Select Jenkins Miscellany

Here are some Jenkins stories and accounts over the years:

Jenkins and Other "-kins" Names

The suffix "-kins" is generally attached to a personal name as a pet name, usually denoting "the little one."  The suffix was apparently a Flemish import which for some reason became popular in England. 

Various "-kins" surnames also became popular in Wales, most notably Jenkins.  The table below shows the main "kins" names and their degree of penetration into Wales (the numbers here are taken from the 1891 census):

Pet form of:
Numbers (000's)
Share in Wales (%)
Found in England
  West Midlands          
Hobb (from Robert)
  West Midlands
  West Midlands

Many of these surnames added a "-son" suffix in the north.  Thus Atkins became Atkinson.

Judge David Jenkins

Judge Jenkins was a man of great force of character, nicknamed "Heart of Oak" and "Pillar of the Law."  Being a staunch Royalist he took an active part against the Parliamentarians during the Civil War, condemning many to death for activities deemed treasonable.  Then he was captured in 1645 and sent to the Tower of London.  He was impeached for high treason but survived.  After the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II he was liberated in 1656 and returned to his estates in Glamorgan. 

The Jenkins of Kent

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a memoir of his friend Fleeming Jenkin in which he had this to say about his family ancestry:

"In the reign of Henry VIII, a family of the name of Jenkin were to be found settled in the county of Kent.  It may suffice that these Kentish Jenkins must have undoubtedly derived from Wales and, being a stock of some efficiency, they struck root and grew to wealth and consequence in their new home.

William Jenkin was mayor of Folkestone in 1555 and, no less than twenty three times in the succeeding century and a half, a Jenkin - William, Thomas, Henry or Robert - sat in the same place of humble honor.  Of their wealth we know that in the reign of Charles I Thomas Jenkin of Eythorne was more than once in the market buying land; and notably in 1633 he acquired the manor of Stowting Court near Folkestone. 

Stowting Court became the anchor of the Jenkin family in Kent.  Though passed on from brother to brother, held in shares between uncle and nephew, burdened by debt and jointures, and at least once sold and bought back again, it has remained to this day in the hands of the direct line."

Leading Welsh Counties with Jenkins

The table below shows the leading Welsh counties with Jenkins in the 1881 census.


The War of Jenkins' Ear

England and Spain went to war in 1739 over what came ot be called "the war of Jenkins' ear."

Returning home from the West Indies in command of the brig Rebecca in 1731, Jenkins' ship was stopped and boarded by the Spanis.  The Spanish commander had Jenkins bound to a mast and he sliced off one of his ears with his sword.  He was said to have told him to say to his King: "The same will happen to him if caught doing the same."

When Captain Robert Jenkins returned to England, he spoke of his affront but it received little attention. However, the story was printed in The Gentleman's Magazine and in 1738 he repeated his story before a committee of the House of Commons.  In a bellicose atmosphere the House decided to initiate maritime reprisals against Spain.  A naval war formally started the next year.

The Jenkins Plantation House in West Virginia

Built by slaves in the 1830's for Captain William Jenkins, the Jenkins Plantation House was also the home of Confederate Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins.   At the height of their prosperity this family was one of the largest landowners in what is now West Virginia, owning more than 4,000 acres.

The story of the Jenkins plantation is also the story of more than fifty slaves who worked and lived at Green Bottom, within yards of potential freedom.  Their years of hard labor, death, confinement and possible poor treatment on the plantation could have left an ineffaceable mark on the environment of the home and land.

Over the years there have been numerous reports of "paranormal activity" at the Jenkins plantation.   Most commonly, people report seeing the apparitions of two young children playing in the front yard.  People have seen men in Civil War clothing standing and sitting around in the yard.  People have also seen a man, believed to be Colonel Jenkins, riding a misty gray horse.  And there have been other apparitions at the plantation house and at the hollow where the slave shacks are thought to have been.

The plantation house has survived and has recently been restored.

The Jenkins Battle Hymn of the Republic

"The ancient plan of Jenkins raised their standard to the sky: 
They held her name in honor and their aims were ever high: 
They always did their duty and were not afraid to die.

