Steven Butler's Family History Website



The Jenkins Family
William Jenkins [1] | William Jenkins [2] | Francis Jenkins [1] | Francis Jenkins [2] | Francis Jenkins [3]
Lorenzo C. Jenkins | Thos. William Jenkins | William N. Jenkins | William Ollie Jenkins

Francis Jenkins [2]
1734/35-ABT. 1790?

Francis Jenkins (2.) was born on February 5, 1734/35 in Baltimore County, Maryland. He was the second child and oldest son of Francis Jenkins (1), a tobacco planter, and his wife Mary (Downs) Jenkins.

Our knowledge of Francisí childhood is somewhat limited. Obviously, since his father was a tobacco planter, he grew up on a small tobacco plantation, where, we may imagine, he was put to work helping out as soon as he was old enough.

Francis Jenkins (2) was married on March 7, 1760, at the age of twenty-five. His bride was fourteen-year old Cassandra Grafton, a daughter of William Grafton [2], another Baltimore County planter, and apparently a neighbor of the Jenkins family. Together, Francis and Cassandra Jenkins had at least six children:

  1. William, born February 19, 1762
  2. Francis (3), born December 15, 1764 (married Dorothea Orme)
  3. Phoebe, born June 15, 1767
  4. Thomas, born July 9, 1769
  5. Mary, born June 24, 1771
  6. Priscilla, born April 5, 1775 ó only two weeks before the first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts

Our first (and perhaps the only) public record of Francis Jenkins (2) in Maryland is a deed dated July 2, 1770 in Baltimore County, Maryland, in which he and his brother-in-law Thomas Smith (who had married Cassandraís sister, Margaret Grafton) sold eight slaves named Cezar, Nam, Jack, Sall, Easter, Salt, Hannah and Tom to one John Love of Baltimore County, on behalf of their widowed mother-in-law Sarah Grafton. The price Love paid was £60.

I have found only one other possible record of Francis Jenkins (2) in Maryland after 1770. After the Revolution, Baltimore County was divided along the Gunpowder River. The eastern portion, where our Jenkins families had been living, became Harford County. The 1783 tax rolls for Harford County list one Francis Jenkins, with a lot in the town of Abington. Is this "our" Francis (2)? Unfortunately, thereís no way to be certain. Itís possible, certainly, but the given name Francis was popular among this and other Jenkins familiies. The Francis Jenkins living in Abington in 1783 could be the son of William (2), in other words the nephew of Francis (2), or even an entirely unrelated person. We know there was a family of Roman Catholic Jenkinses living in this area at around the same time. This man could also have been one of theirs.

So, became of Francis Jenkins (2) and his wife Cassandra? We know there were no more children born after 1775. Could Francis have died fighting in the Revolutionary War? Perhaps, but it seems unlikely. When that conflict began, he was forty years old, well past the age for military service. Which raises another question: Did any of his sons fight in the war? At the present time, we canít be sure. If either William or Francis (3) served the patriot cause, itís unlikely that they enlisted prior to 1780, when William would have been eighteen and Francis (3) sixteen years of age. And if they did, their service would have been short-lived since the war was over in 1781.

We do know that in 1775 a William Jenkings or Jenkins enlisted for service as a private in the 2nd Maryland Regiment of the Continental Line and that a Francis Jenkins served in the 6th Maryland Regiment, but these were almost certainly the nephews of Francis [2], i.e., the two youngest sons of Francis' brother William.

In 1790, when the first federal census for Maryland was taken, no Francis Jenkins was found living in the state. Could Francis and Cassandra and their family have gone to live elsewhere? Itís possible of course, but there is no Francis Jenkins listed in the 1790 federal census for Virginia and neither of the two men by that name that we find living in North Carolina in 1790 seem to match what we know about "our" Francis.

