From the Marshall Paper, July 7, 1960:
William A. (Fiddling Bill) Hensley, a mountain fiddler who had appeared before presidents and royalty, died in an Asheville hospital Monday, July 4, 1960. He was 86 years old.
Services will be held this afternoon at 3:00 o'clock in Skyland Missionary Baptist Church. The Rev. D.K. Brevard will officiate. Burial will be in the New Salem Baptist Church Cemetery. Active pallbearers will be Hubert Hensley Jr., A.L. Allen, Bill Allen, Clifford Lance Fr., Jack West and Scott Wright.
Just a week ago, Mr. Hensley had been taken by members of his family to a nursing home in Canton. He appeared then in excellent health, members said. Sunday, he suffered a stroke and broke his hip in falling.
Mr. Hensley was widely known in his native Madison County and in Buncombe, where he spent the last 60 years of his life.
Though he had worked as a railroad man, a machinist, a cabinetmaker and farmer, his principal interest was in fiddling. His last spoken words were about his fiddle which he called "Old Calico."
Just before his death he turned to a daughter, Mrs. Mamie Larson of Denver, Colo., who happened to be in Western North Caolina on a visit and asked, "Did you get Old Calico." He seemed uninterested in what happened to the rest of his property in the home in Sleepy Gap, near Arden, where he had lived alone for years.
Members of the family said he learned to play the fiddle on his father's knee. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jess Hensley of Madison County.
He had appeared on "We, the People," and he once when to the White House to fiddle before the late King George VI of England.
Surviving are six daughters, Mrs. June Lane of Arden, Mrs. Larson, Mrs. Nell Gray of Eustis, Fla., Mrs. Gertrude Leathers of Caney, Kans., Mrs. Genevieve Nott of Wadsworth, Ohio, and Mrs. Jessie Ledford of Hendersonville. He leaves two brothers, John Hensley of Charlotte and Arthur Hensley of Marshall; 17 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.
Emma White Hensley
Sponsored by Ancestry