Abram W. Hendry – Liverpool Mayor and Entrepreneur
Abram Whitman Hendry, known as A. W. Hendry, was born in 1854 in Brookfield, Queens County. He was a son of Israel Hendry and Priscilla Freeman. He received his early education at the small school in his community. After his schooling, he worked in Bridgewater and Windsor, Nova Scotia. In 1878, he started a job in Lockeport working for J. and E. Locke, local merchants who were involved with trade and shipping to the West Indies.
Upon moving to Liverpool in 1884, he became involved with business activities in the town. He established a partnership with William Macmillan of Lockeport and together they operated a ship chandlery and fishing business under the name, Hendry and Macmillan. It was a very successful business until the partnership was dissolved in 1889. Mr. Macmillan moved back to Lockeport.
A. W. Hendry continued to operate the company as a general merchandise and shipping business. He also owned a store on Main Street, which is presently 181 Main Street, formerly the Woodpile Café. As well, he worked from his large warehouse and shipyard on the Liverpool waterfront. He had owned a fleet of wooden ships and in 1913 he was the private owner of the largest fleet of wooden ships in Nova Scotia. Many of his ships had names with a connection to North Queens, where he had grown up. Schooners with names like Gold Hunter, Caledonia and Ponhook were part of his fleet.
In June 1891, the Liverpool Advance reported that the schooner called the “Gold Hunter” had been launched from Hendry’s Shipyard in Liverpool. It was built under the supervision of master builder, James Leslie of Bristol Avenue. The ship had a 92-foot long keel, 27-foot long beam and 11-foot hold. It was 199 tons. The Gold Hunter was jointly owned by A. W. Hendry and John Millard and was used for shipping to the West Indies. Captain Page commanded the new ship. In 1892, it was reported that the Gold Hunter made a voyage with a shipment of lumber, going from Liverpool to Barbados in just 10 days and 12 hours. This was said to be a remarkable time for those days.
In 1910, he incorporated the business as Hendry Limited with his son, Ralph Hendry, as vice-president. The company also operated and owned a controlling interest in many coastal steamship lines and a number of towboats, both operating in Halifax. This business was sold in 1928 to the Nova Scotia Shipping Company Limited.
In addition to being involved in the social and community life of Liverpool, he served many times as a town councillor. He was elected Mayor of Liverpool twice, the first term being from 1905-1908 and the second, from 1916-1919. He also served as President for the Queens-lunenburg Liberal Association
He was a faithful and valued member of Trinity Anglican Church in Liverpool. He occupied the position of Warden. As well. he was a member of Zetland Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and also a member of Rossignol Chapter, R. A. M.
The beautiful Hendry residence was located on the corner of Main and School Streets, presently 89 Main Street. The house had beautiful cherrywood wainscoting, patterned hardwood floors and lead glass windows that still exist today. The property had large granite stones that separated the yard from the road and sidewalk, much like the Seldon property on the opposite corner. Larry Seldon later owned the Hendry home and during the 1930s, Bill Macdonald, an employee at the Mersey Paper Company, carried out renovations. It was most likely at this time that apartments were created in the house. Kerwood and Audrey Mcconnell rented there for some years and eventually, purchased the property from Larry Seldon in the 1950s. After the Mcconnell’s passed away, their family sold the home in 1999. It continued to be used for apartments and presently, the house has a different owner.
A. W. Hendry died in May 1929 at the age of 75, leaving his wife Harriet, and four children; Ralph, Andrew, Annie and Mary (Mrs. Harold Raymond). The family plot is located in the Anglican Cemetery on Bog Road in Liverpool. The ancestors of A. W. Hendry have gravestones in the North Queens area.
During A. W. Hendry’s time, few people experienced as much success and wealth as this prominent Liverpool businessman. Through much hard work and dedication, he left a significant mark on the business and entrepreneurial successes in our small South Shore town.
The warehouse of A. W. Hendry & Son, located on the Liverpool waterfront. (Postcard from the Tim Mcdonald Collection)
The residence of A. W. Hendry, located at 89 Main Street in Liverpool.
Abram W. Hendry, former Mayor of Liverpool.