Friday, February 2, 2018

52 Ancestors #5: Powhatan Perrow Jennings (1812-1858): A Life Cut Short

Ancestor Name: Powhatan Perrow Jennings, two times great grandfather
DNA Haplogroup: I-M253

According to his headstone, Powhatan Perrow Jennings was born on Christmas Day 1812. However, it is unlikely Powhatan's family celebrated Christmas the way many of us do today since those traditions are little more than 150 years old. Many historians believe the holiday customs we cherish were invented as a response to sectionalism, civil war, urbanization and industrialization. When Powhatan was born, Virginia's planter class took the occasion of Christmas to hunt, feast, dance, gamble, and visit each other much as their English ancestors did. Other Virginians hardly took any notice of the holiday at all.

Powhatan was fourth child and son of John W. Jennings, Sr., and his wife, Anna Mariah Walrond (now spelled Waldron) and he was likely born in Buckingham County, Virginia. His father was a farmer, but volunteered to serve in the Virginia Militia during the War of 1812. For four months during early 1815 he was in Norfolk, stationed at Fort Norfolk, part of the regiment responsible for defending the city and its port from the British.

Unlike a million other Virginians who moved westward, out of state between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Powhatan's father remained in Virginia. Tobacco, the crop that was the foundation of state's agricultural economy seemed to have run its course. The plant quickly depleted nutrients in the soil and the increased popularity of smoking made the tobacco grown in the piedmont region less valuable.

Mill, blacksmith and tannery at New Canton, Virginia; courtesy of the
Library of Virginia

I assume Powhatan grew up in Buckingham County on his father's farm. We don't know if the family moved around while in Buckingham County, but in 1820 they lived near New Canton. The town had been established by the General Assembly by decree in 1793 and was laid out on the south shore of the James River near the mouth of Bear Garden Creek on a bluff above Cannon's Ferry, a service which had operated for many years. One of the state tobacco inspection warehouses was built in the town in 1804.

Married Catherine Jewell

Powhatan's father moved to Amherst County sometime between 1830 and 1850. Perhaps, that is how Powhatan met his future wife, Catherine B. Jewell, daughter of Thomas Jewell and Sarah Downs. They married in Amherst County on 23 February 1836. Catherine was born in 1813 in Amherst County. Her father had died in 1833 when she was under the age of 21 and legally considered an "infant" by the court. Her three elder brothers, Jesse, James, Terresha (known as Terry) Jewell, were appointed her guardian on 21 October 1833.

When the 1840 census was enumerated, Powhatan and Catherine lived in Buckingham County, and had two sons who were under 5 years of age. Powhatan owned one slave.

In 1837, Catherine's grandmother, Mary Downs died, leaving her husband's estate to be distributed according to his will. The will divided his land among his three sons and his personal property among his three daughters. Since all his daughters were deceased, their children were entitled to a share of the value of her grandfather, Henry Downs' personal estate which became available for distribution after his wife's death. In 1841 after filing suit against the administrator of Henry's estate, Powhatan and Catherine received $74.84 plus interest from 1837.[1]

By 1850, Powhatan had moved his growing family, which now included six children to Amherst County. His father and several brothers also lived and farmed in the county.[2] Powhatan's farm consisted of 200 acres of which 100 were improved. He valued the farm at $1,000 and his farm tools and implements at $80. He had horses, milk cows, working oxen, other cattle, sheep and pigs and his total stock was valued at $630. His sheep produced 20 pounds of wool and the dairy cows produced 100 pounds of butter as well as gallons of milk, I'm sure. He grew wheat, corn, oats, and potatoes but no tobacco. He also owned 6 slaves: one 20-year-old male, one 25-year-old female and four little boys, ranging in age from 9 to 5 years old. I believe, but am not positive the 5-year-old boy was named Alexander.[3]

Snippet from the 1850 Slave Schedule; courtesy of Ancestry.com

Married Elizabeth Rhodes

In early 1854 Powhatan's wife, Catherine, died. She was interred at the Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church Cemetery in Fancy Hill, Virginia. Her six children ranged in age from 16 to 4 years old at the time of her death and Powhatan wasted no time remarrying. He married Elizabeth A. Rhodes, daughter of John Rhodes and Lucretia Harrison, on 10 May 1854 in Amherst County. She was 23 years his junior. They had a daughter in 1855.

