Marty and Karla Grant
Benjamin Hensley (c1706-aft 1765) and Elizabeth Hickman of King George, Spotsylvania, Orange Louisa and Bedford Co., VA
If I have it all worked out correctly, this Benjamin Hensley is my 7 times great uncle.
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, we sometimes refer to this man as Benjamin (III) or Benjamin (3). However, it may be more helpful to refer to him as: Benjamin (c1706) (wife Elizabeth Hickman).
Special thanks to Laura Schreibman and Suzanne Baird for data shared on this family.
Benjamin Hensley is a probably a son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Hensley, though that isn’t exactly proven. However, there is really no one else in the records then that could be this Benjamin’s father.
I estimate Benjamin Hensley’s birth as ca 1706. This is based on his first record being in 1727, and assuming he was at least 21 then, which would put him born ca 1706 or earlier. Of course he could be much older or a bit younger, though probably no younger than 16 (or born ca 1711). You’ll note that I have his probable brother William Hensley also born ca 1706, for they both appeared for the first time in 1727. It’s not that I think they’re twins, it’s only that we have no other records on which to base their approximate birth date. It might be safer to list them as born ca 1700/1710.
Benjamin was almost certainly born in what was then Richmond Co., VA, but later became King George in 1720.
On 4 Aug 1727, in King George court, it was ordered that Jonathan Williams, William Hensley, Benjamin Hensley Jr, William Hensley Jr, Nicholas Porter, and Higgason King be bound over to the next court to answer the complaint of Robert Peck by virtue of their recognizance (meaning they posted bond to guarantee they’d appear in court). (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728, p. 374, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
One might automatically assume that William “Jr” was a son of the older William, and Benjamin “Jr” was likewise the son of an older Benjamin, but keep in mind that “Jr” was used in those days merely to distinguish a younger man from an older one of the same name. No relationship between them was implied, even if there was one.
The Hensley men in the record above were, I believe, William Hensley (c1690s-1764) (son of Samuel d 1735), and his first cousins Benjamin “Jr” and William “Jr” both probable sons of Benjamin & Elizabeth.
On 31 Aug 1727, Benjamin Hensley Jr witnessed a deed from Joseph Strother to John Farguson. Other witnesses were Nicholas Porter and John Bum. (King George Co., VA Deed Book 1, p. 451).
Note that Nicholas Porter was one of those involved in the lawsuit with Benjamin and the two Williams.
On 2 Sep 1727, the above case was again carried over the next court, Jonathan Williams, William Hensley, William Hensley Jr, Benjamin Hensley Jr, Nicholas Porter and Higgason King. (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728, p, 379, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 3 Nov 1727, the above case was again carried over the next court, this time only naming William Hensley, William Hensley Jr, Benjamin Hensley Jr, and Nicholas Porter. For some reason Williams and King were not included. See the next entry for them. (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728, p, 388, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On the same date, 3 Nov 1727, Jonathan Williamson and Higgason King, along with Benjamin Hensley as security, failed to appear in court. (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728, p, 388, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
This entry was referring to this Benjamin’s father, Benjamin who was notorious for not showing up to court.
On 1 Dec 1727, the above case was again carried over the next court, once again only naming William Hensley, William Hensley Jr, Benjamin Hensley Jr, and Nicholas Porter, leaving out Williams and King. (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728, p, 392, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 3 May 1728, the suit of Robert Peck against William Hensley, William Hensley Jr, and Benjamin Hensley, Jr was heard. The court ordered William Hensley and William Hensley Jr to pay a fine of 50 shillings each and remain in custody of the sheriff until they can enter a sufficient bond for their good behavior for a 12 month period. Benjamin Jr was ordered to pay 20 shillings for his good behavior for a 12 month period. (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728, p. 405, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Someone probably posted their bond, for I don’t think the Hensleys were left rotting in jail for they were free on 5 Oct 1728 (see below).
