Irish-Born Founding Father
Newcomers like James McHenry helped shape the future of the new republic. A native of Ireland's County Antrim, McHenry (1753-1816) emigrated to Philadelphia in 1771 where he studied medicine with Benjamin Rush, one of Colonial America's most respected and influential physicians.
Dr. McHenry served the American Revolution first as a military surgeon and later on the staffs of General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. In 1787, McHenry signed the U.S. Constitution as a member of the Continental Congress from Maryland. He served as Secretary of War under presidents Washington and Adams, remaining a staunch Federalist until his death in 1816.
[painting]Eyewitness to History
James McHenry witnessed Washington resigning his commission in the Maryland State House in Annapolis on December 23, 1783. He later reported that "the spectators all wept, and there was hardly a member of Congress who did not drop tears."
by James Sharples, Senior, ca. 1796-1800
Independence National Historical Park
A new fort, built on the site of the Revolutionary War-era Fort Whetsone, was named in honor of James McHenry in 1798.
Contemporary aerial view of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
National Park Service
James McHenry's 1784 marriage to Margaret Allison Caldwell produced six children, three of whom are buried here along with one of McHenry's grandchildren.
(Tablet)James McHenry, Born 1755, Died 1816.
[Recent sources give 1753 as year of birth]Margaret Caldwell McHenry. Brn. 1762. Died 1833.
Daniel William McHenry
Anna McHenry Boyd
James McHenry Boyd
(Ground Slabs)Anna, Daughter of James McHenry, Wife of James Pillar Boyd,
Born 20th Novr. 1789. Died 6th April 1837
James McHenry Boyd, Son of J.P. and A. McH. Boyd.
Born 15 Decr. 1811. Died 8th Decr. 1847.