Jennings Family History

This is an exact transcript of an oral family history and contains spelling, punctuation and, very likely, some factual errors. The story is told by Mary Lee Reynolds Cooper, daughter of Susan Mayne Jennings Reynolds and grand-daughter of Henry S. Jennings and Nancy Landrum. It was compiled about 1940 by Mrs. Cooper’s daughter, Mary T. Cooper Clayton.

My Ancestors and Their Progeny
by Mary Lee Reynolds Cooper

My maternal grandparents were, Henry Jennings who married Miss Nancy Landrum of Oglethorpe County, Georgia; Grandpa was of Greene County, Georgia.

Grandpa’s people came over from England and settled in Virginia. He was the son of Nelson Jennings who married Miss Henrietta Wilson (a red head).

The Jennings family was prominent in England. Their coat of Arms was a Dragon, while the Royal Coat is the Lion; the Dragon is next in standing.

One of Grandpa Nelson’s uncles in England was a bachelor who died intestate and having a great deal of property to divide among his brothers and sisters, we should have come into a lot, but not yet. All my life I have heard of and looked forward to the English Fortune. My great grandfather, Nelson Jennings, migrated to Georgia, and his brother old Uncle Jimmie Jennings also. Old Uncle Jimmie’s wife was Eliza, and her niece, Cousin Mary Hardester, was quite a figure in trying to procure the fortune, but it got mixed up with Lady Curson and Royalty in England and a lot of rascality; so that is No. 1 fortune.

My Grandfather Jennings had two brothers and four sisters that I know. Uncle Robert Jennings who married Miss Eliza Starke, and they had 13 children. A great many of them died or were killed in the Civil War. Of his children I knew, Cousin William Jennings who married Miss Sue Harris of Walton County, then Cousin Sara Jane Jennings who married Joseph Bradberry; then Cousin Jim known as (lying Jim Jennings) he could tell the yarns; he married Miss Cornelia Rowe; then Cousin Frances (Frank) Jennings who never married; then Cousin Dawson (Daws) who married Miss Lula Woods.

Now old Uncle Giles (Grandpa’s brother) married three times, and all his wives were named Polly. His last wife was the widow Starke, the mother of aunt Eliza (Uncle Robert’s wife). Uncle Roberts’ children called him Grandpa, he was also their uncle, being their father’s brother.

Now Grandpa Henry Jennings had 4 sisters; Aunt Cicely who married William Eidson. They had a lot of children. I remember Cousin Billie Eidson; Cousin Mary, (who married Sherwood Wise), Salida who married a Malcolm (I think) and Cousin Sara who married Frank McLeroy, a Hardshell Baptist preacher. Now the Hardshells believe strongly in foreordination and predestination what is to be will be whether it is or not. Now Cousin Sara and Cousin Frank had several children; Cis who married Billie Malcolm, Mollie who married Tom Poss, Jim who I think married Lizzie Lester, Mattie who married Hugh Poss and George who married Anna Osborne.

Now as I said, Cis (Cousin Frank’s daughter) married Billie Malcolm; and Billie had an ungovernable temper and one morning (I think it was Sunday) got up cross and got angry with the calf and picked up a stick and threw it and broke it’s leg and when his wife reprimanded him he said, I couldn’t help that it was fore ordained before the foundation of the world that I should break that calf’s leg, your father said so in the pulpit.

These are all I recall of Aunt Cicely’s family. Another sister of Grandpa Henry Jennings was Aunt Parmalia (Aunt Mealey) who also married an Eidson (Uncle Joe). I remember only one of her children, Martha Ann Eidson, who married John Jeffries; they had two girls, Mollie and Jodie Jeffries.