On 5 Oct 1728, the court ordered the Sheriff to take the bodies (arrest them) of William Hensley, William Hensley Jr, and Benjamin Hensley Jr until they enter into security for 12 months of good behavior. Since the same order was issued back on 3 May 1728, it would seem they managed to post bond then and not spend the interim in jail. Why a new order at this point? Did whoever originally post bond for them withdraw it? (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728, p. 421, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 19 Jan 1730/31, Benjamin Hensley married Elizabeth Hikkum in St. Paul’s Parish, Stafford Co., VA. Elizabeth Hickman was probably between 15 and 21 at the time of marriage, thus born ca 1710/1716. I don’t know who her parents were.
At the time of their marriage (1731), St. Paul's Parish was in Stafford Co., VA not King George. It later wound up in King George due to county border changes in 1776. That means that Benjamin and Elizabeth actually married in Stafford Co., VA. Stafford and King George bordered in 1731 with the Rappahannock River to separate them. They still border today but with different borders than in 1731.
I suspect that Benjamin’s father, Benjamin had died before this time, for there were no more instances of “Jr” being used to distinguish them. Then again if they resided in different counties, the suffix wouldn’t be necessary.
Benjamin seems to have moved into Spotsylvania County by 1732. That county also bordered King George, but not Stafford (though Stafford wasn’t far away at all).
On 5 Apr 1732, Edward Franklin sued Benjamin Hensley for trespassing. This probably means that Hensley cut trees or planted crops or something like that on Franklin’s property, not that he was just walking on it. (No reference. Shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 6 Aug 1734, John Red deeded land to Lazarus Tilly in St. Marks Parish, Spotsylvania Co., VA. Witnesses were G. Home, Benjamin Henslee and David Watts. (Spotsylvania Co., VA Deed Book C, p. ***** get this reference.)
On 1 Feb 1738, Benjamin Henslee received a land patent for 385 acres in Hanover Co., VA on both sides of Wolf Trap Branch, adjoining Smith, Carr, Henry, Timothy Dalton, and Meriwether. (Land Office Patents No. 18, 1738-1739, p. 157 (Reel 16)).
At the time (1738) Hanover stretched all the way to the mountains until Louisa County was formed in 1742 from the western half of the county.
There are several Wolf Trap Branch’s in the area and that is confusing. This one seems to be in present day Albemarle County, and is so small that it isn’t actually labeled on the current USGS maps. However, there is a Wolf Trap Road that runs along by it, helping us to pinpoint its location.
I should note that there is another stream of the same name in southern Albemarle County. This one flows into Bollinger Creek and it’s in the southern “neck” of Albemarle near Nelson and Buckingham Counties. We do know Hensleys lived in those three counties later, however, that part of Albemarle was never part of Louisa or Hanover county.
On 23 Nov 1738, Benjamin Hensley stated in Orange County court that he had attended court for one day as an evidence (witness) for William Cudelinz. (Orange Co., VA Court Order Book 1 pg. 416, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
In 1742, Louisa County was created from Hanover, including the part where Wolf Trap Branch was located, and where, presumably, Benjamin Hensley resided.
There is the strong possibility that more than one Benjamin Hensley appears in the records of Orange and Louisa County over the next few years, with no distinctions made between them by the clerks recording their deeds, court appearances, etc.
On 10 Jan 1742 Benjamin Henslee and A. J. Smith, witnessed a deed from William Bunch to Henry Bunch for land in Louisa County. (No reference. Shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On the same date, 10 Jan 1742, Benjamin Hensley was appointed guardian to Stephen English, aged about 16, whose grandfather, William Craddock, was apparently neglecting him and the estate. (Louisa Co. Order Book 1742-1748 pg. 7. Full reference shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Benjamin was mentioned in a deed dated 14 Mar 1742 between William Biggers of Louisa, to James Brackman of Orange, for 350 acres on the west side of the Little Mountains. The land joined Stephen English, Benjamin Henslee and William Maab. (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book A, p 135-136, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 11 Feb 1743, Benjamin Hensley deeded 100 acres to John Hensley in Louisa for £10, being 100 acres on the north side of Wolf Swamp, adjoining land of Mildred Meriwether, Samuel Brackman and Richard Hammack. Witnesses were A. J. Smith, William Ogilvie. (Louisa Co., VA Deed A, pp. 125-127. Full reference shared by Suzanne Baird.)
