Marty and Karla Grant

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James Hensley (c1700/10-aft 1735) and Miss Low of Norfolk Co., VA

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If I have it all worked out correctly, James Hensley is my second cousin, many times removed.

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

We don’t know when James Hensley was born exactly. He was named in his father’s 1732 Will, so we know he was born before then. However, just three years later in 1735 he was deeded property on his own. While one didn’t have to be 21 to receive property, if we assume he was at least 18 then, he would be born ca 1717 or earlier. If 21, then born ca 1714 or earlier. I’ve pushed his birth back to ca 1700/10 which might be a little too far. Unfortunately we have nothing else to go on at present.

James is a proven son of Samuel Hensley (Sr) and his last wife, Elizabeth. He was named as such in his father’s Will.

James Hensley was probably born in Richmond Co., VA now King George Co., VA.

James’ father, Samuel Hensley Sr, made his Will in King George Co., VA on 28 Feb 1731/1732 and left his sons George and James his plantation in Spotsylvania Co., VA.

James and his older half brother Edward moved to Norfolk Co., VA in the 1730's. Norfolk was a large port city, even back then. I believe they were trying to make it as merchants, but I’m not 100% sure of that.

On 18 Jul 1735, Sarah Law (Low) sold James Hensley of Norfolk Co., VA land next to the Town Bridge on the Kings Main Road.

James apparently married a daughter of Sarah Low sometime prior to 1743. Sarah Low made her Will on 14 Dec 1743 leaving land to her grandson George Hensley, who was under 21 at the time. This same woman (Sarah Low) had deeded land to James Hensley in 1735, so perhaps he had married Miss Low as far back as then.

On 14 Jan 1743/44, the Will of Sarah Low (dated 14 Dec 1743) was proven in Norfolk Co, VA court by Edward Pugh and John Davenport, in which she left her “Grandson George Hensley” her half lot of land where she then lived with all improvements and the mansion house, etc.

More detail from the Sarah Low’s Will, dated 14 Dec 1743, proven in court 14 Jan 1743/44 by Edward Pugh and John Davenport.

           My grandson George Hensley under 21

           Granddaughter Sarah Haywood

           Daughter Haywood

           and Elizabeth alias Betsy Eastterd (relationship not stated, but probably daughter)

           Granddaughter Sarah Wingate

           Daughter Sarah Lewelling

           Son John Low

           Son Peter Low

           Daughter Mary Meech

           Daughter Sarah Freeman (she makes the second daughter named Sarah in the Will).

           Daughter Martha Griffin

           Witnessed by Edward Pugh, Margaret Pugh and John Davenport.

(Norfolk Co., VA Will Book H. p. 85. From McIntosh, Charles Fleming. Brief Abstracts of Norfolk County Wills, 1710-1753. Richmond, VA, USA: Colonial Dames of America, 1922. Shared by Laura Schreibman.)

We can probably assume that James’s wife, the former Miss Low, was dead by the time Sarah Low made her Will since she wasn’t mentioned. It may be that James himself was also dead since he wasn’t mentioned either.

It has also occurred to me that Sarah Low’s Will of 1744 names her grandson George Hensley, but never says who George’s father is. I originally assumed it was the elder George for he did in fact have a son named George Hensley who could have been born before 1744. However, other than that assumption, I have no evidence that George Sr was ever in Norfolk. We do know James was there and was associated with Sarah Low, so that makes him the better candidate.

We haven’t found any other records for James Hensley thus far. There is a James Hensley who appears in Louisa Co., VA in 1743 with one of the Benjamin Hensleys. While it is possible it’s the same man, I tend to think not due to the Benjamin association.


James Hensley and his wife, Miss Low, have only one known child, a son George, most likely named in honor of his brother George.

George was under 21 in 1744, so born between ca 1724 and 1744. I’d narrow it down to ca 1735/44 since 1735 is the first time we find James in Norfolk.

George was named in his grandmother’s Will. She left him some property in Norfolk.

He next appears in Norfolk on 24 Nov 1760 when he witnessed the Will of Patrick Brown. James Holt and James Bird were the other witnesses. If born ca 1735 he would have been 25 at this time. If born ca 1744 he would have been about 16.

I have no other records on George, whether he married, had children nor where he lived after 1760.

Laura Schreibman found a 1774 tax list entry in Norfolk where Grace Wilson paid taxes for one tithe named William Hansley. Whether this person is connected to George or not, I don’t know.

For Family Group Sheet and other notes see my database page for James Hensley & Miss Low

Revised: September 14, 2021

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

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