Another sister of Grandpa’s was Aunt Lucinda. Once she attended church and after the service the preacher came round greeting the people, shaking hands; he approached Aunt Lucinda and said “good morning mother, your face is familiar but I can’t call your name”. Aunt Lucinda indignantly tossed her head and said “HUMPH!, old fool, Im the mother of nothing”. (She was an old maid)

Grandpa had another sister Aunt Poly. She married Caleb Jennings, no kin to the family that they knew (they called Aunt Polly “Aunt Polly Caleb” to distinguish her from Uncle Giles’ wife.) Aunt Polly Caleb had to my knowledge a daughter, Cousin Susan, who married Dave Waggoner, that is where the Waggoner kin came in.

Grandpa had a half brother Sanford Jennings who went out West and I don’t know if Aunt Polly Caleb was a whole or half sister. As well as I can count it, Grandpa was born about 1788 and died during the Civil War possibly about 1864 He was about fifteen years older than his wife Nancy Landrum.

Grandma (Nancy Landrum Jennings) was born in Oglethorpe County. The Landrums were a prominent family, rather snooty; they didn’t like Grandpa much so he and Grandma eloped. They married at her brother John Landrum’s home. I don’t know too much of the Landrums. There was a Dr. Malcolm Landrum (Cousin Mark) and Cousin Columbus Landrum of Stevens, Georgia. Grandma had a sister, Aunt Sally Hay who had a daughter Florida who married Tom Osborne. Jennings Mill Wheel

Grandpa secured 3000 acres of land in Clarke County, Georgia. He sold 1000 acres to his Ruins of Jennings Millbrother-in-law William Eidson and 1000 acres to his brother Robert and retained 1000 acres for himself. McNut Creek ran through Grandpa’s estate. He built a large merchant grist mill, for flour and meal both. A merchant mill is one where they grind for toll. A customer brings his grain and gives a certain amount to the miller for his pay. The miller takes his toll and sells it for his money.

Grandpa also had a tan yard where they tanned animal hides and converted them into leather. He had a brick yard to make brick, and a cotton gin. Of course all these machines were run by water from old McNut creek from the old mill pond.

Grandpa owned 40 slaves and a wonderful plantation; he was a wealthy Southern planter. The old home was surrounded by large cedar trees and black walnut trees. In front of the front gate was a horse block; it was an elevated flat stone used for a place to alight from or to mount a horse.

Grandpa and Grandma raised thirteen children, four boys and nine girls, and then the youngest was 50 years of age, they were all living and a good while after. Their names were Frances, Henrietta, Sara Ann, Prudence, Matilda, Penelope, Cynthia, Nancy and Susan Mayne (the daughters) – James, Jefferson, Henry and Giles (the sons). JJ and Jerusha Jennings

Uncle James married Miss Jerusha Conner; their children were Zadock, Jefferson (Jeffie) Nancy (Nannie) and Mollie and Hughie. Uncle Jefferson married Miss Elizabeth Evans; their children were Anna, Ella, John, Tom, Cora and Carleton.

Henry Jennings Jr.Uncle Henry married three times, the first Miss Janie McWhorter, then Miss Fannie Callahan, then Miss Sallie Jackson, his first wives died, no children; they had only two children Julian and Lillian (Aunt Sallie’s children).

Uncle Giles married Miss Sadie Thompson. They raised 6 children; Robert Middleton, Benjamin, Walter and Willie (twins), Martha (Mattie) and Rev. Earnest. Bob was a preacher too. That was my mother’s brothers and their families.

Now the girls of the Jennings family, my mother’s sisters; Aunt Frances married William Cook; they had 7 children that I knew. Cousin William, Cousin Jimmie, Cousin Albert, Cousin Henry, Cousin David, Cousin Eveline (Evie) and Cousin Elizabeth (Lizzie). Then Uncle William Cook was killed and Aunt Frances married Jesse Matthews and they had one daughter Frances (Fannie) who married Robert Iverson. Their children were – Jessie, Julia, Lottie, Robert, Jr., Myrtle, Bertie, Frances and Fred.

