James Robert Jenkins, Jr., Republic of Texas congressman and attorney, was born to James Robert and Mildred (Gresham) Jenkins in Green County, Georgia, in 1810. His father reached the rank of colonel before dying in the War of 1812. Jenkins was educated at Mercer University, Penfield, Georgia, then studied law under Hugh Haraldson in 1836 and was admitted to the bar. He landed at Galveston, Texas, on April 21, 1836, the day of the battle of San Jacinto, settled at Washington-on-the-Brazos, and fought in several expeditions against the Indians. In 1837 Jenkins was a member of a Baptist prayer-meeting group at Washington-on-the-Brazos that formed Washington Baptist Church No. 1 later in the year. This was the first Missionary Baptist church organized in Texas. Jenkins was on a church committee and wrote two letters requesting missionaries from the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. The American Baptist Home Mission Society appointed Rev. Z. N. Morrell, the pastor of Washington Church, as missionary. Later James Huckins and William M. Tryon were sent as missionaries to Texas. Jenkins was elected to represent Washington County in the Third Congress of the republic (1838–39). In 1842 he was appointed examiner of the Fayette County bar to qualify applicants for admission. Jenkins married his brother's widow, Harriet Ann (Daniel) Jenkins, on August 7, 1845, and they had two children. He had four stepchildren, one of whom, Georgia, married Rufus C. Burleson. The Jenkins family moved in 1852 to Independence, Texas, where Jenkins retired from the bar in about 1854 or 1855. After a long and painful sickness he died in January 1857.
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James Milton Carroll Collection (Texas Baptist Historical Collection, Roberts Library, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary). Zenos N. Morrell, Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness (Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1872; rpt. of 3d ed., Irving, Texas: Griffin Graphic Arts, 1966). Annie Jenkins Sallee, A Friend of God: Highlights in the Life of Judge W. H. Jenkins (San Antonio: Naylor, 1952).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Samuel B. Hesler,
“Jenkins, James Robert, Jr.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 06, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
June 13, 2020