The earliest recorded Montreal pipe maker is a Scotsman named William Henderson who appears to have established a pipe concern in the city in 1846. Recent research genealogical in Scotland has shown that this Montreal pipe maker was active in Glasgow prior to his emigration to Canada.
The date of the establishment of Henderson’s Montreal concern is usually given as 1847. The St. Marie ward assessment roll for the year 1847, the first extant roll, indicates that William Henderson worked at 19 Colborne Avenue. A pencil notation in the 1847 roll indicates that Henderson had 2 shillings and 1 pence outstanding from his 1846 taxes. His address for 1846 is given as 19 Colbourne.
William Henderson was born in Glasgow in 1787 or 1788 of unknown parents. He married Ann McKean in Glasgow on the 11 March 1808 (OPR Glasgow 644/28). Henderson’s occupation was listed as pipemaker. The Glasgow directories for the year 1816 list one William Henderson at 37 Dovehill Gate. Unfortunately it is unknown whether this is the same person. William Henderson died in Montreal on the 4 December 1855, aged 66 years. His wife Ann McKean died in Montreal on 9 November 1869, aged 80 years.
After William’s death in 1855 the Henderson pipe concern passed to his son, James McKean Henderson Sr. and his son William Henderson Jr. In 1876 the Henderson and Son concern was sold to James’s nephew William Henderson Dixon, who produced pipes under the Dixon name until 1892.
Sincere thanks are extended to Mr. D. Gallagher of Edinburgh regarding the 1816 directory entry for William Henderson. Special thanks to Mrs. Rosemary Bigwood of Edinburgh for her genealogical research regarding this and other Montreal-Glasgow connections.
Old Parish Records Glasgow 644/28, General Office for Scotland. Edinburgh. 21 Register
Originally published April 1988 in SCPR Number 18