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1865 Richard Henderson

richard henderson 1864-1865(Lived 1815 – June 11, 1878)

Originally from Warren County, Richard Henderson purchased land in Chattanooga on June 15, 1840 and immediately set up a law office.  Henderson did not support secession, and throughout the Union army’s occupation of Chattanooga, Henderson worked with military commanders as needed.   

As the Union army began returning Chattanooga to its citizens, military officials ordered an election to be held on October 7, 1865.  No citizens who had sympathized or helped the Confederate government were allowed to vote, and only Unionists or those who remained neutral were eligible to serve as mayor or aldermen until January 1, 1866.   Mayor Henderson and the alderman’s task for their short term was to re-draft all city ordinances in order to re-establish the local government.  An attorney prior to the Civil War, Henderson’s knowledge of law and the legal system was no doubt helpful as the mayor worked to create all the laws needed for a new city government.

Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea