The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

A Mountain Lady Of Love

By John Hassell Yeatts © 1984

Issue: July, 1984

a mountain lady of lovePricilla (Mrs. Jasper) Hensley of Mayberry, Virginia.What kept this great lady going? Religious faith? Perhaps. Heritage? Maybe. Spirit and will to live, determination and grit? Possibly. Or perhaps the combination of all these things, and even more...

Born is abject poverty in a cabin on lower Round Meadow Creek during one of the worst depressions of the nineteenth century, just staying alive was a daily challenge. Her mother finally made it to the city where she boarded and housed factory workers. Soon the pretty daughter was stricken by an unknown illness, possibly polio, that kept her lame for the rest of her life...

Back to the mountains and a promising marriage though poverty still stalked them in their simple, but clean cottage. Five daughters and sons were added to their union. But in the midst of her sixth pregnancy, a mysterious ailment struck her husband and she watched him waste away and die. There was little money for a doctor and none for hospitalization. The family wept together at the family cemetery and heard her vow that they would "stick together." There was no aid to dependent children in those days. No social security. No welfare, as such. Orphanages and poor farms were the only solutions for those in similar circumstances. But not for this great lady. Honor and love were also residents of her humble cottage. A nobility of character sent her limping with her walking stick and her children to her cornfields and her gardens, to her hog pen and to her cow lot. Then on Sunday, she limped two miles to church to thank her Lord for her blessings.

There was no delinquency, no dope, no lawlessness and jails for her family; no run-a-way daughters, no drunken sons. They loved together, they prayed together and they stayed together until marriages took them to their own homes. And when she expired in 1954, those who were privileged to know her knew that the likes of her might never be seen again.

She was Pricilla (Mrs. Jasper) Hensley of Mayberry, Virginia. And she left a legacy of love for us all.