> Jenkins Families of Mercer County, Illinois
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Jenkins Families of Mercer County, Illinois

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Alternate Spellings - None Found

Links - Riggs, Moseley, Jackson, Isaiah Willits

Contacts - Louise Havens furnished additional information on the Richard Jenkins family of Kentucky. Jackie Kloppenberg had additional information on the Sylvester Jenkins family. Jenna Cain provided more information on the Sylvester Jenkins family including his obituary. She also did research on Mary Jane Jenkins who married Louis D. Willits.

Richard Jenkins of Millersburg Township

There is a small amount of information on this Jenkins family in the History of Mercer County, 1882 under a biography of William H. Riggs of Millersburg Township. The History tells us that William Riggs was a son of Thomas M. and Rebecca B. Jenkins Riggs, both of Kentucky. It continues that the Jenkins family is of Scotch descent and that both families [Riggs and Jenkins] emigrated to America at an early period in the history of the colonies. It names Richard Jenkins as William H. Riggs’ grandfather; tells us he died in Aledo, and that his wife returned to Kentucky after Richard’s death.

Since the Riggs family came to Mercer County in 1836, we assume the Jenkins came at the same time. The Richard Jenkins family is found next door to Thomas Riggs in 1840 in T14NR4W: Richard Jenkins 1 male 10-15; 1 male 60-70; 1 female 15-20; 1 female 50-60. We are not so sure about the wife of Richard returning to Kentucky (however she might have returned to Kentucky and then came back to Mercer County?) There is a Catharine Jenkins, age 69, born Virginia with a Joseph Moseley family in 1850; Martha Jenkins, age 80, female, born Ky in 1860 with a Knott and the 1850 Mosley children in New Boston Township; and Catharine Jenkins, 89, born Va, with the same Mosely family in 1870 in New Boston Township. We would guess that Martha and Catharine are one and the same and her age agrees well with the 1840 census for Richard. This Catharine was the mother of an Elizabeth A. Jenkins who married Joel W. Mosley on June 24, 1841 in Mercer County. Elizabeth was 26 years old, born Ky, in the 1850 census which would match fairly well as the daughter from the 1840 census for Richard. There was a Katharine Jenkins who married Armistead Green McShelton in Mercer County on 11/27/1837 and a Sarah Jenkins who married Andrew S. Perrine on 4/7/1839. They may have been daughters of Richard as well. We did not find an Aledo Cemetery record for Richard.

Rebecca Jenkins Riggs is found as wife of Thomas Riggs in the 1850 census in T14N R4W, age 43, born Kentucky. Thomas Riggs died 1 November 1850 in Mercer County and is buried in Candor-Pope Creek Cemetery. Rebecca Jenkins Riggs married (2) John Hanna on 10 Nov 1853 in Mercer County. They are not found in Mercer County in 1860.

We have heard from a Louise Havens who told us that there was a daughter of Richard and Catherine Jenkins named Frances C. Jenkins. She married a Corder and was her husband‘s great-grandmother. She tells us Richard Jenkins died January 13, 1844 in Mercer County. This fits well with the above census information. Louise pointed out that there was an 1850 census record in New Boston Township #106 William Jenkins, 24, carpenter, born Kentucky; Lydia, 20, born Kentucky, and James 1, born Illinois. This would fit with the 1840 census record as a son of Richard.

Sylvester Jenkins of New Boston Township

Jackie Kloppenberg furnished the mother of Sylvester Jenkins of New Boston Township: Sophia Call Jenkins. She tells us that Sophia Call was half-sister of her ancestor George Talcott Smith. Jenna Cain furnished the father's name and tells us there is an obituary for Sylvester in "Obituaries of Benton County, Arkansas". She obtained a copy of the obituary from Benton County and we have added abstracts below. She also furnished their marriage information.

Sylvester Jenkins is found in the 1850 census in T14N R5W (future New Boston): #419 Sylvester Jenkins, 26, shoemaker, born Massachusetts; Rebecca, 28, born Ireland; William W., 3, born Il; and James 1/12 born Illinois. They had an additional child, Mary J. Jenkins, born about 1852 and Rebecca, her mother, died in 1852, probably at or near Mary's birth.

Sylvester Jenkins married Rebecca Watson on 12/22/1844 in Mercer County. In addition to the children listed in the 1850 census we found another in Davis Cemetery along with Rebecca. We found Rebecca, wife of S. Jenkins, died 1852 and buried with her: James W., son of S. & R. Jenkins 1848-1850. Evidently the new baby in 1850 was given James's name, a not uncommon practice.

