The Grave Dedication Service for William Jenkins was held on November 5. Due to inclement weather the service was moved into the Municipal Building. The group was welcomed by Mayor Rodney Fagan. The rest of the service was conducted by members of the Arkadelphia and the Mine Creek-Paraclifta Chapters of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution as well as participation by the DeSoto Trace Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. The ceremony was started with the presentation of colors by the Jr. ROTC from the Arkadelphia High School, supervised by LTC. Michael Shepherd. Taps were played by Jim Lloyd, Arkadelphia High School Band Director.
Dr. Tony Kassos presented the history of William Jenkins. This information is based on documents and research provided by David Kelly who worked with the Pike County Archives & History Society a number of years ago. He was born in 1762 in Maryland and in 1775 his family moved to York Country, South Carolina. In 1780 at age 18 William volunteered for the South Carolina Militia, for the duration of the war. By 1780 the Revolutionary War was at a stalemate, so the British decided to move the war south since there were more British sympathizers in the south, than in the north.
After the fall of Charleston and the capture of the local Continental Army by the British in 1780 the American cause in South Carolina was carried out entirely by the militia. Most of the militia members were only part-time, but because of his age William Jenkins served continuously and rose quickly to the rank of a Captain. He served under General Thomas Sumter who is a honored Revolutionary hero in South Carolina. Other than the defeat of General Horatio Gates by General Cornwallis at the Battle of Camden, most of the military activity in South Carolina was guerrilla warfare, where the militia bled the British, by attacking their lines of communication and supplies. General Washington sent a Continental Army to the south under General Nathaniel Green. The continuous guerrilla attacks by the militia meant that Cornwallis was moving into a hostile area that refused to aid him and they reported his every move to the Continental Army. Cornwallis was defeated at the Battle of Cowpens and the Battle of Gilford Courthouse in the spring of 1781 and because of these defeats abandoned Charleston and marched north to Yorktown, Virginia.
At the end of the war William Jenkins left the militia and became a subsistence farmer. He married Mary Jenkins in 1790. In 1792 they moved to Pendleton District, SC. In 1799 his son Jesse was born. In 1813 he moved to Rutherford County, TN and then in 1814 they moved to Franklin County, TN where his first wife passed. In 1817 he married Margaret Rogers and in 1821 they moved to Jackson County, AL where they lived until 1837 when he moved to Murfreesboro, AR at the age of 75, with his son Jesse who was the first Methodist preacher in Murfreesboro. In 1842 at the age of 80 William Jenkins passed away and is the second person to be buried in the Murfreesboro, AR Cemetery.
The majority of the information about Mr. Jenkins’ life comes from a document transcribed in the State of Alabama where he was attempting to obtain the benefit of the provision of pension made by the act of Congress passed June 7, 1832 when Mr. Jenkins was 70 years old. His second wife Margaret is also buried in the Murfreesboro Cemetery.