True it is that many of these people addressed scarcely knows the name of more than their grandparents but incidentally they will acquaint you with some other person you may seek for the information and eventually new correspondence opens up.
Among thls latter class of people, or possibly advertising thru some proper channels, one becomes acquainted with (people) far and wide who become so valuable (to) each other tha(t) the correspondence continues for years, each party seeking diligently for every. item of interest involved and quickly transferring it to the other interested party or persons.
Concerning correspondence in the Jennings case may I mention Dr. R. M. Gennings of ..Macomb,. Illinois, who after teaching in the University of Illinois over forty years was retired at the aee of 65. His health was good, his mind alert (a brilliant analytical mind) his having been head of Mathematics in University of Illinois over 35 years and being forced to some hobby he adopted Genealogy.
From data and piece-meals he matched up family charts that defied competition of tearing asunder because of their many relative values.
The fact that he spelled his name with G. (Ginnings) does not remove him from being a close relative of the Jennings of Prince Edward County.
We have learned there are more than twenty ways of spelling Jennings; that the people of early times-chose a way of spelling their own names regardless of established rules, and spelled it as it sounded best to them and sometimes tried to differentiate theirselves from other groups of the same family, as they moved about in clans, and thus their regular mail was better distributed.
Dr. R. M. Ginnings was discovered by Mrs. Addie Lehman,from Texas, of Jennings descent on the maternal line. She was from Monte Christo, Texas, wife of Capt. L. H. Lehman living in Charleston, South Carolina -when first I heard from her.
She was a. cousin of Dr. R. M. Ginnings,. had been interested in genealogy for 20 years.
She and Dr. Ginnings knew they were closely related to the Jennings of Prince Edward County because the families on both sides flocked together and moved in groups from Virginia to Tennessee and settled in (the)same count(ies), the main county being Wilson of TennesseeMrs. Lehman was a Daughter of the American Revolution on several lines and lost no time while in the East, traveling about thru the Eastern States, Virginia North and South Caroline, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louiseanna, and other places, collecting data on various lines of her family, always following every possible clue to prove the first Robert of her family to be of the family of Robert of Prince Edward. In trying to prove that fact she unearthed many family connections and gladly shared all information with any co-operating Jennings who was interested in the research, hoping to prove or disprove a true relationship. There is no doubt that these two Jennings families evolved from Col. Robert Jennings of early New Kent and the most likely strain of their Robert, born about 1740 was son of John, born 1698, who with his brother William bought land in Albemarle County which later was a part of Buckingham where the main part of the family seemed to have settled.
The records of Buckingham were burned but it is known their Robert and his son John, of Buckingham North Carolina and years later to Madison County, Kentucky, where he died in 1828, was buried in old Jennings CemeteryThe son John died later in 1835. Other members of this family returned to Wilson County, Tennessee, and have continued to reside there.
My Jennings genealogy was greatly enriched through correspondence with Mrs. Lehman and her cousin Dr. R. M. Jennings who died suddenly in June of 1948.
While corresponding with them I spent some months in Virginia with my husband and we visited all of the Counties where Jennings records could be obtained. We collected much data that has matched up with other data furnished me by these interested workers.
Other valuable data was furnished me by Mrs. Adele Williams of Plainview, Texas, a descendant of Clem Jennings, brother of Doctor. She is a very intelligent lady, educated in (the) best schools of Texas, and in Eastern schools, a proficient musician, with much accumulated data of her family.Another person with professional genealogical ability with whom I have communicated largely is Mr. Trist Wood of New Orleans, La., who has made considerable contributions to Public Libraries of North Carolina. Also Mrs. W. I. Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma who has much of the information accumulated by Lawyers hired to trace out ancestry in England to prove heir ship to Jennings Estate
My grandfather SCHUYLER PATTERSON JENNINGS born 5th June, 1809, in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee and emigrated to Utah in 1848.My great-grandfather was named DOCTOR JENNINGS, born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, 1774. Being christened “Doctor” it was generally supposed he was a doctor by profession. When making inquiries of him on state and county records it was difficult to identify him. We were expected to add a Christian name after Doctor or cease the quest. However, our “Doctor” was found in the 1820 census of middle Tennessee, as Doctor Jinnings, with three sons and one daughter.(Born in Virginia, 1774.)
Another obstacle that hindered the finding of his name was the fact that the census spelled his name JinningsAn aunt of mine, Rhoda Jennings Sherwood, youngest grand-daughter of Doctor, said her mother had related many times that different people had driven many miles to the home of Doctor Jennings for needed medical service, disappointed to learn his Christian name was simply Doctor and he was not professions. She further stated that Doctor was named by a wealthy uncle who visited his parents just previous to his birth, and in honor of the doctor who attended his arrival. Aunt Rhoda said her parents informed the children that they had descended from a William Jennings- evidently not knowing of Doctor’s father Robert, whose father was William.
How easily parents can slip one generation when counting their ancestors if nothing is recorded on paper, especially if a particular person was a near relative and was named William, who was the likely heir of a $40,000,000 Estate.
“Mrs. Mary J. Scott, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, had a real problem in the possession of an ancestor who was thought to have been born in Virginia, but of whom she possessed on the tradition that he had the given name of “Doctor” and that there was a court house near where he lived. Shortly after Christmas Mrs. Scott wrote: "The message your letter brought about three days before Christmas was the best greeting I received. I was overjoyed to know you had located our 'Doctor'. "You seem to know how to feel your way."
