William Hensleigh, of Mediapolis, who owns a large farm in Section 15, and is one of the best-known residents of Yellow Springs township, was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, May 15, 1834. He is a son of Thomas and Ann (Walters) Hensleigh. His father was a native of England, and came to America in 1833, settling in Johnstown, Pa., where he was engaged for many years in building canal boats.
Our subject received a substantial education in the district schools of Westmoreland, after which he made himself very useful for a long time on the home place. In 1855 he came to Des Moines county, and worked on several farms in the township till 1864, when he bought his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Section 15. When the railroad was built it came through his place, taking off some four acres of his land.
The task of Mr. Hensleigh has not been an easy one, as this farm was in a primitive condition when it fell into his hands. He labored long and hard, and now has the place in good shape, most of it being under cultivation. The improvements are all of the best, and consist of a well-built house, modern barns, and all the other buildings necessary for the shelter of grain and stock. His farm is also well drained, as he has laid many rods of tiling. He has a great deal of fruit on the place.
Feb. 2, 1858, Mr. Hensleigh was married to Miss Susan Wilson, daughter of John Z. and Nancy (McConnell) Wilson, who was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, Sept. 10, 1831. Her father's family came West when she was about twenty years of age, locating first in Louisa county, and the year following moved to Yellow Springs township, where her father died in 1875, at the advanced age of eighty years. Her mother died when only forty years old, before they left Pennsylvania. They were the parents of ten children: Mary Jane married Robert McKibben; Adam, Ella, Zaccheus G., John, and Samuel, all deceased; James is a resident of Morning Sun, Iowa; Nancy Ann became the wife of Alexander L. McClure, and is now a widow, also living in Morning Sun; Susan, wife of our subject; Martha Torrence married R. A. Hay, and is dead.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hensleigh six children have been born, only two of whom are living: John Thomas married Lizzie Cubit, and resides in Washington township; Nancy Ann is Mrs. Hugh H. Martin, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume; Alonzo died Nov. 21, 1890, aged twenty-four years; Martha Jane died in April, 1893, at the age of twenty-four years; Zackie died in infancy; and Robert Arthur passed away in 1873, aged one year and one day.
As the years flew by Mr. Hensleigh and his good wife saw their possessions increase, and their toil was rendered lighter by the joys of a happy wedded life. In 1892 he retired from the farm and moved to the village of Mediapolis, where he is now engaged in the fire insurance business to a large extent. He was school director of his township for several years, and has served the village as councilman for one term. Mr. and Mrs. Hensleigh are both devoted members of the Reform Presbyterian church. Mr. Hensleigh stands in the front rank as a citizen, and is always ready to aid in the advancement of any public enterprise.