Hensley Settlement

several buildings in an open field surrounded by trees
Hensley Settlement
Many communities developed around the Cumberland Gap. One community in the park is one of the most preserved, the Hensley Settlement. Around 1900, Burton Hensley acquired 200 acres of land on top of the Cumberland Mountain. He divided the land among his children including 21 acres to his daughter Nicey. In 1903, her husband Sherman decided to move their family to the top of the mountain. Other families joined them, and a small community of 100 people prospered.
Over 40 years, these families were like many other families in Appalachia. They farmed, raised animals, and traded with others in the area. Like many families, they went to church, their children went to school, and they played a variety of games and activities. As improvements came to Appalachia, the Hensley Settlement remained isolated with no roads or electricity ever reaching the community. By the late 1940s, many members of the community began leaving with Sherman Hensley the last to leave in 1951.
To learn more about the Hensley Settlement, check out the virtual tour that provides oral histories and additional information about the community. From May to late October, Park Rangers give tours of the settlement. Learn more here.

Last updated: December 10, 2022

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