Marty and Karla Grant
Benjamin Hensley (c1730s-1788) and Elizabeth Landers and Susanna of Hanover, Louisa and Albemarle Co., VA
I don’t know how I’m related to Benjamin Hensley, but I’m certain he is related to my ancestor William Hensley (c1730s-c1807). They might be brothers, or 1st cousins, though neither is proven.
Special thanks to Laura Schreibman, Barb Lynn and Suzanne Baird for data shared on this family.
As there were several Benjamin Hensleys in Virginia before 1800, you should refer to my analysis page on that subject. In an attempt to distinguish this Benjamin from others of the same name, I used to refer to him with a number, Benjamin (6), but that isn’t really good enough and can cause some confusion. It may be more helpful to refer to him as: Benjamin (c1730s-1788) (wife Elizabeth Landers, Susanna ---). That’s a lot, but it does help distinguish him from other Benjamin Hensleys.
I suspect that this Benjamin Hensley is either a son of William Hensley (c1706-1777), or of that William’s possible brother, John Hensley (c1708). I have no real evidence to prove either one. It’s more of a “who was he associated with” and “where does he fit the best” kind of connection, which could be entirely off the mark. Between William and John, I’d give the edge to John as the more likely candidate for Benjamin and John appear on several records together.
Since there were several Benjamin Hensleys who were contemporaries to one another, it is certainly possible, if not certain, that we’ve mixed up some of the records for them.
For this family we start with an article written in 1876 for the book A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri. As with all family histories of this sort, we can’t be 100% certain the author knew what they were talking about, but we do know they were much closer to the subject matter and ought to know something about the family in question.
HENSLEY, Samuel and Benjamin Hensley were sons of an English family that settled on the Potomac river in Va. at an early date. Samuel married a Miss Landers, and they had Samuel, Jr., and William. His first wife died and he was married again to Susan Taplett , by whom he had several children. William, son of Samuel, Jr., by his first wife, married Elizabeth Appleberry, of Va., and they had James, Benjamin, William Jr., Thomas, Fleming, Judith and Elizabeth.
Let’s start with the youngest generation named, children of William Hensley and Elizabeth Appleberry, namely: James, Benjamin, William Jr., Thomas, Fleming, Judith and Elizabeth. We can find records of these in Albemarle and Buckingham Co., VA, Kanawha Co., VA (now WV), and elsewhere, with many of them moving into Missouri. Available evidence suggests this part of the 1876 family history is accurate.
Moving back one generation, the author lists William (m Elizabeth Appleberry) as a sibling to Samuel Hensley (Jr), of whom no additional data was given, probably because none of his family went to Missouri. Both William and Samuel (Jr) are listed as sons of a “Samuel Hensley” who married first to a Miss Landers, and second to Susan Taplett, by whom he had “several children” not named. That “Samuel” had a brother named Benjamin, apparently, of whom the author said nothing other than mentioning him.
The problem with the above is that other records prove that Samuel Hensley (the younger one) is a son of Benjamin Hensley who died in 1788, leaving a widow Susanna. (Namely Benjamin’s Will and a deed in which he refers to Samuel as his heir.) Records also show that Benjamin left a widow Susanna. And records show that Samuel (the younger one) and William (wife Elizabeth Appleberry) were closely associated, and also in the same general age group, so most likely siblings. Thus, William and Samuel, whom the article lists as son of a Samuel Hensley, are in fact sons of Benjamin Hensley (d 1788). Since the article was written almost exactly 100 years after the death of Benjamin, the author can be forgiven for getting this bit wrong. Benjamin was mentioned at least, but apparently swapped with his brother Samuel. I think this brother Samuel is the one from Bedford Co., VA.
So, having established that it was “Benjamin” and not “Samuel” who is the father of Samuel and William, we can move on from there with actual documentation.
The known children of Benjamin and his first wife were Samuel (c1752) and William (c1761). Using that as a starting point, we can roughly estimate Benjamin’s birth date as being ca 1732. A certain set of tax records (1767 and 1768 see below) suggests Samuel turned 16 between 1767 and 1768, putting his birth at ca 1751/52. If that is correct, then Benjamin would have been at least 18 when Samuel was born, putting his own birth at ca 1733/1734. However, since the tax records in question don’t actually name Samuel (who we can prove was born sometime between 1750 and 1760), it’s probably only safe to assume Benjamin was born at some point in the 1730s.
We also can’t rely on Benjamin’s“first” public record to base on estimate on, for there were several contemporary Benjamin’s in the area when this Benjamin would have come of age, thus we don’t really know which might be him in every case.
Where was he born? That’s a good question. I can’t answer it right now. Somewhere in the King George or Spotsylvania County region is most likely.
Benjamin Hensley married a Miss Landers, probably in the 1750s. If Samuel was indeed born ca 1752, then they would have married before then. Her surname is listed in the 1876 article, but not her given name. Suzanne Baird has discovered records of the Landers family, notably this one: On 31 Dec 1759, in Louisa Co., VA, Luke Landers of Granville Co., NC, deeded land to Edward Webster of Louisa Co., VA, being 200 acres on both sides of Beaverdam Fork of Machumps Creek. Witnesses were Elizabeth Hensley, Joseph Webster and Samuel Parish. (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book D, pp 29-30, shared by Suzanne Baird).
One would immediately assume the above Elizabeth Hensley is Luke Landers’ sister, and wife of Benjamin Hensley. Though the record does not say either of those things, it’s probably a very safe assumption. Thus, we have Benjamin’s wife as Elizabeth Landers, married sometime before 31 Dec 1759, in Louisa Co., VA.
A Benjamin Hensley (also Henslee) was in Louisa County as far back as 1742. It is very likely that is not this same Benjamin, but rather Benjamin Hensley (c1706) (also with a wife named Elizabeth), who would most likely be an uncle, and namesake, to this Benjamin (1730s-1788).
Thus, with two Benjamins, both with wives named Elizabeth, in the same county, we can’t be entirely sure which was which in every case. However, these early records are easy enough to distinguish, for Benjamin (1730s-1788) was a very small child then. We think.
Benjamin (d 1788) if born 1730/40, would have turned 16 sometime between 1746 and 1756, and 21 sometime between 1751 and 1761, so any records prior to 1746 are unlikely him, and probably none before 1751 either, though it gets murkier in the late 1740s and early 1750s.
On 23 Aug 1757, Phillip Burford and wife Mildred, made a deed to Benjamin Hensley, all of St. Martin’s Parish, Hanover Co., VA. It was 100 acres on the branches of Henson’s Creek. (Hanover Co., VA Deed Book B, pp. 239-240, shared by Suzanne Baird).
The above deed might be for Benjamin Hensley (c1706) who married Elizabeth Hickman instead of this Benjamin. We can’t be certain, but I lean more toward Benjamin and wife Elizabeth Landers, mainly because when they sold it, they were in Louisa, whereas by then the other Benjamin was in Halifax, I think.
What is even more confusing is where this land is located. It was sold to the Hensleys in Hanover in 1757, but sold by the Hensleys in Louisa in 1760. Hanover County was formed in 1720, effective 1721. That county did include what later became Louisa until 1742 when Louisa was created. However, in 1757 the lines between the two were well established, I would assume. However, it’s possible this land was in both counties, or perhaps there were some minor adjustments to the county line between 1757 and 1760.
On 5 Jan 1760, Benjamin Henslee and wife Elizabeth of Louisa, sold 100 acres to John Hager. It was the same land purchased from Phillip Burford, adjoining Benjamin John, David Hamilton, Phillip Burford, Hasten Markes and Chamberlayne. Witnesses were Phillip Burford, Joseph Webster, Jacob Key, Daniel Burford, John Richardson, Ann Hargar (Hagar?), and Susannah Richardson. (That’s a lot of witnesses!) (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book C, pp. 27-38?, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 23 Sep 1760, Edward Jones brought Benjamin Hensley to court in Louisa. Don’t know which Benjamin this was, but probably this one. (Louisa Co., VA Minute / Court Order Book 1760-1764 p. 4, shared by Suzanne Baird).
On 13 Feb 1767, John Washer and wife Elizabeth, of Louisa Co., VA sold a plantation to Benjamin Henslee of Louisa. The land was 86 acres on Locust Creek. Witnesses were John Henslee, Mary Landers (signed with mark) and Samuel Henslee (signed with mark). (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book D, pp. 9-11, shared by Suzanne Baird).