Powhatan was mortally ill with dysentery when he wrote his will on 18 August 1858. He died two days later. His will was probated on 20 September and his death was registered with the county on 11 October. The abstract of his will included in The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1761-1865 on page 192 simply says that one of his sons was to superintend his estate until the youngest child was 21 years old. An inventory valued the estate at $5,495.75.[4] He was interred at Tudor Hall Cemetery in Fancy Hill, Virginia. Like his father's will, the will book which included Powhatan's will and probate records is not available on Ancestry.com; so I have ordered it from the Amherst County Circuit Court.

We know nothing of Powhatan's politics and are left wondering if naming one of his sons Zachariah Taylor Jennings provides a clue. Gen. Zachary Taylor was a national hero as a result of his victories during the Mexican-American War and a reluctant politician. He was elected president in 1848 as a Whig candidate. Though a southern slaveholder, his main political goal was to preserve the union and achieve sectional harmony. To that end, he did not push the expansion of slavery in the lands newly won from Mexico. When the Civil War erupted, three of Powhatan's sons served in the Confederate States Army.

Children Marry

His children by his first wife remained on the farm in 1860. His eldest son, John, married while on furlough from his military unit for illness in 1863; the remaining children married after the war was over. Most of his children went on to establish deep roots in Amherst County and some descendants still live in the county today. Four of his sons married into the Johnson and Miller families.

The Jennings-Miller marriages in Amherst County, Virginia; created
using Microsoft PowerPoint

Benjamin Franklin Jennings and William Henry Jennings married three sisters. William married three times and his third wife was a first cousin of his first two wives.

Sons of Powhatan -- Charles and Zachariah -- marry their first cousin's
daughters, Mary and Nancy Johnson; created using Microsoft Powerpoint

Charles Edward Jennings and Zachariah Taylor Jennings married sisters, too, who were also their first cousins once removed.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. The theme for this week was "In the Census." I used the 1850 federal, agricultural and slave census schedules to describe the type of farm Powhatan owned and his family.

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Powhatan Perrow Jennings is Ancestor number 16 on my family tree:

16.0 Powhatan Perrow Jennings, born 25 December 1812 in Buckingham County, Virginia; died 20 August 1858 in Amherst County, Virginia; married 1) Catherine B. Jewell, daughter of Thomas Jewell and Sarah Downs, on 23 February 1836 in Amherst County, and 2) Elizabeth A. Rhodes, daughter of John Rhodes and Lucretia Harrison, on 10 May 1854 in Amherst County. 

17.0 Catherine Jewell born in 1813 in Amherst County, daughter of Thomas Jewell and Sarah Downs, died in 1854 in Amherst County; married Powhatan Perrow Jennings on 23 February 1836.

Known issue:

16.1 John Thomas Jennings, born about 1838 in Virginia; died after 1905; married 1) Margaret Ellen Tomlinson, daughter of Andrew or Ambrose Tomlinson, on 1 July 1863 in Amherst County; and 2) Ellen Camp, a widow, on 28 May 1902 in Nelson County, Virginia.

16.2 William Henry Jennings, born 13 Feb 1839 in Virginia; died 23 September 1929 in Amherst County; married 1) Sarah Frances Miller, daughter of Daniel Sheffey Miller and Jane Woodson Layne on 9 November 1870 in Amherst County, 2) Nancy Jane Miller, a sister of his first wife, on 15 February 1881 in Amherst County, and 3) Eva Byrd Miller, daughter of George Miller and Mary Jane Parrish and a first cousin of his first two wives, on 3 Mary 1892 in Amherst County.

8.0 Charles Edward Jennings, born 23 September 1843 in Amherst County; died 10 August 1917 in Erwin, Tennessee; married 1) Nancy "Nannie" Jane Johnson, daughter of William Marshall Johnson and Martha Ann Jennings[5], on 23 December 1873, and 2) Effie Beard, daughter of David Fleming Beard, Sr., and Barbara Ann Mitchell, in June 1895.

16.3 Frances Ann Jennings, born about 1845 in Amherst County; died 15 June 1891 in Amherst County; married James Adolphus Coleman, son of Jesse Coleman and Susan Grant, on 22 December 1869 in Amherst County.

