Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bazil Jenkins, Free Man of Color

B. Jenkins
Born Aug. 20th
Died Oct. 16th
Erected by his servant

Under a bush beside the above tombstone is another marker:

[broken at the top] memory
Wm. J. Jenkins
Born October 12th
And departed this life
January 25, 1846

There surely must be a story behind the inscription on these old, weathered tombstones in Smithland Cemetery, in Livingston County, Kentucky. Were B. and Wm. J. Jenkins related? How did the servant, Bazil, figure into the picture?

A little research provides some clues. Caldwell County, Kentucky Inventory, Appraisement and Sale Book 1, pages 221 and 317 (recorded 18 August 1828)has two important entries. The first, dated 15 September 1826, is the appraisement of the estate of Bartholomew Jenkins. The second entry, recorded 18 August 1828, states that William and Bartholomew Jenkins were orphans of B. Jenkins dec'd.

Ok. So B. Jenkins was really Bartholomew and William was his brother, but what about Bazil?

The 1840 Livingston County federal census shows listings for Bazil Jenkins and Barth W. Jenkins. Wm. J. Jenkins is not listed as head of household, but perhaps he was living with another family. Basil Jenkins' household consists of 1 free male colored person and 1 free female colored person. Both were between the ages of 24 and 35. One person was employed in the navigation of canals, rivers, etc. The Barth W. Jenkins household consisted of 1 white male and one white female, both between the ages of 20 and 30. One person was employed in commerce.

There is no probate record for B. Jenkins, but William J. Jenkins left a will in Livingston County (Will Book B, page 114, dated 19 October 1845 and probated 2 February 1846). In this will, he mentions that he is to be buried beside his brother in Smithland Cemetery. He also mentions that his servant Bazil is to be free. "He has been a good and kind servant to me and I wish him to remain in slavery no longer."

Apparently, it was known that Bazil was to be freed as he is listed as a "Free Colored Person" on the 1840 Livingston County census and "Free Negro" on the 1844 Livingston County tax list. On the 1850 Livingston County census, Bazel, age 37, was listed as an engineer. Living with him was Araminta Jenkins, also age 37. Was she his wife?

By the 1860 Livingston County census, Araminta was gone. Bazil was listed as age 50 and was still an engineer. Living in his household were Edmond and Polly McAuley and 14 year old Cassander. All were listed as Mulattoes. Bazil Jenkins and Cassander McAuley/McCawley were married 14 January 1866 in Pope County, Illinois.

That is the last record I have found for Bazil Jenkings. Did he move away? Did he die?


Janet said...

Hi Brenda,

According to the Livingston Co. Mortality Schedule, Araminta died in January 1860 from consumption. I have a description of her as "about 5'6", yellow complexion, no scars" (I need to find source.)


jclovan said...

I have often pondered but unable to determine if there is a relation between the Jenkins & my husband's Ross ancestors. Thought you might like to see this:

Guardian's Bonds
Caldwell County, KY
1823 ~1833
19 Feb 1827
Bartholomew JENKINS appointed guardian for William J. JENKINS & Bartholomew JENKINS, heirs & infants of Bartholomew JENKINS dec’d. Securities: Andrew ROSS & Saml. HARMAN. Note 1 Jan 1827: “Your petitioner being a son & an heir of Bartholomew JENKINS dec’d and of the age of fifteen years and my father dying intestate I Solicit your honorable body that Bartholomew JENKINS Junr may be appointed my Guardian... [signed] Wm. J. JENKINS. P.S. I was born on November 10th 1811 according to my fathers register. “

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

Very interesting. Thank you.