Next comes Aunt Henrietta who married William Daniel. They had 7 children. Jerry, Greer, Henry, Newt, Zack, Martha and Cynthia. During the war, Aunt Henrietta who lived up above Atlanta on a farm near Smyrna had to refugee to Grandmother’s near Athens. She piled up all her belongings she could get into a wagon along with her children and drove her cows and stock, walking all the way. Uncle William was killed in the war.

Now Aunt Sara Ann who married William Bolton, I can remember 8 of their children, I think this is all of them; Cousin Thomas Bolton was killed in the war, then Jackson, Bolton, Hilliard, Americus, Fannie, Cynthia, Henry and Jeff

Aunt Prudence is next, she married John Sikes. They had 9 children I believe, 4 girls and 5 boys.

Nancy who married David Sims, Susie who married Jack Harper, Fannie who married a Milsaps, Anna who married a Vincent. Aunt Prudence had 5 boys, they were Jim, Ed, Zack, John and Jeff.

Then comes Aunt Matilda who married John Breedlove. They had 10 children. Fannie, Henrietta, Cynthia (Cis), Era and Josephine. Billie, Sylvanus, Harden, Richard and George.

Aunt Penelope married Thomas Epps, they had 5 children; Patrick, Sallie, Tommie, Milton and Early.

Aunt Cynthia married Josiah Butler first. They had 2 children, James Jackson and Lucy Thomas. Uncle Josiah died of fever in the army. Lucy was born after his death. Jimmie married Miss Betty Winn and Lucy married William Doolittle.

After the war Aunt Cynthia married Joseph B. Langford. They had 4 children; Asa Marshall, Arthur, Mary (who died young) and Mattie who married Owen Osborne.

Now for the big show: Aunt Nancy married Seaborn Davenport; they had 13 children and raised 12. They were Charles, Trudel, Stillwell, Walter, Whitfield, Weldon (Sweet), Emulous (Honey), Clifton (Sam), Jennings (Duddie), Marshall; nine boys first, then four girls, Lillie, Clara, Mary and Mattie (who died young). They are scattered over Texas, Oklahoma, etc.

The last but greatest to me comes Susan Mayne (my mother) who married Charles Westly Reynolds. They had one “ewe” Lamb, Mary Lee Reynolds.

In speaking of Aunt Henrietta’s boys, I nearly forgot her son Henry. When they refugeed to Grandmother’s he was small and Grandma believed in children keeping busy. One day Henry remarked, “I’ll tell you boys, the old lady can keep you busy. Another day he got tired and was hid down behind the tan yard and Grandpa called, “Henree”, Henry soliloquized, humph! Henry’s resting.

When Fannie Breedlove, Aunt Matilda’s daughter, was small she delighted in spending the night with her grandmother Breedlove. In those days (I don’t know whether they’ve gone out of style entirely or not) we had “seed ticks”, a tiny insect you get in the woods, (when I was small, if you went to the woods and sat down on a dead log, you’d get full, and oh my! chiggers aren’t in it). So one night and her grandma wasn’t feeling so well and put her to sleep with another of the family; which distressed Fannie. She thought up every excuse and finally said, “Grandma, seed tickie bite yo-po-Fannie, thinking her grandma couldn’t resist that.

Jennings is American; it is Jennens in England.

Uncle James Jennings’ son, Zadock, married Miss Baily Stevens (His cousin on his mother’s side).

Ruthan WiseJeffie married Miss Ruthie Wise.

Ma’s brother Jefferson, as I said, had two girls. Ella who married a Gordon and Cora who married Sam Burns of Villa Rica, Georgia.