Again in his book “Ways and means of Identifying Ancestors”, page 36, “A Virginia family had given the unusual name of “Doctor” to a son on account of the providential visit of a physician, but his county was not known. By finding a county which contained the names of people with whom he was associated this county was located and a will by one of his surname mentioned “Doctor”, as a son.”
This will of 1794 was written in Prince Edward County, Virginia, by Robert Jennings (wife, Rachel) and lists the names of thirteen children, ten sons and three daughters. The last named child was “Doctor”, my great-grandfather, son of Robert Jennings, my great-great-grandfather.
The field was now open for research. An ancestor was located with thirteen children in 1794.They and their descendants probably scattered throughout the United States.
And Who was the father of Robert?
Here began our actual research.
It is well known that the early settlers of America were Clannish, living together in communities as relatives and friends, and quite conclusively proving those people to be branches of an old parent tree.
It is stated that “when our forefathers first came to America, the whole country was densely forested. There were no roadways except the traces left by the Indians who generally utilized the paths made by the buffaloes or other wild animals. Inasmuch as every new settlement curtailed the Indian hunting grounds it was natural for them to resent the presence of settlers as interlopers and consequently the settlers had to deep close together and nearly all the settlements were along the seashore or the navigable rivers. Consequently so far as the English were concerned settlement did not increase greatly except by natural growth and when it was necessary to go father into the interior provision was made for a number of settlers who were not permitted to move elsewhere except by permission of the magistrates. The fear of Indians kept the settlers from pushing very far into the interior.
When we consider how the country was settled, and the conditions under which the people lived, coupled with the great distance of migration from the old country of Europe, it is easy to believe that the people were greatly drawn together by the bonds of relativity, in leaving the old home as well as populating the new, so that in corresponding with descendants of the Jennings families over the years correspondents frequently write “I believe that all the Virginia Jennings families were related.”
There are no schools more than two hundred years ago. No wonder they never learned to read and write and had to make a mark to a deed or will.
There were a few interested relatives whom I m(u)st here introduce, because they were eager to help and were instrumental in helping to bring together the members of this widely scattered family, which could not be done without much research and some financial aid.
Mrs. Wayne Taylor Nielson, daughter of Johannah Jennings Taylor, an older sister of my father, Milton Travis Jennings, came first as a member of the family greatly interested in its history. She helped with local organization of the family and contributed willingly of her small means for further research. She was first interested with James C. Jensen, husband of Joey Jennings, daughter of Mansfield, brother of my father. He was a competent, well educated man, living in Salt Lake City, who first began a research for this family. His health was poor and he had small means to pursue the work. No one was interested enough to contribute to the cause. He died before he could accomplish what he had set out to do. I had hoped that we might work together. At his demise all material he had collected was given into my hands through cousin Wayne Nielsen, who, having been made custodian, was anxious to form an organization for the family. This was done at her home in 1942 by electing Theodore Taylor, grandson of Elizabeth Jennings Taylor (a Jennings descendant) as president, Wayne Taylor Nielsen, secretary, and Mary Jennings Scott, chairman of research.
We retained the services of Mr. Evan L. Reed to continue our work in Virginia and discover if possible the father of Robert of Prince Edward County. He engaged the help of Dr. Joseph Eggleston, ex-president of Hampton-Sidney College in Prince Edward who, after his retirement, confined his studies to genealogy: also Ann Waller Reddy, daughter of a renowned genealogist whom Dr. Eggleston recommended as ranking first among genealogists of Virginia. Through these and other channels the records of Virginia were scraped off all recordings in the counties where our ancestors lived. Each genealogist referred me at once to the parent county of New Kent.“Among the potent causes which have aroused men and women to search out records of their progenitors of the past has been an eager desire to share in a legendary family fortunes. While it is true that seldom or never do they lay hands on the fortune, but after the vision of accumulated millions have been proved but a “will-o-the-wisp”, the interest in the family remains.”
Therefore such forlorn quests should result in the compilation of wonderful genealogical records, worth infinitely more than the "mythical" millions. But it Is also true that many genealogical facts wore abused and discarded which did not seem to fit into the proofs which were being sought.
Wishful thinking may be a great hindrance to the real truth. For instance, one descendant on my own line, and possibly the one who had best living proofs of our descendency has discarded a certain great-grandparent named William and endeavored to adopt another William, as a progenitor because he seemed to be the most likely wanted heir. A simple mathematical problem proves this selected William was born too late to be father of Robert father of Doctor. Others have been known to hide marriage or birth certificates hoping their own people might have a better chance to find a place with the fortune seekers.
Perhaps no greater quest has been made in this country than that of the celebrated Jennings estate, that lingered in the Chancery Court of England for more than one hundred and thirty years. The estate was variously valued at from ten to one hundred and fifty million dollars.
Queen Victoria, of England, early in the 19th century issued an edict stating that the Jennings who was the lawful heir of the Jennings millions in England could not prove his death or burial in that country, but on the contrary it was proved he had emigrated to America. This fact spread to America and gave rise to numerous claims, It ultimately resulted that the emigrant had died in Virginia and descendants commenced an action with a view to establish their heir ship, many years after the death of the heir. Lack of funds for barrister's fees and for security of costs caused a dismissal of their suit without any final decisions.
