While he was there he a learned a text that would change his life: Hebrews ii. 9; “The he, by the grace of God, should taste of death for every man.”Henson was incredibly impressed by the fact that Jesus cared about every man, including a slave like himself, as this was the first time he had ever heard anything of this sort. Henson also learned that Christ died for the salvation of the entire world, even the poor, even the enslaved. Henson looks back and remembers that day as his “Awakening to a new life.”
His master, Mr. R, was routinely involved in drinking and gambling on Saturday and Sunday evenings. When he went, Mr. R. (as well as the other men in attendance) would usually bring a slave with them to help in the event that a fight broke out, or to get home because they were frequently too drunk to make it back or even get on their horses. On one such night, Mr. R fought with his brother’s overseer. Henson, in doing his duty grabbed him master and took him home. Mr. L (the overseer) found that Henson had been to rough with him, and on a day that followed, he ambushed Henson. Mr. L, along with two other slaves beat him (although with some difficulty, due to Henson’s youth and athleticism). As the fight carried on, Henson eventually lost the fight as well as full functioning in of his arms (Henson would never recover full range of movement). Henson’s master prosecuted Mr. L for beating and maiming his property, but Mr. L in response said that he was assaulted first and his master had to pay all of the costs of court.
[Note: Notice the reference to ‘property’ in the court proceeding]