Owen Henshall was born October 12, 1858, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 1869 he moved with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Henshall, to Doniphan County, Kansas, where he finished his early schooling. In 1876 he began teaching. Six years later he turned to medicine, and in 1885 he graduated from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois. “Doc” Henshall then settled in Portis, where he opened a drugstore and entered medical practice. In 1886 he met Emma Silverwood of Oldham, England, who was visiting relatives in Portis. They were married May 1, 1887, in Portis. Three children were born there–Ethel, Irene, and James, who was born April 4, 1888.
In 1897 Edgar sold his practice but continued operation of the drugstore. Seven years later the family moved to Osborne, where he resumed his practice, specializing in eye, ear, nose, and throat diseases. He was elected county coroner in 1900, serving three terms, and also served on the Osborne city council and board of education. Edgar was elected mayor in 1911 and was instrumental in securing both the municipal light and power plant and the Osborne Carnegie Library for the city. In 1905 he was listed in the state biography Men of Kansas.
Edgar’s son James graduated from the University of Kansas medical school in 1914 and joined his father in practicing medicine at Osborne. On June 16, 1915, he married Elizabeth Marie Boggs. The had four children: Charles, James, John, and Maryem.
Father and son practiced medicine together for thirteen years in Osborne. Both were members of the Masonic Lodge and the Isis Shrine. During World War I James Henshall was commissioned a first lieutenant in the reserves, while his father served as county president of the American Red Cross. Edgar Henshall had a kindly attitude that endeared him to his community and beyond. When he died on November 24, 1927, in Osborne, his longtime friend Bert Walker, publisher of the Osborne County Farmer, said of him in tribute:
“His was a tender heart and, while he smiled and spoke cheery words, suffering in others wrenched him to the quick. ‘Doc’ has left us now for good, but his memory will not fade out. Often in the days to come his name will be mentioned, and a neighbor will at once say, ‘He was a mighty good man.’ Man in his daily walk writes his own eulogy, and that is the one left to posterity by Edgar Owen Henshall.”
Hundreds came to Edgar’s funeral, and the good doctor was laid to rest in the Osborne Cemetery.
James Henshall continued the family practice with the same kindly attitude and friendly spirit exhibited by his father. He served as president of the Rotary Club and the Osborne Chamber of Commerce, and became a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and the American Medical Association. In 1936 he was appointed to the State Board of Medical Registration and Examination by Governor Alfred Landon, and in seven years assisted in the examination of nearly 1,000 doctors. He served two terms as Osborne County Coroner from 1955 through 1958, and was honored in 1964 for reaching the milestone of fifty years of service to the community.
James died August 13, 1970, in Osborne. His passing was lamented as much as his father’s had been before him, and his funeral was largely attended. He was laid to rest in the Osborne Cemetery.
Together Edgar and James Henshall contributed eight-five years of family service and loyalty to the citizens of Osborne County. Bert Walker’s words have proved prophetic, as the memory of these mighty good men has not faded and it has earned them an eminent place in the Osborne County Hall of Fame.