William Hezekiah Jennings

By: Dennis Melton, 2nd great grandson

 

Details of the early life of the elusive William Hezekiah Jennings were sketchy at best. We know he was born in 1829 or 1830 in Wilson County, in Middle Tennessee, near a community called Statesville.

Our research points to the fact that his parents were William and Elizabeth Gibson Jennings. In genealogy research, especially in the South, due to the War Between The States from 1861-1865, many of the records were destroyed, and definite proof is not always available, because of this. The parental proof is presumed to be true, but we continue to search for a definite confirmation of this.. If we find that our evidence is not true or find additional evidence to support it, we will make that information known.

On October 9, 1849, William Hezekiah Jennings married Lockey Odum (Odom) the daughter of James S and Mary Francis Odom of Cannon County, Tennessee. The Odoms were very influential in the area, being prominent citizens in their time. Lockey was born in May, 1831 in Cannon County, Tennessee. After the marriage, they moved to Cannon County, and lived near her parents, James and Mary Francis Odom as indicated in the 1850 census. William Hezekiah, listed as Wiley in the 1850 census, was living in the household with Lockey, and infant. Mary Elizabeth Jennings, their oldest daughter, was born July 1, 1850, in Cannon County. William Hezekiah was also listed as a slave owner on the slave schedule in 1850 By the time of the 1860 Census, they seem to have disappeared. We searched the 1860 Federal Census in Tennessee, Kentucky, and other surrounding states, as well as Texas, and have been unable to find our Hezekiah and Lockey and their family. By 1870, they were living in Simpson County, Kentucky, near Franklin. They now had 5 children living, Mary Elizabeth, William Judson, born June 7, 1854, in Wilson County, Tennessee; Emily M born about 1856, probably in Tennessee; James Franklin born November 10, 1859 in Tennessee, and the youngest, John Wesley Jennings, born January 7, 1863, in Tennessee. According to the 1900 Census, William Hezekiah and Lockey had 7 children, but only 5 are living in 1880. We have no information on the other two children.

According to tax lists from Simpson County, Kentucky, William Hezekiah Jennings lived in that county from 1868-1873. He is listed on the tax roll as a sharecropper and a member of the militia.

By 1880, they were living in Waxahachie, Ellis County, Texas, in a household with three of their children, Mary Elizabeth, James Franklin, and John Wesley. Next door is Emily and William W Watson, and their two children, Sally and Lawrence Watson. Nearby is a household that lists Jesse Jeffrey, a boarder. This Jesse Welch Jeffrey later became the husband of Mary Elizabeth Jennings.

They lived in Ellis County for several years, and moved to Ater, near Gatesville, along with the rest of the family. By 1900, William Hezekiah and Lockey were living in the Mt. Lebanon Community, near Canton and Grand Saline, in Van Zandt County, Texas, along with their son James Franklin. Lockey was a member of the Mt. Lebanon Baptist church, but we find no record of Hezekiah's membership at the church. Lockey Odom Jennings died in 1901, and William Hezekiah died in 1903. They were buried, according to family history, in unmarked graves in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery, near their son and daughter in law, Will and Sarah Jennings, and another son, James Franklin Jennings. The graves are now marked.

Though the information we have on William Hezekiah Jennings is sketchy, and research on his life has been a challenge, it has been the incentive to continue to research both him and his family.

Contact: Dennis Melton

William Hezekiah Jennings Family

Back L-R: Mary Elizabth, Emily, James Franklin

Front L-R: Lockie Odom, William Hezekiah, John Wesley

Not pictured: Son, William Judson Jennings

Jennings Brothers

L to R: John Wesley, James Franklin, and William Judson

 

Lockie Odum Jennings is buried at Mt. Lebanon

in Van Zandt County, Texas

 

William Hezekiah Jennings is buried at Mt. Lebanon

in Van Zandt County, Texas

 

 

More Jennings Pictures

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