Joseph Jenks, Sr. (August 26, 1599 to March 16, 1683) - Born in St. Anne, Blackfriars, London, England. He married Joan (Jone) Hearne on November 5, 1627 in Horton, Buckingham, England. Together they had three children. Elizabeth died as a child. After Joan's death in 1634, he immigrated to America in 1642. He left his two sons, Joseph Jr. and George William with relatives. Joseph Jr. followed his father to America in 1645. Joseph Sr. married a second time to Elizabeth Darling, somewhere around 1650.
Joseph Sr. was a blacksmith and sword maker. In 1642 he was arrested and plagued because of his sturdy independence and outspoken opinions. He fled Lynn, Massachusetts to Rhode Island where he found a more tolerant form of faith than that of the Lynn Puritans.
He founded the now historic Saugus Iron Works. He received the first American patent, issued from England, in 1646 for his invention of a water driven mill. The mill was used to produce scythes (another of his inventions) and other cutting tools. He was quoted as saying about his inventions that they were "for speedy dispatch of much work with few hands". He also made the first sawmill, fire engine and dies for the famous Pine Tree money, the earliest coinage minted in the colonies. He died in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, but his fame lives to the present day.
*Early historical writings of this unique man once identified him as the husband of Mary Tervyn of the Parish of All Hallows in London. However, another record search was done by Meridith B. Colket, Jr., F.A.S.G. under the terms of the will of Harlan W. Jenks to supplement William B. Browne's "Jenkes Family in America". "The Jenks Family of England ", which obviously entailed much research throughout England, showed that, in fact, the Joseph Jenks who married Mary Tervyn and the Joseph Jenks who came to America, were not the same person.
English records contain a great deal of information on the Joseph Jenks who married Mary Tervyn, including their marriage and the baptism of only one child, a daughter Sarah. Further records through 1642 show him elevated to the rank of livery, having paid taxes and notes of failure to pay dues in 1641 and 1642. In September 1642 letters of administration on his estate were granted to Mary , at the time the other Joseph was in America.
New record searches in England were done using first, the important clue that, traditionally, it was stated that Joseph Jenks came from Hammersmith or Hounslow, near London. These two towns were located in the County of Middlesex, six miles apart and in the parishes of Fulham and Isleworth, respectively. The records of the parish of Isleworth, although badly damaged by fire, show the death of "Jone (Joan) Jeankes, wif of Joseaff Jeankes was buryed in 1634.5" and Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Jenks buried in 1638, proving a Joseph Jenks was of that area at that time frame.
Another clue (found in his application for a patent), stated that Joseph was employed in the manufacture of sharp iron instruments, such as scythes and edged tools. Found in England at the Powysland Museum at Welshpool, Wales was an early 17th century sword inscribed "Joseph Jenckes", "Hounslow". These two pieces of evidence confirmed that a Joseph Jenks did reside in the area of Hounslow, and was a worker of iron, and widowed.
Essex Co., MA. records in 1678 and in 1681 contain depositions from Joseph Jenks where he gives his age at 76 and 81, respectively. This would place his date of birth between 1599/1602.
In England, three miles from Hammersmith and at the west end of London, is the parish of St. Anne, Blackfriars, where parish records yielded the following "1596/7 Sarah daughter of John Ginks, Feb.ruary VI(6)", "1599 Joseph sonne of John Ginkes, August 26". Also found was the Marriage of "John Jenkes of St. Anne, Blackfriars, London, cutler, and Sarah Fulwater of London, spinster, daughter of Henry Fulwater, of St. Anne, Blackfriars, aforesaid, cutler, gen. lic. 8 January 1595/6".
So it was established without doubt that a Joseph Jenks was the son of John, and the family of that John were, in fact, of the area traditionally believed, but more was needed to determine if it was "our" Joseph.
Tradition placed the birth of his son Joseph Jenks, Jr. at 1632, in Colnbrook, on the River Cole, Buckinghamshire. In Buckinghamshire is Colnbrook, on River Colne in the parish of Horton. Horton parish registers yielded one single Jenkes entry "Joseph Jinkes ye sonne of Joseph Jinks bap. October 12, 1628". This was four years earlier than what had been believed to be the date of the birth of Joseph Jenks, Jr., so a search for proof of age of Joseph Jr., in America was done.
The unpublished Providence Town Papers in the library of the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence contains a deposition from Joseph Jenks Jr., dated Nov. 27, 1708, giving his age as "81 years or thereabout", placing his birth at 1628. It then is thought that confusion came from the fact that 1632 was actually his wife's year of birth.
With all of this evidence in England verifying what was already believed in America, a new search was made to determine the actual wife of Joseph Jenks. Bishop's Transcripts of the parish of Horton yielded the marriage entry "Joseph Jenkes and Ellen Hearne were married on the fifth day of November 1627". Apparently the minister failed to record the marriage in his own register, but reported it to the Bishop.
However, the name Ellen did not jive with the name of "Jone", whose death record appeared earlier. Since no other records of the death or marriage appear for Joseph, Jone or Ellen Hearne, it was not believed that he had two wives in England.
Even though the Bishop's records are official, and cannot be disputed, it is believed that in fact, an error occurred the Bishop had entered two weeks earlier the marriage of Ellen Hearne to a Richard Norris, and then the marriage of Joseph Jenks and Ellen Hearne again. It is believed that as he entered these, he simply recopied Ellen because the last name of both women were the same.
English records of Colnbrook in Horton have many entries of George and John Hearne, who were brothers, believed to be the sons of William; the only Hearnes living there at that time. Both named daughters Joan, but Ellen was used only by George, so it may have been a name from his wife's family.
The greatest piece of evidence for this being the correct family of Hearnes is the fact that Joseph Jenks, widower, left his son Joseph Jr., with his wife's family, with money for his upkeep and to travel to America when he came of age. But records indicate that George Hearne died in 1643, and so Joseph Jr., came to America at about age 16, after his grandfather's death, but prior to coming of age.
Joseph Jenks, widower, came to America and settled at Lynn, MA. His exact date of immigration to America has not yet been ascertained. He was in Hounslow as late as 1638 when a daughter was buried. He was evidently in Maine before June 25, 1642, when George Cleaves sailed for England and forged Joseph's name to a petition to Parliament. Joseph's name appears in New Hampshire records November 10, 1642.
Here in America, he married Elizabeth Darling. He was a blacksmith, cutler and machinist. He was granted the first patent in America for a water mill he invented for the Saugus iron works. He also invented a new type of scythe of which is still used today. He built the first fire engine in this country and designed and cut the dies for the famous pine tree shilling, the first American coinage. He was referred to as "a man of great genius".
Joan (or Jone) Hearne (1607 to February 28, 1634/35) Born in 1607 in St. Anne, Blackfriers, London, England. Joan was christened in Colnbrook, In Horton, Buckinghamshire, England in 1607. Daughter of George William and Catherine Hearne. She was the first wife of Joseph Jenks and the mother of Joseph Jr., Elizabeth, and William. She died on February 28, 1634/35 in Ilseworth, Hounslow, London, England.
Elizabeth Darling (1604 to July 1679) Joseph's second wife. They were married in Lynn, Essex, Massachussetts sometime around 1650. She was the mother of Sarah, Samuel, Deborah, John and Daniel.