John is probably Benjamin’s brother, for although I think he had a son of that same name, his son John was much too young at this point to be getting land or be in the public records. He couldn’t have been more than 13 at this time if the Elizabeth Hickman (1730/31) marriage was Benjamin’s first. Of course there was no legal age requirement to receive property, though I doubt he would have charged his young son 10 pounds for it. Then again, perhaps he’s teaching his son a lesson in economics. Suzanne Baird prefers the father and son theory, and that perhaps this isn’t the Benjamin who married Elizabeth Hickman, but is instead that Ben’s father of the same name. She may be right. If she is, then this is the elder Benjamin (c1680s) deeding land to his son John (c1708). Also, that would also mean that Benjamin (c1680s) didn’t died soon after 1728 as I’ve theorized, but lived on quite awhile.
Records beginning in 1743 refer to Benjamin Hensley as a Clerk and Reader for Fredericksville Parish, Louisa County.
On 14 Feb 1743, Benjamin Hensley is removed from his post as constable for refusing to take an oath concerning a deer. He is also fined. I’m not sure what this was about. (Louisa Co., VA Order Book 1742-1744 pg. 13, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Whatever happened above, apparently it was worked out, for by 11 Apr 1743, Benjamin Henslee was once again a constable. On that date he endorsed a statement by James Henslee regarding the estate of James Johnston. (Louisa Co., VA Order Book 1742-1744 p. 131 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Who was James Hensley? A son from a prior marriage? If he were Elizabeth Hickman’s son, he couldn’t be very old at this time, certainly not old enough to be making statements regarding someone’s estate. It could be James, son of Samuel (d 1735), who was last found in 1735 in Norfolk. That James would be Benjamin’s 2nd cousin. However, that’s a leap of distance. Could this James be a younger brother to Benjamin? That’s certainly possible too. Or perhaps even a nephew, a son of his brother John. Unfortunately there is no solid evidence to make a definitive conclusion. I’m leaning toward John as his father, but that is barely more than a guess.
On 12 Sep 1743, land was processioned* peacefully in Fredericksville Parish. Among the names were John Henslee, 50 acres, and Benjamin Henslee, 1200 acres. Benjamin Henslee and Richard Hammock signed the entry, suggesting they were the captains in charge of the event. (Fredericksville Parish Vestry Book 1742-1787 p. 7, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
* Processioning is when the landowners all go out and make sure their property lines are all still properly marked. It would be a job for surveyors today.
On 24 Jan 1745, Benjamin Henslee witnessed a deed between Ambrose Joshua Smith to Michael Holland. Richard Vernon and John Hammock also witnessed. (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book A, pp. 210-211, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
The above is the “A. J. Smith” who appears on several records with Benjamin Hensley during this era.
On 13 Apr 1745, A. J. Smith, Benjamin Henslee and James Goodall witnessed a deed from Robert Roe to Thomas Walker. The land was on both sides of a branch of Pritties Creek mentioning Hickman’s line, probably a relative of Benjamin’s wife. (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book A, p 203, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 23 Apr 1745 Richard Hammack made a motion in court for road work to be done. Those ordered to do the work were Benjamin Hensley, John Hensley, George Davis, Gideon Carr, Timothy Moony, Stephen English, John Moony, John Hammack, Charles Smith, John Maccaulay, Joseph Martin, Samuel Hensley, William Maib, Richard Davis, John Wilmer, James Hoderurds, John Wood and John Dowell. The road was to be cleared from Richard Hammack's Plantation to Ambrose Smith's. These men listed here would all be neighbors and live in that region where the road was.
