Week 29: #52 Ancestors – Challenging
By Eilene Lyon
David Jenkins is my 4th great-grandfather. Aside from knowing he married Ann Widdifield Zane and fathered Henry Zane Jenkins, facts about this man are hard to come by. Normally the uncertainty wouldn’t be such a big deal.
However, Henry Z. Jenkins is the protagonist in my gold rush book. It seems a bit remiss to know nothing about his father.
I assume that Henry did not feel close to his father – none of his sons were named for David Jenkins. He and Abigail named their first son William Zane (Henry’s mother’s relation), the second, Thomas Bedford (for Abigail’s father), and the third, Barton Bradbury (after a preacher).
In my post about Ann W. Zane Jenkins, I shared some evidence I have for David Jenkins’s existence.
Ann Zane’s mother and step-mother, Mary and Hannah Jenkins, were daughters of Stephen Jenkins, Jr. His father, Stephen Jenkins, Sr., received a Pennsylvania land grant from William Penn. These folks were all Quakers.
I can’t find any connection between David Jenkins and Ann’s relatives, i.e. she did not marry a cousin. And David Jenkins was not a Quaker. After Ann married him September 26, 1790, she was booted from the faith for marrying an outsider.1,2 She did not rejoin the Society of Friends until 1821, when she appears to be a widow.3
Ann’s grandson, William Zane Jenkins, in a history of Jay County, Indiana, provides: “David Jenkins, the grandfather of our subject, was a native of Wales, coming to America with his brother at an early day.”4 Not hugely helpful.
Ann and her son, Henry, in family correspondence, never mention any siblings to Henry. Could he really have been an only child, born more than eleven years into the marriage? Seems rather implausible.
I can find only one David Jenkins living in Philadelphia during the time period in question. He was a brushmaker living on Cherry Street in the South Mulberry Ward.5 (These two facts remain consistent for tax records and censuses up through 1800.)
Ann’s father, Jonathan Zane, lived in Chestnut Ward, southeast of Mulberry Ward and closer to the Delaware River.6 That would put David and Ann living as close as three blocks apart.
The earliest record I have for this David Jenkins is a 1786 tax record for his occupation. That suggests he was probably at least 21 that year, though it isn’t a given. Thus I estimate his birth year to be 1765.
The first census record for David Jenkins, in 1790, is a puzzler. Was it done before or after his marriage to Ann that year? The household contains one male over 16, one male under 16, and four females – no ages given.7 Who the heck are all these people, if this is the home of a newlywed couple?
The next puzzling document is for a child named Jesse, son of David “Jinkins” who was buried in a Friends cemetery on September 21, 1792, age 14 months.8 The cemetery is in the North District Monthly Meeting area, which is Ann’s home meeting – except she’d been expelled the previous year. She isn’t named as the child’s mother, and David wasn’t a Friend!
The 1800 Pennsylvania (not Federal) census for David Jenkins, the brushmaker, doesn’t list any information about household members. David, who apparently lived in the back of a building, was nearly missed in the 1790 census, being put into an addendum, so it’s not entirely surprising he was missed by federal census takers in 1800.
In 1810, the David Jenkins household was enumerated in the Lower Delaware Ward. For the first time, David was not in the South Mulberry Ward. But a look at the map makes it clear that he could have literally moved across the street and changed wards.
There is one male 26–44 (I estimate David would have been 45); two females in that age group (Ann would have been 40, the other could be a servant). There are five more people in the household, four under 16 and one 16–25.9 If David and Ann had this many children, why are there no records for any but Henry?
The other odd thing about this census: David is suddenly not a brushmaker, but a tailor! Those are two very different professions. How did that come about?
The last census record I can find for David Jenkins in Philadelphia, is the 1820 Federal census. But this one is even more problematic. There are no children and only two adults in the household, both 26–44.10 David and Ann would have been 50 or older. The location is Locust Ward in the south part of the city. No profession is listed.
By 1830, Ann was either a widow, or had left David. Since David doesn’t appear in the 1830 census, and Ann rejoined the Society of Friends in 1821, I suspect he died before then.
Despite all these records, which almost certainly must be for Henry Zane Jenkins’s father, I still know next to nothing about the man: no birth date or place; no death date, place or burial; no parents or siblings; no immigration record; no children except Henry.
Just to throw another kink in the works, on January 11, 1796, David Jenkins was admitted as a trial member to the Old St. George Methodist Episcopal Church. Henry was later a Methodist Episcopal member, so it seems like a good fit for his father. But here’s what mucks things up: directly below David in the register, on the same date, is an Elizabeth Jenkins.11 Henry was born in 1801, so David and Ann were presumably still married then. So who the heck is Elizabeth?
Feature image: First Baptist Church of Philadelpha – La Grange Place. David Jenkins and Ann Zane were married in this church on September 26, 1790, before the enlargement of the building as shown here. (Public domain)
David Jenkins on Ancestry.com
- David Jenkins and Ann Zane. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Compiled Marriage Records, 1700-1821 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011. ↩
- Ann Jenkins (late Zane). Swarthmore College; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Minutes, 1789-1795; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes; Call Number: MR-Ph 411 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- Ann W. Jenkins. Swarthmore College; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Minutes, 1816-1855; Collection: Quaker Meeting Records; Call Number: RG2/Ph/G7 3.38 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- Biographical and Historical Record of Jay and Blackford Counties, Indiana. 1887. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, p. 396. ↩
- David Jenkins, brushmaker. Year: 1790; Census Place: Water Street East Side, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Series: M637; Roll: 9; Page: 236; Image: 532; Family History Library Film: 0568149 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- Jonathan Zane, Jr. 1769. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission; Records of the Office of the Comptroller General, RG-4; Tax & Exoneration Lists, 1762-1794; Microfilm Roll: 332 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- David Jenkins 1790. ↩
- Jesse Jinkins. Swarthmore College; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Certificate of Removal, 1681-1758; Collection: Quaker Meeting Records; Call Number: MR Ph:396 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- David Jenkins. Year: 1810; Census Place: Philadelphia Lower Delaware Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 55; Page: 411; Image: 00158; Family History Library Film: 0193681 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- David Jenkins. 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Philadelphia Locust Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 55; NARA Roll: M33_108; Image: 66 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- David Jenkins. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 387 – via Ancestry.com. ↩