There is, however, some evidence to suggest that during or just before the Revolution, the family of Francis Jenkins (2) and his wife Cassandra removed to York District, South Carolina. This would not have been unusual. Large numbers of Americans were uprooting themselves at this time and following the "Great Wagon Road" south through the Appalachian Mountains, carving out new homes in the previously sparsely-settled western regions of Virginia and the Carolinas. Part of this evidence takes the form of Revolutionary War pension records that reveal that one William Jenkins, who was born in 1762 at "Clear Creek" (Deer Creek?), Maryland enlisted in a company of South Carolina militia commanded by "his uncle Thomas Jenkins" in 1780. This same William Jenkins served first as a sergeant, later as a lieutenant, then finally, as a captain.

We know that Francis Jenkins (2) had a son named William who was born in 1762, no doubt near Deer Creek, Maryland. This body of water is frequently referenced in deed records relating to our Jenkins family. Could he be the same individual as the one who served in the South Carolina militia in 1780? At this point in time, we cannot be sure. The root of our uncertainly lies in the fact that William Jenkins, the son of "our" Francis Jenkins (2), had no Uncle Thomas (as mentioned in the pension records). So far as we know, Francis Jenkins (2) had only one brother, William (2). However, their father, William (1), had a brother named Thomas. This leaves us with three possibilities: First, the "Uncle Thomas" referred to was not William Jenkinsí uncle but rather his great-uncle. The second possibility is that the William who served was the brother of Francis (1) and not the brother of Francis (2). In 1780 William (2) would have been forty-four years old. This is not too old for military service. However, because the individual who served waited until 1780 to enlist, when the son of Francis (2) turned eighteen, it seems more likely that it was the younger man who served. The third possibility is that that this particular William Jenkins was not related to our branch of the Jenkins family at all. But this is not the only evidence we have to consider.

York District court records tell us that Capt. William Jenkins (obviously the Revolutionary War veteran) served at least twice as a juror in 1786. That same year, he was also appointed a commissioner to lay out and mark a road. Six years later, York District court records reveal further that William Jenkins (very likely the same man) came to court and "took the oath required by law" as executor of the estate of "Francis Jenkins, decd." Is this a reference to "our" Francis Jenkins (2)? The answer is "perhaps."

We know that a Francis Jenkins settled in South Carolina as early as 1775, although in which county we cannot be sure. We also find in the 1790 federal census for York District, South Carolina, a "Widow Jinkins" listed with four male children over the age of sixteen and one female child, age not known. Could this be Cassandra (Grafton) Jenkins? Perhaps. On the same page is a Francis Jinkins and a William Jinkins. Both were married, apparently, and in addition, this William Jenkins had seven children (five boys and two girls). Were these the two oldest sons of Cassandra? Again, perhaps.

Why the uncertainty? In the first place, the number of children belonging to the "Widow Jinkins" exceeds the known number of children belonging to Francis (2) and Cassandra Jenkins. They had, so far as we know, only four sons. If Francis (3) and his brother William were still at home, the number of male children would match exactly. But these two sons appear to be married and living away from home. So who are the additional two male children belonging the "Widow Jinkins?"

The number of female children also does not match. We know that Francis (2) and Cassandra Jenkins had three daughters, yet the York County widow has only one. Of course, this may be explained by the possibility that the two eldest daughters were married and living away from home.

Finally, so far as we know, Francis Jenkins (3) did not get married until 1799 or 1800 and then, according to tradition, he was married in Maryland.

Obviously, much more research is necessary before we can say with certainty whether Francis (2) and Cassandra Jenkins spent the remainder of their lives in Maryland or South Carolina.

The Jenkins Family
William Jenkins [1] | William Jenkins [2] | Francis Jenkins [1] | Francis Jenkins [2] | Francis Jenkins [3]
Lorenzo C. Jenkins | Thos. William Jenkins | William N. Jenkins | William Ollie Jenkins

This website copyright © 1996-2018 by Steven R. Butler, Ph.D. All rights reserved.