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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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William J. Hensley, general merchant, and a member of the hardware firm of Hensley & Kinder, at Aldrich, Mo., was born March 13, 1846, on his father’s old homestead, near Shady Grove, in Polk County. He is the son of James M. and Frances J. (Brown) Hensley, and grandson of Benjamin Hensley, who was born probably in South Carolina. He was with Gen. Washington in the Revolutionary War, and suffered greatly for want of food. He was also in the War of 1812, under Jackson, and after that war he returned to Tennessee, and continued his occupation of farming. He emigrated to Polk County, Mo., about 1840, moved to Cedar County in 1854 or 1855 and died in that county about 1861-62. The paternal grandmother was a native of one of the Carolinas, and died in Polk County, Mo., in 1848 or 1850. The maternal grandparents were natives of Tennessee, and emigrated to Polk County, Mo., at an early date. Here the grandfather died in the forties, and the grandmother in the fifties. James M. Hensley, father of our subject, was born in East Tennessee, in 1821, and grew to manhood in his native State. At the age of nineteen or twenty he came with his parents to Polk County, Mo., and here followed farming. He was married to Miss Frances J. Brown, about 1845, and during the war entered the Missouri State Militia under Capt. Delaplaine, and served about one year. He is now living near Bolivar, and enjoys very good health. He is a member of the Christian Church. He was the father of nine children, eight now living. His wife is a member of the Baptist Church, is still living, but does not have very good health. William J. Hensley is the eldest of the children born to his parents. He attained his majority in Polk County, and in boyhood attended the district schools. He moved with his parents to Cedar County, in about 1855, but returned to the former county with his parents in 1862. During the late war he enlisted in Capt. Delaplaine’s company, and served three months, after which he returned home and married Miss Sarah C. Croft, of Polk County. She was born February 27, 1842, in Dade County, and is the daughter of Gillis G. and Mary (Bridges) Croft. To Mr. and Mrs. Hensley were born five children, all living: Mary J. (now Mrs. Brown), John W., Alice E., Florence and Nettie. After marriage Mr. Hensley settled on a farm near Bolivar, where he remained until 1884, when he moved to Shady Grove, where he was engaged in mercantile business. He was also postmaster at this place. In 1887 he moved to Aldrich, where he has since been engaged in his present business. He is a Republican in politics, and his wife is a member of the Christian Church.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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