All the preparations for Bonfire Night and fireworks have just reminded me that there was apparently an expert of fireworks in the family tree.
My 7xg-uncle Logan Henderson (b. ca 1735) from East Lothian was the youngest son of a minor laird John Henderson of Leaston. He was named Logan after his mother Jean Logan, a descendant of the Logans of Burncastle and before that the ancient Logan family of Restalrig. The Logan family were still smiting at having lost their ancestral lands after their ancestor Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig (d. 1606) was convicted, posthumously, of treason.
Logan Henderson was a sickly child and I’ve seen letters in the National Archives of Scotland where his father was writing to wealthy local landowners, seeking financial support to send his son for specialist education and training. John Henderson wrote that the boy was too sick to go into the military, but as a younger son needed a trade.
Despite this Logan became a Lieutenant. But he is mainly remembered in the family for his time in Russia, apparently working as an engineer for Empress Catherine the Great. An ornate ring was left to later descendants which apparently came from Russia.
However I recently found a different spin on Logan, in an old article in History Today. There he was in Russia, rightly enough, but seemed to be a bit of a con man, pretending to have landscaping and garden design skills that he proved not to have. Less contentiously he was reported to be an expert in fireworks.
I also came across Logan Henderson in the research for my PhD because he showed up among the borrowers of Gray Library in Haddington. He was only present as a borrower for a short time, around the time he married the local minister’s daughter.
I’ve seen other references to him, including in the West Indies, and in the London area. But I need to pull them all together to try to make sense of his life. I wish I could find out more about what he got up to when he was in Russia. He does come across as quite a character, con man or not.