An American Family History

John D. Jenkins

San Diego, California was incorporated in 1850, the same year California became a state. The original Old Town was located several miles inland. In the late 1860s, Alonzo Horton promoted a move to New Town on the bay. New Town grew quickly and became the city center. In 1915, San Diego hosted the Panama-California Exposition.

John D. Jenkins was born in Pennsylvania about 1820. He was 5' 8½" and had gray eyes and dark hair.

John enlisted as a private on October 17, 1840 in New York when he was 21 under Captain Rains. He had been a sailor.

On July 14, 1843, he appeared as a private on the Muster Roll for Company G, 1st Dragoon Regiment at Fort Croghan, Iowa under Captain J. H. K. Burgwin. Fort Croghan was built in 1842 and abandoned in 1843.

On May 18, 1845, Company G left Fort Leavenworth in Kansas on an expedition to South Pass in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. They reached Fort Laramie in Wyoming on June 14 and went on to South Pass. They returned to Laramie by July 13. and continued back to Fort Leavenworth via Bent's Fort, Colorado and arrived home on August 24. They marched 2000 miles in less than 100 days. John enlisted again in October, 1845 at Fort Leavenworth.

He enlisted for the third time on January 22, 1846 in New Orleans with Lt. Arnold.

In 1846 Company G was in Albuquerque under Captain John H. K. Burgwin. In January they were sent to New Mexico during the Taos Revolt. Company G participated in the battle of Embudo. They crushed the rebellion of the local Pueblo people and New Mexicans on the 29th in a canyon leading to Embudo, New Mexico.

On the 31st, they moved towards the Pueblo de Taos, and attacked on February 3. The first day they failed, but the following morning they charged, crossed the walls, and attacked the rebels in the church. They killed 150 rebels and lost seven men. They captured 400 and executed some of them.

In January, 1851 he was discharged at San Luis Rey from the army. He was a sergeant in company E of the 1st Dragoons under Brevet Major Edward H. Fitzgerald.

At the time of the California State census in 1852 he was in Sacramento. He was a miner.

At the time of the 1860 census, he was in Ophir (now Oroville), Butte County, California. He was a miner.

Accident in Shasta.-a miner at a place called Deadwood on Whiskey Creek, named James Jenkins (b. 1820 in NC re 1852 California census) was buried by the caving of his claim on Monday, January 7th. After being sluiced out, it was found that he was uninjured. (Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 20, Number 3058, 15 January 1861)

He was the lighthouse keeper of the Fort Point Lighthouse from some time after 1860 until 1863. The Fort Point Light was directly beneath the south anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. John's brother, James, was the assistant keeper there.

On July 11, 1866, J .D. Jenkins was on the passenger list for the steamship, Pacific, from San Francisco to San Diego via San Pedro.

In 1867 he registered to vote in San Diego and was the lighthouse keeper. He was keeper from November 23, 1867 to May 20, 1871. When he registered to vote in 1871 he was the keeper.

While working as the lighthouse keeper he lived with Eliza Bridges Jones who served as assistant keepr. While at Pt. Loma, he moonlighted as a whaler according to The Journal of San Diego History, Volume 32, Number 2.

He was fired from the lighthouse in 1871.

NOTICE TO CREDITORS. I desire all my creditors to be patient for a short time, and they shall be fully paid. I have ample means (in salary due me from the Government, to discharge every obligation. But I must wait for my pay and my creditors must wait till I get it. JOHN D JENKINS. (San Diego Union and Daily Bee, Volume 1, Number 86, 27 June 1871)

— John D. Jenkins, a native of Wales, was committed to the Insane Asylam, yesterday. He was comitted to the Asylum in April. 1872 [?] and after a few months, was sent East. He is threatening in his manner, and to violent and dangerous to be at large. (Daily Alta California, Volume 26, Number 8707, 1 February 1874)

The Mexican–American War was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 after the US annexed Texas. Mexico claimed ownership of Texas and did not recognize the successful secession.

The Civil War had more casualties than any other American war. Disease and infection were the biggest killers.




from The First Regiment of Cavalry by Captain R. P. Page Wainwright

The "United States Regiment of Dragoons" was organized by Act of Congress approved March 2, 1833, becoming the "First Regiment of Dragoons" when the Second Dragoons were raised in 1836. . .

During the period 1841-45 there is little of interest to record regarding, the movements of the regiments. There was the usual detached service for companies, and changes between Leavenworth, Gibson, Wayne, Crawford and Fort Towson on the northeastern boundary of Texas. The records show no engagements or excessive marches, except that in April, 1842, on account of some disturbance among the Cherokees, Colonel Kearny marched his command of five companies to Fort Gibson from Leavenworth, and then made a forced march of 57 miles to Fort Wayne in one day. . .

On May 18, 1845, Colonel Kearny with Companies A, C, F, G and K, left Leavenworth for an expedition to South Pass in the Rocky Mountains. The command reached Fort Laramie on the north fork of the Platte, June 14; marched to South Pass and returned to Laramie by July 13; thence via Bent's Fort on the Arkansas to Fort Leavenworth, where it arrived August 24, having made a march of 2000 miles in less than 100 days. . .

At the end of the year Companies C, F, G and K, were at Leavenworth . . .] [In 1846-General Kearny was placed in command of this "Army of the West," which consisted of Companies B, C, G, I and K, 1st Dragoons. . .

General Kearny had left Companies G and I at Albuquerque under Captain J. H. K. Burgwin. When Colonel Sterling Price . . .learned of the seizure and murder at Fernando de Taos of Governor Bent and five others by the Mexicans (Jan. 20), he moved out against them with a force of about 350 dismounted men and easily defeated them, Jan. 24, at Canada. Captain Burgwin, with Company G, 1st Dragoons, also dismounted, joined him on the 28th, and the Mexicans, numbering about 500, were again encountered on the 29th in a cañon leading to Embudo, from which position they were driven out by Burgwin with a force of 180 men of Price's regiment and Company G. He entered Embudo the same day.

On the 31st, having united his force, Price moved towards the Pueblo de Taos, which he attacked February 3, but on account of its strength and the stubborn resistance offered, and more especially for the reason that the ammunition for the artillery had not come up, the attack failed. It was renewed on the following morning when Captain Burgwin, with his company of Dragoons and McMillan's of Price's regiment, charged, crossed the walls, and attacked the church, which, with other large buildings within the walls, was occupied by a large force of the enemy and was stubbornly defended. While gallantly leading a small party against the door of the church Burgwin received a mortal wound from which he died on the 7th. Company G sustained a loss in this engagement of one officer and 23 men killed. The Mexicans lost 153 killed and many wounded. . .

For the next three years there is no record of any important engagement, march or duty, performed by the regiment

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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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