The Jenkins
Rappahannock VA
to Mason Hall TN

William Neel Jenkins

William Neel, or Bill, as he was called, was my grandfather's uncle and while not directly related is the reason for our family being in northwest Tennessee. He and his family were the first to come to Gibson County, Tennessee from Hardin County and settled near Mason Hall. Perhaps they were just passing through Mason Hall on their way to Hickman, Kentucky to cross the Missisissippi River like his grandfather 40 years earlier and thousands of others migrating west then. Ferrying across the Obion River bottom was difficult especially when the river was out of it's banks during floods. It was Bill and his daughter, Susie, that my grandfather came to live with when he left home in Hardin County as a young boy.

William was born in 1835 in Haywood County. Between 1838 and 1840 his parents moved to the southwestern area of Hardin County, on the Mississippi andTennesse state line, where his father had obtained a Tennessee Land Grant. William Jenkins, and Elizabeth, who was half Indian, married in Hardin County in 1856. They had seven children; Amanda, Susan, Virginia, Mary, Nancy, John, and Jim. From the 1860s to the mid-1880s they lived nearby in Alcorn County in north Misssissippi.

It's uncertain, when or where William enlisted in the Confederate Army. The 16th Tennessee Cavalry organized near Tupelo, Mississippi but as war progressed and casualties taken the unit was consolidated into the 21st Tennesse Cavalry. William may have joined when the unit's Company B was organized of men from Hardin County on 15 June, 1863. The unit operated throughout West Tennessee, North Mississippi, and Northwest Alabama. In 1877, at the age of 18, Bill's daughter Susie married James Glover, a 37 year-old Civil War veteran. The war having been over 13 years before their marriage, details of his service were not known to Susie when she applied for a widow's pension 60 years later. However, her uncle, Silas Green Timms, recalls being there at Hamburg in Hardin Co when James enlisted in August of 1861. It is believed James served with Company B, 34th Tennessee Infantry but his war record is not yet clear as two other James R. Glovers from Tennessee served in the Confedrate Army.
 

About 1888, after Susan Glover's first four children were born, William and Elizabeth, their children Nancy, Jim, John, and Susan's family all came by covered-wagon to northwest Gibson County where Elizabeth's brother Silas Timms, had come just a few years earlier. Presumably they left three married daughters near Hardin County. Amanda and Virginia's whereabouts have yet to be determined.

In 1889, William bought a 25 acre farm from Susan Morrow on the Cool Springs Road near the Trimble - Kenton Road, now Morella Road. Susan Glover and her family lived in a log cabin nearby and had four more children. The home and log cabin were later owned by Obie Graves in the mid to late 1900s. J. G. Jackson, a farm-hand, lived with them to help the elder James Glover on the farm as Susan's oldest son, Charlie Marcus, was just a young boy. Bill's wife Elizabeth died in 1894 at 56. His son, Jim Franklin, married Susan Hargett and moved to Obion. James Glover died in 1901 and left Susan with eight children to raise. William's other son, John Wesley, married Ella Fisher and stayed with Bill and worked Bill's farm until they also moved to Obion around 1902. Jim and John became well known commercial fisherman on the Obion River. Bill's other daughter, Nancy, married William Hargett and lived near Mason Hall.

                                

                                       Nancy, Susie, William, Charlie, and Elizabeth 

In 1889, William bought a 25 acre farm from Susan Morrow on the Cool Springs Road near the Trimble - Kenton Road, now Morella Road. Susan Glover and her family lived in a log cabin nearby and had four more children. The home and log cabin were later owned by Obie Graves in the mid to late 1900s. J. G. Jackson, a farm-hand, lived with them to help the elder James Glover on the farm as Susan's oldest son, Charlie Marcus, was just a young boy. Bill's wife Elizabeth died in 1894 at 56. His son, Jim Franklin, married Susan Hargett and moved to Obion. James Glover died in 1901 and left Susan with eight children to raise. William's other son, John Wesley, married Ella Fisher and stayed with Bill and worked Bill's farm until they also moved to Obion around 1902. Jim and John became well known commercial fisherman on the Obion River. Bill's other daughter, Nancy, married William Hargett and lived near Mason Hall.

