Premier for 1869
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JOSEPH HENSLEY, LIKE MANY of the Island's Premiers, came from a family that was involved with the
administration of the Island and local politics. His father, Charles Hensley, had been a member of
the Legislative and Executive Councils and was for a time Colonial Treasurer.
Joseph was born in 1824 and was educated in England. He and his family came to the Island in 1841 and Joseph studied law under Robert Hodgson, then attorney-general of the Island. Hensley had a distinguished legal career. Called to the bar in 1847, he maintained an office until appointed a judge in 1869.
Under the first administration of George Coles, Joseph Hensley was appointed to the Legislative Council and served as attorney-general during the several Coles administrations of the 1850s.
In 1861 he ran for the East Point seat in the House of Assembly and was successful. He served as Coles' first lieutenant and with Coles' declining health Hensley moved into leadership of both the Liberal party and the government. He became Premier in 1869.
The appointment of Hensley to the Supreme Court of the Island the same year established a precedent which has often been followed in Prince Edward Island history. On his resignation from the post of Premier he was succeeded by Robert Poore Haythorne.
In addition to his political posts Hensley served on the Board of Education for twenty-three years and was extremely active in the YMCA movement which had been established in PEI in 1856.
Joseph Hensley died in May 1884 at the age of seventy years.He is buried in the Sherwood Cemetery in Charlottetown.