Many of the Jennings in the United States claimed collateral descent from the particular Jennings who accumulated the "millions" and many attempts have been made by the American descendants to recover the fortune from England, but all have been abortive. It seems to have been proven that the rightful heir to the Jennings estate could not prove death or burial in England, but on the contrary, it was proved that he had emigrated to America, being William Jennings, immigrant, oldest uncle of the intestate, at the time of his death and consequently, would succeed to his estates. This immigrant was supposed to be William Jennings who married Mary Pulliam and lived and died in Nottoway, Virginia.
The "legal" weakness of any such claim, of course, lies in the fact that the very records essential to prove the births, marriages and deaths of the people concerned were burned in 1758 when the Court House of Hanover was destroyed.
One large book 1733-35 was salvaged with one item of great importance to cur particular line of Jennings as follows:
of St. Peters Parish, New Kent County, Page 17
John, son of Robert Jennings, born September 2nd, and baptized the 23rd of same, 1698."
"William, son of Robert Jennings baptized.5th July, 1702
This record of births of John and William, sons of Robert of New Kent fit very accurately into the lives of our descendants.
Most certainly this William seems to be the father of Robert who, (in 1754 - the year Prince Edward was cut off Amelia County), with his wife, Rachel, bought land and in 1755 had one tithe (child), according to land records.
If William born 1702 should marry at the age of twenty and have a child (Robert of Prince Edward County) in two years, he would be twenty-three when he first entered land in 1747 and would be thirty-one year- old when he bought land in 1755 with one tithe. These ages would allow considerable change and still be reasonable, especially for those times when children married early in life, often seventeen or eighteen years of age for men and earlier for women.
Our ancestor Robert Jennings Sr., and Robert Junior, lived in New Kent County in 1698 and 1702 when John and William were born. That part of New Kent became Hanover County in 1720.
There was a John Jennings on Vaughn Creek in 1743-7 who bought land (400 acres) then in Amelia County. Prince Edward County was taken from Amelia County 1753-4. This land was sold in 1752 and William Jennings signed the deed. So there was a John Jennings on Vaughn Creek in 1743-7 and William Jennings was there in 1752.
All these two Jennings, John and William, would
have to do is to move across Appomattox River over into Albemarle County,
Virginia, and be the John and William Jennings who bought land bordering each
other there, in Albemarle, which records we have. John
had a wife Mary, who signed the deeds. We
conclude that John in Albermarle County was John that sold to Robert Jennings
(not of Prince Edward County but Robert of Hanover) on Vaughn Creek, February
27th, 1747, William in Albemarle, was brother of John, father of Robert of
Prince Edward County.8
Regarding Robert, who remained in Hanover, died 1758,9 had son Robert of Charlottesville who became lieutenant in the Revolutionary war. 10 Robert (1758 will) is son of Robert Jr. of New Kent according to analysis of Dr. R. M. Ginnings who has spent much time in working out charts that seem to agree in every detail with relationship of family. 11
A land deal of 400 acres, on Vaughn Crook in 1747, with all improvements belonging to John Jennings was sold to Robert Jennings of Hanover for five shillings ($1.25).
Deal indicates close relationship.--brother to brother, or father to son--according to Dr. Ginnings' analysis.
In 1752 Robert of Hanover bought 130 acres adjoining that 400 acres on Vaughn Creek. A William Jennings signed the deed as a witness.
Thus the record shows plainly there were two Roberts, one on Vaughn Creek, and one on Sawney Creek, Prince Edward County, the latter, my great-great grandfather Robert of will 1794.
John sold out of that part of Albemarle that became Buckingham County in 1761 and thus moved closer in to Buckingham County with other relatives. (Probably his sons.) He died before 1764 because a widow, "Mary Jennings of Buckingham" bought land in Bedford County which county was taken from Albemarle in 1753-4. A fire in 1869 destroyed the courthouse at Buckingham and all records were burned. This fact makes it very difficult to trace our Jennings line in Buckingham. We have to depend on parish records found at Richmond, capital of Virginia and state records, also evidences written in letters to early relatives who later revealed the information they contained In 1885 fire in the King William County court house adds to the problem of preserving our records, King William lies adjacent to Hanover, where court house was burned in 1758, and Now Kent. It was taken from King and Queen county in 1701. King and Queen County was taken from New Kent in 1791.
Information found in the Journal of the House of Burgesses and that of the Governor's Council: (Some little used Virginia data) "Regarding Robert Jennings who was the father of John and William and undoubtedly a progenitor of yours appears in 1700 as one of three soldiers of New Kent County petitioning for the payment of tobacco for their services to the Burgesses. There he is shown as a soldier. (In those days tobacco was used often for both paying taxes and in the payment of government claims). A William Jennings is shown in 1756 as a foot soldier but his service was in Fairfax County. This could not be the William of Nottoway who died in 1775. He would then have been over 80 years of age. It is more likely the William Sr. born to Robert in 1702, or his son William Jr of Buckingham County,
"In the proceedings of the Council Robert Jennings is given permission to take up 2,000 acres on Taylor's Creek In Now Kent County. This was between 1705 & 1721.
"It is noteworthy that Edmund Jennings (Robert also spelled with one 'In") was on the council, and hence may have been related. He was governor for a short time. Resigned on account of his health. He was not a close relative.
