Marty and Karla Grant
Francis Hensley (c1723/1726-1757) and Ann (—) of Orange Co., VA
Special thanks to Suzanne Baird for data shared on this family.
Francis Hensley was born ca 1723 or earlier if we assume he was at least 21 when he was sued in 1744. If we consider he could have as young as 18, then born before ca 1726, thus I came up with ca 1723/26, though he could be a bit older but probably not too much younger.
“Francis” as a male name was extremely uncommon among the Hensleys, so who was he named for? Perhaps someone in his mother’s family?
That brings us to the question of who Francis’s parents were. I have no actual evidence linking him to any older or contemporary Hensleys, but due to him being in Orange Co., VA in 1744, that strongly suggests he’s a son of William Hensley (Sr) (c1690s-c1764) who was the only Hensley there at the time (as far as we know) who was old enough.
Of course that doesn’t prove Francis is William’s son. But barring some evidence against it, I’m going to leave him in this family for now.
In May 1744, in Orange Co., VA court, in the case of John Seayers vs. Francis Hensley, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the charges. They probably settled out of court. (Orange Co., VA Court Order Book 4, p. 124, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 27 Jun 1749, Francis Hensley, with Reuben Daniel and J. Branham, Jr., witnessed a deed from Joseph Sears of Louisa Co., VA to William Warin. The land was on the North Fork of the Pamunky River joining Dr. Hugh Noden’s land. (Orange Co., VA Deed Book 10, pp 164-166, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 24 Aug 1749, Francis Hensley was mentioned in a deed between George Taylor, Gentleman, of Orange Co., VA to William Bowling. The land being sold was a 57 acre plantation “on which Francis Hensley lately lived.” (Orange Co., VA Deed Book 12 pp 67-68 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Suzanne researched the above tract of land and concluded it was somewhere along present day Spicer’s Mill Road from Orange (the town) to the Madison Co., VA border.
The day after the above deed, 25 Aug 1749, Francis Hensley was in court, when he and John Branham Jr were sued by John Foster Jr for trespassing. It maybe a coincidence, but Francis’s half brother Lewis Hensley married a Foster 20+ years later. (Orange Co., VA Court Order Book 5, p. 217, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Francis Hensley married Ann — sometime before ca 1750, perhaps long before then.
On 24 May 1750, the court ordered that Francis Hensley be paid for his service as a witness in the case of John Dunham vs Thomas Rucker. (Orange Co., VA Court Order Book 5, p 245 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 24 May 1751, the case of John Foster Jr vs John Branham Jr and Francis Hensley, for trespassing, was decided. Hensley was found guilty, but Branham was acquitted. Hensley was ordered to pay damages. (Orange Co., VA Court Order Book 5, p 295 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 7 Jul 1752, Francis Hensley and Ann, his wife, brought a suit against John Branham, Jr, for trespassing. (Orange Co., VA Court Order Book 5, p. 327 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Francis Hensley was listed on a 1755 list of tithables in Orange Co., VA. (Shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Francis Hensley was dead by 26 May 1757 for on that date his estate was inventoried by Francis More. (Orange Co., VA Will Book 2, p 253, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Was it a coincidence that Francis More (Moore?) was apparently the administrator of his estate, or is it significant that they were both named Francis, as in, they are related and one may be the namesake of the other, or both named after the same ancestor, or not? I can’t really say, but it struck me that here was another Francis.
On 4 Oct 1762, Robert and James Duncanson brought a suit against Ann Hensley. She was ordered to pay the judgment (probably for debt). (Orange Co., VA Court Order Book 7 p 49, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
In Apr 1763, George Frasier brought a suit against Ann Hensley. (Orange Co., VA Court Order Book 6 p 709, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
That is the last record Suzanne found for Ann Hensley, thus far. She may have died just after this, or perhaps remarried.
We have no record proving any children for Francis and Ann Hensley or that they actually had any.
However, I have a strong suspicion that Davis Hensley (c1750-c1814) is their son. The reason why is that he too was a resident of Orange Co., VA (per a 1769 record), and that he named one of his sons Francis, and that is just an unusual name among the Hensleys. Of course it doesn’t guarantee that Davis is Francis’s son. He could just as easily be a nephew and named one of his own in honor of his uncle. Or, Davis’s son Francis could be named after someone from his mother’s family. However, barring any other evidence coming to light, I’m going to place Davis Hensley as a child of Francis and Ann Hensley.
If Davis Hensley is indeed their child, why the name “Davis?” Was his mother Ann a Davis? Or was Davis the maiden name of one of his grandmothers? More research is needed to determine that, but perhaps we’ll never know.
There certainly could be other children besides Davis Hensley.
1. Davis Hensley (c1750-c1814) and wife Lydia of Orange Co., VA, Greenville Dist., SC, Madison, Clark and Montgomery Co., KY and St. Louis, MO.
Revised: December 4, 2021