McHenry, James (1753–1816), a United States public official and a signer of the federal Constitution. McHenry was born in Ireland, emigrating to America in 1771. During the American Revolution he was a Continental Army surgeon and later a secretary to George Washington. McHenry served in the Confederation Congress, 1783–86, and in the Maryland legislature, 1781–86 and 1789–96. As secretary of war in the John Adams administration, 1796–1800, he was a staunch Federalist and favored war with France. Fort McHenry, in Baltimore harbor, is named for him.