Sylvester Jenkins married Jemima Jackson, daughter of Amor and Nancy Hooker Jackson on 8/24/1856 in Mercer County. We find them in New Boston Township in 1860: #1716 Sylvester Jenkins, 38, farmer, born Ma; Jemima, 33, born In; William W., 12, Il; James A., 10, Il; Mary, 8, born Il; Amos G., 2, Il; William H., 3/12, Il (Amos is first child of Jemima and Sylvester and the name may actually be Amor, after her father.) In 1870 they are still in New Boston Township #175 and have added Sylvester, Jr., age 8; Fred; 7; Otis, 5; and Ezra, 2. Daughter Mary Jane, age 17, was working as a housekeeper for the Christian Rader family in New Boston Township.

By 1880 the family had moved to Little Rock, Nobles County, Minnesota where they are found in the 1880 census, page 231B: Sylvester Jenkins, 48 [58], farmer, born Ma, parents Ma; Jemima, 44[54], born In; parents NC; Amos, son, 21, born Il; Willie, 20, Il; Buford [Sylvester Jr.], 18, Il; Fred, 16, Il; Ezra, 12, Il; Asner, 9, Il; Glen, 5, Mn; Eddie, 3, Mn.

Daughter Mary Jane stayed in Mercer County, still working for the Raders, and married Louis D. Willits, son of Newton I. and Polly Rader Willits, on 3/15/1883. There is more on Lewis/Louis on the Isaiah Willits page under Newton. Mary Jane and Lewis Willits evidently went to Minnesota for awhile as well as they had a child Loyd(?) born in Minnesota about 1886 (his name is not very readable in the 1910 census). Jenna Cain found census records in Clinton County Iowa in the 1900's for the family. Lewis Willits, born Il on Feb 1846 was living at the poor farm in Clinton County in 1900. He has a census card in 1915: Louis Willett, age 69, divorced, 1176 Liberty St, Clinton, Iowa; retired, born Pa, church none, father born In, mother Va; white, read and write, 25 years in Iowa. We do not find Mary in either Iowa or Illinois in 1900 (she could have been visiting out of state as daughter Bessie E. Willits, born July 1893, Il, is with an Irving/Ivan? Patterson family with wife Minnie A., as niece, in 1900, in New Boston City in Mercer County.) In 1910 we find Mary in Clinton City, Clinton County, Iowa, owning a home at 680 Dunham Aveneu: Mary Willits, 56, divorced, 4 children born, 4 living, born Il, parents born Gy (an error in carrying down a family above Mary); Loyd(?), 24, born Min; Henry, 22, born Il, Bessie, 20, born Iowa. (Jenna tells us the other child was Clyde.) In 1920 in Clinton City: Mary Willets, own, 67, widow, born Il, parents born US; Henry, 32, Il, parents born Il, no occupation; Bessie, 25, born Iowa, parents born Il; saleslady in a candy store. Mary styling herself as widow indicates Louis probably died before 1920 in Clinton County.

The older William W. Jenkins married Sarah Boyington, 6/14/1869 in Mercer County. Jenna Cain tells us that Wesley and Sarah Jenkins are in New Boston Township in 1870. We find them at #137 Wesley Jenkins, 22, farm laborer, born Il and Sarah, 24, born Maine. Jenna tells us Sarah's parents were Ebenezer and Nancy Ann Chapman Boyington of Maine and Mercer County and that by 1880 they had gone on to Lake County, Dakota Territory.

Sylvester Jenkins died on January 29, 1909 in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas. Sylvester's obituary indicates that he had a total of 16 children with his two wives, with 8 sons and 1 daughter living at the time of his death. He moved to Minnesota in 1872, to Kansas in 1892, and to Arkansas in 1898. He served in the 27th Il Infantry during the Civil War. An interesting item in the obituary is that he followed the sea for awhile starting at age 18.

We find Sylvester Jenkins enlisted from New Boston on August 20, 1861 in Co G, 27th Ill Infantry and was discharged as a corporal on December 12, 1862 for disability. He applied for a pension October 18, 1869 and received one under Certificate #236974. His widow, Jemima, applied for a pension on March 10, 1909 in Arkansas and received one under Certificate #679338. Descendants can probably find much more genealogical information under these pension records.

Sylvester and Jemima's grave information (as well as a number of their children) can be found on Findagrave at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gsr&GScid=54363&GSln=jenkins