Marty and Karla Grant

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Charles Hensley (c1741-aft 1795) of Halifax Co., VA, Rowan and Surry Co., NC, Washington and Russell Co., VA and Lincoln, Nelson and Logan Co., KY

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If I have it all worked our correctly, Charles Hensley is my 1st cousin, many times removed.

Special thanks to Laura Schreibman for data shared on this family.

Charles Hensley is almost certainly a son of Benjamin (c1706) and Elizabeth (Hickman) Hensley, though that isn’t exactly proven. He was near members of that family across several counties in two states so that suggests a close relationship.

I estimate Charles Hensley’s birth as ca 1741. This is based on his first public record being in 1762 when he filed a lawsuit. I assume one has to be at least 21 in order to bring a suit against someone.

Charles would likely have been born in either Spotsylvania or Louisa Co., VA, or perhaps even Orange.

Charles’s older brother Benjamin moved to Lunenburg (now Bedford) ca 1752. He then moved into what was then the neighboring county of Halifax Co., VA ca 1759. Charles either went with him to Halifax or soon joined him there. He was there by 1762 at least. At that time, Halifax County was much larger, and included present day Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Patrick and about half of Franklin county. It’s southern border was the state line with Rowan Co., NC. The northern boundary was mostly Bedford County, with Lunenburg bordering on the east.

On 20 Feb 1762, Charles Hensley sued George Watkins in Halifax Co., VA court. This is the first record found for Charles. (Halifax Co., VA Pleas [Court Orders] No. 3, 1759 - 1762, p. 446, from Library of Virginia Microfilm Roll 55, shared by Laura Schreibman.)

It isn’t clear what section of Halifax Charles and brothers lived in, but it seems likely it was somewhere along the Dan River in what is now Patrick County.

The county lines changed around the Hensleys without them moving. In 1766/67 Pittsylvania County was formed from Halifax taking Charles and them with it.

Charles and several of his family members are listed on the 1768 tax list across the state line in what was then Rowan Co., NC in the section that soon became Surry County and is Stokes County today. This county bordered Pittsylvania at that time.

Listed in 1768 were 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.

John and one of the Benjamins (the one with sons) were Charles’s brothers.

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 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, no Charles.

However, in 1774 there was still only one Benjamin and James in Surry, but they’d been rejoined by Charles, Henry and John.

Across the state line in Virginia, 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, but not Charles. It’s possible he was still in NC at this time.

Charles Hensley is listed on the 1782 tax list in Montgomery Co., VA just three houses from a Benjamin Hensley. This may be the same Benjamin found in neighboring Washington Co., VA the next year, or it could be someone else. Charles has one tithe (himself), one horse and one cow. It’s my current theory that this Benjamin is Charles’s son.

Charles appears in Washington Co., VA for the 1784 tax list. He and his nephew Hickman Hensley (1759) are listed in Capt. Alexander Barnett’s district which is the western and northern parts of Washington all of which soon became Russell County. We don’t know precisely where the boundary between districts was, but it should be noted that Joseph Hensley (1750) and Samuel Hensley (1754) were listed in the other district in 1784, in the section that remained Washington County after Russell’s formation. If my figuring is correct, Joseph and Samuel were 1st cousins to Charles. It’s reasonable to assume they were acquainted. However, in 1784 Washington County was huge and it’s possible they didn’t know the others were in the same county.

By the time of the 1785 tax list, Charles was alone in Alexander Barnett’s district in Washington Co., VA, as his nephew Hickman had returned to North Carolina by then. Meanwhile in the other district, Samuel and Joseph had been joined by Robert Hensley (c1760) and Fielding Hensley (c1761), likely 1st cousins to Charles.

I should note that in both 1784 and 1785 Charles Hensley only had one tithe, meaning himself. He apparently had no sons 16 or older at home then.

Russell County was created in 1786 taking more than half of western and northern Washington County with it. Charles Hensley found himself in the new county.

There is no 1786 tax list for Russell County, it was either lost or not taken since the county was brand new.

Charles is listed on the 1787 personal property tax list in Russell Co., VA, the only Hensley listed in the county at the time. He had one white male over 21 (himself), no white males 16-20, no slaves, 1 horse and 1 cow. He paid his taxes on May 15th.

