Patsy Cline Genealogy Home > Genealogy > Hensley > Families > Patsy Cline: Virginia Patterson Hensley (1932-1963)

Virginia Patterson Hensley was known as "Patsy" and when she married Gerald Cline, she became Patsy Cline. She became famous locally for her music, and even though she and Gerald divorced, she kept his name since everyone already knew her that way. She later married Charlie Dick, and then she became nationally famous and had several hit songs. She is also famous for her tragic death in a plane crash that also killed singers Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and the pilot Randy Hughes. In a tragic side note, singer Jack Anglin of "Johnny and Jack" was killed in a car crash on the way to her funeral.

As a Hensley researcher I'm often asked if we are related to Patsy Cline. The answer is probably "yes" in most cases. Traditional research and DNA evidence does show the vast majority of American Hensleys are related and of the same extended family.

I have traced her family as far back as I could. It wasn't easy for there were some gaps in the records that I had access to. I'll begin with Patsy and work my way back, documenting each step of the way.

Virginia Patterson Hensley was born 8 Sep 1932 in Winchester, Virginia (according to various biographical sources). Winchester is an Independent City, and technically not part of Frederick County in which it sits, though it is also the county seat of Frederick. Some biographies list her birth place as Gore, which is a few miles north-west of Winchester.

Patsy was a daughter of Samuel Hensley and Hilda Patterson (their names are from the various biographies). Patsy was the oldest of their children, so it would seem they married sometime just before 1932.

I found no Hensleys at all in Winchester, Virginia on the 1930 census, and only one in all of Frederick County, and he was a small child  Harold L. Hensley, age 3 with his grandparents James and Virginia (---) Dix. I don't know if Harold is related to Samuel Hensley or not, but certainly could be.

Unless he was just missed by the census taker this suggests Samuel Hensley was elsewhere in 1930. There were nine Sam or Samuel Hensleys on the 1930 census elsewhere in Virginia. Three of those were much too young to be Patsy's father. One was a female (a Mrs. Samuel Hensley, a widow). That leaves: Samuel A. Hensley (c1912 PA) in Elizabeth City Co., VA; Samuel R. Hensley (c1897 VA) in Montgomery Co., VA; Samuel Hensley (c1867 VA) in Patrick Co., VA: Samuel H. Hensley (c1893 VA) in Rockingham Co., VA and Samuel C. Hensley (c1914) in Wise Co., VA.

One of those may be Patsy's father. The only one that is even slightly close to Winchester is the one in Rockingham County.

Failing to find Sam in 1930 I searched for his wife. I found her with her mother and step-father in Frederick Co., VA. This shows that she and Sam were not yet married by 1930.

1930 census abstract: (Explanation of this census)






Birth Places


    Frederick Co., VA
    PHF 30-229-229
    Gainsboro Magisterial District ED5-3, SD 1

    Frank Allenson

    Head M W 37 M28 VA-VA-VA Watchman - Lumber Mill
    Goldie N. Wife F W 39 M18 VA-VA-VA  
    Frank Jr. Son M W 7 S VA-VA-VA  
    Harry L. Son M W 6 S VA-VA-VA  
    Ida J. Dau F W 4-10/12 S VA-VA-VA  
    Earl? C. Son M W 3-9/12 S VA-VA-VA  
    Lena D. Dau F W 9/12 S VA-VA-VA  
    Robert N. Patterson Stepson M W 15 S VA-VA-VA  
    Hilda V. Stepdau F W 14 S VA-VA-VA  

    This suggests that Hilda Virginia Patterson and Sam Hensley married between 1930 and early 1932, presumably in Frederick County. But where was Sam Hensley in 1930?  Without finding him on this record, how am I to go back any further?

    I found online data that shows Sam Hensley to be Samuel Lawrence Hensley of Rockingham Co., VA. What proof is there of this? Without seeing some primary evidence I can't go back beyond "Samuel Hensley" no data just yet.

    Samuel L. Hensley is a descendant of Benjamin Hensley (c1790) and Ellen Meadows. Home > Genealogy > Hensley > Families > Patsy Cline: Virginia Patterson Hensley (1932-1963)