This compilation of our family history is dedicated to the whole Jenkins-Jeffries-Lee family groups, past, present, and future.We are grateful to Rev. John W. Jenkins (Feb
12, 1849 - Jan 21, 1916), his son, Isaac I. Jenkins (1879 - 1942) and Isaac's wife, Minnie Jeffries Jenkins for leaving a well documented path to our past. Their involvement with
the people and the churches they served is commended, for they had to have been a positive influence. They serve as role models that any family would be proud to have.
" Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to
you. " Luke 6:38
To accomplish a task of this size, one must have the help of a lot of people. A sincere thank you to the following people for their time and effort in making this project a success:
Roy Franklin Jenkins Sr., Family Historian, Noreen Jenkins , Recorder, Mr. Cecil Jeffries, Ms. Beverly Carlson , Administrator/Archivist for the American Baptist Archives
Center in Valley Forge, Pa., Mr. James R. Lynch, Director of The American Baptist-Samuel Colgate Historical Library in Rochester, N.Y., Ms. Maureen Wasesky of the Page County Chamber of
Commerce in Luray, Va., Rev. James D. Holland, pastor of the Lovely Zion Baptist Church and New Zion Baptist Church in the Bedford, Va. area, my sister, Marlene Jenkins, Members of the
Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Blainesville, Va. Also, thanks to all the family members that, in one way or another, supplied information and worked on the first two books, that were my
A special thanks to those who have passed, my mother and father, George and Eleanor Jenkins (Feb 3, 1929 - Apr 28, 1973), whom I loved deeply ;
my brother, Kenneth, whom I think about and miss. Thanks to Ronald , Dennis, Marlene, Elaine, Quincy and Tiara. I am blessed by having them as my
brothers and sisters. Finally, a special thanks to my wife, Shirley Ann Bennett Jenkins (born Jan 28, 1946), for loving me enough to put up with me when I couldn't put up
with myself; and my children: Warren Keith Cutler, Kenneth Lee Jenkins and Sonja Rene' Jenkins
George Luther Jenkins Jr and his wife, Shirley Ann Bennet taken in June 1999
THE PRICE OF OUR PAST
by Jan Philpot
Copyright 2000, JanPhilpot
Not so long ago, I wandered the aisles and rooms of an antique
mall, gazing with appreciation at the aged bits and pieces of
long ago lives, wondering at the circumstances that had torn
them from a family that now might not even remember they had
ever been a part. Nearby, two well-heeled matrons were having an
animated conversation over something one of them held in her
hands, and curious, I turned to see what was going on.
"Well it has a $40 price tag," stated the silver-haired lady,
a hint of something dubious in her manner.
"I think it is well worth that," replied her companion, "I once
saw one like it auctioned and going for a good deal more."
Suddenly I recognized exactly what it was that had captured the
ladies' attention, and before I could think what I was doing,
the words popped out, "Oh! I have one exactly like that! I never
The two matrons turned immediately in my direction, and one's
eyes narrowed speculatively. "You have one of these?" she asked,
holding up the tiny oil burning lamp, with the word "Handy"
raised on the bowl of its surface.
"Yes," I replied, "It was my father's when he was a little boy.
I am told it rested on a table beside his bed at night, and that
he used it to find his way to the outhouse after dark."
In my mind's eye, I saw a picture I had long envisioned. It was
a summer night in a place I knew well, where lightning bugs lit
tiny quick stabs in the darkness, and whippoorwills called
mournfully. A little boy slipped barefoot through the night with
only a tiny lantern to light his way, gazing a bit fearfully
this way and that, but struggling to be brave and a "big boy."
"What would you take for it?" the lady continued, far less
interested in my story than in the fact that there was indeed
another like it in the world and if at all possible, she
intended to have it.
It was the story behind the lamp that was important to me, and I
was upset at the realization that this lady wanted to place a
price tag on it. I was dismayed, and wishing very much I had
thought before speaking. "Oh, I couldn't sell it," I replied and
had to repeat again and again when pressed, before I quietly
slipped out the door and back to my car.
I realized my mistake, of course -- impulsive speaking. I had,
after all, been in an antique mall where pieces of the past were
for sale, and where I myself had purchased such before and would
again. What the ladies had asked was quite reasonable in terms
of where I had been and the information I had volunteered.
Perhaps one of the ladies actually was trying to do what I
myself had done before -- purchase back a piece of her own past
that had been lost, but which she remembered as my father had,
resting beside her bed on long ago nights. For lack of the
actual piece, she searched for another like it. And I considered
those pieces "lost" to our families, and what they meant when
they had never been "lost."
I really did not care what the tiny lamp was worth in terms of
cash, had never even considered that aspect, and no amount of
money could have purchased it, not $40 and not $400. The lamp
was an investment all right, and an investment I was saving for
my children, but I figured the dividends not in cash, which is
here today and spent tomorrow for things we little remember in
years to come, but in terms of the heart and in terms of roots.
Roots are both here today and here tomorrow, stories to be told
and retold, imprinting upon succeeding generations their family
of the past they never had the opportunity to know or to love.
There were folks I wanted my children and grandchildren to have
a bit of, a memory of, and a tiny lamp was the very vehicle for
opening the door to questions. Questions were really invitations
to tell the stories and stories are priceless.
Copyright © 2000 George Jenkins. These pages are not to be reproduced or copied without written permission of author. These pages are not for commerical use in any way, shape or form.
Site created 17 July 1999.