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 Francis’ 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 — only two weeks before the first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts

Our first (and perhaps 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 Cassandra's 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 stepmother-in-law, Sarah Grafton. The price Love paid was £60.

I have found only one other possible record of Francis Jenkins [2] in Maryland. In 1773, 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, there's no way to be certain. It's possible, certainly, but the given name Francis was popular with this and other Jenkins families. The Francis Jenkins living in Abington in 1783 could also 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 that they had no more children after 1775. Could Francis have died fighting in the Revolutionary War? It seems unlikely. When that conflict began, he was forty years old, well past the age for military service.

This raises another question: Did any of his sons fight in the war? If either William or Francis [3] served the patriot cause, it's unlikely that they enlisted prior to 1780, when William turned eighteen and Francis [3] sixteen years of age. We know that a Francis Jenkins served in the 6th Maryland Regiment and that a William Jenkings, or Jenkins, served as a private in the 2nd Maryland Regiment of the Continental Line, but we cannot be sure these were the sons of Francis Jenkins [2] As already pointed out, the given names William and Francis were popular among other Jenkins families who resided in Maryland at this time.

In 1790, when the first federal census for Maryland was taken, not one Francis Jenkins was found living in the state. Could Francis and Cassandra and their family have gone to live elsewhere? It's 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 seems to match what we know about "our" Francis [2].

Apparently, the answer to all these questions is that during or just before the America Revolution began, the family of Francis Jenkins [2] and his wife Cassandra moved from Maryland to York District, South Carolina. This was not 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.

So, what proof do we have that the family of Cassandra and Francis Jenkins [2] went to live in South Carolina? One piece of evidence takes the form of a Revolutionary War pension application file that reveals 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.

Is this particular William Jenkins the son of Cassandra and Francis Jenkins [2]? Apparently so. We know that they had a son named William who was born in 1762, in Maryland, and no doubt near Deer Creek. This body of water is frequently referenced in deed records relating to our Jenkins family. The only piece of information that doesn't seem to fit is his reference to serving under an uncle, Thomas Jenkins. According to Baltimore County Families, 1659-1759, which is our only source for the brothers and sisters of Francis [2], he 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" to which the record refers was not William Jenkins' uncle, but rather his granduncle. 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, which is somewhat 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. A third possibility is that whomever compiled Baltimore County Families, left off a child. 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]? Let's consider the evidence.

It has been established that a Francis Jenkins settled in South Carolina as early as 1775, although which county is uncertain. 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? On the same page, a Francis Jinkins and a William Jinkins are listed. Both were married, apparently, and in addition, William Jenkins had seven children (five boys and two girls). Francis had no children. Were these men the two oldest sons of Cassandra Jenkins? Maybe. Maybe not.

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 are apparently married, with homes, wives, and in William's case, families of their own. So, who are the additional two male children belonging the "Widow Jinkins?" Or did the census-taker make a mistake?

The number of female children in the household of the "Widow Jinkins" 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 could 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.

But there is also some compelling corroborating evidence to consider. In 1779, Thomas Jenkins of Camden District, South Carolina wrote a will in which he included Cassandra ("Cassander") Jenkins and also three of her sons-William, Francis, and Thomas-among his lawful heirs. Although he does not state their relationship to him, I think it is reasonable to assume that this is the same uncle Thomas Jenkins under which William Jenkins served in the Revolution, therefore he [Thomas] was also Cassandra Jenkins' brother-in-law. Given that Cassandra's husband, Francis [2], is not mentioned in the will and Thomas is making provision for Cassandra and her sons, he [Francis] was almost certainly dead by this time. There are also the dates of the will (1779) and its provenance (1782) to consider, viz:

In his Revolutionary War pension application, William Jenkins wrote of serving as a sergeant under command of his uncle, Capt. Thomas Jenkins, in 1780, and told of their capture and subsequent long imprisonment by Tories, during which time he [William] was "in delicate health." According to one researcher, Thomas Jenkins was killed at the Siege of Fort Ninety-Six in the spring of 1781 while serving under General Nathaniel Greene. Without identifying his or her source, the same researcher also writes: "On June 30, 1783, William Jenkins, Camden Dist., made a sworn statement that 'the above accts. as they stand stated for his uncle, Capt. Thos. Jenkins, Dec'd and himself are justly due from the public.' Capt. Thomas Jenkins was paid for service as Captain of Horse from June 11, 1780 to Dec. 1780.It would appear, therefore, that he died sometime between Dec. 1780 and June 30 1783, the date his nephew made his affidavit."