Uncle Joe Langford was the son of Rev. Bedford Langford who preached at Mars Hill Baptist Church many years, until his death. Uncle Joe had a twin sister Mary who married Mr. Robert Dicken and another sister Nancy, who married Mr. Alonzo Doolittle. They had several children; Lovick who married Miss Josie Mauldin first and then Miss Allie Fisk. Then Jesse who married Mollie Cook. William who married Lucy Butler (Aunt Cynthias’s daughter by her first marriage). Lucy had 4 children. Vallie who married James Lochlin, James who married Miss Ada Martin, Henry who married Miss Bell Newton, Walter who married first Miss Ozelle Smith and then Miss Edna Kenny. Now back to Miss Nancy’s family. Arthur Doolittle married Sallie Malcolm. Lola Doolittle married Joel Wise, Cousin Mary Wise’s son; she died and Joel married Henry Cobb’s widow Florine. Byron (Biny) I don’t think married; Molly married Tommie Epps (Aunt Penelope’s son). Tommie Doolittle married, but I don’t know who.

Of Aunt Prudence Sike’s children I knew Cousin Nannie Sims best. Nannie raised three children. Henry who married Miss Bulah Pridgeon; Willie who married Miss O’Shields, Emma Leila who married Judge Rufus Burger; and Marcie who died in infancy.

Aunt Penelope, as I said, raised 5 children. Patrick who married Emma Lester, Milton married Jody Lester first and then a Miss Huff; Sallie married Richard Bell and Early married Miss Sunie Hodges first and I don’t know who the last time.

Back in the old days people living in rural districts had family burial grounds called grave yards. Grandpa’s was not far from the homestead. Grandpa and Grandma are buried there; Uncle Jefferson’s wife (Aunt Lizzie) and several of their children are there. Cissie Daniel (Aunt Henrietta’s daughter) who died during the war and Marcie, (Nannie Sims’ baby) and many of the old slaves are buried there. I often wonder how many of the generation know the spot or visit it on the pine covered knoll. Grandpa’s grave stone is Granite, flat top; Grandma’s is white marble, cradle style. I wonder if the stones are erect or tumbled down.

“There their bodies lie under the sod and dew, waiting the Judgement day.”

Don’t let me forget Susan Jennings who married Charles Wesley Reynolds. They had one child, Mary Lee Reynolds, who married William Thomas Cooper, the son of Winston Oliver and Frances Jones Cooper. Tom and Mary had 6 children: Katie Clyde, Samuel Reynolds, Susan, Frances (who died young) Mary Thomas and Ethel Evelyn.

Katie married James Absolom Brown; they had a girl and two boys, Elizabeth, George and Orren and also adopted a girl Audrey Ann. Elizabeth married Lewis Bert Reid; they have one child Rodney. George married Miss Lois Burpett; they have two children George, Jr. (Skeeter) and Sandra. Orren Burnside married Miss Estelle Riley; they have two children; Riley and Lawrence. Audrey Ann married Robert Mincie and then Al Edwards; she has three children, Patty Sue, Judy and Travis Ann.

Samuel Reynolds Cooper married Miss Myrtis Amanda Jett; they have three children. Myrtie Lorena who married Paul Pittman; they have no children. Frances Evelyn who married Ralph Mills; they have three children, Ronnie, Patrick and Francine. Samuel Reynolds, Jr. (Sambo) married Miss Joan Alice Howard; they have one girl Brenda Carol.

Susan Cooper married Curtis Collier; they had two children, Doris Sue (who passed away in her 22nd year) and Charles Curtis Collier who married Miss Vivian (Vicky) Daines; they have two children, Karen Candace and Charles Michael.

Little Frances (who died in her 4th year)

Two little feet went pattering by years ago,
They wandered off to the sunny sky years ago.
They crept not back to the love they left
They climbed never more to the arms bereft—years ago.

Again I shall hear those two little feet, pattering by,
Their music a thousand times more sweet in the sky.

I love to think that the Father’s care
Will hold them safe till I meet them there—By and By.

Mary Thomas Cooper married Albert Nep Dunn Clayton; they have three boys, Madison Thomas who married Miss Gwendolyn (Gwen) Merritt; they have two children, Mary Elaine and William Thomas Clayton. The other two boys are Gerald Nep Clayton and Charles Richard.

Contributed by Jimmie Boyett.