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William Hensley (c1650-aft 1708) of Rappahanock and Richmond Co., VA

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

On 4 Oct 1675, Thomas Wood received a land patent for land in Rappahannock Co., VA for importing several persons, including one William Hinsley.

This is the only sure record we have for this particular William. The next record for a William Hensley in Virginia was 33 years later for one in Richmond Co., VA. Richmond was formed from Rappahanock in 1692, so it is certainly possible that the 1708 William is the same one from 1675. However, the huge gap between records makes it unclear if it is the same person. That is plenty of time for a new William to have come of age or to have arrived from elsewhere.

From the one record we have, we can only conclude that this William Hensley was born prior to 1675. It was unlikely he was a small child at the time of importation, but there was no age limit for who could be claimed under the old headright system. Therefore, William of 1675 could be anywhere from 1 to 30 years old, or perhaps even older. The one record alone is simply not enough to get a good estimate for his approximate birth year.

It should be noted that Benjamin and wife Beatrice Hensley were in Rappahanock around this same time, so it’s possible William was closely related to them, perhaps William and Benjamin are brothers. In fact, it makes sense if they were brothers considering how some of their offspring associated with one another.

Though I can’t prove it with primary or secondary evidence, I like to think that William of 1675 and William of 1708 are indeed the same person. Working from that basis, we can probably conclude that William was born in the 1650's or thereabouts.

Continuing my theory, William probably married someone shortly after arriving in 1675. I have no clue about his wife’s name.

On 7 Oct 1708, William Hensley was mentioned in Richmond County court. Thomas Bryant, Jr, was ordered to appear to testify in a suit for John Dalton against William Hensley. However, Mr. Bryant didn’t show up, and was fined. (Richmond County Order Book 4, pg. 400, shared by Suzanne Baird.)

This seems to be the last record for this particular William Hensley. I should note that it is within the realm of possibility that the William mentioned in the 1708 court record is Samuel’s son instead of this older William. We don’t have a good birth date for Samuel’s son, William. He could have been a teen by 1708 and thus potentially involved in a court case. However, pending data to the contrary, I’m going to continue thinking 1708 William is the same as 1675 William.


Although we have no evidence whatsoever that William Hensley was married or had children, I tend to think he is the father of Samuel Hensley (I). The reason for this is that William is pretty much the only choice* other than Benjamin Hensley (I) who didn’t mention Samuel in his 1699 Will. Furthermore, Samuel Hensley named his oldest son William, which, following common naming patterns would be after his own father.

(* There is a Richard and wife Elizabeth Hensley in Rappahanock in the 1680's, but for some reason I don’t suspect them as Samuel’s parents primarily because the name “Richard” isn’t used at all among Samuel’s descendants.)

None of this proves that William is Samuel’s father, but it does fit.

I don’t think William had any other sons, for no “stray” Hensleys appear in the records during this era who could be his sons. There could have been daughters of course, but none are identified nor suspected yet.


1.         Samuel Hensley (1670s-1735)

For Family Group Sheet and other notes see my database page for William Hensley.

Revised: September 13, 2021

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