“If you learn how to make a broom, you will always have a job”
It is not everyday that Richard Henson receives a call from England, but that is what happened recently when the Northern Ballet Theatre of Leeds, England contacted Henson requesting 16 shaker style brooms.
Henson shipped the brooms to England to be used in a production of “Angels in the Architecture”, which is a ballet set to Appalachian music and tells the story of the Shakers in England before they spread to the United States.
Henson, who previously had his broom shop in Fulton County, now operates Henson Broom Shop & General Store in Symsonia, Kentucky. The former basketball coach and high school principal has achieved worldwide recognition for his broom making.
In addition to the ballet, Henson made all the brooms for the hit television show, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”. He has made numerous television appearances, and PBS filmed a television documentary about his broom making.
Henson is the third generation groom maker. The business was started in 1930 by his grandfather, Rollie Newton Henson, continued by his father, Rollie Nelson Henson. His son Richard Nathan is the fourth generation broom maker for the business.
Henson says that on Thanksgiving night of 1981 his grandfather told him, “If you learn how to make a broom, you will always have a job”. Those were the last words his grandfather spoke to him as he died four days later unexpectedly.
Richard Henson is well known nationally as a motivational speaker, humorist, storyteller, and craftsman. He appears at Branson, Missouri and various other venues throughout the U.S.