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JENKINS, MERCY nee DRAKE

 

Mercy Drake was born on the 28 August 1843 at Wellington, the daughter of Thomas John and Ceres Selina Drake nee Walters who arrived at Petone in January 1840 on the Aurora.

 

While on a visit to New Plymouth to visit friends, Mercy was spotted by the man she would eventually marry, Thomas Hunt Jenkins.  She made a fine figure on horseback, and Thomas recognised in Mercy the qualities of unselfishness, goodness and understanding which characterised her life.  It was love at first sight for them both, and they married on the 23 December 1876 at Lower Hutt.  They lived for some time in the Wellington district, and also Wairarapa, where Thomas was involved building the railway, before moving to Normanby in 1879.

 

In 1880, they moved to Eltham, and their son Harry was the first white boy born in the district.  The Jenkins eventually bought a property on the southern side of Mangawhero Road, bounded by Mountain Road to the west.

 

When the Salvation Army came to Eltham, Thomas and Mercy were the first soldiers enrolled, and they threw all their weight into the activities of the Army.  After a visit to Wellington where Mercy had seen a Home for unfortunate girls, she discussed with Thomas the possibility of opening a home for boys. 

 

It was not until after her death, that Thomas was able to fulfil her wish, and on the 26 December 1909, the Mercy Jenkins Boys' Home was opened.  It was for boys who had suffered the loss of one or both parents, and was run by the Salvation Army.  Over the years the need for the home decreased, and in January 1954 the institution closed.  In 1959, the building was turned into the Eventide Home.  The old building was demolished in 1974, and replaced with a new one.

 

Mercy Jenkins died on the 22 July 1906 at New Plymouth and is buried at the Eltham cemetery.

 

SOURCE

Roma Jenkins, Eltham