Marty and Karla Grant
Samuel Hensley (c1600s-1735) and Elizabeth — of King George, Essex, Spotsylvania and Orange Co., VA
I don’t know how I’m related to Samuel Hensley, but I’m certain he is related to my ancestor William Hensley (c1730s-c1807). I do know that my William is not Samuel’s son. Samuel had a proven son named William who was much older than mine.
As there were several Samuel Hensleys in Virginia before 1800, you should refer to my analysis page on that subject.
Special thanks to Laura Schreibman for data shared on this family.
I estimate Samuel Hensley’s birth as between ca 1670 and 1680, but I could be off in either direction.
His first public record was dated 1721. If we assume he was at least 21 then, that puts him born ca 1700 or before. However, in 1732 he had grown children, including one born ca 1706 or earlier. That pushes his own birth back into the 1680's at least. The one born ca 1706 wasn’t even the oldest, thus why I estimate Samuel’s birth to the 1670's.
I don't know who Samuel Hensley's parents were for sure, but I strongly suspect William Hensley (c1650-c1708). I have no real proof that William is his father, but it does fit. First of all, the only known Hensleys in the area who *could* be Samuel’s parents are William as mentioned, Benjamin Hensley (1) and Richard Hensley. We can eliminate Benjamin because he left a Will (1699) and didn’t mention William nor indicate he had any other children besides his son Benjamin Jr. Richard Hensley seems unlikely just because of the lack of the use of that name among Samuel’s family, though that isn’t always a good indicator.
To my way of thinking, William fits because (1) he was there, (2) he was old enough, and (3) Samuel named his oldest son William, perhaps in honor of his father. Strongly circumstantial, so take it for what it’s worth.
IF Samuel is a son of William then he was probably born in Rappahannock Co, VA in the part that later became Richmond Co., VA.
Samuel's first marriage would have taken place before ca 1700 somewhere in Virginia. I have no record of his first wife's name. He had sons William, Joseph and Edward with this wife according to his Will. He married Elizabeth —, probably ca 1700/10 in Richmond (now King George) Co., VA.
I have found no records for Samuel Hensley prior to 1720 so I don't know where he was before that, though it seems likely he was in Richmond (formed 1692 from Rappahannock). Non landowners rarely appear in public records in those days, so that would explain the absence of a paper trail. As noted, he could also have been in Norfolk at some point.
Rappahannock county ceased to exist when it was divided into Richmond and Essex in 1692. King George county was created in 1720 from Richmond, and Samuel either fell into the new county or moved there.
On 8 Jun 1721 Samuel Hensley, William Mumford and Anthony Seale Jr appraised the Estate of William Berry, deceased in King George Co., VA. This is the first record we have for this Samuel (or any Samuel) in Virginia.
At this time (1721), Benjamin Hensley (2) and wife Elizabeth were also in King George Co., VA. In fact there are several records showing Benjamin Hensley (2) associated with William Berry, the same man whose estate Samuel appraised in 1721. This strongly suggests Samuel and Benjamin (2) were closely related. I think they were 1st cousins.
Three years later Samuel Hensley was across the river in Essex Co., VA, for on 17 Nov 1724 he was in court there. John Smith and Samuel Hensley both of St. Maries (Mary's) Parish were charged with not cutting up their Tobacco according to law. [Sparacio, Ruth, Essex County Virginia Order Book 1723-1725 part 2.]
On 17 Feb 1724/1725, a case of Debt in Essex Court of the King vs. Samuel Hensly was dismissed. [Sparacio, Ruth, Essex County Virginia Order Book 1723-1725 part 2.]
Benjamin Hensley (2) had been in Essex through ca 1719. Essex County bordered King George at that time with the Rappahannock River as the border between them.
Samuel was back in King George by 4 Feb 1726 for on that date he, along with James Greecion, William Mumford and Robert Benson were ordered to appraise the estate of John Brown, deceased. (King George Co., VA Order Book 1725-1728 p. 297, shared by Suzanne Baird)
Samuel Hensley begins appearing in Spotsylvania County records in 1729. However, it is more likely some (or all) of these records are for his son, Samuel Jr, who married there in 1727.
On 7 Aug 1728 in Spotsylvania Court, Samuel Hensly sued the estate of Isaac Johnson for a debt. Keep in mind this could be Samuel Jr.