Unable to farm his land any longer, at 67 years of age, William Jenkins sold his farm to J. K. Graves and moved in with Susan. In early 1901, Tom Jenkins, Bill's 18 year-old nephew came from Hardin County to help Susan and her only grown son on their farm. Charlie and Tom became very close and married at the same time a few years later. Charlie married J. G. Jackson's, sister Mellie Jackson. By 1910 Susan's children, Charlie, Myrtle, Virgie, Jimmie, and Algie had left home and married. Tom Jenkins had married but lived nearby in the Fairview Commmunity and continued to help Charlie farm. William was now 75 years old and lived with Susie and her children Nora, Willie, and Edgar. Nora married in 1913 and had a son in 1914. Nora died at 31 years old of influenza and left her son, Walter, to be raised by Susan. By 1920 all of her children had left home and now Susan cared for her father and grandson.

Bill lived with Susie for 30 years after his wife passed away and until he died in 1931 at the age of 96. He is buried in Bethpage Baptist Church Cemetery with his wife Elizabeth and near his children Susan, Nancy, and John. His granddaughters Nora, Myrtle, and grandsons Robert and Edgar rest nearby. Susan, now 72 years old, applied for a pension based on James Glover's military service during the Civil War. 

Bill's descendants now in northwest Tennessee descend from Susan Glover and do not share the Jenkins name any longer. Jim and John's sons never married before entering the service. Cecil Jenkins, Jim's son, was killed while serving his country during World War I and John's son, Robert Wesley Jenkins, during WWII.

More information on the children and grandchildren of William can be found in the Individuals Database above. 

 

Children of William Neel Jenkins

◊ Amanda Jenkins b 1858 Hardin Co TN d before 1870 Alcorn Co MS

◊ Susan Catheryn Jenkins 23 Dec 1860 Hardin Co TN d 20 Oct 1944 Gibson Co TN buried Bethpage Cemetery, married James Raleigh Glover 22 Aug 1877 Alcorn Co MS b Apr 1840 TN d 06 Mar 1901 Gibson Co TN buried Bethpage Cemetery

     (Parents of Mrs Morris Stephens and Mrs Harry King of Cool Springs)

◊ Virginia Jenkins b: 1863 Alcorn Co MS, married Unknown

◊ Mary Emaline Jenkins b 08 Jul 1864 Alcorn Co MS d 25 Apr 1940 Hardin Co TN buried Pigsah Cemetery, married John Bartley Childers 30 Nov 1879 b 28 Jun 1861 d 02 Nov 1920

◊ Nancy Frances Jenkins 03 Mar 1868 Alcorn Co MS d 27 Sep 1905 Gibson Co TN buried Bethpage Cemetery, married William Daniel Hargett 1893 Obion Co TN b 03 Jan 1858 Obion Co TN d 1944 Obion Co TN buried New Salem Cemetery

◊ John Wesley Jenkins b Jan 1871 Alcorn Co MS d 1958 Gibson Co TN buried Bethpage Cemetery, married Ella Fisher 1898 Gibson Co TN b Aug 1876 Gibson Co TN d 1942 Gibson Co TN

◊ James Franklin Jenkins b 25 Nov 1872 Alcorn Co MS d 26 Jul 1958 Obion Co TN buried Rosehill Cemetery, married Susan Rebecca Hargett b 22 Jun 1875 Obion Co TN d 04 Jun 1950 Obion Co TN buried RoseHill Cemetery

 

 

 

 

The StoryTellers

My feelings are in each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called as it were by our genes.

Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors you have a wonderful family you would be proud of us? How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do.

It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.

It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today.

It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.

It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation.

It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do.

With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us. We are the chosen.

So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.

That, is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

Author unknown