Marty and Karla Grant

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Benjamin Hensley (bef 1755-aft 1820) and Eleanor Hampton of Pittsylvania Co., VA, Lincoln Co., NC, Greenville Dist., SC and Buncombe (now Henderson) Co., NC.

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I believe this Benjamin Hensley is a distant cousin of mine, but can’t prove all the connections.

Benjamin Hensley was born before 1755 per his age on the 1800 census. If I’ve figured it out correctly, he was probably born in Bedford Co., VA or if before 1754, in Bedford’s parent county, Lunenburg Co., VA.

I believe that Benjamin Hensley is a son of John Hensley (c1733-c1792) of Pittsylvania Co., VA. John, in turn was a son of Benjamin Hensley and Elizabeth Hickman, I think, meaning the younger Benjamin was probably named for his grandfather.

John Hensley (often listed as Henslee) was in Lunenburg Co., VA in 1752 in the region that became Bedford County in 1754. By the 1760s, John had moved just a few miles into what is now Pittsylvania Co., VA, meaning Benjamin grew up in those places.

On 27 Sep 1775, Benjamin Hensley, along with others, were appointed Militia Officers. He was among the list of Lieutenants. He would have been at least 20 by this time. (Pittsylvania Co., VA Deed Book 4, p. 293.)

This was early during the Revolutionary War. I have no other military records for him, so I don’t know what other service he may have had.

Benjamin appears on the 1783 Personal Property Tax List in Pittsylvania Co., VA as a “tithe” meaning he was 21 or older by then. He had one white tithe (himself), 2 horses and 1 cow.

Curiously he was not listed on the 1782 list, yet he did appear on the published version of the 1782 list which is actually a separate list taken for a different purpose. On the published one he had “6 white souls” and no blacks. I don’t know why he is on that one, but not the normal 1782 tax list.

He is not listed on the 1784 Personal Property Tax List in Pittsylvania Co., VA. It could be he temporarily moved out of the county during that time, or was just missed somehow. I read the entire list twice just in case I missed him.

He was “back” for the 1785 Personal Property Tax List in Pittsylvania Co., VA. He had one white tithe (himself), 2 horses and 1 cow just as in 1783.

He is not listed on the 1786 Personal Property Tax List in Pittsylvania Co., VA which is interesting because he married that same year, so we know he was living there, at least early in the year.

On 22 Mar 1786, Benjamin Hensley married Eleanor Hampton in Pittsylvania Co., VA. She was born 1755/65 per her ages on the 1800 and 1810 census. I don’t know who her parents were. The 1786 tax list for Pittsylvania included entries for Thomas Hampton, Preston Hampton and James Hampton, one of whom could be her father.

Benjamin was listed on the 1787 Personal Property Tax List in Pittsylvania Co., VA. He had one white tithe (himself) and one horse. His taxes were paid on May 15th. His probable father John was listed and his were paid Apr 27th. Thomas, Preston and James Hampton were listed in 1787 as well, but in the other district (William Short’s district). The Hensleys were in Griffith Dickinson’s District. I assume the districts were north (Dickinson’s) and south (Short’s).

Benjamin Hensley was not listed on the 1788 or any later tax lists in Pittsylvania.

I believe this is the same Benjamin Hensley who was found in Lincoln Co., NC on the 1790 census. He is the only Hensley listed in the county. However, he had numerous cousins in neighboring Burke Co., NC, though it is unknown if he was aware of that or if they were aware of his presence nearby.

1790 Census, Lincoln Co., NC, p. 127, 12th Company, Ben Hensly age 16+ (bef 1774)


Age and Approximate Birth Range 

Who each person *might* be

1m 16 and up (before 1774)

Benjamin Hensley (bef 1755)

3m under 16 (1774/1790)

1. Son?

2. Son?

3. Abishai Hensley (c1789) son

1 female no ages given (before 1790)

1. Eleanor Hampton Hensley (bef 1755) wife

If this is indeed the same Benjamin, what drew him to Lincoln Co., NC? There was also an Andrew Hampton and a John Hampton in Lincoln in 1790. They were not near the Hensleys. I don’t know if either are related to Mrs. Hensley or not.

