Commander William L. Herndon, who the Town of Herndon was named for, would have celebrated his 199th birthday today.
Herndon was born on Oct. 25, 1813 and died on Sept. 12, 1857. He passed away during a hurricane on the commercial mail steamer SS Central America when the ship sank with about 400 passengers and crew on it.
Born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Herndon was 44 when he died. His efforts to save as many passengers and crew on the ship resulted in saving the lives of 152 passengers.
The Town of Herndon, which was already a stop on the W&OD Trail, was founded and named itself after Herndon in 1858. The town was incorporated in 1879 and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2004.
At town events local historical re-enactor Gary Rinker can be found in character as Commander Herndon.