Who was Samuel Hensley? He obviously lived in the same area as Benjamin and John. This is the first, and only, record for him found in Louisa. He could be a son of Benjamin or John, or perhaps a younger brother, or even more distantly related. I don’t think he is Samuel who died ca 1791 in Bedford, though that’s certainly possible.
On 26 Nov 1745, Benjamin Hensley became guardian to Hannah Johnson, an orphan bound to Sarah Lemay, who apparently was allegedly abusive to her. (Louisa Co., VA Order Book 1742-1748 p. 174, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 28 Feb 1745/46, Benjamin Hensley, along with Samuel Dalton, were securities for Mary Hughes, relict (widow) of Ellis Hughes, who died without a Will. This was apparently for an administration bond or something like that. (Louisa Co., VA Order Book 1742-1748 p. 175, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 8 Mar 1745/46, Benjamin Hensley, Gentleman, brought a suit against Joseph Reynolds in Orange County court. (Orange Co., VA Order Book 4 p. 294, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 25 Jul 1746 Benjamin Henslee was mentioned in a patent to John Askew for 400 acres on the north side of a branch of Pritty’s creek, adjoining Benjamin Henslee, William Howard and Ripon. (Virginia Patent book 25 p. 147, reference shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Pritty’s Creek, alias Preddy Creek, rises in the westernmost corner of present Orange County, practically on the Greene county line. It flows south, then south easterly into Albemarle county where it continues, eventually turning south westerly, until it joins the Rivanna River. Only a small portion of Preddy Creek was in Orange in 1746, with the bulk of it being in Albemarle.
When did Benjamin acquire land on Preddy Creek? Is it the same Benjamin? It might not be.
On 27 Aug 1747 a deed was made in Orange Co., VA between Richard Bradford of St. Margaret's Parish, Caroline Co., VA and James Michal, St. Thomas' Parish, Orange Co., VA. Bordering land owners included Benjamin Hensley, Charles Oakes, and Edward Hensley. (Orange Co., VA Deed Book 10, p. 522, reference shared by Suzanne Baird).
I don’t know where the above land might be exactly or whether that is the same Benjamin.
Who is Edward Hensley? The only one I’m aware of is a proven son of Samuel Hensley (d 1735). If this is he, then he and Benjamin were 2nd cousins, unless of course this is a different Benjamin.
On 22 Jul 1748 in neighboring Albemarle Co., VA, Benjamin Henslee and Edward Hickman witnessed a promissory note between Robert Dalton and Simon Grinton. [Weisiger, Benjamin B. III., Albemarle County, Virginia Court Papers 1744-1783.]
That is probably the same Benjamin of Louisa, though it is possible it was someone else. However, this has two things going for it to make one believe it is the same Benjamin. One, Louisa and Albemarle border each other, so the distance is not a problem. Two, Edward Hickman was the other witness. He could be one of Benjamin's in-laws, since he was married to Elizabeth Hickman. Benjamin Hensley was also a neighbor to Dalton’s on Wolf Trap Branch.
On 27 Aug 1750 Benjamin Henslee and James Henslee and George Martin witnessed a Louisa County deed between Joseph Martin and Stephen English. The land was bordered by Benjamin Henslee, Richard Hammack and Stephen English.
This is probably the same James Hensley from the earlier court record, but who is he to Benjamin? Brother? Son? Cousin? Nephew? All are possibilities.
On 18 Jan 1752 John Henslee sold 100 acres to David Watts in Louisa county. Benjamin Henslee, Francis M. Hammack, Daniel Ramsey were witnesses. This must be the same land Benjamin Hensley sold John in 1743.
On 25 Feb 1752 Benjamin Henslee of Fredericksville Parish, Louisa Co., VA sold 300 acres to David Watts. The land was on Wolf Trap Branch. Witnesses were John Foster, John Henslee, and John Hammack. Benjamin Henslee signed, and "Elizabeth his wife" relinquished her dower rights to the land.
