289 years ago, on 22 January 1735, in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, my 5th great grandfather, Jesse Jenks, was born to John and Prudence Lawrence Jenks. Grandfather married Mary Rhonda Smith , the daughter of Jacob and Dinah Harris Smith, on 11 September 1757 in Smithfield, Rhode Island. They were the parents of 10 children: William, Allen, Stephen (1759), Jacob (1760), Peter (1764), Jesse, Jr, (1764), Shubael (1767), Huldah (1770), Laban (1772) [my 4 times great grandfather], and Elisha (1774).
Grandmother Jenks died in 1787, also in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Grandfather married Abigail Sayles, the daughter of Gideon Sayles, on 28 June 1787. This marriage produced an additional six children: Cynthia, Ahab, Rachael, Amy, Mary, and Belinda.
Grandfather Jenks died on 19 March 1827, in Cheshire, Massachusetts.
Additional information has been gathered about Grandfather:
The Jenks Family of America – William B. Browne.
“Jesse Jenks was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1734/ 5. He was involved in the settlement of Sackville New Brunswick during the late 1750’s and 60’s. He, along with other members of his family were acquiring land that he would eventually sell off. Jesse and his brother Edmund were both involved in the New Brunswick venture when the settling lots in East Hoosick (now Adams Massachusetts) became available. In 1769, Jesse and his brother Edmund purchased three 100 acre lots which were lots two, three, and four in the west range of settling lots at East Hoosick. This transaction took place on July 26, 1769, and was not recorded in Berkshire County until August 23, 1773. It appears that Edmund was the first to settle on this property. Some of the subsequent early deeds of Jesse Jenks in Western Massachusetts were signed only by his brother Edmund.
It was written that sometime in Feb. 1790, Jesse Jenks arrived at his nephews house in Adams Massachusetts on horseback carrying as much gold and silver as a man could lift. The concealed gold and silver was in a bag of oats that he carried for his horse. He eventually settled opposite the glebe farm (First Baptist Church) on what is now called Stafford’s Hill named for Col. Joab Stafford who fought in the American Revolution and who was also an early settler there.
Jesse’s descendants thrived there clearing much of the farm land that is still open pasture and one of the most beautiful areas in Berkshire County. The site that he settled is marked by foundations and a large willow that feeds from the water of the farms well. North and west of the farm site is the family graveyard that is still marked with many stones and was used until the 1850’s when some of the graves were removed to the towns main cemetery on West Mountain Road where a virtual Jenks history can be viewed by simply walking through this large, to our rural standards, cemetery.
Inventory of Jesse Jenks Dated at Cheshire Massachusetts April 6, 1827 John Wells, Nathan Sayles, Alden Werden, Appraisers James Mason Administrator
Real Estate Home Farm situated in Cheshire containing 160 acres subject to a mortgage of $1200.00 $4,286.00
The Adams Farm situate in Adams containing 127 acres, more or less. $3,000.00
Mill Lot containing 7 acres with the two mills and other appurtenances situate in Cheshire $567.00
54 acres of wild land situate in Savoy. $150.00
Personal Estate 1 Stags 9 Cows 1 2 Year old heifer Kid Breeding mare 1/2 3 year old mare Gelding 4 years old 21 Sheep 7 Swine 5 tons of hay, by estimation Waggon Sleigh 1/2 Small waggon Sled 6 Bushels of corn, by estimation 30 Bushels potatoes, by estimation 20 Bushels barley
Stock on Adams farm 10 Cows 3 1/4 tons of hay, by estimation Large steelyard 75 lbs. cart tyre Cart body 69 lbs. old iron 170 lbs. old iron 2 Wedges drawshave and bolt Grindstone 2 1/2 Dozen screws Toll chest and dish 1 Frow 3 Mill pecks 22 3/4 lbs. of old iron Small tub Cheese hoop Cider Hhd
Wearing Apparel 3 Coats 5 Pair pantaloons 1 Pair pantaloons 4 Vests 4 Shirt 6 Pair stockings 1 Hat Silver buckle Pair knee buckles Large money purse
Cash Old chest box 1 Churn 2 Cheese hoops 3 Mut barrels 1 Cider Hhd 1/2 Hhd Dry Hhd Pickle tub Soap Trough Small steelyards 5 Pail kettle 1 1/2 Pail kettle 1 Pot 2 Small kettles Pair and irons Sliev Bake kittle Spider Iron bason Broken tea kettle Grid iron Brass kettle 18 Chains Large wheel Linen wheel Reel Table Cheese tub Pair worsted combs 20 Old pails and tubs Table Churn Old pewter pan Clock Looking glass Stand Desk Case drawers Warming pan Pair cotton cards 4 Towels 2 Table cloths Remnants yarn 20 lbs. Geese feathers 6 Harnesses 3 Weavers reeds 2 Old bedsteads 15 lbs. Turkey feathers Coverlid 4 Blankets Bedstead and cord 1 Pillows & boulster & bed 1 Blanket Coverlid Bedstead and cord Bed pillows and boulster Underbed 2 Sheets Blanket 2 Do Coverlid Suit curtains 6 Sheets 10 Pillow cases 3 Table linen 4 yrds Woolen cloth 7 Table silver spoons 6 Tea spoons Set blue tin ware 19 lbs. Old pewter 19 Plates 7 Cups and saucers Salt, sugar bowl Tea pot 6 Foot glasses 5 Glasses 2 Decanters 22 Knives and forks 5 Milk pans Brass skimmer 11 Tin dishes Earthen jar Pair flat irons
80 lbs. Newmilk cheese Skim cheese 100 lbs. Salt pork 45 lbs. Bacon
Adams, April 30, 1828 To the Honorable Judge William Walker Esq. Judge of Probate of Wills for t he County of Berkshire.
This is to certify that we the subscribers were present with Jesse Jenks l ate of Cheshire, deceased, 3 days previous to his decease he being in perf ect mind did give to his son Allen Jenks, all his wearing apparel. as witn ess; Amy Field Belinda Staples
Jesse Jenks’ lawful heirs. To the Honorable Judge William Walker Esq., Judge. April 3, 1827 On March 20, 1827, Jesse Jenks of Cheshire Massachusetts died seized and possessed of both real and personal estate. That he left a widow, Abigail Jenks, and the following children and lawful heirs. Jacob Jenks of Ohio Heirs of Stephen, deceased son of said Jesse, New York, Vermont, Ohio, a nd Indiana. Jesse Jenks of Cheshire. Huldah, wife of Nathaniel Mowrey of Adams. Shubael Jenks of Ohio. Laban Jenks of Michigan. Elisha Jenks of New York. Rachel Ross widow of Lanesborough. Amy, wife of John Field, of Adams. Mary, wife of Thomas Field, of Cheshire. Cynthia, wife of Jabez Jenks, of Cheshire. Belinda, wife of Welcome Staples, of Adams. Allen Jenks of Cheshire.
And that the widow Abigail Jenks declines the trust of administration being myself a creditor. James Mason.”
It is through Grandfather Jesse Jenks that I have been granted membership in the Sons of the American Revolution. Grandfather did not join the Revolutionary Army, but instead, donated his son, Jacob, and he provided food and shelter to the Army throughout the conflict. Both of these actions qualified Grandfather to be listed as one of the Patriots of the American Revolution.