It is said that Governor Edmund Jenings left a will in York, supposedly, but it cannot be found on record there or at Canterbury, England, at Somerset House, London. Some people say it was destroyed when the suit for the Jennings millions was brought. At any rate, it was the law in 1727 that copies of all wills,etc., made in Virginia or the other colonies would be filed in England and it is queer that a copy cannot be found, However, William and Mary College Magazine testify that it was written at the above date. Some people say it may have been removed to King and Queen County at the time of the Revolutionary War and was later burnt there with other records, but where are the copies in England?
"We can only get proof of Edmond Jenings, Jr., Francis, who married Grimes, and Elizabeth who married Porter, Margaret and Priscilla who married Captain William Hill. This William Hill died in Amelia County in 1747, and was the brother of John Hill who married Mary Jennings, daughter of Robert Jennings of Hanover County."
In 1821 Hanover County was created from New Kent, and it was ordered that the court for the county be held at Robert Jennings residence and that the courthouse be built on his property." Dr. Eggleston said that the records of Hanover were scarce but I located the Parish records of St. Paul's of Hanover County and found about fifty citations of Robert Jennings Gent., and also William and Mathew but without the "Mister" attached. As early as 1711 there was a Robert Sr., and Jr. both "Gentlemen". It is difficult to identify Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. because in many places Robert Jennings has no insignia attached, (Sr. and Jr)." Robert Sr. who was a church warden and sometimes referred to as "Colonel" died about 1716, and Robert Jr, was appointed warden in his place. In 1720 Robert Jennings "Jr." was appointed Justice of the Peace in Hanover, and in 1722 High Sheriff of Hanover County.
Later, having exchanged land with Hugh Owen of King William County Robert left Hanover and removed to King William and gave us his schrievalty.
When Robert, left Hanover there was still a Robert Jennings, Gentleman, left there, undoubtedly the Robert Jennings who had a son Robert who lived and died in Charlotte County and became a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. He was born 1745 and died in 1806.13
Occasionally some other counties mention records dealing with these several counties; New Kent, King and Queen, Hanover, Buckingham, Albemarle, Prince Edward, and Bedford, from which we draw items of interest
John appeared on Surveyors Platt 17062 in Buckingham. Records from Albemarle can only help in to 1761. Some records from Richmond may help out for Buckingham
Some information has been retrieved from letters written by discovered relatives to further substantiate our beliefs that William, born 1702, was father of Robert of Prince Edward County's The letters were written by Mr. J. B. Abernathy, cousin of Amaree Doak of Grenada, Mississippi, in March 8, 19339 by Mrs. Daniel Jennings, representing the Jennings family of Virginia, 271+3 Judson Street, Shreveport, Louisiana-Texas-Arkansas-District.
This record has been found in letter of correspondence produced by Mrs. Amaree Doak, of Grenada, Mississippi, descendant of Robert Jr. of Prince Edward County.
1- Robert Crawford married Mary Winn Jennings.
2- Robert Jennings married Tabitha Lockhart.
3,- Robert Jenning married Rachel (had thirteen children.
4- William Jennings, his parents died in Virginia.
Another record from the same source: "William Jennings had William Jennings of Buckingham County. He had children as follows:
Phoebe born 1773 , died married William Kelly
Agnes born died married March 16,1784
(Amelia County) Barnard Caffery
NancySo there-was a William Sr. and William Jr., the Sr. of New Kent County; Jr. of Buckingham County.
The above was put together from facts given by a granddaughter of the first William Sr. when she was seventy-three years old, --Phoebe. The letter was written by her husband, William Kelly, during year 1842-1851+.
Mr. Charles Loeber had the letter. Mr. Loeber was a genealogist and lived In New York.
He charted the Jennings family back to 1-6~4 for the Texas family of Mr. Jessie Hugh Gleaves, and Mr. Guy Tonell Gleaves of Dallis, Texas, who are descendants of Clem Jennings who was brother of Robert Jennings who married Tabitha Lockhart. Having decided that we may never further prove our descendancy from William because of the destruction of Court House records over a period of years in the counties whore the descendants of our ancestors resided, we are grateful for the evidences that substantiate our beliefs that William, born 1702, was father of Robert of Prince Edward County and that he had a son, William(with six children) who would be brother of Robert.
Elkanah Jennings lived in neighborhood of Robert Jennings, married Mary Hill, daughter of William Hill, bought land of Robert and Rachel in 1754. Had two daughters, Sally, 1770, married Benjamin Dickerson. Mary, 1772 married a Mr. Pettit. Died in 1804, and was undoubtedly a brother of Robert's William of Nottoway.