Apparently they moved a little south into Bedford County sometime after this for Benjamin, John, William and James Hensley were listed on the 1752 tax list in Lunenburg Co., VA, which Bedford was still a part of then. They were listed by David and Timothy Dalton. James Hensley was actually residing with David Dalton at the time. I believe that John, James and William were sons of Benjamin Hensley. * Note that these records in Bedford and later might be for this Benjamin’s son instead, and this older one remained in Louisa, or both Benjamins might be there at the same time, though only one is listed on the 1752 tax list.
Bedford County was created in 1753/1754 from Lunenburg.
On 14 Jun 1762, Richard Randolph of Henrico Co, VA sold Benjamin Hensley of Bedford Co, VA, 190 acres in Bedford on the North Side of Staunton River. Witnesses were John Talbot, Isham Talbot, and Timothy Dalton. (Bedford Co, VA Deed Book 2 page 60.) Note that Timothy Dalton had been associated with Benjamin Hensley as far back as 1738.
On 22 Jul 1762, John King sold land to Zachariah Burnley in Orange Co., VA adjoining Benjamin Hensley, William Howard, being north of Pretty’s creek and Rippon’s line. (Orange Co., VA Deed Book 13, pp 270-272 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 17 Apr 1763 Benjamin Henslee and wife Elizabeth of Bedford Co, VA, sold Jeremiah Ward of Halifax Co, VA, 190 acres in Bedford (same land purchased 14 Jun 1762). No witnesses were listed. (Bedford Co, VA Deed Book 2 page 164.)
Did they move back to Louisa/Orange around this time? Or did they go southward into North Carolina like some others in this family had?
On 27 Oct 1765, Zachariah Burnley and wife Mary, sold land to Joseph Patterson in Orange Co., VA adjoining Benjamin Hensley, William Howard, being north of Pretty’s creek and Rippon’s line. (Orange Co., VA Deed Book 14, pp 348-350 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Note that the 1762 and 1765 deeds only mention Benjamin as neighboring landowner. He himself wasn’t a party to the deed, so there is no guarantee he was even still living there, or even alive at the time. I don’t have a record of him selling the land on Preddy’s creek yet.
In 1768, Rowan Co., NC was huge and bordered Virginia, Pittsylvania County at the time.
A 1768 tax list for Rowan listed John Hanslee 1 tithe, Benjamin Hansley and sons James and Harry 3 tithes, Benjamin Hansley Jr 1 tithe, Charles Hansley 1 tithe, and Capt. Ben Hansley 1 tithe.
That’s three Benjamin Hensleys. The one with sons James and Harry is not the Benjamin Hensley (c1706) who married Elizabeth Hickman, but rather his son, Benjamin (c1732). Benjamin “Jr” on this list is the son of Benjamin (c1732), himself born ca 1752. That only leaves Capt. Benjamin Hensley as a possible match for Benjamin (c1706). But is it him? He would have been about 62 at this time, so certainly could have still been alive, but would he be fit enough to be a militia captain at that age? Possible, but we can’t be sure. I would think that the good captain is not Benjamin (1706).
One possibility to consider is that Capt. Benjamin is actually the one born ca 1752, and the one listed as “Jr” is actually “Sr” and just misread by the transcriber. I’ve seen that happen many times. I’ve not seen this original record myself, so I can’t say that’s what happened here though. Wishful thinking perhaps.
Surry County was formed in 1770, effective 1771, from the northern part of Rowan, taking the Hensleys with it. However, the 1771 tax list only shows one Benjamin Hensley and James Hensley listed. Does this mean the others returned to Virginia? Or is this particular tax list incomplete?
The 1772 list for Surry was the same, just one Benjamin and James.
However, in 1774 there was still only one Benjamin and James in Surry, but they’d been joined by Charles, Henry and John.
