Hello Berna.I have noticed your name before in Pedigree Resource Files while I searched for HELSLEY's.My Grandmother was Verda Helsley b. 06 Mar 1900, d. 05 Mar 1974.Her father was John Phelps Helsley, son of Christian Madison Helsley.
I had an undocumented hint that the HELSLEY's were originally called HENSLEY.Sure enough, I found 1850 census records for Wright County, Missouri that show Sarah Hensley as head of household (age 35, born NC) with children:Eliza (16), James(14), William(12), Christian(10), Mariah(8), Julina or Sulina(6), Zenia or Tenia(4) and Sarah (6/12). [It is not clear where Sarah's husband is or who is the father of the younest children.]
The Wright Co MO 1860 census again has Sarah Hensley as head of the household (age 44), with William(22), Melissa(15), Madison(20), Sarah(17) and Emma? (1/12).[Unclear who father of Emma is or whether she is a granddaughter.]
The Wright Co MO 1870 census lists a Sarah Hensley (age 55) living in the household of Thomas Moore, husband of Eliza (Age 36);I suspect Eliza is her daughter.Christian Hensley (age 29) has his own household at this time, married to Sarah Jane (26) with William H.(10), John S.(8) Matilda/Malissa (5), Mary R (3).
The 1880/1900/1910 censuses show the surname as HELSLEY.I have no idea why the family name would switch from HENSLEY to HELSLEY around 1870-1880.
The census data I list above seems to match up well with my other data and for the moment, I plan to assume the HENSLEY connection is correct.Let me know what you think.I would be happy to send my GEDCOM to you and I would love to learn what sources you have.