In the perusal of the history of the Jennings Family of America, there is no doubt that William Jennings of Hanover, Amelia and later of Nottoway County, Virginia, is the most interesting figure depicted because he is supposed to be the rightful heir to the vast Jennings Estate that lay in chancery in England for over one hundred and thirty years. It is claimed that he was born in 1676, son of Humphrey Jennings and Mary Millward of Whitacre England; that he came to America in the early part of the eighteenth century, settled in Hanover and died in Nottoway 1775. This is supposed to be the William Jennings who died, (at the age of 99) and was buried in the old Jennings cemetery of Hanover County and years after his death was pointed out as the rightful heir of the great Jennings Estate. Some have Intimated he was a rich old bachelor, others that he was a widower, no record of former marriage. One relative has written of him as "Lord"William Jennings, who had a large tract of land in Nottoway County Virginia deeded him by the crown of England. Evan Reed writes: "I have tried to find the basis for Captain William Jennings military record but the only thing I have yet found is of Captain Jennings sitting on a court>martial proceeding held in Nottoway County during the Revolutionary War. It seems there would be some record of his grant of land for military service." It is true that later in life, on petition of Edmund Jennings, William Jennings with others was given permission to take up 10,000 acres in Spotsylvania County, and again 4,000 acres in Henrico co. Other grants are recorded, it is perhaps from these grants that William of Amelia, later of Nottoway got the reputation of being a heavy land owner. In his will in 1773 he deeds to his youngest son, Joseph, a tract of land (only 200 acres) laying between Cabin Branch and Deep Creek, in Amelia County it being "the tract of land whereon I now live, which tract of land I do absolutely freely give unto my said son Joseph Jennings and his heirs forever." The will states implicitly that Joseph is not to take or have possession of the said land till after the said William Jennings and his wife, Mary Jennings decease.15
Jennings Families of America page 462.
It has been the custom in early wills to give the youngest son the largest share of an estate. Two hundred acres is not so generous a gift for a wealthy landowner. In that time large tracts of land comprising thousands of acres were bought for a few fathings per year. We are informed the first emigrants left England 1681, sailed direct to Pennsylvania, among them Edward Bennet took over 321 acres, John Bennet 50 acres and William Standard 274 acres. All these settlers purchased land of Sir Edmond Andros at the quit rent of a bushel of wheat per hundred acres. Land was still plentiful in Virginia a hundred years later. Mr. Reed: "I am convinced that the William Jennings of Nottoway County was not the son of the line given in the Jennings Families of America, and have run through all published material to determine his ancestors". Does it stand to 'reason that he was born in 1676, he came to America at a mature age and waited another quarter of a century before marrying being family man enough to then father a large family of ten children? His wife was born 1704, died 1774, married 1724. He lived to be 99, died 1775- It could be possible, but most unlikely, especially with a fortune at stake. Surely this William of 1676 was quite another person. The main source of information usually refers to Jennings genealogy - "The American Families" by William Henry Jennings of Ohio. The part referring to William Jennings of Virginia in that volume is taken from papers of a great granddaughter, one of the fortune seekers. Again, Mr. Reed writes: "I believe that the most probable lineage of William of Nottoway is that of Robert of New Kent and later of Hanover County." One of the most important conclusions in my research regarding the family of Robert Jennings of New Kent and his associates thereabouts was the fact that they were closely related
Some of the earliest land deals is record of Christopher Smith to Patterson Pulliam with William -Jennings and Wil1iam Pulliam and John Snelson as witnesses. These men were all of Amelia and Hanover County. Inasmuch as William married the daughter of William Pulliam in 1724 in Hanover County, this deed of 1730 is indicative of his identity with William of Amelia.16. There were intermarriages in same families---Dickerson, Robertson, Arnolds, Childs, Dabney. etc. (1770 deed). I have found this quotation in Greer's Early Emmigrants to America: "Robert Jennings (the only one to New Kent County.) and he is evidently the ancestor of the Jenning's of South Side Virginia, William of Nottoway". To this I must add a paragraph from Watson, historian of Virginia, who in his notes on South Side Virginia, page 165, states that "a Jennings (William, I think) sic, was a very wealthy bachelor, who was the son of a wealthy Jennings in Hanover who moved over just before his (fathers) death, and he is supposed to be the heir to the fortune owned by the Earle of Howe". This affirmation from Watson emphasizes the point that William 'A.; son of Robert of New NOLA t , regardless of what claims his people are making for his inheritance.
Rector Hudson deceased of Butler, Pennsylvania, very much interested in Jennings family history because of family connections as neighbor". From tradition and memoranda of the,Dabney family. John Jennings wife Theodosia, and William Jennings and Sarah Jennings, who married Cornelius Dabney, were brothers and sister. It is claimed that this party sailed together from England. Theodosia Jennings has recorded in Hanover County Clerk's office her oath that she was the same Theodosia Jennings who came from England. It is also claimed by the descendants of the Jennings family in Wilson County Tennessee where the greatest number of the Jennings emigrated from Virginia, that our ancestor Robert Jennings of New Kent left part of his family in England who emigrated to America later. Hanover County was not created until after his death but he is sometimes mentioned as of Hanover because that part of New Kent where he lived became Hanover shortly after his death. Robert Jennings Jr. was of Hanover after 1722 until he sold his property and moved to King William County.
Comments on will of Theodosia Jennings:
Will of Theodosia Jennings of St. Paul's Parish, Hanover County, Virginia, dated June 8,1825. In Will Book 1 at Hanover Courthouse--page 637 mentions legatees of Elizabeth Jennings and Charles Hudson) Sarah Dabney, (who was Sarah Jennings, Elizabeth Brown, Nichols Gentry, William Jennings Thomas Harris. Elizabeth Brown was granddaughter of Sarah Dabney and Thomas Harris was husband of another granddaughter of Sarah, Susan Dabney, who was probably deceased, having been born about 1751--Nichols Gentry was another descendant of Sarah. There were a number of marriages of this line into the Gentry family. (See History and Genealogies by W. H. Miller).