16.4 Zachariah Taylor Jennings, born 2 October 1848 in Amherst County; died 28 July 1926 in Amherst County; married Mary "Molly" Elizabeth Johnson, daughter of William Marshall Johnson and Martha Ann Jennings (and sister of his brother, Charles' wife, Nannie), on 14 December 1871 in Amherst County.

16.5 Benjamin Franklin Jennings, born 6 November 1850 in Amherst County; died 1 May 1917 in Amherst County; married Mary Elizabeth Miller, daughter of Daniel Sheffey Miller and Jane Woodson Layne, on 23 May 1873 in Amherst County.

16.6 Willie Ann Jennings, daughter of Powhatan and his second wife, Elizabeth A. Rhodes, born on 23 November 1855 in Amherst County; died 3 November 1903; married Dudley Caddis Dawson, son of Sidney Dawson and Narcissia Hudson, on 27 August 1870 in Amherst County.

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[1] Fauquier County Chancery 1841-009.
[2] See analysis of farms of John W. Jennings and his sons, which was published on 26 January 2018 John W. Jennings, Sr. (1776-1858): War of 1812 Veteran
[3] Slave deaths were registered in Amherst County and between 1853 and 1863 the slave owners named was included on the entry. A 12-year-old slave named Alexander, belonging to Powhatan Perrow Jennings died of typhoid fever on 23 October 1857. He was added to the Slave Name Roll 29 Dec 2015.
[4] I have ordered his probate records from the Amherst County Circuit court and will update this post with the additional information I am sure they contain.
[5] Martha Ann Jennings was a first cousin of Charles Edward Jennings, the daughter of John W. Jennings, Jr. Therefore, Charles' first wife was his first cousin once removed.

