Andrew Guise Hensel was born on February 18, 1831, at home in New Bloomfield, Perry County, Pennsylvania, eleven years after the fledgling County was formed. There were sparsely 15,000 county inhabitants at the time. However, New Bloomfield is in the central Pennsylvania countryside, west of the Susquehanna River, an area being rapidly developed for farming and industry. Andrew’s father was Andrew W. Hensel, a shoemaker, born in Littlestown, near Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania, and his mother was Mary Guise, born in Menallen, also in what is now Adams County, Pennsylvania.
Both the Hensel and Guise families seems to be descended from French Huguenots—la Hentzelle and de Guise—that left France to Germany and ultimate America. Named was the fifth of six children, preceded by his brother Adam, sister Anna, and brothers John and George. After Andrew came Michael Hensel, who would later become a reverend. Andrew was given his father’s name, Andrew, and the middle name, Guise, to honor the maternal line.
The Hensel family had been shaped by significant military experience. Father Andrew served in the War of 1812 as a private. He was among the non-commissioned officers and privates from Captain John McMillan’s company, Colonel Fenton’s regiment, of the Pennsylvania Militia, who crossed the Niagara into Canada, and served in Buffalo, New York.
The Hensels’ military pedigree extended another generation back as well. Both of Andrew’s grandfathers, John Casper Hensel and John Adam Guise, served in the American Revolution, in York County, Pennsylvania, under Captain Will, and in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, under Captain Drapper, respectively.
When Andrew went to work, he garnered early experience as a servant, but he soon took up the profession of plasterer, playing a part in the spread of housing that came along with the ongoing expansion of mining in Pennsylvania. The steady influx of miners to the region generated demand in his field, so Andrew was able to enjoy a stable income and confidence in his plans to start a family…… (see ‘The Chronies’ for entire narrative)