Hudson relationship caused me considerable correspondence with Rector Hudson of Butler, Pennsylvania, (now deceased). He wrote that Cornelius Dabney, (who married Sarah Jennings, sister of William) John Hudson and Charles Hudson, his ancestors of Hanover County, were neighbors. Further that Charles Hudson and Cornelius Dabney were each brothers-in-law of Robert Jennings, of New Kent, that daughter of Robert Jennings Jr. was named Theodosia, who married William Anderson. She had a daughter Frances, who married William Armistead (is mentioned in his will of 1823 on file at Cumberland Court House, Virginia). Francis had daughter Theodocia Armistead, great-grandmother of Rector Hudson. He says the name "Theodosia" is still being carried on by cousins in Virginia.
The Richmond Whig of 18th August, 1852, found in the Library of Congress, Washington, U. C., sends notice to heirs and legal representatives of the Jennings estate (plus other estates addressed to Buckingham County Virginia, and he affirmed that Charles Hudson of Hanover is brother-in-law of Robert Jennings also that Robert Jennings is brother-in-law of Cornelius Dabney. This notice is signed by Anderson Damandville Abraham, attorney. He is a descendant of Theodocia Jennings who married William Anderson. This attorney, married Jane E. Wimbush, daughter of Samuel Wimbush. Clement Jennings, son of Robert of Prince Edward, married Anne Wimbush Cook showing relationship again; with the Wimbush family.
"A lawsuit was filed In London November 5, 1931, based on the statement that William Jennings who married Mary Pulliam in Virginia was the son of Humphrey Jennings of England and therefore uncle to the William who left the estate. This same claim has been presented to the British Courts many times and each time the records show they failed for the simple reason that the claimants do not accept the certificates issued later by the British government that William Jennings, son of Humphrey, died in London, 1744, leaving a will in which he does not mention a wife or children, which means he was a bachelor. This is attested by the printed report of the Jennings Association dated in 1863; again by the report of Sis and McClish in 1878, and the reprinted reports of the family which show that William Jennings, son of Humphrey died a bachelor, yet the family has filed a claim as descendents of William Jennings and Mary Pulliam as their ancestor end that he was the heir." This paragraph was included in a letter written to James B. Abernathy, a descendant of Robert Jennings of Prince Edward County, Virginia, concluding with these words. "Your family are not descended from William Jennings and Mary Pulliam and never could be. Your William and Robert are two very different persons as we tried to explain to a relative of yours in our office yesterday." There were at one time, living in the same territory three men named William Jennings. There was William Jennings born in England about 1667, died 1733, married Mary Willoughby. in Rappahannok County. There was Captain William Jennings born (?), died 1775, married Mary Pulliam, lived in Nottoway County. There was William Jennings born 1702, married Mary Allen lived In New Kent and Hanover. Three Williams with wives all named Mary! No wonder they all claimed to be descended from a William and they tried to choose the one who might inherit the Jennings millions. The statement concerning William and Mary Allen was written by Mrs. Daniel F. Jennings of Shreveport Louisiana, who seems to be well versed in the Jennings lineage. In fact she represented the Jennings family in Louisiana-Texas-Arkansas-District in the investigation pending settlement of the great Jennings Estate. Robert Jennings of Prince Edward County named their first child (son) Allen, who likewise named a son Allen, as did William his brother, named a son and middlename of daughter Allen, and the name extends through the line. This is all the evidence we have that William's wife's name was Mary Allen. However the name Allen appears often as witnesses to wills or land deeds in same locality with Jennings.
There was also a number of Roberts in the Jennings line, insomuch that it makes it difficult sometimes, even on court records to identify them. Some are Sr., some Jr., other Gentleman, some Captain, others Col., etc., and these titles of identification are not always used, so we can only surmise, sometimes left in doubt. It is more than probable that some of the Jennings descendants of America (and most probably of Virginia) were legal heirs to some of the Jennings Estates of England since so many emigrated to the new world, but Failing to have the proofs, why build a monument to disprove our real heritage and confuse the descendants? We became heirs to American freedom which far surpasses the lands and titles of the Old World, We reprint (an) article which was sent to me many years ago by Rev. Joseph Jennings of Parsons, Tennessee.
In writing this treatise on the Jennings Family of Virginia I have tried to keep in mind some of the questions that arise in the mind of any interested person with the family when they begin to seek for facts and proofs. If proofs were plentiful I would not have attacked the problem by trying to convince, because of findings in my extended research. The fact that our people inhabited the localities where wars predominated and were not invincible to attacks insomuch that most of the Court Houses where they lived were ravaged and burned until the few remnants remaining were salvaged by some patriots who with the help of faithful slaves carried the remaining records to old cellars and other hiding places, to be later placed in safety. The fragments have been well preserved and have been searched and researched for the truths that they contain, while an investigator is left at large to discover families and relatives of the people connected with early day history to reveal from their Bibles and to the never to be forgotten "Jennings Research"; that they might share in the vast estates of England known as the "Jennings Millions.