Sources:
1840 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: Southern District, Buckingham County, Virginia, for Powhalan W Jennings; Roll: 550; Page: 391; Family History Library Film: 0029683 (accessed 8 Sep 2017)
1850 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: Eastern, Amherst County, Virginia, for Pawhaten Jenning; Roll: M432_933; Page: 149B; Image: 300 (accessed 15 Jul 2013)
1850 U.S. Federal Non-Population Census (Agricultural), Census Place: Eastern District, Amherst County, Virginia, for Powhatan Jennings; Archive Collection No.: T1132; Roll: 1; Page: 190; Line: 11 (accessed 15 Jul 2013)
1850 U.S. Federal Census (Slave Schedule), Census Place: Amherst County, Virginia for Male 20 Years; Line:12; FHL microfilm: 444,973 (accessed 4 Aug 2017)
1850 U.S. Federal Census (Slave Schedule), Census Place: Amherst County, Virginia for Male 9 Years; Line:13; FHL microfilm: 444,973 (accessed 4 Aug 2017)
1850 U.S. Federal Census (Slave Schedule), Census Place: Amherst County, Virginia for Male 7 Years; Line:14; FHL microfilm: 444,973 (accessed 4 Aug 2017)
1850 U.S. Federal Census (Slave Schedule), Census Place: Amherst County, Virginia for Male 5 Years; Line:15; FHL microfilm: 444,973 (accessed 4 Aug 2017)
1850 U.S. Federal Census (Slave Schedule), Census Place: Amherst County, Virginia for Male 3 Years; Line:16; FHL microfilm: 444,973 (accessed 4 Aug 2017)
1850 U.S. Federal Census (Slave Schedule), Census Place: Amherst County, Virginia for Female 25 Years; Line:17; FHL microfilm: 444,973 (accessed 4 Aug 2017)
Amherst County, Virginia, Register of Deaths in the District of Y. A. Brown Commissioner, for the year ending December 31st 1858, P. P. Jennings, Octo. 11
Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book: 15; Page: 31; Powhatan Jennings Will
Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book: 15; Page: 159; Administrator's Bond for estate of Powhatan Jennings
Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book: 15; Page: 203; Inventory of the estate of Powhatan Jennings
Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book: 15; Page: 607; Administrator's 1859 account of the estate of Powhatan Jennings
Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book: 16; Page: 382; Administrator's 1860 account of the estate of Powhatan Jennings
Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book: 17; Page: 50; Administrator's 1863 account of the estate of Powhatan Jennings
Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book: 17; Page 103; Administrator's 1866 account of land sales from estate of Powhatan Jennings
Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book: 17; Page: 134; Administrator's 1866 account of estate of Powhatan Jennings
Ancestry.com, Virginia Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1607-1890, Powhatan Jennings, Page 785 (accessed 4 Aug 2017)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, P P Jennings, Death Place: Amherst, Virginia, Death Year: 1858; FHL Film No.: 2056972 (accessed 1 Aug 2013)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, P. P. Jennings as the father of the groom, C. E. Jennings, FHL Film No. 30311 (accessed 9 Nov 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, P. P. Jennings and E. Rhodes, citing Amherst County, 10 May 1854, FHL Film No.: 30311 (accessed 1 Aug 2013)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, P. R. Jennings as father of the groom, B. F. Jennings, FHL Film No. 30311 (accessed 24 Nov 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, Powhatan as father of the groom, W. H. Jennings, FHL Film No. 32734 (accessed 12 Dec 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, Powhatan Jennings and Catherine Jewell, citing Amherst County, Virginia, 23 Feb 1836, FHL Film No.: 30273 (accessed 2 Aug 2013)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, Powhatan Jennings as father of the bride, Frances A. Jennings, FHL Film No.: 3011 (accessed 24 Nov 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, Powhatan Jennings as father of the bride, Nellie A. Jennings, FHL Film No. 30311 (accessed 24 Nov 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, Powhatan Jennings as father of the groom, Wm. H. Jennings, FHL Film No. 30311 (accessed 9 Nov 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, Powhatan Jennings as father of the groom, William H. Jennings, FHL Film No. 30311 (accessed 24 Nov 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, Powhaten P. Jennings as father of the groom, Zachariah T. Jennings, FHL Film No.: 30311 (accessed 24 Nov 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marragies, 1785-1940, Powhaton B. Jennings as father of the groom, John T. Jennings, FHL Film No.: 30311 (accessed 24 Nov 2015)
Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940, Pown. as father of the groom, Jno. T. Jennings, FHL Film No. 32734 (accessed 12 Dec 2015)
Bryan, Charles F., Jr. Virginia, the unsettled state Richmond Times-Dispatch [Richmond, VA], 21 Feb 2016 (accessed 20 Jan 2018)
Davis, Bailey (compiler). The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia, 1761-1865, (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1985), several pages
Discovering Henry Downs, A "New" 4X Great Grandfather, Tangled Roots and Trees 20 Jan 2018)
Discovering My Local Family History Center. Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 20 Jan 2018)
Doughtie, Beatrice, Documented Notes on Jennings and Allied Families, (Decatur, GA: Bowen Press, 1961), pages 637-641).
Families on the Farm. Teaching History (accessed 20 Jan 2018)
John W. Jennings, Sr. (1776-18580: War of 1812 Veteran, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 26 Jan 2018)
Library of Virginia, Virginia Chancery Records, Fauquier County 1841-009 Jesse Jewell et al v Luther O. Sullivan (accessed 28 Dec 2017)
New Canton, Virginia. Wikipedia (accessed 20 Jan 2018)
Restad, Penne. Christmas in 19th Century America. History Today, 12 Dec 1995 (accessed 20 Jan 2018)
Rural Life in Virginia. Virginia Historical Society, Virginia History Explorer (accessed 20 Jan 2018)
Slave Named Alexander, A. Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 20 Jan 2018)
U.S. Bureau of the Census, Agricultural Schedules: 1850-1900 (accessed 5 May 2014)
U.S. Find A Grave, Memorial No: 127484632
U.S. Find A Grave, Memorial No: 127484193 (accessed 16 Jul 2013)
Zachary Taylor. Wikipedia (accessed 20 Jan 2018)

John W. Jennings (1776-1858): War of 1812 Veteran
Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815): Last Will and Testament
Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815): Morgan's Riflemen
Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815): Beginnings and Endings
Who Was the Original Jennings Immigrant?
Did John W. Jennings, Sr. (c1777-1858) Marry His Niece?
Discovering my Local History Center

3 comments:

  1. I'm really enjoying your 52 Ancestors posts and love your charts for the relationships.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have unearthed a fascinating, well documented family history. What is the origin of Powhaton’s unusual Christian name?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surpringly, Powhatan was a fairly popular name during the time “my” Powhatan was born. I think it had to do with the 200th anniversary of Jamestown, the first successful colony in the U.S. in 1806. From DNA several people on my Jennings side of the family, there is no evidence we have Native American blood.

      Delete