The Hensleys moved again during the 1790s to Greenville Dist., SC.

On 5 Apr 1795, Vincent Anderson of Greenville Co., SC sold land to Benjamin Henslee of the same place, for £40, 488 acres on north side of the North Fork of Saluda River. Bordering Matthew Caldwell. Signed by Vincent Anderson, witnessed by Wheaton Meritt and John Marlow. (Greenville Co., SC Deed Book D., pp. 476-477.)

The North Saluda River is very close to the Buncombe, now Henderson, Co., NC line.

I never found a record of where they disposed of the above land. I read the deed indexes through 1850.

They are listed in Greenville on the 1800 census. No other Hensleys were in the county then. Davis Hensley had been there back in 1790, but had moved to Kentucky before Benjamin arrived. I don’t think they are that closely related.

1800 Census, Greenville Dist., SC p. 107, Benjn Hensley age 45+ (bef 1755)


Age and Approximate Birth Range 

Who each person *might* be

1m 45 and up (before 1755)

Benjamin Hensley (bef 1755)

2m 10-15 (1784/1790)

1. Abishai Hensley (c1789) son

2. Son? (1784/90)

2m 0-9 (1790/1800)

1. Son? (1794/1800)

2. Joab Hensley (1796) son

1f 26-44 (1755/1774)

Eleanor Hampton Hensley, wife

1f 10-15 (1784/1790)


1f 0-9 (1790/1800)


They were still in Greenville for the 1810 census. They were listed next to “B. Hensley” whose identity is unknown, probably a son.

1810 Census, Greenville Dist., SC, p. 982/128, Benjn Hensley age 45+ (bef 1765)


Age and Approximate Birth Range 

Who each person *might* be

1m 45 and up (before 1765)

Benjamin Hensley (bef 1755)

2m 16-25 (1784/1794)

1. Abishai Hensley (c1789) son

2. Son?

1m 10-15 (1794/1800)

Joab Hensley (1796) son

1f 45 and up (before 1765)

Eleanor Hampton Hensley, wife

On 24 Jan 1820, Sion Massey of Greenville Dist., SC sold to Benjamin Henslee, of Greenville Dist., SC, 137 acres for $209. It was described as having been originally granted to Edward Howard. It mentions Daniel Welch’s line. The deed is signed by Sion Massey and witnessed by Clement Massey and Warren Massey. (Greenville Dist., SC Deed Book M, pp. 43-44.)

On 12 Jun 1820, Benjamin Hensley of Greenville Dist., SC, sold land to William M. Crymes of the same place, it being 137 acres for $209. This is the same land purchased just a few months prior. Interesting that he sold it for the same amount he purchased it for. Benjamin Hensley signed the deed. Witnesses were Thomas Crymes and John Garret. (Greenville Dist., SC Deed Book M, pp. 11-12.)

They must have moved immediately after selling the above land, for they are listed in neighboring Buncombe Co., NC for the 1820 census. This same county was full of his cousins, though they lived in the northern section that later became Yancey and Madison counties. He lived in the southern section that later became Henderson County. It seems hard to imagine they weren’t aware of each other though, then again, communication was different back then.

Benjamin is listed on the 1820 census in Buncombe, nowhere close to the other Hensleys, excluding “Elisha” Hensley just a few houses away. I believe that is his son whose name was actually Abishai, though clearly written here as Elisha.

1820 Census, Buncombe Co., NC, 64/76, Benjamin Hensley age 45+ (bef 1775)


Age and Approximate Birth Range 

Who each person *might* be

1m 45 and up (before 1775)

Benjamin Hensley (bef 1755)

1f 45 and up (before 1775)

Eleanor Hampton Hensley (1755/65) wife

I didn’t find Benjamin or Eleanor on the 1830 census. Their sons, Abishai and Joab, were still in Buncombe then. I suspect Ben and Eleanor had died by then.

This part of Buncombe County became Henderson County in 1838. However, I think all the Hensleys from this family were dead or moved away by then.

**** To do list:

1. Look for Hensley records in Lincoln Co., NC 1780s-1800.

2. Look for Benjamin Hensley records in Greenville Co., SC 1790s-1830.


Benjamin Hensley and Eleanor have several children per the 1790 through 1810 census records. None are proven thus far. One of them, “B.” Hensley seems to predate their marriage, so either his age is wrong on the one census record we have on him, or else he’s from a prior marriage. Ben was certainly old enough to have been married before Eleanor in 1786.


1.         Unidentified Son (c1774/1790). Benjamin had three boys under 16 with him in 1790 (born ca 1774/1790). One of whom was apparently no longer at home by 1800. This could be “B. Hensley” who was listed on the 1810 census next to Benjamin (on an alphabetical list, so maybe not necessarily neighbors). “B. Hensley” was listed in 1810 as aged 26-44, or born ca 1765/1784 which, if accurate, would make him the oldest child. It was also make him predate Benjamin and Eleanor’s 1786 marriage. So, if B. Hensley is Benjamin’s son, that suggests Benjamin was married before Eleanor and B. Hensley was from the previous marriage. What does “B” stand for? Of course “Benjamin” is the first thing to come to mind, but it doesn’t have to be that. *****

2.         Unidentified Son (c1784/1790). Benjamin had three boys under 16 with him in 1790 (born ca 1774/1790). In 1800 he had two aged 10-15 (c1784/1790). By 1810 Benjamin had two sons age 16-25 (born ca 1784/1794), one of whom could be this same son. I have no suspects for who this son might have been.

3.         Unidentified Son (c1784/1790). Benjamin had three boys under 16 with him in 1790 (born ca 1774/1790).In 1800 he had two aged 10-15 (c1784/1790), and in 1810 he had two aged 16-25 (born ca 1784/1794). By 1820 they had no children at home. I strongly suspect this is Abishai Hensley (c1789) who lived near Benjamin in 1820 Buncombe (now Henderson) Co., NC. He named children Benjamin and Eleanor, so that seems more proof. See his own page for more about him.

4.         Unidentified Daughter (c1784/90). Benjamin only had one female with him in 1790. Since no ages were given, that could be his wife, or if perhaps she had died before then, it could be a young daughter. She was home in 1800 aged 10-15 (c1784/1790). She was gone from home by 1810, so either married or dead by then. I don’t know who she was.

5.         Unidentified Daughter (c1790/1800). She was home with her parents in 1800, aged under 10 (c1790/1800), but gone by 1810 so either married or dead by then. I have no clues as to her identity.

6.         Unidentified Son (c1794/1800). He was home with his parents in 1800, aged under 10 (c1790/1800), and still home in 1810, aged 10-15 (c1794/1800). He was gone by 1820. I have no clues as to who he is just yet.

7.         Unidentified Son (c1794/1800). He was home with his parents in 1800, aged under 10 (c1790/1800), and still home in 1810, aged 10-15 (c1794/1800). I feel strongly that this is Joab Hensley (c1796) who was near the family in Buncombe and Henderson Co., NC. Further, he named a son Benjamin and a daughter Eleanor. Also, Abishai, also a suspected son of Benjamin, named one of his sons Joab, presumably after this one who would be his brother.

Judging by census analysis, it doesn’t seem Benjamin and Eleanor had any other children. Of course some could have been born and died between censuses.

For Family Group Sheet and other notes see my database page for them.

Revised: October 3, 2021

Copyright © 1996-2021 Marvin A. Grant, Jr. All Rights Reserved.

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