Henderson and his wife, Mary Foote Henderson, executed the deed in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 1903.
The couple was very specific that the tract be “a public park” and be “used and enjoyed solely as such by the inhabitants (of Louisiana) and by those who may visit or be therein.”
The Hendersons gave the city six years for the tract to be “well and sufficiently improved” or they would take it back.
They also said the land “shall not be appropriated to or used for any other purpose or purposes than those herein specified” and that if the city tried to sell or give the plot away, the couple would retain ownership.
“And any permission given, granted or allowed by the said City that the said lands be used by others contrary to the spirit and intent of this deed shall in like manner render this conveyance void and cause the lands conveyed to revert to said grantor, their heirs and assignees forever,” the deed concluded.
On June 5, 1903, the Louisiana City Council passed Ordinance No. 1732 “accepting a gift of land from General John B. Henderson for park and providing for (its) improvement and maintenance.
The ordinance appointed E.E. Campbell, C.G. Buffum and R.H. Good to two-year terms as park commissioners.
Henderson Riverview Park on Main between Noyes and Jackson streets, offers stunning views that on a clear day can stretch to 20 miles or more.
Work is progressing nicely on the Henderson bust, which will be formally dedicated during the Louisiana Bicentennial Celebration. Hand work on a wax replica that’s being used to make the final plaster mold has been completed and blemishes in the wax have been repaired.
“Everything looks to be going well,” said John Stoeckley, the Louisiana artist who designed the sculpture. “It just takes a lot of time at each important step of the way.”
A plaster cast will now be made in Kansas. The replica will be dipped repeatedly in wet plaster until a thicker, harder plaster mold is formed around the wax.
The plaster mold will then be heated so that the wax melts out of the mold. “At that time, we will be ready to melt bronze and pour it into the mold,” Stoeckley said.
The Louisiana Bicentennial Committee is highlighting Henderson’s accomplishments as part of the 200th anniversary June 30 to July 4. The bust dedication is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at Louisiana High School.
Henderson was a native of Virginia who moved with his family to Missouri when he was six years old. By age 10, he was an orphan and his brother and two sisters were split up.
Henderson became a teacher and then a lawyer before being elected to the state legislature. He served as brigadier general in the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War.
In 1862, Henderson was appointed a U.S. Senator and within six weeks of arriving in Washington, he began regular meetings with President Abraham Lincoln.
Though a one-time slave owner himself, Henderson in 1864 drafted and introduced the 13th Amendment outlawing human bondage – the first time the Constitution had been altered in 60 years.
Henderson also was a strong campaigner for women’s voting rights, supported better relations with Native Americans, fought against federal government corruption, was one of only seven Republicans who voted to acquit Democrat President Andrew Johnson of impeachment charges, and played a role in the temperance movement.
The sculpture will sit atop a foundation measuring three-by-six feet. Donations will help pay for the work. Information about making a contribution may be found at www.louisiana200.com