Rev. Joel M. Hensley, a Baptist minister and farmer of Joachim Township was born in St. Louis County, near where Clayton now stands, in 1832, the son of Flemming and Jane (Milton) Hensley, natives of Virginia, where they lived until perhaps 1826, when they came to Jefferson County and settled at Sandy Mines for about one year, and then removed to St. Louis County, but in 1837 returned to Jefferson County, and spent a short
time at Sandy Mines, after which he moved lower down on the Sandy where
he has since made his home. He is now nearly ninety years old, probably
the oldest man in Jefferson County, where he has resided for over fifty
years. He is of Irish-English descent, and a life long farmer by occupation.
His father, Benjamin Hensley, was in the Revolutionary War, and served
three years under George Washington. He died in St. Louis County. He had
three sons in a rifle company in the War of 1812. Flemming Hensley was
married at the age of twenty, and lived a happy married life of over sixty
years. His wife died in February, 1881. Both were members of the Baptist
Church for over fifty years, and both lived to see Jefferson County converted
from a dense wilderness to its present state of improvement. Joel M. received
a fair education, and in 1856 married Miss Alice M. Williams, a native of Jefferson County, and the daughter of Landon and Elizabeth Williams. Seven
children were born to Mr. Hensley's marriage, six of whom are now living:
Wilson Lawrence (of Dakota), Anna (now Mrs. James H. Brown), Marilla (Mrs.
Joseph Adams), Alfred J., Felix Asaph and Oliver E. With the exception of a
short time in Jefferson County, in 1859, Mr. Hensley has since lived on his
present farm of 128, situated seven miles northeast of Hillsboro. He also
has fifty two acres in another tract. For perhaps twenty years he has devoted
much of his time to the ministry, which has materially added to the works of
the church. He was at one time assessor of Joachim Township, and served about
three years as justice of the peace, prior to his ministry. He is an educated
worker, and has few equals in his neighborhood. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since perhaps about 1856, and in politics has been a life
long Democrat, as was his father before him.