One of the Benjamin Hensleys was back over the line in Pittsylvania Co. VA by 27 Sep 1775, for on that date he was appointed a Lieutenant in the county militia. I doubt this is Benjamin (1706). (Pittsylvania Co., VA Deed Book 4, p. 293).
Perhaps the entire group of Hensleys were back in Virginia by this time.
Henry County was created in 1776, effective 1777, from western Pittsylvania County, taking in the Hensleys. At the time, Henry contained all of present day Henry, Patrick and about half of Franklin county.
A 1778 militia list for Henry Co., VA shows seven Hensleys, four of whom were Benjamins!
They were Capt. Benjamin Hensley, Henry Hensley, Benjamin Hensley Jr., James Hensley, Benjamin Hensley Sr., Hickman Hensley and Benjamin Hensley.
Of these, Henry, James and Hickman are all proven children of Benjamin (c1732). Benjamin Jr. (c1752) is very likely that same Benjamin’s son. That leaves the identity of Capt. Benjamin and just Benjamin, unknown. One of those two could be Benjamin (c1706) if still alive.
Only one Benjamin Hensley was still in Henry by the time of the 1783 tax list. He was gone by 1784.
So, we’re left with a big question. When did Benjamin Hensley (c1706) die? I’m pretty sure he’s alive up through ca 1763. Some of the records after that date, which I’ve outlined above, could be for him, but could just as easily not. I noted already that he was mentioned in deeds dated 1762 and 1765 in Orange Co., VA, but he didn’t have to be living to be listed as a neighboring landowner. That does raise the question of whatever happened to that land though.
He could be one of the several Benjamins on the 1768 Rowan Co., NC and 1778 Henry Co., VA lists. Or perhaps only on the 1768 list, but not the 1778 list.
Unfortunately we just don’t know.
Benjamin Hensley has no proven children. However, I think strong circumstantial evidence, mixed with some educated guesses, shows he had a few sons, and probably some unidentified daughters. Since I can’t prove any of these are his children, use this information with that in mind. I could be quite wrong about this list. Of these, I’m only 100% confident in Benjamin, because he named one of his sons “Hickman” presumably after his mother’s maiden name. Of course it’s entirely possible there some other Hickman connection there, but for now I’m going with that. I included John here because he was nearby and named one of his own Benjamin. Charles is included based on proximity across several counties.
Benjamin Hensley was born ca 1732 perhaps in Spotsylvania or King George, Co., VA. He isn’t a proven child of Benjamin and Elizabeth Hickman Hensley, but since he named one of his own sons “Hickman Hensley” that strongly suggests he belongs to this couple.
This Benjamin married an Elizabeth also, and moved to Lunenburg, now Bedford by 1752, then to what is now Stokes Co., NC by 1768 (then part of Rowan, later Surry), then back across into Henry Co., VA for a time. His children made their way to Burke, Buncombe and Yancey Co., NC. He may have as well.
See his own page for more information.
James Hensley was born ca 1732/34. He was the first to moved into Bedford when it was still part of Lunenburg. He was there in 1750 and 1752.
See his own page for more information.
John Hensley was born ca 1734. He moved to Lunenburg, now Bedford by 1752, then settled a very short distance away in Pittsylvania Co., VA. See his own page for more information.
William Hensley was born ca 1736. He was in Bedford in 1752, in Henry and Patrick 1782 through 1802.
Charles Hensley was born ca 1741. He was in Halifax Co., VA in 1762, in Rowan Co., NC in 1768, Surry Co., NC in 1774, Washington Co., VA in 1784, Russell Co., VA in 1787 and 1788, Lincoln Co., VA (now KY) also in 1788, Nelson Co., VA (now KY) in 1789 and 1790, then to Logan Co., KY by 1794 and 1795. He isn’t a proven son of Benjamin Hensley and Elizabeth Hickman, but he was always with members of that family until 1787.
For Family Group Sheet and other notes see my database page for Benjamin Hensley & Elizabeth Hickman.
Revised: September 17, 2021