On 6 May 1729 Samuel Hensley was appointed overseer (of a road) in Spotsylvania County. Keep in mind this could be Samuel Jr for Samuel Sr. was probably a very old man at this time.
On 7 Jul 1730 Samuel Hensley petitioned the Spotsylvania court for payment for attending court 10 days as a witness in the case of John Taliaferro vs William Bickham. Probably Samuel Jr. again.
On 3 Oct 1730, in Spotsylvania Co., VA, Benjamin Porter of St. George Parish, deeded land to Samuel Henslee of Hanover Parish, King George Co., VA, being 400 acres adjoining Rigga Swamp.
Samuel Hensley made his Will on 28 Feb 1731/1732. He listed himself as a resident of King George County and Hanover Parish, yet the Will was recorded in Orange Co., VA. Orange was created in 1734 from western Spotsylvania and bordered the tip of King George. It would seem that Samuel Sr. didn’t live on his Spotsylvania land, but since he had it, the Will (or a copy of it) was filed in that county after Orange was formed. It’s confusing for three different counties are involved. I’m not sure the land he owned was in the part of Spotsylvania that became Orange or not.
In the will he said whereas "my sons by my former wife are grown to years capable of getting their own living and considering my estate to be barely sufficient for the raising of my younger children" it was his desire that "my sons William, Joseph and Edward Hanslee" be content with one Shilling Sterling each.
He named his wife Elizabeth who received his plantation in Spotsylvania during her life, and afterwards it was to go to his sons James and George Hansley. He mentioned a son Samuel whom he gave a heifer, suggesting Samuel was older than James and George. He named his Wife Elizabeth as Executrix. Samuel signed the Will with a mark, witnessed by Joseph Berry, and Thomas Suttle.
The Will was proven in Orange County court on 17 Feb 1735 by his widow Elizabeth and the two witnesses. That meant Samuel died sometime not long before 17 Feb 1735.
Elizabeth Hensley, along with William Bohannon and Abraham Bledsoe, made an Administration Bond on 2 Feb 1735. That seems to predate his Will being recorded, so perhaps I have that date wrong, or perhaps not.
We’ve found no further record of Elizabeth after the above.
Samuel Hensley had six sons proven by his 1732 Will. He didn’t mention any daughters. Perhaps he had none, or had already provided for them in other ways.
The three oldest sons were by his "former wife" and old enough to make their own living. Since that was in 1732, one would assume they were all at least 18 by then, or perhaps 21 or more, meaning born before ca 1711. Rough estimates put William, Joseph and Edward born in the 1690's.
Samuel seems to be the oldest of the second batch of children, all of whom were likely born in the 1700/10 time frame.
William Hensley was probably the oldest son of Samuel Hensley since named first in his Will. Since he was old enough in 1732 to be on his own, he was probably over 21 then, so born ca 1711 or earlier. As noted above, I think it more likely he was born ca 1690/1700.
I believe this William married at least twice. First wife unknown, and last wife Jane Coyne before 1747. William died after 1764 in Orange Co., VA. Jane died after 1779, in Orange Co., VA. See their page for more on them.
Joseph Hensley was probably the second son of Samuel Hensley since named second in his Will. Since he was old enough in 1732 to be on his own, he was probably over 21 then, so born ca 1711 or earlier. As with William, I suspect he was born in the 1690's.
Other researchers believe this is the same Joseph Hensley who died in Brunswick Co., VA in 1744. That may be the case for at that time Brunswick covered a huge territory from its present location all the way to the mountains. He was married to Martha —. See their own page for additional information.
Edward Hensley was probably the third son of Samuel Hensley since named third in his Will. He too was probably born in the 1690's.
He married Elizabeth/Eliza —.
Edward Hensley moved to Norfolk Co., VA where he died in 1750. See his page for more information.
Samuel Hensley was probably the oldest son of Samuel Hensley and his wife Elizabeth. He married in 1727, so if 21 already he was born ca 1706 or earlier.
Samuel Hensley married Martha Snell in 1727 in Spotsylvania and he lived in that county until his death in 1765. See his page for more information.
James Hensley was probably born ca 1700/10, a rough estimate. He moved to Norfolk Co., VA by 1735.
See his own page for more information.
George Hensley was probably born ca 1710.
George married Sarah Richardson and they lived in Spotsylvania Co., VA where he died in 1775. See his page for more information.
Revised: September 15, 2021