Monday, November 26, 2018

Did James Jennings (c1770-1838) Marry Twice?

For years all I have known about the James Jennings, son of Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815), my four times great grandfather, is that James was mentioned in his father's will and he married Rebecca Waldron.

Snippet of the last will and testament of Benjamin Jennings, dated 27 March
1815; courtesy of

Rebecca Waldron was the sister of Anna Mariah Waldron, the wife of James' brother, John:
  • John W. Jennings married Anna Mariah Waldron on 19 January 1805 in Bedford County, Virginia
  • James Jennings married Rebecca Waldron on 8 April 1816 in Bedford County
Most researchers of the Waldron family state Rebecca (Waldron) Jennings died in 1883 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, but I have not found a document that supports the death date or location. And that death date is causing me no little confusion.

Recently, I found a 52-page pension file on Fold3 for a Mary (Hawkins) Jennings. In the application she states that her husband served as a private during the War of 1812 with Captain William Flood's Company, which was formed in Buckingham County, Virginia. The company was formed on 29 December 1813 and marched to Norfolk, Virginia, where it was organized into the 5th Virginia Militia. Soldiers in the unit were part of the defense of Norfolk during the war. They were mustered out on 11 April 1814. This is the same unit in which John W. Jennings, Sr., served during the exact same time period. So I believe the two brothers -- James and John -- served together during the War of 1812.

Mary applied for her pension in April 1878 and was approved to receive a monthly payment of $8.00 on 20 December 1878. In the application was new information if I have the correct James Jennings:
  • James married Mary Hawkins in 1831 in Lynchburg
  • Mary grew up in Bedford County
  • James and Mary had at least one daughter named Martha Jane Jennings (born in 1833)
  • James drowned in 1838 in Lynchburg
  • Mary never remarried
  • Mary died in 1884 in Lynchburg
Page 9 of Mary (Hawkins) Jennings' widow's pension
application; courtesy of

All of this fits together quite nicely except for the 1883 death date for Rebecca Waldron. If she died before 1831, I would be sure I have the service information for the correct James Jennings. Thoughts?

Fort Norfolk
John W. Jennings, Sr. (1776-1858): War of 1812 Veteran

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