McHenry, James, 1753-1816

Alternative names
Birth 1753-11-16
Death 1816-05-03

Biographical notes:

James McHenry, son of Daniel and Agnes McHenry, was born in Ballymena, Ireland, November 16, 1753, and was educated in Dublin. In 1771 he came to Philadelphia; studied medicine under Benjamin Rush, and did hospital service the revolution. In August, 1780, he was on Lafayette's staff. He was a state senator in Maryland from 1781 to 1786, and a member of Congress from 1783-1786. He sat in the Maryland Assembly until 1791, and then became a U.S. Senator. In 1796 he succeeded Thomas Pickering as Secretary of War. In May, 1800, on the demand of President Adams, he resigned from the Cabinet. On January 8, 1784, he married Margaret A. Caldwell. He died, May 3, 1816. (from Dic. Am. Bio) (blue index cards)

From the description of James McHenry papers, 1796-1800. (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 368146839

American revolutionary patriot.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : War Department, to Brigadier General William McPherson, 1799 Mar. 26. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270871512

Physician, pupil of Benjamin Rush, and politician.

From the description of Papers, 1780-1814 and undated. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 35161494

McHenry was trained as a physician. He served as a surgeon in the Revolutionary War. He was a delegate from Maryland and signer of the U.S. Constitution. McHenry was the third Secretary of War under Presidents George Washington and John Adams. Fort McHenry in Baltimore was named for him, the site of Francis Scott Key's composition of the "Star Spangled Banner" in 1812.

From the description of [Letters] / James McHenry. [1781-1787] (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 263996553

Signer of Constitution; Secretary of War.

From the description of Copy of a letter : Trenton, to George Washington, 1798 Oct. 16. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270609126

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Baltimore, to General Greene, 1782 Mar. 14. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270605496

Signed of Constitution; Secretary of War.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Middle brook, to Lord Stirling, 1778 Dec. 24. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270606608

U.S. Secretary of War, 1796-1800.

From the description of Letter, 1798 September 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145407776

U.S. secretary of war, member of the Continental Congress from Maryland, Continental Army officer, and physician.

From the description of James McHenry papers, 1775-1862 (bulk 1775-1816). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70980162

Physician and secretary of war under George Washington and John Adams.

From the description of Papers, 1797-1800. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 40761666

James McHenry (1753-1816) American political leader. Native of Ireland, McHenry settled in Philadelphia in 1771 and studied medicine under Benjamin Rush. In 1775-1778, he served as a surgeon in the Continental Army in the American Revolution. Captured by the British at Fort Washington on Harlem Heights, N.Y., he was exchanged in the spring of 1778. In 1778-1780, he served as secretary to Washington, and in 1780-1781, as an aid to Lafayette. In 1796-1800, he served as the Secretary of War. A Federalist, McHenry found himself in a confrontation with John Adams who demanded his resignation.

From the description of Papers of James McHenry, 1775-1815 (bulk 1796-1800). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122383398

Physician; revolutionary soldier.

From the description of Document signed : Baltimore, 1810 July 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270874658

Gentleman, soldier, U.S. Representative from Maryland, and U.S. Secretary of War.

From the description of Papers, 1744-1815 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122510404

Member of Continental Congress, Constitutional Convention and U.S. Secretary of War, 1796-1800.

James McHenry was born in Ireland to a wealthy family. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1771 due to ill health and began studying medicine in Philadelphia, Pa. McHenry volunteered for the Revolutionary Army in 1776 Jan. as a surgeon. He served as a member of George Washington's staff from 1778 to 1780, and he joined Lafayette's staff in 1780.

McHenry served as a member of the Maryland Senate from 1781 to 1786 and was a member of the Continental Congress from 1783 to 1786. In 1787 McHenry attended the Constitutional Convention as a delegate from Maryland. In 1796 Jan., President George Washington appointed McHenry as his Secretary of War. McHenry served in that capacity until 1800 when he retired from public service.

From the description of Letter, 1797. (Alabama Department of Archives and History). WorldCat record id: 145407945

Biographical Note

  • 1753, Nov. 16: Born, Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland
  • 1771: Emigrated to Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 1772: Attended Newark Academy, Newark, Del.
  • 1773: Studied medicine under Benjamin Rush, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 1775: Volunteered for military service
  • 1776: Assigned to medical staff of military hospital, Cambridge, Mass. Captured at fall of Fort Washington, New York, N.Y.
  • 1777: Paroled
  • 1778: Appointed secretary to George Washington
  • 1780: Transferred to staff of the Marquis de Lafayette
  • 1781: Commissioned major
  • 1781 - 1786 : Member, Maryland senate
  • 1783 - 1786 : Member, Continental Congress
  • 1784: Married Margaret Allison Caldwell
  • 1787: Member, Constitutional Convention
  • 1790: Inherited family importing firm, John McHenry & Co.
  • 1791 - 1796 : Member, Maryland senate
  • 1796 - 1800 : Secretary of war
  • 1803: Published A Letter to the Honourable the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States. Baltimore: Printed by John W. Butler
  • 1816: Died at his estate "Fayetteville" near Baltimore, Md.

From the guide to the James McHenry Papers, 1775-1862, (bulk 1775-1816), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)


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