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James Hensley (c1732/34-aft 1752) — of Lunenburg Co., VA

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As there were several James Hensleys in Virginia before 1800, you should refer to my analysis page on that subject.

James Hensley was born ca 1732/34, I believe. This is based on his 1750 and 1752 tax list entries in Lunenburg Co., VA.

Going backwards with the evidence, he was listed on the 1752 tax list in Lunenburg Co., VA in the household of David Dalton who paid his taxes. It would be highly unusual for an adult male over 21 to have someone other than himself or his parents responsible for his taxes. Therefore I conclude that James Hensley wasn’t yet 21 in 1752. Whether he was related to David Dalton is another question for later. To be listed as a tithe, James had to be at least 16, so if he were between 16 and 21, he would have been born ca 1732 and ca 1736.

Moving back to 1750, James Hensley was listed on the tax list on his own, but one only had to be 16 to be listed, so this one shows him born ca 1734 or before. Combine with the 1752 list and you get ca 1732/34 as his likely birth date.

If his parents are who I believe them to be, he may have been born in Spotsylvania or King George Co., VA or perhaps in Hanover.

I suspect he is a son of Benjamin Hensley and Elizabeth Hickman (m 1731), but I can’t prove that. However, many members of that family joined James in Lunenburg by 1752. This was the section of Lunenburg that became Bedford in 1754. If he is Benjamin’s son, as I suspect, he was probably named for Benjamin’s brother, also named James Hensley.

I don’t know how the Hensley and Dalton families are related, but they were associated as far back as the 1720s. Perhaps there was no actual blood or marital connections, but they were clearly well acquainted.

Lunenburg County was formed in 1746 from Brunswick. It was a huge county at that time and took in what later became Bedford and other counties. We find Timothy, David and John Dalton in Lunenburg in 1748 for the tax list. They lived in the section that later became Bedford, described in 1748 as “from the mouth of Falling River upwards.” The following year, 1749, John was no longer listed, but Timothy and David were still there.

No Hensleys were there in 1748 or 1749, but by 1750 James Hensley had joined Timothy and David Dalton and was listed right next to them on that tax list. This time the district was described as “from Falling River to Goose Creek.”

The 1751 tax list is missing for that district, but the 1752 tax list seems complete. On this one James Hensley is in the same household with David Dalton who was taxed for three tithes, being himself, James and one other person not named. Timothy Dalton was right there beside them. James was no longer the only Hensley in Lunenburg, for right there near him and the Daltons were John Hensley, William Hensley and Benjamin Hensley. I believe these are James’s brothers, their father Benjamin remaining behind in Louisa County.

Unfortunately, the 1752 tax list entry is the last record we have for this James Hensley at present. He may have died soon after this, or just not left us any records. He was rather young at the time, so if he died around then it’s most likely he wasn’t yet married. Of course he could have been.

Bedford County was formed in 1753, effective 1754, and took in the area where the Hensleys and Daltons lived in what had been Lunenburg. Perhaps James Hensley appears in some Bedford records?


From what little we’ve found so far, it doesn’t seem as if James Hensley had time to marry before he died. Of course more records may come to light someday to prove otherwise.

Revised: September 15, 2021

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