Davis Hensley, parents unknown, was given a land grant by the state of South Carolina in 1784. The land was north of the Saluda River. He was in the 1790 census as head of a family of five males and five females. Between 1794 and 1802, he and his family moved to Kentucky where he was listed on several tax lists for Clark, Montgomery, and Lincoln Counties. In 1798, he received a land grant for 500 acres on Little Slate Creek in Montgomery County, Kentucky.

In 1799, Davis Hensley claimed 600 arpens of land along the Missouri River in Missouri Territory. The Spanish Land Grant, No. 388, was located northwest of Creve Couer Lake in St. Louis County. The land commissioners finally granted the land to him in 1810. In December of 1805, he signed a petition to Missouri’s governor, along with John, William, and Willis Hensley.

Davis Hensley died in St. Louis in the fall of 1814 and administration was granted to John and William Hensley on 31 October 1814 in Franklin County. He has an extensive probate file in St. Louis County and also one in Franklin County, Missouri. His wife, Lydia, maiden name unknown, renounced her right of administration to John and William Hensley. One of the interesting items in his inventory was part of a saltpeter cave. Saltpeter was used to make gunpowder.

Davis Hensley Land
Land belonging to Davis Hensley
Photo in the collection of Alice (Spalding) Henson
Used with permission

In 1823, the circuit court in St. Louis received a petition for partition by Joseph and Nelly Beauchamp vs. the other children of Davis Hensley, who were all named in the court case. (St. Louis Circuit Court Civil Case File, June 1823, Case #121). As the property was later divided up among the heirs, the spouses’ names were revealed.

Children of Davis Hensley:

    • John Hensley, b. 1782, was married to Fanny. They lived in Cole County where he was a state senator. Later they moved to Cass County, Missouri, before moving with family to California.
    • William Hensley married Nancy and lived in Franklin County, Missouri. Nancy was living with a son, Albert, in 1850.
    • Francis Hensley moved to Cole County and died there in 1850. He was married to Nancy. In 1850, she lived with a daughter who was married to Jacob Colvin.
    • Willis Hensley lived in Gasconade County. He married Susannah McCourtney. He died after 1840. His son, Willis Jr, lived in Pulaski County, Missouri.
    • Sarah “Sally” Hensley married George Thompson and lived in Franklin County.
    • Mary “Polly” Hensley married Henry Johns.
    • Nancy Hensley married David Caldwell. She died before 1834. They lived in Franklin County and he later remarried and moved to Cole County, Missouri, where he died in 1841.
    • Elinor “Nelly” Hensley married (1) William Thompson and (2) Joseph Beauchamp. She either divorced Mr. Thompson or he died. She died in the state of Louisiana.

Davis Hensley lived in several states before coming to St. Louis. He bought property wherever he lived, sold it and moved on, accumulating a reasonable amount of wealth for that day.

Written by Alice (Spalding) Henson
February 2021
© 2021, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 29-Jun-2021 17:28