Biography of the Hensley Brothers

Samuel and Benjamin Hensley were sons of an English family that settled on the Potomac River in Virginia, at an early date. Samuel married a Miss Landers, and they had Samuel, Jr., and William. His first wife died, and he was married again to Susan Taplett, by whom he had several children. William, son of Samuel, Jr., by his first wife, married Elizabeth Appleberry, of Virginia, and they had James, Benjamin, William, Jr., Thomas, Fleming, Judith, and Elizabeth. James, William, Jr., Thomas, and Fleming came to Montgomery County in 1826, and all except Thomas afterward married and settled in Jefferson Co., Mo. Thomas Hensley was born in Albemarle Co., Va., in 1796, and when eighteen years of age he enlisted as a soldier in the war of 1812. He afterward married Harriet Rust, who was a daughter of Samuel Rust and Mary Lee Bailey, who was the daughter of James Bailey and Nancy Smith. Mr. Hensley with his wife and four children, embarked in a keel boat of his own make, on the Pocotalico river, and floated down to the Big Kenhawa, and thence to the Ohio, on their way to Missouri. They reached Louisville in safety, but just below that place their boat sank, and it was with the greatest difficulty that they succeeded in reaching the shore in safety. Here they built a cabin and remained one year, in order to recruit and build another boat. At the end of that time, their boat being complete, they re-embarked and proceeded on their journey. When they reached the Mississippi they found the current so strong that they could not stem it, so Mr. Hensley gave his boat away, embarked his goods and furniture on a French barge, and conveyed his family by land to Jefferson Co., Mo., where they remained one year, and then settled in St. Louis County, seven miles from the city of St. Louis. Here he entered 80 acres of land, which he still owns, and which has become very valuable. Mr. Hensley and his wife had nine children, and they now reside in Montgomery City, Mo. He has been a Baptist minister for many years, having made a solemn promise while on a bed of sickness, which he expected would be his last, that if allowed to recover he would go to preaching and devote the remainder of his life to the service of the Lord. He recovered, and has faithfully kept his promise. His courtship and marriage were somewhat romantic, and happened in this wise, as related by Mrs. Hensley herself: The first time she ever saw him he stopped at her father’s house to inquire the way to a place he was trying to find, and during the conversation she stepped to the door, dressed in a home-made striped lindsey dress, with a frying pan in her hand, from which she was sopping the gravy with a piece of bread. The next day Mr. Hensley returned, lost again, and made some additional inquiries. A week from that time he came back again, but not to see her father. This time he wanted to know if she was engaged to anybody else, and if not, how she liked his looks. His inquiries were satisfactorily answered and it was only a few weeks until the minister’s benediction was given to help them on their way through life.


Bryan, William Smith A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri: With Numerous Sketches, Anecdotes, Adventures, Etc., Relating to Early Days in Missouri. Also the Lives of Daniel Boone and the Celebrated Indian Chief, Black Hawk, with Numerous Biographies and Histories of Primitive Institutions. Bryan Brand & Company. 1876.

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