Virile, worthy, brave and loyal!
Let us sing " Pergesed Cau-te!"
The clan goes marching on!  

“Mae-narch, Richard, John and Seth for fathers of our clan;
Posterity of David and Benjamin never ran.
Joseph was quite virile, Thomas was a sturdy man.
The clan goes marching on!

Our fathers dwelt in England, Scotland, Ireland and in Wales;
Where English tongue is spoken now the Jenkins name prevails.
How could the nations but advance when Jenkins never fails!
The clan goes marching on! 

“Richard was in Parliament - he was among the peers;
Thomas was High Sheriff - of his foes he had no fears;
Henry Jenkins lived a hundred-nine-and-sixty years.
The clan goes marching on!

John was a guide to Washington and with him at Yorktown; 
With famous man of Georgia, Charlie's name is written down;
Albert was in Congress and, in Dixie of renown.
The clan goes marching on!

The Jenkins Clan is mighty with a hundred thousand strong;
In Seventy-six, four-hundred Jenkins fought to right a wrong.
Seven towns bear Jenkins name. Sure, let us sing that song,
The clan goes marching on!

When danger threatened country for a battle to be won,
Our righteous causes need defenders or work to be done,
Brave Jenkins were right there, and never did a Jenkins run.
The clan goes marching on!

The Jenkins sons have courage any task or foe to face;
The Jenkins girls are lovely with their beauty, charm and grace;
The Jenkins leaven is a blessing to the human race.
The clan goes marching on!"

Aaron Jenkins in Argentina

Aaron Jenkins and his family were from Mountain Ash in mi-Glamorgan and they arrived with 152 other Welsh settlers on June 28 1865 to what is today the city of Puerto Madryn.  The sea journey took two months.

The first few years were the hardest since the majority of settlers weren't farmers and the desert made the wheat crops fail.  It was Aaron's wife Rachel who worked out a form of irrigation, diverting water from the Chubut river.  In March 1868 the first crop of wheat was successfully grown.

In 1879 Aaron, who was one of the most popular of the colonists, was murdered.   The Welsh decided to take the law into their own hands and caught and killed the murderer.  Since that time, it was said, they were never bothered by "the mixed race Indian-Argentines that frightened the area."  Aaron Jenkins was buried in the cemetery in Gaiman.

How Richard Jenkins Became Richard Burton

Richard Burton was born Richard Jenkins in the village of Pontrhydyfen near Port Talbot in Wales.  He grew up in a working class, Welsh-speaking household, the twelfth of thirteen children.  His father was a short, robust coal miner, a “twelve-pints a-day man” who sometimes went off on drinking and gambling sprees for weeks.  Richard later said:

“He looked very much like me.  That is, he was pockmarked, devious, and smiled a great deal when he was in trouble.  He was also a man of extraordinary eloquence, tremendous passion, and great violence." 

Richard Jenkins was less than two years old in 1927 when his mother died after giving birth to her 13th child.  His sister Cecilia and her husband Elfed took him into their Presbyterian mining family in nearby Port Talbot.  He said later that his sister became "more mother to me than any mother could have ever been."  His father rarely visited.

Richard showed a talent for literature at grammar school and, inspired by his schoolmaster, Philip Burton, he excelled in school play productions.   At the age of sixteen, he left school for full-time work.  But when he joined the Port Talbot squadron of the Air Training Corps as a cadet, he re-encountered Philip Burton.

This time Burton, recognising Richard's talent, adopted him as his ward and Richard returned to school.  Philip Burton tutored his charge intensely in school subjects and also worked at developing the youth's acting voice.  In 1943, at the age of eighteen, Richard Burton, who had by now taken his teacher's surname, was allowed into Exeter College, Oxford for a special term of six months study.  

Paul and Ruth Jenkins' Farm in the Scillies

Paul and Ruth Jenkins will be pleased to welcome you to their farm.  Paul was born on Bryher and his family history goes back several generations in 1735. 

Their farm is a working farm in the center of Bryher.  In spring and summer they sell vegetables, salad crops, soft fruit, cut flowers, and free range eggs from their roadside stall.  All produce is fresh and available to guests and islanders to purchase. 

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