Henderson L. Steele
The career of Henderson L. Steele, of Lillington, has been one in which there is again shown the value of industry, determination and close application in the overcoming of obstacles. Denied the advantages which are considered the birthright of youth because of the death of his parents when he was but a child he began to make his own way at a tender age, and so well has he waged life’s battles, that today he is one of the most highly esteemed citizens of Lillington, where he is editor and owner of the Harnett County News and a forceful factor in civic affairs.
Mr. Steele was born in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, October 10, 1879, and is a son of Frank J. and Mary Elizabeth (Johnson) Steele, natives of South Carolina, where the former was an agriculturist all of his life. The mother died in August, 1885, and the father followed her in death a little more than a year later, in September, 1886, and the son, then less than seven years of age, was placed in the Thomasville Baptist Orphanage. When he was fifteen years of age he commenced to learn the trade of printer in the printing shop of the Orphanage, and when he had made due progress went to Raleigh, in which city he completed his trade. He was employed in various capacities during the years that followed, and for a number of years was mechanical superintendent on the Columbia (South Carolina) Record. In 1915, he secured a position with the Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, resigning January 1, 1919, to locate at Lillington, where he became the founder of The Harnett County News, of which he as since been the editor and owner. Mr. Steele started this publication in a modest way, and through industry, ability and the production of an attractive and reliable news sheet has made it one of the best papers of its kind in the state with a circulation of 2,500 and readers all over Harnett and the surrounding counties. It is splendidly printed and edited and has won confidence and friendship by the manner in which it has handled, prepared and presented its news content. It has become an excellent advertising medium and Mr. Steele was secured the support of the merchants and professional men. He does commercial printing on a large scale, having a completely equipped and modern job office, and does all of the printing used by the county. Mr. Steele has always kept the columns of his newspaper open for the promulgation of movements for the betterment of the community, being possessed of public spirit and civic pride. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the State Colored Normal School at Fayetteville, is politically a democrat, and as a fraternalist is affiliated with the Masons and the Junior Order United American Mechanics. A member and active supporter of the Baptist Church, he was superintendent of the Sunday School thereof until January 1926, when he became teacher of the Young People’s Bible Class.
On December 24, 1901, Mr. Steele was united in marriage with Miss Myrtle Harbin, a daughter of Walter L. and Clara (Mills) Harbin, natives of North Carolina, the latter of whom died in September, 1918, and the form in April, 1919. Mrs. Steele died September 26, 1918, leaving three children: Edwina born in 1905, who is unmarried and resides with her father; Henderson L., Jr. born in 1907; and J. Frank, born in 1911.