Charles is listed on the 1788 personal property tax list in Russell Co., VA, again the only Hensley listed in the county at the time. He had one white male over 21 (himself), one white males 16-20, presumably a son, no slaves and 1 horse. He paid his taxes on Mar 13th.

Sometime between March and November, Charles Hensley moved deep into what is now Kentucky. He was listed in Lincoln Co., VA (now KY) on the 1788 tax list, his entry dated Nov 18th. Thus he was taxed twice in 1788! He had one male over 21, himself, and 1 horse.

At this time Lincoln County, Virginia was huge and covered a very large swath of what is now Kentucky.

Charles Hounsley was listed on the 1789 tax list in Lincoln Co., VA (now KY), his entry dated August 4th, only included him as a white tithe over 21, no livestock or anything else. This is probably because he was already moving to neighboring Nelson Co., VA (now KY) at the time. Either that or this isn’t actually him. The spelling was quite clearly Hounsley. There was a Charles Hounsellor / Hounslar who started appearing in Lincoln around this time. This 1789 entry may be for him instead of Charles Hensley.

Charles Hensley is also listed on the 1789 tax list in Nelson Co., VA (now KY) with one tithable. He is in Charles Ewing’s district, listed as a resident of Pittman’s Creek. Not sure where that is, as Nelson county was huge at this time. It also bordered Lincoln County, so it’s possible Charles barely moved to be in both counties in the same year.

Nelson County was formed in 1784 from Jefferson County, effective 1785. It was a really large county until 1792 when it got carved down to a much smaller size.

Charles Hensley is listed on the 1790 tax list in Nelson Co., VA (now KY) in Capt William Skaggs’ District. He was taxed for one male tithe. No other Hensleys were listed in that county as far as I could find.

The 1790 census is lost for Virginia and Kentucky, but we can assume Charles would have been listed in Nelson County since he was there for the 1790 tax list.

I didn’t find Charles on the 1791 tax list in Nelson. It was still such a large county that he could have been missed. However, he was not listed in Capt. William Skaggs’ district as in 1790. The neighboring county to the south at that time was still Lincoln. I didn’t find Charles listed in Lincoln in 1791 either.

I didn’t find Charles Hensley on the 1792 tax lists. This is the year that Nelson was cut down considerably by the creation of Washington, Green and Hardin counties. He may have fallen into one of those new counties. However, I checked 1792 Nelson, Lincoln and Washington, and he wasn’t listed on any of those. There are no 1792 tax lists for Hardin or Green. I had the same luck in 1793, he wasn’t in Nelson that year. There are no 1793 lists for Green or Washington. Only a segment remains of the 1793 list for Hardin, and he wasn’t on it.

Lincoln County too was also reduced by Green’s creation in 1792, along with the new Logan County formed the same year. We know that Charles was in Logan by 1794, but he wasn’t there yet for the 1792 or 1793 tax lists. He wasn’t in Lincoln in 1792 or 1793 either.

Charles Hensly is listed on the 1794 tax list in Logan. He has one male over 21 (himself) and 4 cattle. He was the only Hensley in that county at the time.

Charles Hensly is listed on the 1795 tax list in Logan. He has one male over 21 (himself) and 8 cattle. He was still the only Hensley in that county at the time.

In 1796, effective 1797, Christian and Warren counties were created from large portions of Logan.

I didn’t find Charles Hensley in Logan for the tax lists of 1796, 1797, 1799 or 1800. (1798 is missing.) Did he die ca 1795/96, or did he fall into one of the new counties formed in 1796/97?

I didn’t find Charles in Christian Co., KY in 1797, 1798, 1799 or 1800 on the tax lists.

I didn’t find Charles in Warren Co., KY in 1797 on the tax list.

If he died ca 1795/96, he would have likely been in his 50s then.

The 1800 census is lost for Kentucky, Tennessee and several other states and territories.

The 1810 census is complete for Kentucky, but there is no Charles Hensley listed there.


I think that Charles might be the father of Benjamin Hensley (c1761-aft 1789) who was near him in 1782 in Montgomery and both were in Washington just after that. They were certainly related, if not father and son.

Charles Hensley seems to have at least one other son per the 1788 tax list, an apparent son who was 16 and up who wasn’t listed in 1787, so likely just turned 16, thus born ca 1772.

I have no clues who this apparent son might have been. He probably would have gone into Kentucky with Charles.

Revised: September 24, 2021

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

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