Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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JENKS, William, clergyman, born in Newton, Massachusetts, 25 November, 1778; died in Boston, 13 November, 1866. He was sixth in descent from Joseph, of Lynn. He was graduated at Harvard in 1797, and for a time was reader in Christ's church, Cambridge, Massachusetts Later he was engaged as a private tutor, received a license to preach from the Boston association, and was ordained over the 1st Congregational church, Bath, Maine, on 26 December, 1805. He remained there twelve years, and was chaplain to a Bath regiment during the war of 1812. In connection with pastoral duties he held for three years the professorship of oriental language and English literature in Bowdoin. In 1818 he returned to Boston and instituted special meetings for seamen, of which he was pioneer. He opened the first free chapel for seamen on Central wharf, and another at the west end, the former growing into the Mariners' church and sailors' home, the basis of the present City missionary society. After building a chapel in Botolph street a congregation was gathered and a church erected in Green street, over which Dr. Jenks was settled front 1826 till 1845. In 1825 Bowdoin conferred on him the degree of D. D., and in 1862 that of LL.D. Harvard gave him that of D.D. in 1842. Dr. Jenks was a founder of the American oriental society, and a member of the American antiquarian society, of Worcester, Massachusetts, of which he was four years corresponding secretary and thirteen senior vice president. In 1813 and 1863 he delivered and published addresses before the society. For many years he was a member and contributor to the Massachusetts historical society, an honorary member of the New England historic genealogical society from its beginning in 1845, and five years chairman of its publishing committee. A portrait of Dr. Jenks hangs in the library of the society. Besides occasional sermons and addresses he published a "Commentary on the Bible," of which 120,000 volumes were sold (5 vols., Brattleboro, Vermont, 1834; 6 vols., Philadelphia, 1851), and "Explanatory Bible Atlas and Scripture Gazetteer" (Boston, 1849). He also edited other works. -H is son, Joseph William, educator, born in Bath, Maine, 23 November, 1808; died in Newtonville, Massachusetts, 7 June, 1884, was graduated from Amherst in 1829, and received an appointment as chaplain and professor of mathematics in the United States navy, serving on the "Concord" under Commander Perry. Resigning his commission, he became a student in the Royal school of languages in Paris, and on his return to the United States he spent seven years aiding his father in the preparation of the "Comprehensive Commentary" on the Bible. He was principal of a private school for young ladies in Boston in 1850-'2, and in 1852 became professor of languages in Urbana university, Ohio. He afterward established the first agricultural paper in Illinois. Mr. Jenks was an extensive writer on educational, oriental, and general topics, and a linguist, having a practical knowledge of nearly thirty languages, mostly oriental. He was a life-member of the American oriental society, and a frequent contributor to its literature and discussions. He edited the "Rural Poetry of the English Language" (Boston, 1856).--William's grandson, Henry Fitch, clergyman, son of John H. Jenks, born in Boston, 17 October, 1842, was graduated at Harvard in 1863, and at the divinity school in 1866. In 1867 he became pastor of the Unitarian church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and has since been pastor of churches in Charleston, South Carolina, and Lawrence and Canton, Massachusetts he has been actively connected with the management of many of the organized charities of Boston, is a member of the American oriental society, the Massachusetts historical society, and many similar associations, and has published a "Catalogue of the Boston Public Latin School, 1635-1885," with notes and an introductory historical sketch (Boston, 1885).
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