Archibald Henderson Willed the Commandant’s Quarters To His Heirs

Carl | June 27, 2013 

When Archibald Henderson, the Fifth Commandant and the Third Commandant to live in the House, died in 1859 at the age of 75, the Commandant’s House had been his home for 38 years. According to the legend he lived there so long that he forgot it was government quarters and attempted to will it to his heirs.

The imperious old man was perfectly capable of doing such a thing. He was the public servant of a Republic, but he spoke with the tongue of an emperor. During his 38 years as Commandant, he outlasted nine presidents, several of whom were known to quail before his flashing eye. Even Andrew Jackson, when he tried to abolish the Marine Corps, came off second-best in a legislative duel with Henderson. Old Hickory limped away, dripping sawdust from every wound, while the Congress doubled the Marine strength and appropriations.

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