All who have reviewed this case as afore-mentioned and also including Archibald Bennett, Secretary of the Utah Genealogical society, whose opinion is held in high esteem by all genealogical circles, do agree that the New Kent Jennings family seems to be descended from John who is shown as a headright of William Pulliam in 1656 and again in 1658 as a headright of Chas. Edmonds. Each of those families were later inter-married with the Jennings, Since more records may never be produced to ultimately prove our descendency from John we regard him as our first American progenitor? Some "would be" historians including Rector Hudson, claim these records are included in their family history. John Jennings brother of Humphrey Jennings, grandfather of William Jennings, the intestate had son John, who was headright in Virginia for William Pulliam and later for (1656) Edmunds in 17 was father of Robert Sr. who married Jane Trulock in 1669 and had son Robert Jr. in 1670. It is recorded that Jane died in 1681. Did Robert Jennings then marry a Miss Cary? He died in 1716. Some of the Jennings families have contended that Robert Sr. was son of Charles, the first Jennings found in York, one of the original shires of Virginia. Charles died in 1714. He emigrated from England with wife Mary (Cary). He leaves will with names of children but Robert is not named, neither Sarah, whom many claim was daughter of Charles, neither William or John, his brothers, according to Dabney memo. Again it was claimed by the fortune hunters that these were children of Charles by a first marriage who emigrated later to America.
John might well have been a brother of Charles. The fact that Charles of York lived near Robert of New Kent and that they both married into the Miles Cary family almost proves relativity. In the mad search of the Jennings Estate, records were produced from every imaginable source and no doubt some sources were created while others fully certified were destroyed to better the chances of winning an heirship. And even though Queen Victoria issued the edict declaring the rightful heir was surely immigrated to America because no proof of burial could be found in England, the British Government later issued certificates that William Jennings of Humphrey, died in London, in 1774, leaving a will in which he does not mention wife or children, which means he was a bachelor. There are scattered fragments of some records in many court houses that were burned during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars when faithful slaves and patriots carried records from the pillaged buildings and buried them in old cellars and other hiding places for their preservation. We have visited many of these county seats In Virginia and have found that the records are jealously guarded but freely loaned to patrons seeking data of their progenitors, Loose records are stored in boxes and placed on high shelves, labeled "Miscellaneous" material, and cannot be reached only as the clerks deliver them.
There is no doubt that our first parents of Virginia derived from New Kent Co., being the parent County of Hanover and King and Queen Co. It was natural that their descendants settled in the surrounding counties of Charlotte, Amherst, Buckingham, Holloway, Halifax, York and Amelia. Some of the best help to researchers comes through correspondence with other researchers, who, perhaps guided by the Spirit of Elija, have felt the need of delving into the records of the past, to affiliate themselves with historical organizations. The fascination of the game grows upon us, as we seek out our dead ancestors, and we go far beyond the first person we sought, and become acquainted with living descendants of our departed dead, With them we open a correspondence of great value to each of us and we become, not concerned with royalty or prestige, nor estates but eager to' know the patriarch of our race.
Ref. I- Will of Robert Jennings of Prince Edward Co.
Will Book 2, page 237
Prince Edward Co., in the State of Virginia, in the name of God, Amen. I, Robert Jennings, of Prince Edward, Co. be of a right mind and Disposing will, I will and do ordain this my last Will and Testament. I first devise that all my lawful debts to be paid and my burying be Directed with Decency. I also lend my loving wife Rachel Jennings the half of my Personal Estate and the half of my land that I now live on containing one hundred and ninety Acres, including the buildings, during her life. I order my last springs Bay mare colt to be sold and equally divided amongst my children whose names is as follows:
Allen Jennings, Betty Boaz, John Jennings, Billy Jennings,
Frankey Arnold, Bob Jennings, Aggie Arnold, Cain Jennings,
Davy Jennings, Clem Jennings.
I order that my loving wife, Rachel Jennings, shall be maintained during her life with decency. I give to my son Sam Jennings, the other half of my land that I now live on, containing one hundred and ninety acres, to his heirs and assigns forever, the one hundred and ninety acres of land that I have lent to my loving wife, at her decease I give to my son Dick Jennings, to his heirs and assigns forever. The other half that I have not lent my wife of my personal estate I order it to be sold and equally divided among my three sons Sam, Dick, and Doctor Jennings. What remains of my personal estate I have lent to my loving wife, after her decease I give to my son Doctor Jennings forever and lastly. I do hereby constitute and appoint Sam Jennings and Robert Kelso my executors whereunto I have set my hand and seal this first day of October, 1794.
This will was presented at Court and ordered to be recorded on order of minute book page 186.Extract of Reply of Alton,L. Jordan to
The American Consul General at London
in THE JENNINGS CASE.
. This is the first suit ever instituted in the Jennings Estate on behalf of the American heirs. It is based on new facts and entirely new evidence of new and closer kinship. The expense of this case has necessarily been great from the time it began, having come over a period of nearly six years of almost constant questing of facts upon which to found the case, to the present stage of litigation, requiring an outlay of thousands of dollars, including the cost of six trips to England, the present trip being necessary on account of your intimidation of our Solicitors; and it is no exaggeration to state that your Department and the Post Office Department have cost the Jennings heirs $2,000.00--an unfair tax unjustly imposed upon them. I am unable to find in your report any object except an obvious effort to mislead the Jennings heirs, to arrest their interest, to dissuade their enthusiasm, and to obstruct the enforcement of their equitable rights in a foreign country. In further denouncing the unfairness of your report I am bound to observe that it was either written with apparent juvenile haste, or prepared by one who was so bent upon, inaccuracies and inconsistencies as to confuse issue and law and so blinded by prejudice as to be willing to weaken justice, and so inclined to misrepresenting as to give appearance to the preferment of easy falsehood to fair judgement which, to say the least, is the most unusual Interference and odd meddlement into the personal affairs of private citizens that has ever come to my attention. I am sure that there had never been, written and issued to citizens of the United States by a public official concerning private litigation a report so unjust, so unwarranted, so prejudiced and so grossly unfair as your said report of February, 1932, in so far as it relates to the Jennings Estate.