Here is the text of Thomas Jenkins' will, provided by another researcher, who states that it can be found in Camden District, South Carolina, Deed Book C, No. 158, Pages 339-340 (it's actually in York County Deed Book C). It was written shortly after he entered military service and was most likely prompted by that fact:

Here is the text of Thomas Jenkins' will:

Camden District, South Carolina, Deed Book C, No. 158, Pages 339-340, September 22, 1779. In the name of god amen. Whereas I Thomas Jenkins of the State of South Carolina and District of Camden, Being in good health of Body and Sound and perfect mind and Memory, praise be therefore given to almighty god do make and Ordain this my present last will and Testament in manner and form following that is to Say first and principally I Command my soul into the hands of Almighty God, hoping through the Merits Death and passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ to have full and free pardon and forgiveness of all my Sins, and to Interest Everlasting Life and my Body I commit to the earth to be decently Buried at the discreation of my Executors, hereafter named, and as Touching the disposition of all Temporal Estate as it hath pleased almighty god to bestow upon me, I give and dispose thereof as follows

First I will that my Debts be Discharged

Also I give and Bequeath unto William Jenkins Son of Cassander Jenkins, the one half of a certain Tract of Land Lying and being on Kings Creek, Between the lines of Simon Keykindall Daniel Ponders Nicholas Whisenstant Peter Juland and Leapers Lands and the other half to Cassander Jenkins during her life and then to fall to her two Sons Francis & Thomas … and all the Rest and Residue of my Estate, real and personal Goods and Chattles whatsoever I do give and Bequeath Unto my Beloved wife Violinda Jenkins during her widow hood, and that none of my Estate Real or personal be exposed to public Sale But at the End of her widow hood, then the Tract of my Land Lying Being and Joining John Dovers's [sic] Tract of Land he now dwells on Shall fall to my son named Francis after her third Being took out and at the End of her life, her third part to fall to my son names James and all the Rest of my personal Estate I leave to be Equally Divided Between my four Children, that is to say Tabitha, Francis, Mary, and James, and that my Body be decently Buried at the descreation of my Executors and I do hereby Revoke, Disannul and make Void all former wills and Testaments by me here to fore made. In Witness whereof I the Said Thomas Jinkins have set my hand and Seal this 22nd day of Sept. 1779 … And also appoint my Beloved wife Verlindo Jinkins and William Jinkins Junr sole full and Sole Executors of This my last will & Testament. Signed Sealed in the presence of Francis Jenkins, John +++ Dover, Wm Jenkins. Thomas Jenkins (LS).

South Carolina, Camden District. Personally appeared Francis Jinkins and John Dover before before [sic] me James Willson who being Duly Sworn, Make Oath that they was present and saw Thomas Jenkins Sign, Seal, publish, pronounce and deliver this within Instrument to be his last will and Testament, and William Jinkins was present and Subscribed his name as a Concurring Witness with him to be the same. Sworn before me this 2d day of July 1782. Jas Willson J.P. Francis Jinkins, John +++ Dover.

Finally, we have the fact that in 1792, in York District, South Carolina, a William Jenkins acted as administrator for the estate of "Francis Jenkins, deceased," making an inventory of the personal belongings of the deceased. If Francis Jenkins [2] was dead by 1779, as suggested by the will of Thomas Jenkins), seems rather tardy. As it happens, this was not unusual. Sometimes, years passed before the estate of a deceased person was settled and unfortunately, Francis Jenkins [2] left no will, from which we can ascertain the approximate date of this death. Only two copies of an inventory of his worldly goods are available, both of which indicate that he was a man of modest means, possessing only livestock, basic household goods, general farming implements, some shoemaking equipment, and no slaves.

It may be that the taking inventory of the belongings of Francis Jenkins [2] in 1782 was not just a matter of tardiness, but was prompted by the death of his widow, Cassandra, who would almost certainly have inherited her husband's property upon his death. In his 1779 will, Thomas Jenkins left a tract of land on King's Creek to his apparent sister-in-law, which was to devolve upon her sons Francis and Thomas following her death. Evidence that this happened can be found in a deed dated September 18, 1795, in which Francis Jenkins [3], then living in Pendleton District, South Carolina, sold land "on both sides of one fork of the high shoal branch of King's Creek being part of the tract of land conveyed by Deed of Sale by John Dover to Thomas Jenkins, deceased." If Francis' mother was not dead by 1795, he would not have been in possession of that land and thus able to sell it. We may therefore assume that Cassandra Jenkins died sometime between 1779 and 1795. Unfortunately, we have no idea where either she or her husband were buried, apart from it being somewhere in Camden District, York County, 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

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