John Henslee is Benjamin’s brother, I believe. Benjamin did have a son named Samuel who, if born ca 1752 as we suspect, would have been about 15 at this time, so old enough to be a witness.
I assume Mary Landers is related to Benjamin’s wife, Elizabeth Landers, perhaps a sister, sister-in-law, or even her mother.
A 1767 list of Tithables in Louisa Co., VA showed Benjamin Hensley with 1 poll (that would be himself), and 86 acres on the south side of South Anna River. (Shared by Suzanne Baird.)
A 1768 list of Tithables in Louisa Co., VA showed Benjamin Hensley with 2 polls and 86 acres. (Shared by Suzanne Baird.)
The above is interesting. Only one tithe in 1767, but two in 1768. That means one of his sons turned 16 between the two dates. This could be Samuel who we do know was born in the 1750s. If this is him, then we can estimate his birth at ca 1751/1752. If it isn’t Samuel, then it’s another son we don’t know about. There is always the possibility it wasn’t a son at all, but someone else who was living with the family for whom Benjamin was responsible.
On 13 Nov 1769, a deed was proven in court by two of the witnesses, and the wives of the parties relinquished their dower rights. However, as this was a court entry, where is the actual deed? (Look for that. *****) Benjamin Henslee and Wiliam Anglin of one part, sold something to William Poindexter of the other part. Witnesses who proved the deed in court were George Kersey and John Higgason. Elizabeth, wife of Benjamin Henslee, and Ann, wife of William Anglin, relinquished their dower rights. (Louisa Co., VA Order Book 1766-1772 p. 344, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Suzanne says the above is the 86 acres on Locust Creek, which makes sense. However, why was the land sold jointly with William and Ann Anglin? Who are they?
This is probably the time the family moved to Albemarle Co., VA which borders Louisa. John Hensley, possible father of Benjamin, had appeared in Albemarle County records sporadically since 1756.
Benjamin Hensley was in Albemarle in 1764 when he was mentioned in the vestry books when he was paid for keeping an orphan child named John Jackson (16 May 1764). I don’t know if that is this same Benjamin or one other others, as this Benjamin (1730s-1788) was in Louisa at that time, supposedly. (St. Ann's Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, pg. 28, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 9 Jan 1775, Isaac Eads of Albemarle sold 100 acres to Benjamin Hensley, also of Albemarle, being the plantation where Eads lived at the time. Adjoining lands included Vinsor Spruce, John Hopkins, branches of N. Island Creek. Witnessed by John Lisle, Jr., William Bethel, William Hinley (or Phinley). (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 6, pp. 465-466, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 6 Jun 1778, Lawrence Suddarth and wife Martha, sold land to Benjamin Hensley, all of Albemarle, being 147 acres on Green Creek, line of Christopher Armstrong. Witnessed by John Whorton, Samuel Hensley and William Hensley (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 7, p. 205, shared by Suzanne Baird).
Elizabeth Landers Hensley apparently died sometime before 1780, for it was around then that Benjamin married Susanna, presumably in Albemarle Co., VA. The 1876 article listed her as Susan Taplett. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not.
Personal Property and Land Tax lists are extant for nearly every year in every county beginning in 1782. However, the first one for Albemarle seems to be incomplete, or at least Benjamin managed to avoid being listed on it.
The published 1782 tax list, which is different from the above, does include Benjamin Hensley. He is listed with 7 “souls” in his household, which would probably be himself, wife Susanna, son John, son William and three others.
Benjamin was listed on the 1783 personal property tax list in Albemarle. He had one tithe (free males over 21), 3 cattle and 1 horse. His sons Samuel and William were listed separately, along with another William, relationship unknown.
Benjamin managed to “miss” the 1784 tax list somehow.
Benjamin was listed on the 1785 personal property tax list in Albemarle. He had one tithe (free males over 21), 4 cattle and 2 horses. His sons Samuel and William were listed separately as before, along with the other William.
