*This post is not possible without the assistance of Justin Stanley and Stephen Jenkins.
The study of past events in American History have always intrigued me as it relates to genealogy of my Jenkins family. There is nothing more amazing and perhaps imaginative than pondering the Wild West or in this case the east coast in the 17th century of Virginia. I had the opportunity a month ago to be included in a research project by Real Estate Appraiser Justin Stanley of Hampton, VA. Justin contacted me via my Descendants page on Facebook inquiring about land formerly owned by Jenkins owners in VA.
The property in question in Hampton, VA was owned by ancient planter Elizabeth Dunthorne up to her death in 1624. It appeared Justin found a link between Captain Henry Jenkins and his issue possibly owning that same land in 1740. The eighty years in between of ownership was a mystery and unaccounted for and this is what Justin anxiously wanted answers to. He had uncovered copious insights about the Dunthorne property in a project he had prepared in a professional review for a residential evaluator specialist . Justin’s investigative report highlighted colonial period artifacts underneath the current home at the time in the 1960’s. The dirt’s secrets ultimately led to finding many owners of the land in question except for the period between Dunthorne and Jenkins. I was called upon to see if I could help with this project and as a researcher myself I knew just the right person to contact. It was Stephen Jenkins who had done numerous reports on land deeds and Jenkins ownerships. I felt this connection would be the right fit even though we all knew it was a daunting task to discover such records when pirates were the name of the game along with Indian wars, and the wars of several countries trying to overtake America before it had even become a nation.
First and foremost, this collaboration was done to increase our knowledge to the best of our ability. In no way can I say it is 100% accurate. We all do our best to uncover bits and pieces of history and try to tie together what we can that make sense. There were many sources that weren’t dated but with this post many were dated. It is important to note court-house records were destroyed by confederate soldiers. Also, the War of 1812 brought obliteration of Hampton, VA as well as other areas of those early settlements. Historical records are now housed in Richmond, VA from this time period, but quite depleted and mostly what is available is after the civil war. It is of interest to my readers that some records have been returned that were taken by a Yankee soldier as a souvenir. WE never know where and when sources may appear!
With that idea in mind, Stephen, Justin, and myself enjoyed a lively exchange of emails with information from various sources including land deeds, quit rent rolls, google, and online searches of the library of VA to name just a few. It is paramount to note that we (my Jenkins Facebook followers) all differ in opinion who may have fathered who, but for sake of this post on Captain Henry Jenkins we did our best to shed light where light could be brought. Keep in mind that my line of Jenkins was noted in a most rebellious land area in North Carolina and on into Maryland, but as we know land lines drawn were changed all the time back then even though people may not have moved. This leads to strong reasoning that all these Jenkins spoken of were related.
First of all, Stephen has found in the record Henry Jenkins was first noted in Barbados. He was later referenced in Maryland in 1676 and then 1682-90 purchasing land in various counties. The Dunthorne land was in Elizabeth City area of VA and Henry was not noted at first to have property there until 1695. There was a land deed from Lewis Jenkins to a John Jenkins (perhaps these two were brothers) that was formerly owned by Captain Henry Jenkins. Reading through records , I noted that a Henry Jenkins owned up to 2000 acres of land, but since these papers were burned there is no way to prove or disprove this. Circumstantial evidence does indicate Henry had at least three sons named Henry, Charles, and John. Some sources note a Oliver Jenkins by 1611, but no connection could be found with Henry.
Captain Henry and Bridgette Jenkins were the parents of Henry, Charles, and John. The land in question that Justin brought to my attention more than likely was concluded to be their land. As of this writing , there is an ongoing search for that 1740 deed of John Jenkins who was either the brother or son of Lewis who descended from Henry. We all hope to find the land deed to make this connection transparent.
To summarize Elizabeth Dunthorne, who I find particulary interesting because she was a female land owner and had a younger husband held the land from 1624 to 1628 when she died. It appears the land was escheated back to the crown and unoccupied until it was patented again in 1644 to a Captain Leonard Yeo although there is a Maurice Thompson who was a previous owner of possiblly that land owned by Yeo. Ultimately, Yeo would sell a portion of that land to a Thomas Field which his daughter Sarah would inherit. She willed it to a Charles Jennings who probably sold it to our Captain Henry Jenkins. From there we continue to his wife Bridgette. The land stayed in the family for quite some time through Lewis and John Jenkins. The families later in order to own this land was the Cowpers, Hubbards, Bates, and so forth until the land was subdivided in 1945.
In many ways this research is one that details many a hypothesis coupled with good sources, yet I want to stress that this is work that must contain a clause of …..to be continued. Below you will find a news clipping of the family who built the house that now sits on the property in question that brought up the Jenkins connection in the first place.
Credit to Newspapers.com and many sources that were collected by Stephen and Justin to make this post possible and of course interesting. I am sure there will be others such as this to augment this post for the sake of preserving the history of Jenkins throughout the Americas. Feel free to correct anything you want in my writings as I did my best to put a story together to make it interesting and worthy of your time to read. I am known to make errors!!!
Fascinating story from history, Alesia.
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Thank you Jane.
I enjoyed reading this fascinating history.
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Thank you Sheryl. It is like going back to my first love!! Writing pioneer stories!!