English Chancery Court Releases Estate after Long Fight.
The incredible has happened. The Court of Chancery of England has released one-quarter of a $40,000,000 estate and one of the principal beneficiaries of the order is a young Francisco society matron, Mrs. Franklin P. Bull. Mrs. Bull's share of the $10,000,000 ordered by Master in Chancery Hugo Friend to be paid out to the heirs of the Jennings estate, is problematical but it may well run up into the millions. The estate went into Chancery more than 100 years ago and the various family ramifications and possible heirs have so spread out that only when the payments are made will the exact amount be known.
There is a strange anomaly attached to this famous English Court. It takes over estates and very rarely distributes them. But, when it once makes up its mind to do so, it insists on immediate proof of heirship. Those that prove within a certain time have the estate divided between them. Mrs. Bull's 's husband being an attorney, has the proofs at hand, and these are being forwarded to London to a firm of solicitors, who have promised to collect. Of course, for an adequate percentage. Mrs Bull, who lives in Ingelside Terraces, 2049 Ocean Avenue, explained the situation yesterday, so far as she knows it.
"My maiden name" she said, "was Marie Cavalins, and I am the granddaughter on my mother's side of Mrs. Mary Hurley, who was the niece and sole heir of Colonel Berriman Jennings. My mother had four sisters, three of whom are living and they, of course, share in the estate.
"Now to go back to the
beginning so far as we know it:
A firm of attorneys in Virginia made up a family tree in 1861, which dates the Jennings back to 1531 and the ownership of a farm on the banks of the Thames near London. By the early part of last century this property was within London and had increased greatly in value. Then, so far as we can learn, there was some difficulty over inheritance owing to one of the Jennings' outliving his son and heir. So the estate was put into Chancery. As the years rolled by and railroads came and London spread, the value of the property kept increasing and the rents were impounded and increased on compound interest until a huge amount of money was in the custody of the court. Meanwhile the old Jennings, John D., died leaving five grandchildren, George T., John A., and Charles Jennings and Mrs. Edna Quist and Florence F. Brady. Three of them came to the United States and settled in Virginia and Kentucky. John A Jennings was the father of Colonel Berriman Jennings who settled in Oregon and whose heir my grandmother was.
"We know nothing of the heirs of the other four Jennings. There may be a great many and there may be none, But the court order, as we understand it divides the first payment of $10,000,000 between the heirs of the five so that, should heirs show up for all the other four, our share will be $2,000,000.
"My husband has located the family tree which gives absolute proof of our descendancy and we feel sure, judging by what we hear from England, that there will be no trouble."
Ref.4- Prince Edward Co. Miscellaneous Papers
1755-Tithables from Buffalo to the Co. line
Robert Jennings 1. p. 5
Elkanah Jennings 1 p. (Wm. Mackie List)
Prince Edward Co. Deeds Book 1 1754-1763. Deed Book I p. 19--
Jennings of Prince Edward Coo to Elkanah Jennings of Prince
Edward Co. 200 acres lying on Sawney's Creek in Prince Edward Co.
adjoining Hill. Recorded Sept. 10, 1754.
W. S. Morton, 85 years old genealogist of Farmville
Prince Edward Co., Va. wrote that in some loose papers in the
Amelia Court House Va. he found that a Robert Jennings Apr. 8,
1747 had 400 acres of land surveyed on Sawney Creek and in 1750
had 292 acres more surveyed on Sawney Creek.
In the Prince Edward Co. records at Farmville is the deed
record that July 15, 1754 Robert Jennings and his wife Rachel
sold 200 acres of land to Elkanah Jennings for ten pounds.
Refs.5- Amelia County Records
This is the John born Sept. 2 (son of Robert) 1698
in St. Peter's Parish Now Kent Co. Va. (now Hanover Co. Va.).
When John sold out that 400 acres with Improvements for S$1.25
1747 the stock was sold also and John evidently moved away,
Ref. 6- St. Peter Parish Records
In St Peters Parish Now Kent Co. 1752 is record that
William Jennings signed deed on Vaughn Creek.
In 1747 dead on Vaughn Creek the wife of John was named Mary,
This is William born 1702, son of Robert Jr.,
Will of Robert Jennings of Hanover County, Virginia.
made December 6th, 1750, and placed on record in Hanover
County Court on July 6, 1758, which records have been destroyed
by fires: but Robert Jennings of Richmond, Va. had a copy; handed
down from his ancestors
He mentions In his will- "Mary Jennings-his wife-who was
a Garland, and the following
John Garland Jennings
Extract from will
Copy given State Library,
Richmond, Va. by
Ref . 10-
Robert Jennings, son of the above, was First Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War, Will Feb. 21st, 1805, had the
Charlotte County, Va.
Extract from will. Sons
Robert G. Jennings
Clement A. Jennings - Ancestor of Robert Jennings or, Richmond, Va.
John R. Jennings
Mary Latane Jennings Married William Gaine
Judith Jennings Married George Revele
His wife was Mary Ann Clement not mentioned in will,
Robert Sr. ------Robert Jr.------Robert Will of 1758---------Robert Lt. In Rev. War born 1745 died 1806
Died 1716 born 1670 John 1698
William William born 1702----------------Robert died 1794
See Ref. 10.