On 20 May 1785, John Wilkinson deeded land to William Hensley. Witnesses were John Eubanks, Benjamin Kidd, and Benjamin Hensley. (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 9, p. 118, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 2 Nov 1785, John Wilkinson deeded 100 acres to Benjamin Hensley, bordering William Thurmands, Leaks, Burks, Cheatham. Witnesses were Samuel Hensley, Lodwick Cash, and William Melton. (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 9, p. 194, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Benjamin managed to “miss” the 1786 tax list.
Benjamin was listed on the 1787 personal property tax list in Albemarle in Thomas Staples’ district. He had one tithe (free males over 21), no white males between 16 and 21, 1 slave over 16, 1 horse and 2 cattle.
On 17 Jan 1788, Benjamin Hensley deeded land to Samuel Hensley, “his heir”, 147 acres on north fork of Green Creek, joining Christopher Armstrong. (The same he purchased in 1778.) Benjamin and Susanna Hensley both signed with a mark. Witnesses were William Hensley, William Shoemaker and William Melton. (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 9, pp. 438-439, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On the same date, 17 Jan 1788, Benjamin Hensley made his Will, naming his son John and son Samuel and the “rest of children” (not specifically named). He made his son Samuel and Lawrence Suddart his executors. He signed the Will with a mark. Witnesses were James Kidd, Throt Suddarth, William Shewmaker and Julius Galding.
In the above Will, Benjamin’s son John got the tract where Benjamin "now lives" and 30 acres, and Samuel got 147 acres already sold to him
I don’t know when he died exactly, but he wasn’t listed on the 1788 tax list, which was typically dated April, May and June. His widow was not listed either, nor was she listed 1789 through 1801. However, records do show that she was still alive.
On 7 Sep 1789, funds were given to Capt. Whorton for widow of Benjamin Hensley and children. On the same date he was paid for making [Benjamin] Hensleys coffin. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, pg. 50, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 24 Sep 1790, funds were given to John Whorton for Susanna Hensley. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 5 Sep 1791, funds were given to John Whorton for Susanna Hensley. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, p. 64, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 8 Sep 1792, funds were given to Walter Leak for Susanna Hensley. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, p. 69, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 1 Sep 1793, funds were given to Walter Leak for Susanna Hensley. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, p. ?? shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 15 Mar 1796, Susannah Hensley, James Bethel, Jarrott Suddarth, Silvey Hensley, and Suckey Hensley witnessed a deed in Albemarle from William Matthews to Samuel Hensley.
Susannah is certainly Benjamin’s widow. Jarrott Suddarth was married to Sarah Hensley in 1795. She might be Samuel’s daughter. Silvey Hensley is probably Sibba, wife of Samuel, though it is unusual to have the spouse of the grantee as a witness. Then again, Samuel and Sibba were probably separated at this point. Who is Suckey Hensley? “Suckey” was a common nickname for “Susan” or “Susanna” back in those days. Is this another child of Samuel?
Is James Bethel perhaps connected to the Hensleys as well?
On 5 Sep 1797, funds were given to Walter Leak for Susanna Hensley. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, p. 76 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 7 Oct 1798, funds were given to Walter Coles for Susanna Hensley. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, p. 80 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 1 Sep 1800, funds were given to John Cock for Susanna Hensley. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, p. 102 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Susanna Hensley “and son John” were listed on the 1802 personal property tax list in Albemarle in James Lewis’ district. She had one tithe (free males over 16, John), no slaves, and 2 horses.
She was not listed on the tax lists 1803-1820 in Albemarle.
On 2 Oct 1804, funds were given to Samuel Shelton for Susanna Hensley. (St. Ann's Parish Vestry Book, Oversee Poor, p. 144 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 7 Dec 1805, John Ball married Susanna Hensley in Albemarle Co., VA. Was this widow Susanna Hensley or someone else?
Benjamin Hensley has two proven sons, Samuel and John, as named in his Will. A couple of deeds after his death have William joining Samuel in selling some land, strongly suggesting he was also a son of Benjamin. The 1876 article does list William as one of the sons.
It seems likely there were other children as well, but none are identified so far.
1. Samuel Hensley (c1752-1830s), married 1st Sibba ---, 2nd Mary Leak.
2. William Hensley (bef 1761-1820s), married Elizabeth Appleberry.
3. John Hensley (c1780-1870) married 1st Frances Smith, 2nd Lydia Smith.
See their own pages for more on them.
Revised: October 20, 2021