then moved to Custer county, this state, and was there engaged in ranching until 1885, and also in prospecting, losing all his earnings and everything he had in the last named exciting and alluring but often disappointing occupation. From Custer county in 1885 he changed his base of operations to Colorado Springs, and during the next three years worked at his trade as a carpenter at that town. In 1888 he moved to Plateau valley and settled on the ranch which has since then been his home and which he has by assiduous industry raised to a high rank among such properties in the neighborhood, making it valuable with good improvements and fruitful through careful and skillful tilling. The ranch lies close to Collbran and Mr. Henry’s residence is in that village. He was married first in 1867 to Miss Kate Hess, a native of Pennsylvania, who died in 1870, at the age of twenty-seven, leaving one child, their son Stanley W. In 1872 he married a second wife, Miss Almyra Hopkins, of Denver, and they have four children, William M., Sarah C., Dennis Y. and Samuel A. Few men in his community, if any, are more esteemed than Mr. Henry, and none is more worthy of esteem, whether it be based on his business capacity and high character as a man or his enterprise and public-spirit as a citizen.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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