Marty and Karla Grant

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Joseph Hensley (c1690s-1744) and Martha — of King George and Brunswick Co., VA

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

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

Joseph Hensley is a proven son of Samuel Hensley (d 1735), as named in Samuel’s 1732 Will.

I estimate Joseph Hensley’s birth as between ca 1690 and 1700. I base this on how he was referenced in his father’s Will dated 1732 as being grown and able to provide for himself. To me that meant he was at least 21 then, or born ca 1711 or earlier. Furthermore, he was sued in court in 1729. If we assume he was at least 21 at that time, that pushes his birth back to ca 1708 or earlier.

However, I put his birth date even earlier than that because his younger siblings (from Samuel’s second wife) all seem to be born ca 1700/1710. Thus, I push Joseph’s birth back from before ca 1708 to ca 1690/1700.

Joseph Hensley may have been born in what was then Richmond County in the section that became King George County in 1720. I don’t know for certain that’s where he was born, but it’s a probability.

On 8 Mar 1729, Walter Anderson’s attachment against Joseph Hensley was continued until the next court for Joseph Strother, Gentleman, to finish the crop. (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728, pg. 441, shared by Suzanne Baird.)

The above is interesting. First, the same man (Anderson) had a nearly identical court entry a month earlier against John Hensley (c1708-1770). Strother wasn’t mention in that one though.

An “attachment” means that the court had at some point allowed for Anderson to seize certain property from Joseph Hensley as payment of a debt. However, the mention of the crop meant there was a delay until it could be harvested. I’m not sure how Joseph Strother is connected.

Joseph’s father, Samuel Hensley Sr, made his Will in King George Co., VA on 28 Feb 1731/1732 and left his son Joseph 1 shilling sterling, which wasn’t much at all.

Joseph Hensley married Martha —, date and place unknown. I’d estimate their marriage fell between ca 1711 and 1721, presumably in King George Co., VA.

Sometime after 1729, Joseph moved to Brunswick Co., VA, which was still unorganized (no actual government) until 1732. At this time, Brunswick was the westernmost county along the North Carolina state line and stretched all the way to the mountains. Despite the massive size of that county, it seems most likely they were in the eastern part that remained Brunswick after other counties were carved out of the western parts.

Joseph Hensley died in 1744 in Brunswick Co., VA.

On 12 Apr 1744, the Appraisal of the estate of Joseph Hensley, deceased, was carried out. Martha Hensley (signed with a mark of an M) was the administrator. The appraisers were Nathaniel Edwards, John Irby, and John Wall, Jr. It was recorded 7 Jun 1744. (Brunswick Co., VA Will Book 2, pp. 86-87).

Martha, his wife, died ca 1752 or 1753 as can be seen in the estate of their son Joseph who died in 1757. This record confused me for a long time until I made the realization they were indeed two different Joseph Hensleys in Brunswick, one who died 1744 leaving Martha, and another Joseph who died 1757 with Martha being mentioned in his estate records too, only in this case it was his mother, not his widow. The younger Joseph’s wife is clearly written as “Bathia” in the Will. An unusual name that has been misread by some as “Mathia” or a mangled form of Martha, but that isn’t the case at all.

On 27 Mar 1757, Joseph Hensley made his Will in Brunswick Co., VA leaving everything to his wife Bathia including his plantation. After her death it was all to go to Jessee Benton son of Samuel Benton, no relationship given. “Trusty friends” Thomas Morris and Samuel Lanier were named executors. Joseph Hensley signed. Witnesses were Thomas Stagg, George Brewer, and Thomas Meggs. The Will was proven in court 28 Jun 1757 by Morris and Meggs. Within the above is the estate of Martha Hensley, deceased as well, dated 1752 and 1753. (Brunswick Co., VA Will Book 3, pp 218-222).


Joseph (d 1744) and Martha (d 1752) had at least one child, also named Joseph Hensley who died in 1757 leaving no children of his own. It stands to reason there may have been other children. Perhaps a daughter who married Samuel Benton who Joseph (Jr) mentioned in his Will. We’ve found no “extra” or “stray” Hensleys in Brunswick who might be Joseph’s children.


1.         Joseph Hensley (bef 1736-1757) married Bathia — before 1757.

For Family Group Sheet and other notes see my database page for Joseph Hensley & Martha.

Revised: September 14, 2021

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

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