Marty and Karla Grant
John Hensley (c1730s-c1770) — of Louisa and Albemarle Co., VA
As there were several John Hensleys in Virginia before 1800, you should refer to my analysis page on that subject.
Special thanks to Laura Schreibman and Suzanne Baird for data shared on this family.
John Hensley was born ca 1730s or thereabouts. His first record was in 1743, so we can conclude he was born before then. However, the record in question was him being deeded land by Benjamin Hensley (either his brother, or his uncle). There is no age requirement to be deeded land, so he could have been anywhere from a newborn to an old man at this time. However, I’d assume he was at least a teen by then, thus the ca 1730 birth date.
I suspect he is a son of William Hensley (c1706-1777), but I can’t prove that. However, John is associated with other Hensleys that I also believe are sons of this William. Furthermore, there just isn’t anywhere else to put him.
In 1742 Louisa County was formed from the western half of Hanover County. John was in this county at this time or shortly thereafter.
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.)
The above land is in present day Albemarle County, but was then part of Louisa. Although it says Wolf Swamp, other records refer to Wolf Trap Branch instead. I believe they are the same.
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.
Why does John only have 50 acres in this record when he was deeded 100 acres earlier that year? Perhaps this is a different tract of land?
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.
It’s possible the above is a different John Hensley, but I don’t know.
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. (Get reference for this *****)
On 13 Dec 1756, John Henslee, George Newman and John Davis witnessed the Will of William Maib in Louisa County (now Albemarle). (Albemarle Co. Deed and Will Book 2, pp. 123-124, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 9 Feb 1758, John Henslee, John Hammack and David Watts witnessed a deed from William Hammack of Albemarle to Daniel Hammack of Albemarle, for 100 acres on the north side of “Ye Little Mountain.” (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 2, pp 1-2, shared by Laura Schreibman and Suzanne Baird.)
On 25 Apr 1758, David Watts deeded 100 acres to John Henslee, both residents of Fredericksville Parish. The land was on the south side of Wolf Trap Branch adjoining Henry Merriweather. (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book B, p 257 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
This might be the very same land that Benjamin Hensley deeded John in 1743, which John then sold to David Watts in 1752. Or, it could be a different 100 acres on the same branch.
On 29 May 1759, John Henslee, Daniel Farguson, and Thomas Duglass witnessed a deed between David Watts to Curtis Johnson for land on the south side of Red Bud Branch. (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book B, pp. 304-305, shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Albemarle County was formed back in 1744 from Goochland. However, something must have happened in the late 1750's to modify her border with Louisa, for the Hensleys of Louisa wound up in Albemarle while still living on Wolf Trap Branch. This area may have been a border region at the time, but is entirely in Albemarle on modern maps.
On 12 Jan 1762, George Martin, Isaac Davis, Thomas Burrus and John Henslee witnessed a deed between Samuel Dalton Senr and wife Anne to their son William Dalton. The land was 404 acres described as in “County of Albemarle and formerly Louisa and Fredericksvile Parish on both sides of the North Branch of the North Fork of James River above the Little Mountains.” Wolf Trap Branch is mentioned as one of the landmarks as well as Jacob’s Run. (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 3, p. 124, shared by Laura Schreibman and Suzanne Baird.)
On 14 Jan 1762, John Henslee and John Jones witnessed the Will of Joseph Martin in Albemarle Co., VA. (Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 2, p 112 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 6 Sep 1762, John Henslee, along with John Foster and Eli Cleaveland witnessed a deed between Henry Carter of Prince Ann Parish, Albemarle Co., VA to Jacob Cleaveland of same place. (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 3, pp. 231-233 shared by Laura Schreibman and Suzanne Baird.)
A few days later, on 9 Sep 1762, John Henslee, along with John Foster and Eli Cleaveland again, witnessed a deed between Jacob and Mildred Cleveland to Alexander Cleveland.(Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 3, pp. 226-228 shared by Laura Schreibman and Suzanne Baird.)
On 12 Oct 1762, John Henslee, T. Fullilove Bennett and William Terrell Lewis witnessed a deed between John Dolton (Dalton) to Patrick Fisher for land on the south fork of Wolf Trap Branch bordering John Henslee, William Brockman and Thomas McColley. (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 3, pp. 237-238 shared by Laura Schreibman and Suzanne Baird.)
On – — 1762, John Hensler, George Newman and John Davis witnessed the Will of William Mail of Louisa Co., VA. I wonder if this is William Maib / Maab instead? (Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 2 p. 123 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 12 Oct 1763, John Henslee, Micajah Clark Jr, and Robert Clark witnessed a deed between William Hines to William Johnson. (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 3, pp. 358-359 shared by Laura Schreibman and Suzanne Baird.)
On 12 Apr 1764, John Henslee, along with Charles English and John Hammack witness the Will of John Foster in Albemarle. (Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 2, pp. 163-164 1752-1785 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 8 Oct 1766, John Henslee, William Brockman and Thomas McCaulley were listed as neighboring land owners for a deed made between Patrick Fisher to Thomas Walker for 100 acres on Wolf Trap Branch. (Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 4, pp. 289-290 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
On 13 Feb 1767, John Henslee, Mary Landers and Samuel Henslee witnessed a deed between John Washer and wife Elizabeth of Louisa, to Benjamin Henslee, also of Louisa, being 86 acres on branches of Locust Creek. (Louisa Co., VA Deed Book ½ pp. 9-12 shared by LS and SB).
The above is almost certainly Benjamin Hensley (c1732-1788), his son Samuel (c1752-1830s), and probably this same John Hensley.
On an undated document in the 1770 Estate of Joseph Martin, John Hensley received cash from William Martin, probably to settle a debt Martin owed to Hensley before his death. (Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 2, pp. 265-266 shared by Suzanne Baird.)
Suzanne notes that the above is the last record found in Albemarle for John Hensley. He would have been in his 30s at this time. It’s possible he moved away, or perhaps he died soon after this.
John Hensley has no proven children, nor do I have any strong suspects at present.
Revised: November 12, 2021